By Hayes Gotsick
We live in an age where it can be difficult to discover music we find unique and truly special. Maybe you think this is because literally anyone can start making “music” nowadays. Maybe you think “music just isn’t the same anymore, man” and you have lost hope that anyone IS trying to make music of THAT caliber anymore. Music with substance. Music that you can connect to mentally and emotionally. Music that moves you.
Well, I had to tell myself this so I’ll tell you the same thing: “Shut Up”. It’s out there. There are artists creating incredible bodies of work, you just might not be looking in the right places, or maybe you are, but you’re not paying close enough attention. This was the case with me and Casey; the up-and-coming singer/songwriter known as “Diamant”.
After reaching out via instagram, I got in contact and expressed how truly impressed I was with her album; Insecurity & the Orchestrated Confidence. We exchanged information and then on one warm winter day in Atlanta, I met up with the artist who is responsible for creating one of the best albums I’ve heard in recent memory. This same project, which is also her debut, may be album of the year in my opinion.
We decided to meet at a local park to talk in depth about said album. As I stood with my back against my car, waiting for her to arrive, I was unsure what to expect given this would be our first time meeting. At the same time, having given her illustrious album multiple listens, I felt I knew exactly what to expect.
Moments later, I heard a faint “Hey!” call out from in distance. As I looked up, I immediately knew this was indeed Diamant. Even from a far, I recognized the glow in which she seems to reside and knew there was someone special approaching. After making our initial introductions and breaking the ice, I was happily surprised when I realized I wasn’t far off with my initial assumption at all. This was indeed an authentic, and extremely talented artist, just waiting for the world to learn her name.
[Hayes Gotsick:] So I know the basic backstory to your album Insecurity & the Orchestrated Confidence, but a lot of people don’t. You spent about two years working on this project with two producers from overseas, right?
[Diamant:] Yes, Bruno and Ebbo. They go by Kraan & Verhaar, which are their last names. They reached out to me after Ebbo had randomly found my soundcloud one night. They were already a production duo by the name of Radio Stanley at the time.
Nice, and where are they from?
Amsterdam. They go back a long, long time. They had seen some success as Radio Stanley so originally, they had wanted me to do a single for their production project. They’d sent me a couple different files to mess around with and after a couple months of messing around, I sent them back “Eleven.”
That’s really interesting to learn; “Eleven” being the first song you guys made together. That’s definitely one of the standout tracks on the album. I guess it only makes sense that’s the first full song on the project.
Yeah, I really think Eleven is a shining moment for me in general. I simply knew it was a bop when I made it.
[Laughs] Oh it 100% is, it’s an incredible song.
Thank you. It was also one of the few songs I did do in one go. Like I finished it in a couple hours and the vocals, like, the vocals are my mix. It was kind of a perfect song in that way.
That’s awesome. I was also interested to find out that intro track, the first song, was an Edgar Allen Poe poem. I don’t think a lot of people realize that.
Yeah, yeah it is. “The Tell-Tale Heart.” That was Ebbo’s idea. Um, which I literally fucking love because I just- I relate to Edgar Allen Poe so much. In his dark sadness, and.. I think he’s the coolest.
The OG Emo guy.
[Laughs] The OG Emo guy! I literally wanna be the OG Emo guy so bad- like him. But yeah, that was Ebbo’s idea. We kind of colloquialized the words a little bit, because you know, he wrote in this olde ass “English” way. So, we made it a little more.. accessible I guess. But yeah, I loved that thing. And that one, there was a little disagreement on the soft little music-ies in the back. But yeah, I ended up getting my way on it.
Nice, what was it like working with Kraan & Verhaar overseas? I know you guys primarily worked over the internet but you also all worked on this together in person quite a bit. Did you go to them first or did they come here to Atlanta first?
They came to Atlanta first in November of 2019. We were working remotely, like over the internet, for forever. Like I was just recording songs in my bathroom, my bedroom, or whatever. And then when I went to Amsterdam we recorded a good bit of stuff over there too.
That’s sick. Where did you guys record in Amsterdam? Was it an actual studio or just a home studio similar to yours?
