RVA NO.2 : AN INTERVIEW WITH DIAMOND BLACK HEARTED BOY

by | Sep 10, 2010 | MUSIC

To describe Diamond Black Hearted Boy as simply wild and exciting would appear to be an understatement. These two aspects are certainly at play. Yet it is the variety of performances and reactions set in motion within that speak volumes. They are deliberate attempts at challenging any preconceived notions an audience or an artist has when it comes to what the limits truly are in any artistic expression.

Chino Amobi’s intentions at each show fluctuate and the end results are simply fascinating. Take for example, a performance at the Commercial Taphouse with Bermuda Triangles. For the entirety of his fifteen-minute set, Amobi remains hidden from the audience under a garb as he randomly pounces at a drum kit while a sample plays. All those in attendance cannot take their eyes away from what they are seeing even if they find it difficult to understand what they are witnessing. On another occasion, his performance at Club Down and Under would provide Amobi with the outlet to dish out an inspired set of dance numbers entitled “Fuck Yeah,” “Shut Up” and “Get Off My Dick” that come off surprisingly confident for the performer.

Amobi’s performances are spawned from whichever place he decides to pull inspiration from as well as the type of show. While still maintaining a level of self-awareness, there is nothing tired or exhausted when it comes to his approach. This isn’t simply music. This is an artistic expression being tossed on its head and seeing how much it cracks open for us to examine what spills out. This is Diamond Black Hearted Boy.

To describe Diamond Black Hearted Boy as simply wild and exciting would appear to be an understatement. These two aspects are certainly at play. Yet it is the variety of performances and reactions set in motion within that speak volumes. They are deliberate attempts at challenging any preconceived notions an audience or an artist has when it comes to what the limits truly are in any artistic expression.

Chino Amobi’s intentions at each show fluctuate and the end results are simply fascinating. Take for example, a performance at the Commercial Taphouse with Bermuda Triangles. For the entirety of his fifteen-minute set, Amobi remains hidden from the audience under a garb as he randomly pounces at a drum kit while a sample plays. All those in attendance cannot take their eyes away from what they are seeing even if they find it difficult to understand what they are witnessing. On another occasion, his performance at Club Down and Under would provide Amobi with the outlet to dish out an inspired set of dance numbers entitled “Fuck Yeah,” “Shut Up” and “Get Off My Dick” that come off surprisingly confident for the performer.

Amobi’s performances are spawned from whichever place he decides to pull inspiration from as well as the type of show. While still maintaining a level of self-awareness, there is nothing tired or exhausted when it comes to his approach. This isn’t simply music. This is an artistic expression being tossed on its head and seeing how much it cracks open for us to examine what spills out. This is Diamond Black Hearted Boy.

SHANNON: The name of this project is a reference that I’m aware of, but perhaps our readers wouldn’t be. Where did the name stem from and what drew you to it? Does its origin reflect in anyway your musical aspirations and inspiration?

DBHB: The name derives from the lyrics of a Fiery Furnaces song. I was drawn to the name because it relates to what I am expressing both visually and sonically. It basically has to do with the idea of candy-coating something seemingly awkward, ugly, and embarrassing with a thick layer of glimmer and gloss. It reflects the way in which my music and live performance can be simultaneously standoffish yet seductive.

SHANNON: I really respect your approach to live performance and songs in general. I wonder how does the thought process begin for both of these outlets respectively? I have seen several videos of past shows shot by Silver Persinger that show a range dynamically in your live performances. Does the venue play a big part in how you encounter a show? Houses against bars essentially?

DBHB: Thank you and Thank God for Silver Persinger. He should be the Mayor of this city, for real. Imagine that. Yeah but as for the live performances, it really depends on a number of factors. How I’m feeling that week, what type of music have I been listening to lately, who I am playing with, how loud the sound system is gonna be, what type of demographic is going to be there. I really just play it by ear and let the moment decide. I’ve been really interested in getting girls to shake their booties recently so that has been an incentive. If I know ahead of time that there aren’t gonna be some girls at the show ready to get buck then I’m not really that excited about it. I don’t mind playing bars, but if I know that I’m gonna be playing in front of a bunch of old white crusty geezers reminiscing on the good old days, well then my set’s gonna be pretty much inverted. I can be a lil’ bitch in that way.

