Unique beginning

DIANA will grace the Grad Club stage on Saturday

DIANA performed at this summers’ Wolfe Island Music Festival.
DIANA performed at this summers’ Wolfe Island Music Festival.
DIANA performed at this summers’ Wolfe Island Music Festival.
DIANA performed at this summers’ Wolfe Island Music Festival.
DIANA performed at this summers’ Wolfe Island Music Festival.
DIANA performed at this summers’ Wolfe Island Music Festival.

The making of DIANA, unlike most bands, came after recording an album.

Joseph Shabason and Kieran Adams are the brains behind DIANA’s origins. The two joined forces, dabbling with their own writing abilities, before asking vocalist Carmen Elle to sing over their tracks.

“[We were] making an album but we didn’t really know what the outcome was going to be,” Adams said. “Once Carmen got involved the thing definitely congealed nicely and it kind of went from there.”

Paul Matthew joined the trio for the group’s live performances, and things started to pick up.

DIANA, originally from Toronto, played at Wolfe Island Music Festival this past August for one of the highlights of the celebrated annual weekend.

Adams has played the festival before, only with different bands. He had a weird migraine before hitting the stage that day, he said, which impacted his ability to recall the atmosphere.

“I remember that it was kind of a mellow audience compared to audiences we’ve played for in the last little while. Everybody seemed incredibly relaxed,” Adams said. “It was maybe a little more of a laid-back response than we were hoping for but it was really fun.”

While touring with the band Austra, Adams started noticing their audiences singing along to the lyrics. It’s a bizarre experience, he said.

“It wasn’t at every show but definitely at a lot of shows I started to see people singing along,” he said. “You spend so long with these songs that you assume that nobody really knows the words except you, and then these people mouthing the words.”

Their first album, Perpetual Surrender, was released in August 2013. Since then, they’ve been headlining tours and selling albums.

The writing and production process, Adams said, didn’t have a formula.

“There’s not really a set method. I think that we both at times filled every role,” he said. “It’s not like one person writes words and one person does drum beats and basslines or anything like that. It’s a real mixed bag.”

Adams described DIANA’s sound as intelligent pop, which, he said, isn’t really an official genre.

“It’s pop in that the melodies are very compelling,” he said, “but then there’s a weirdness … there’s just something in all of those songs that makes you feel like … you can understand a certain amount of the song but there’s always something there that’s a mystery.”

Most of Perpetual Surrender, Adams said, was created using synths and computers. It didn’t come to fruition with the thought that it would be performed live.

“We had to figure out how to get all of these sounds … there are elements of electronic music there where there will be certain parts of a drum track that is happening,” he said.

“We are all keeping as busy as possible to make sure that we are ourselves connecting with the music and then able to make the audience feel connected to the music, you know, through us.”

As a pre-show ritual, the band likes to touch base in a circle formation.

“We like to all do a huddle-circle thing and we say ‘namaste.’ That’s a thing. That’s a real actual thing that we do, believe it or not,” Adams said.

“It’s kind of tongue-in-cheek, but I think it’s good to just connect with each other ... it’s easy to get caught up running around before a show and then all of a sudden I’m on stage it’s like, ‘well, shit.’”

DIANA will be performing on Saturday night at the Grad Club at 10 p.m.

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