So Bruno had a studio at his school, cause he went to a conservatory where they have a music program, and they had like a super nice studio. So we were at that one occasionally and at other times we were in this makeshift studio above a hair salon that Ebbo used to work at. [Laughs] He actually used to DJ at the hair salon.
That’s definitely some European shit, they’ll throw turntables up anywhere.
It really is. It’s so funny. Saturdays only though. But yeah so they had a 3rd floor where they let Bruno & Ebbo make a studio. So we would be in there sometimes and I swear that place was haunted.
Yeah, it was really creepy. [Laughs]
Kinda, maybe, added to the creative process a little bit? [Laughs] What makes you think it was haunted?
Definitely. Definitely. But um, I could just feel it. Okay so when I was there, for the first time, it was the last day of the week and we all got super, super drunk. [Laughs] And this was the night I recorded the outro of Reverie, that creepy “kill me now” part. I remember I was sitting there, drunk as fuck, and I was like… “Are we really the only ones in here?” and they were like, “yeah?”, and I was like “there’s so many people here right now.” Cause it felt like a gathering of ghosts or something. Like I could literally not believe we were in there by ourselves.
Interesting. You felt like they were watching you kind of? Maybe they all gathered there to watch you do your thing cause they knew something special was going on.
Something like that, yeah. [Laughs] It didn’t feel like they were really interacting with us, like they were just observing. They were just around. I was scaring the boys but I was like, “Nooooo, they’re not mean!” I could feel that they were just chillin. [Laughs] That was a good night.
Super cool back story there. [Laughs] So what was the actual recording process like in terms of creating? Did you find yourselves kind of going back to certain parts of certain songs and jumping around throughout the process or was it a more organized approach?
We jumped around, for sure. Because a lot of times I would record something and I would send it to them, or I would be in the room with them, and it would not be good. To them.. [laughs] Or to me. I would definitely receive critique from them, whole-heartedly and unabashedly. [laughs] It was important but I was also very, like, sensitive cause it was my first time collaborating on something with somebody other than myself. So it was like, touching my “brain wounds.”
That’s definitely understandable. Were there ever any problems during the creative process?
Yeah, there was just so much going on during the entire recording of this album. Like, conflict even.
Really? That’s not something I would’ve guessed. The way the project came together feels so seamless but I mean.. Beauty is pain and conflict can result in a lot of really great things, so. That makes sense.
Exactly, that’s kind of the same consensus we all had. I don’t know, it was just the 3 of us together a lot of the time and it was hard for us to work with each other.
Did this stuff come out in the songs? Like, did you find yourself writing about certain situations in the moment?
I mean, kind of. Emotions definitely came out in the songs but I don’t want to blow anything out of proportion because it was a really lovely time most of the time. I got to travel and they definitely changed my life in a really good way. We just ended up having to take breaks from each other.
That makes sense, I mean, two years is a long time.
Yeah when you’re creating with people for that long you really get to know each other and you argue and there were times where I was just so “anti-everything” and I just didn’t want to do certain things. But there were a couple of times where they had certain ideas and were like “Casey! DO IT!” and then I would be like “FINE!” and then I would make like the craziest thing ever. [Laughs]
That’s kind of poetic in a way.
Yeah, it’s just funny how things like that play out. Like I never expected for my life to completely change the way it did. I’m very very thankful for both of them. They gave me a lot of opportunities, like I didn’t even know what Amsterdam was. [Laughs]
Funny how that works out. So when you guys started working on this thing, did you guys set out with a general concept? Is there an underlying theme that kind of progresses as you listen or is it more so just like a diary almost?
I would say it’s definitely a combination of both. There was a quote-on-quote “vision” that was present throughout the whole thing but nobody would really tell me what it was.. they were just kind of like “you know what it is” and I was like “…okay”. [laughs] So, the name was “Insecurity & the Orchestrated Confidence” before I even knew them.
So you came up with that before you guys ever met?
They did actually. They had come up with that. Because like I said it was originally their “producer” album and they had that name for it and kind of a concept for it so when I sent them Eleven they wanted to make an album.