SHANNON: I sense that the majority of your recorded output is all done at home. Does this make it easier for you to continue writing prolifically or is there a desire for you to enter a real deal studio and make something drastically different?

DBHB: Yeah, the whole home recording thing is basically born out of necessity because I’m flat broke and don’t have anywhere else to record. It’s fun though cause I can do whatever I want and do it at my own pace, and it’s free of course, but its limited. I have a lot of visions and ideas musically that I cannot fully realize by just recording out of my laptop. I would like to work with choirs and collaborate with producers in studios that actually know something about music and music technology, because I don’t. All I know is up-down, up-down. I know enough to get by. So yeah, if any producers, DJs, musicians, or anyone with a studio is reading this and would like to work with me lets do it. chinoamobi@gmail.com. We will make super saiyan suicidal slug jams together. I can guarantee you that.

SHANNON: You recently went on tour with Bermuda Triangles. Was this a first for you? I have seen you both on several bills together. What drew you to wanting to venture out on the road with them, and what other bands in Richmond do you feel inclined towards stylistically and musically?

DBHB: Unfortunately, I was unable to join Jason Hodges and the boys on the east coast tour. I had to handle some unforeseen business with my Nigerian connects overseas. Yeah, but that wouldn’t of been my first tour. Last summer I went on a tour with TMTMTMBOY from Chicago. It was so epic. Chicago is such an awesome city. The kids up there are doing some truly original and inspiring things with music and dance. LISTEN TO JUKE MUSIC. Kansas City is an awesome city as well. I love to be on the road. It is so unpredictable, especially when you are venturing to a place you have never been before. Stylistically and musically, I feel a connection to the bands in Richmond that really don’t give a damn. From The Darkest Part of The Woods, Head Molt, ChiChi The Kid, The Young Richmond Outkasts, Mike Ezie (RIP), Messi, MUTWAWA, The Amoeba Men, Leo Heinzel, and Dylan Languell to name a few.

SHANNON: I feel as if you break past just typical songwriting and incorporate multiple outlets of media in your creative output. What are your best experiences with that, and also what would you enjoy doing that could further this involvement with alternate sources?

DBHB: Well the breaking past typical song writing is mainly due to the fact that I don’t know anything about music. I mean, I understand rhythm and swing, I just don’t know anything about song structure or how to write a song. I can identify it when I am listening it, but to recreate it is a whole ‘nother rabbit hole. I love traditional popular songs, but I am also really into psychotically repetitive music as well. African chant and Nihilistic repetition is basically the skeleton of my musical palette. As for multimedia, I believe that all stimuli is democratic, so I have no problem augmenting my music with various visual and/or aural detritus of contemporary or past cultures. It’s the free play of signs and signifiers. In the future, I would like to collaborate with more people on multiple platforms to expand the vision exponentially.

SHANNON: What does the rest of the year contain for you?

DBHB: Well, nothing is really fixed. It’s pretty hazy right now. I got some music shows lined up through the summer, mostly local. I have a solo art show coming up this October in Brooklyn at Like The Spice Gallery. I’m also planning a European and Asian tour at the beginning of next year with a small French label Steak Au Zoo who I am releasing a cd-r with in September. Yeah, I’m basically just playing it by ear.

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/DIAMONDBLACKHEART

READ MORE FROM RVA NO.2 HERE

R. Anthony Harris

R. Anthony Harris

I created Richmond, Virginia’s culture publication RVA Magazine and brought the first Richmond Mural Project to town. Designed the first brand for the Richmond’s First Fridays Artwalk and promoted the citywide “RVA” brand before the city adopted it as the official moniker. I threw a bunch of parties. Printed a lot of magazines. Met so many fantastic people in the process. Professional work: www.majormajor.me




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