From his Toronto studio, Diamond Rings, aka John O, has a chuckle over his last Ottawa show.
“I forgot about that show [at Raw Sugar Café]. It was wicked.”
In the last year, since releasing his Pitchfork-lauded debut album, Special Affections, on Secret City Records, Diamond Rings’ popularity has grown quickly, and he’s playing larger and larger venues.
He has most recently returned from opening for Swedish dancehall queen Robyn, an experience he found inspiring.
“I learned so much from her,” he says. “It feels real and raw and I think that gay fans are attuned to that. There’s something about it [that makes our fans] feel free to be whoever they want to be and not worry about being judged or cool.”
It takes courage to walk onstage in full makeup with a David Bowie swagger. Citing Grace Kelly and ’80s new wave as style influences, Diamond Rings plays with androgyny in his stage appearance.
“What I do is me being me, but for sure an element is wanting to confuse people to some extent, to create a friction between what I’m doing aesthetically and sonically.”
Returning from nine weeks of solid touring, Diamond Rings immersed himself in his friends’ work to find new focus before losing himself in his next album.
“I’m always working on new stuff, [but] I needed some kind of break from my own headspace, lyrics and thought process.”
He completed the highly danceable Remix Rainbow, which features friends in Miracle Fortress, Austra and Handsome Furs.
“I’d like to collaborate with Kylie Minogue one day. The fact that I’m in a position to ask is a dream come true.”