Former Richmond-based psychedelic-folk band
Former Richmond-based psychedelic-folk band The Diamond Center have returned. Don’t get your hopes up too high RVA, they aren’t back in the city for good, but they are releasing a new album, Crystals For The Brass Empire Aug. 14 and have a new tour coming up!
This marks the third full length album for The Diamond Center and the first album they’ve released on vinyl. Guitarist Kyle Harris and vocalist Brandi Price started recording the new album in the summer of 2012.
“Brandi and I had just found out that she was pregnant, so that pressed the pause button for touring,” said Harris. “We needed to make a full length anyway, it was time. We had spent the previous three or so years in Richmond playing tons of local shows and touring, only releasing 2 singles. A full length album needed to happen.”
Virginia-based labels Funny/Not Funny, Egghunt Records and Steady Sounds Records collaborated for this new release. Harrisonburg-based Funny/Not Funny released a single for The Diamond Center in 2012 and Harris said he was eager to work with all the other labels again for this album.
“Ben and Harper from F/NF (Funny/Not Funny) are just the nicest folks,” he said. “Marty Key from Steady Sounds had also mentioned that he’d be interested in helping us out with the release, so I thought- let’s have a double label release and make it (hopefully) a little cheaper for everyone by splitting costs.”
Crystals For the Brass Empire was the band’s first album recorded in studio. They recorded it in Roanoke with Joe Lunsford at Magic Twig and have released two new singles from the album, “Bones” and “Messenger of Wonder.”
The band, which now mainly consist of just the duo, has turned into nomads I guess you would say. They formed in 2007 in Georgia and recorded their first album that year in March. In 2010, they made their way Richmond, and since then have ventured to Lubbock, Texas and for the last five months they’ve been living in Austin.
Harris said living all over has definitely influenced the writing process.
“When we were in Lubbock, Tx, we weren’t making a point to write music that felt like the flatlands, it just happened,” Harris said. “I think it’s safe to say, looking back, that the songs we wrote while living in Richmond were definitely thicker in tone and more complex, sonically.” “Maybe a bit darker. Kind of like Richmond, complex and a little dark.”
He added adjusting from wild Texas took some time and having a complete, consistent lineup while in Richmond fueled the creative process.
Despite coasting from place to place, Harris said he tends to prefer it that way.
“Brandi and I have been rambling for a few years, having the child may have slowed the pace a bit, but it’s hard to imagine staying anywhere for too long,” he said.
The couple writes all of the songs for the band.
“Brandi comes up with the chords and vocal melody, then I flesh it out with intros, bridges, and outros,” Harris said. “I usually try and record some type of demo to present to the band, then they add their own flourishes and make it come to life.”
And although they’ve found a new home for now, The Diamond Center still cherishes the city, and still maintains a loyal, fairly big fan base.
“Richmond audiences were REALLY kind to us pretty much right from the start,” Harris said. “It’s a great size city for being a local band.” “I was just talking with Landis from White Laces about this last week. It’s big enough that there are venues that get good touring bands, but not such a big city that it’s hard for locals to play regularly.”
And because Austin is still a bit new, Harris said he’s missing Richmond even more.
“Mostly our friends and the familiarity of surroundings,” he said. “And the spring, and the fall, and 8 1/2 Pizza.”
Currently, it’s the just the two of them, but over the years The Diamond Center has brought in a number of different members for various shows, some for longer, and according to their Facebook page they’ve ha 14 different members. Check out RVA Mag’s interview with them here to read the long history on that here.
Harris said they are forming the lineup for Austin now so sorry to all of you Diamond Center fans, but it doesn’t look like they will be relocating to their old stomping grounds. But, they will make a stop on their upcoming fall tour.
“We are doing a short tour from Austin to Richmond with Lady God,” Harris said. “It’s actually our first tour, post child. There is DEFINITELY a Richmond show, maybe two!”
The Diamond Center will make stops in Texas, Arkansas, Tennesse, and Kentucky. They will perform at Black Iris Oct. 3 and make an appearance at Steady Sounds Oct. 2.
You can pre-order the new album, Crystals For The Brass Empire here.