The Migration Of The Diamond Center

by | Aug 26, 2010 | MUSIC

The Diamond Center are a band that discover themselves more and more through their travels. Since their inception in Athens, Georgia, their sound has matured to incorporate lush reverb, unforgettable vocals and tribal drumming that dictate their approach to psychedelic folk. They took their time to arrive to the city of Richmond. Now, The Diamond Center can easily be considered one of the best exports to land on our front porch in the past year.

The Diamond Center was a reaction to a defining moment in the lives of musical partners Kyle Harris and Brandi Price. Their musical history as bass players helped fuel a desire to become confident songwriters on guitar. The aftermaths of divorces led them to seek comfort in one another as counterparts. This was when the first recordings from the group began to emerge. While sifting through these ideas, Price was offered an employment opportunity that brought the band to her former home of Lubbock, Texas.

The Diamond Center has always featured a rotating cast of musical characters. The contributions of these characters helped Harris and Price develop an understanding of what they hoped to accomplish with the band. One of their many integral collaborators was Price’s sister, Jana Price. With this new addition, The Diamond Center found their quintessential drum sound.

The Diamond Center are a band that discover themselves more and more through their travels. Since their inception in Athens, Georgia, their sound has matured to incorporate lush reverb, unforgettable vocals and tribal drumming that dictate their approach to psychedelic folk. They took their time to arrive to the city of Richmond. Now, The Diamond Center can easily be considered one of the best exports to land on our front porch in the past year.

The Diamond Center was a reaction to a defining moment in the lives of musical partners Kyle Harris and Brandi Price. Their musical history as bass players helped fuel a desire to become confident songwriters on guitar. The aftermaths of divorces led them to seek comfort in one another as counterparts. This was when the first recordings from the group began to emerge. While sifting through these ideas, Price was offered an employment opportunity that brought the band to her former home of Lubbock, Texas.

The Diamond Center has always featured a rotating cast of musical characters. The contributions of these characters helped Harris and Price develop an understanding of what they hoped to accomplish with the band. One of their many integral collaborators was Price’s sister, Jana Price. With this new addition, The Diamond Center found their quintessential drum sound.

This led to the recording of their second full length, My Only Companion. This album is filled with walls of sound that bring a spooky or epic dynamic to every song. On standout track “The Deer Pistol,” the lifting harmony between Price and Harris builds to a crescendo in tandem with the pounding drumbeat. The result is a cataclysmic musical explosion that is pure ear candy. In the album’s more modest moments, it reveals the tragic, haunting beauty of the world that exists in a Diamond Center song.

After My Only Companion, The Diamond Center hit yet another crossroads. In a further example of their migratory mentality, a collegiate opportunity for Price led the band to Richmond, Virginia. Unfortunately, Jana had to stay behind, but her participation would never be forgotten. In many ways, the move to Richmond could be attributed to destiny.

Jana’s first show with The Diamond Center was with Thao With the Get Down Stay Down. This marked the group’s first meeting with drummer and Richmond native Willis Thompson. The love both groups felt for each other inspired an ongoing correspondence between Thompson and Harris. After their move, they immediately contacted Thompson about joining the band. He also acted as a catalyst for the band’s first Richmond show.

The next puzzle piece to the musical equation that is The Diamond Center was Tim Falen. Falen was a fellow Lubbock resident that acted as a touring fill-in for Jana. Falen, Harris, and Price bonded instantly, and knew that this lineup was something special. Falen’s impressive percussive prowess made him irreplaceable. One of the first shows that brought these various musical minds together was in Richmond. At this show, Harris and Price were joined by the percussive efforts of Thompson, Falen and Jana. At this point, they developed a vision of what the live presentation of the band should be, and how to go about incorporating even more rhythm into their dynamic. Falen soon followed Harris and Price to Richmond, continuing to be a member of The Diamond Center.

The final component that allowed them to accomplish their rhythmic desires was William Godwin. Godwin was introduced to the fold through a mutual friend. While admiring Godwin’s artwork, Price also discovered his abilities as a bassist. Godwin seemed like a perfect fit for The Diamond Center, and his involvement has only assisted in their development as a band.

While speaking about their arrival in Richmond, Harris and Price couldn’t help but marvel about how quickly they felt as if they belonged. Their first show was alongside David Shultz and the Skyline at the release party for Rain In To The Sea. Shultz sought out The Diamond Center to accompany his band, even though no one in the city had any idea as to who or what The Diamond Center was. After that moment, Richmond has been unable to forget.

Several artists became immediately connected to the band. With peers that spanned from The Color Kittens to Hot Lava to Nick Coward and the Last Battle to Jonathan Vassar, there was no foreseeable end to all of the support sent their way. These peers also collaborated with Harris and Price in such musical acts as Jan and Dan and The Catnip Dreams. Their music can be found on compilations released by online publications like The Richmond Scene, and on the airwaves of stations such as WRIR. Richmond loves The Diamond Center and they love Richmond back.

When asked about their current songwriting process, Harris elaborated on how each city they have called home has affected the way they write. Their days in Athens were formative. At that time, they embraced and learned from their mistakes. In Lubbock, their environment played a greater role that only became clear in retrospect. Given the history of that area in the United States, there is no denying its inspiration in the incorporation of tribal drumming. This decision derived from the rich history of the soil beneath their feet, which they absorbed from those that inhabited that land in the past. The thing that struck Harris most strongly about Richmond was his discovery of a newfound clarity in his approach. It’s almost as if a weight has been lifted and his musical imagination can express itself more strongly in the new material he is currently writing. In many ways, the move from Lubbock to Richmond was the spiritual rite of passage that The Diamond Center required to continue growing. It enabled the group to uncover a musical vernacular that allows all of them to speak to each other in ways they couldn’t previously comprehend.

When all is said and done, the core of the group will always be Harris and Price. The name, The Diamond Center, has followed them everywhere they have gone. With this idea of migration attached to the group, one can only wonder how long they will stick around. The two have debated this exact question, but find that everything they have experienced since leaving Lubbock to call Richmond home has been positive. They have developed connections with so many people that they hope to share for a lifetime. They have received an outpouring of support that they can’t help but take as one of the most wonderful compliments possible. So in all likelihood, The Diamond Center won’t be going anywhere any time soon. If you ask me, this is incredibly divine news to receive about a band that is quickly becoming beloved.

The Diamond Center will perform on Thursday August 26 at Strange Matter with Climbers and Tungs. 929 W. Grace St, show starts at 10 PM.

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

Former GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.




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