So I think the concept really focuses on insecurities. I went to this meditation retreat, and I think I can summarize insecurity best as a reaction to change and the discomfort that comes along with that change. Those sensations, emotions, and everything that comes with it.
When you’re orchestrating confidence you are adapting and adjusting to change and, you know, being confident. I think orchestration is just “being” despite… what’s the word… um…. There was word that I really liked… it’s almost like fleeting, something that comes and goes… I gotta look it up. [laughs]
Impermanence! That’s the word. I kind of live and die by impermanence, which I guess everybody does, but you can be conscious about it or you can be unconscious about it. Insecurity comes from fear of losing something, death, the unknown, all that. You want things to be consistent, permanent, and like “comfortable,” but it can’t be that way. Everything is impermanent. Everything is fading away. So I think a lot of the album is a diary, of my own insecurity and paranoia and, like, sadness. There are some confidence aspects as well. So it’s really a, duality-type of experience. Yin & yang almost; it goes between the two. So yeah, I’d say there’s a concept there for sure.
Beautiful. So if you had to pick a favorite track, what’s your favorite?
I think I’d have to go with “Is Someone Else Here.”
That’s mine too. Such an incredible song. I’d describe it as a roller coaster of sonic frequencies and emotions. It’s really really special.
It really is, I was almost nervous that it was like, too much. But then after awhile, it really just came together.
What was the recording process like for that one? There’s so many different parts.
That one actually took me so long to do. It’s funny, the amount of time it took and the amount of like, frustration with that one.
Did you run into any creative blocks with that one? There’s a lot of switch ups melodically so I can imagine recording one really great part, then having to keep up to par with the next part might be daunting.
That’s exactly how it went, yeah. There were so many different versions of that song, so many times I had to go in and record on it. When we finished the song, I was singing the last part and after I was like “I have to get the baby out”. That’s what we called it, “getting the baby out”. [Laughs] So yeah, we ended up finishing it in Amsterdam like a year after I had started it.
Wow. So you had started recording to it on your own here in Atlanta?
Yeah. I recorded a lot of that one in my room. That song is actually a very interesting one, I’d love to tell you about it.
Let’s hear it.
I got that beat, and it had the Bobby McFerrin sample and I really loved it. I just didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with it but I felt this kind of, creepy energy from it. And this was when I was living at my parents house, so I was like in the basement and one night…I did a bunch of shrooms…by myself. [laughs]
How much did you take?
How much did I take…? hmm, I think I did like, three grams.
That’s a good dose for a nice little solo trip.
Yeah, [laughs] it was a lot. It was really good at first, and then I started tripping super hard and like, freaking the fuck out. It turned into kind of a bad trip, I was struggling. I threw up and was stressing out super bad.
Were your parents home?
They were home. [Laughs] They were upstairs asleep, and I was downstairs like…
Having an ego death?
Yes, [laugh] having an ego death. But I was actually like… having like… ego strength, if that makes sense? I was like feeling- my body was just going crazy. The sensations were all in my body and I was like, “This is what life is like? Fuck! I need to die.” [laughs] Then I was like sitting in the corner, rocking, like a crazy person. So I laid down- turned off all the lights, turned off all sounds to try and like desensitize.. like I needed to have no senses or something, cause I was just overstimulated. So I laid down and my body was like-
So not peace. [laughs] Overwhelming pulsations.
Yeah, it was NOT peace. It was literally like freak time in my brain.
Demon time, huh?
[Laughs] Yes, demon time. So I just grabbed a notebook and I just started scribbling like, a song basically. I wrote like 4 pages of just like, pure paranoia, pure fear and sadness, and it was almost like I purged it out of my body by writing it down. And then after that, I was calm. It was gone. So that’s how I wrote “Is Someone Else Here”.
So it was just a culmination of lines you took from those writings?
Yeah, it really was. And when I started recording it, I had a lot of trouble with it. It was really continuing the like.. “prophecy” of me just being miserable in some way or another, and scared. And when I recorded the part on the guitar solo, where I’m kind of singing really loudly… I was high, and also pretty stressed, and I just started singing “is someone else here?”. That was really inspired by the room that I was in, in that weird creepy studio. And yeah, we named it after that and.. yeah, that was that.
That’s such a cool story, honestly. It makes sense too, there’s so many different parts of that song it almost feels like a trip of its own. I feel like this is a good place to kind of highlight the diversity of sounds throughout the album. You have songs that are super in- depth, wide-ranging, sonic masterpieces like that one, but you also have more straightforward, in your face, “pop” tracks on here as well. One of my favorites being “Kiwi”. I would say that’s a song that’s geared more towards the masses, but still true to you. It’s a banger. How did that song come about?
[Laughs] Thank you. I actually recorded that one in my bedroom. I did one version on it that was like, not that good and then I re-recorded it and made it better. I love that one. Bruno made the beat and when I heard it I was like, “what the fuck? This sounds like a star would be on this”. A real life star.
Yeah, for real. [laughs] I agree wholeheartedly. So, that was one of the three songs you guys released as a single right?
Yes. That one, “Something in the Way”, and “Evil Eye.”
Oh man, the “Something in the Way” cover. Let’s talk about that real quick. I’m typically so against covering anything Kurt related. So when I saw it, I was like oh man.. I don’t know about this. [Laughs] Sure enough though, it sounds incredible. I was blown away honestly. It’s almost a little bit warmer than the original, if that makes sense. It’s impressive. How did that come about, whose idea was it?
It was Bruno’s idea. My friend Xeno used to play it on guitar and sing it sometimes and I always thought it was such a great song to cover so when Bruno sent it to me I was like, “yeah, I love this, let’s do it.” We ended up recording it live in Amsterdam, with guitarist Erik [Brandt], who did most of the guitar throughout the entire project. We did it in one take, all the way through.
Stepping up to the plate on that one had to be intimidating. Was there ever a moment where you questioned yourself or did you know you had it down?
Oh I did not know. [Laughs] During the recording process I was a little bit nervous, of course. I was sitting on the floor in the studio, in like a corner, and I don’t know I could just feel everybody looking at me. I was like, “okay this is live, I have to sing it like.. good” [laughs] but once we finished it all it was very exciting. We all liked it a lot. I had a good time with that one.
I believe it. [laughs] It turned out amazing. Now the latter of those singles, “Evil Eye”, was not featured on this album. Let’s talk about that one for a moment.
Yeah, we ended up taking that one off. I don’t know, I’m not sure how I feel about taking that one off the album because it was originally meant to be on there. Like we did a whole, big-ass video for it.
Now, I actually haven’t heard this one yet. Is that video out right now?
Yeah, the video is out on YouTube. It was a really sick experience, but the song…I don’t know, the song has these two crazy sounds at the beginning that kind of ruined it for me. It’s weird, it’s just the smallest part in the intro, but it throws me off. I think we were just kinda jaded by the amount of time we worked on it and we just couldn’t find a place for it in the album. It’s just an experience of its own.
So moving forward, what do you have planned for the future? What can we expect? Any visuals?
Yes, lots of ideas. [laughs] I want to do a joint music video for two songs; “Car Heart” and “Is Someone Else Here.” It’ll be very conceptual.
Are you still writing new music?
Yeah, I’m trying to, definitely. As much as I can. I’m still very undecided as to what kind of music I want to make so I think that shows a lot on this album.
Really? I think you should just keep doing exactly what you’re doing. You’ve found what you need to do, and that is… to do all of it. [laughs]
Yeah, I’m like “I’m going to touch every single genre and every single style” if I can. That’s the plan.
There is a song for everyone on Insecurity & the Orchestrated Confidence. Whether it is the more mainstream pop bounce of “Kiwi,” or the genre-shattering paradigms found in songs like “Is Someone Else Here” and “Car Heart”- you will at some point be blown away by the beauty Diamant and her producers Kraan & Verhaar have created. Or, if you are like me, the entire thing will leave you speechless.
I can really only describe Diamant with one sentence- a warm, loving, and highly intelligent adaptation of human emotions in the form of one genuinely talented singer and songwriter. I was shocked to learn I’m the first person she has sat down with and talked to about this album. I was, and am still, honored.