On a list of the best debut albums in 2012, DIIV's Oshin will surely be in a prominent position. The album has already been named on Pitchfork and NME's best of 2012 lists, and many other large publications are showering honors on this fantastic band. The band is led by Cole Smith, an ex-touring member of Beach Fossils, and while there's definitely resemblance between the two bands, DIIV has their own special formula that has won over plenty of fans in their first full year as a band. The band sat down with us before their Washington, DC show with Japandroids, and answered questions about topics such as end of year accolades, the importance of water to the band, performing with Beach Fossils, being a part of a Mark Hoppus tweet, and much more that you can read below.
Firstly, can you guys introduce yourselves?
A: I’m Andrew
C: I’m Cole, from DIIV.
You guys are currently on tour with Japandroids. How has the tour been so far?
C: It’s been really fun.
A: The first two nights were in New York City, so, this is the first night away from home for us.
The album’s been out for nearly six months now. Is there anything you feel you could have done differently or changed?
C: I probably would have done some of the production stuff differently.
You guys were recently listed as #13 on NME’s album of the year list. Did you ever expected to be receiving such accolades on this album?
C: Probably not from NME, they’re kind of hot and cold.
A: They were pretty hot for us, they gave us a 9/10.
C: They liked the record, I didn’t really expect that they would. I guess I didn’t really expect that there would be so much attention to the record. Definitely not.
You were signed to Captured Tracks before you had released a full EP or single. How do you feel the hype helped or hurt the band and its development?
C: Getting signed was the first thing we had to do, because they’re the ones that put out those singles. They were the ones that vaulted us into any sort of hype that happened. It was our connection with them originally that got us attention in the first place. It’s cool to be associated with them and it was a big deal for us, and I think the hype in general is a good thing. We haven’t had much backlash, because I think that people want to like us for some reason. There’s nothing controversial or anything. It’s just simple pop music.
What do you feel like you learned from performing with Beach Fossils?
C: I learned how to put a band together and how to travel and how to do things economically and quickly. That’s basically what it was, learning how to run a band.
Do you feel you’re an instrumentally based band?
C: Definitely. The vocals aren’t meant to be a highlight. It’s not meant to be some singer-songwriter thing, it’s supposed to be a democratic thing where all of the instruments are weighted equally with the vocals. I didn’t want to highlight any one thing.
Between your band name, album name, and overall sound of your music, water seems to be a main driving force for you guys. Do you feel like you agree?
C: That’s the theme of the first record. It kind of started early on when Devin said we were all water signs and we thought that was kind of cool. We were already called DIIV, and we just kind of took it from there.
Do you think that any other sort of future music will also be in that direction or do you think that you’ve now finished that concept and it’s time for something new?
C: I think it will definitely go in a different direction. I don’t know what, but it will.
Mark Hoppus tweeted back in July for people to check out your album? What was your reaction when you first heard the news?
C: I was driving and reading Twitter, and I pulled over. I was with Colby and I said “Colby, look.” I thought it was funny. There’s been a few artists that I either like, respect, or listened to at one point that have reached out to us on Twitter which I think is kind of rad. There’s this wall that’s broken down pretty quickly. It’s funny. The first songs I ever learned to play on guitar were probably some shitty Blink-182 songs, and I was obsessed with them when I was a kid. It’s kind of a weird world. It just kind of shows that you can make something and put it out there, and it takes a life of its own. Anything can happen to it. Our album is out there living its own life out in the world. It doesn’t have a whole lot to do with us anymore. It’s pretty cool.
Beach Fossils’ new album is going to be released soon, with a tour likely coming up to support it. Will this put DIIV on the backburner for a bit while you tour with them?
C: I’m actually not going to be touring with them. My friend Tommy is going to play guitar and our friend Jack is playing bass to fill in for John and me. But yeah, Beach Fossils has that new record coming out in February and it’s really fucking rad.
I guess that means that you’re going to put your full effort towards DIIV from here on out?
C: Definitely. It’s my full time job.
2012 is just wrapping up and 2013 is coming up. Think you could list a few of your favorites from this year and a couple of things you’re really anticipating for 2013?
C: I loved Mac DeMarco’s record and I loved Fiona Apple’s new record, but next year I think I’m looking forward to Beach Fossils’ new record and Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s new record next year. We’re excited for the new Spectrals record. That’s about it.
What are the band’s upcoming plans?
C: We’re going to go home in a week and we’re going to go our own ways. We’re all hopefully going to work on writing the new record for the next few months which should probably be a very easy task.
Are you hoping on having that record out next year some time?
C: I think it should come out sometime in either summer or fall.
Any last things you want to say?
C: We love Washington DC, and we love playing here.
I'd like to thank Cole and the rest of DIIV again for taking time out of their busy schedule to answer questions from us. Oshin's accolades are well deserved, and it will gain another as it takes up a spot on my personal end of year list. You can follow the band on their Facebook page here, and you can read all the band's tweets here. The band also will be on Coachella in 2013, so if you're going to be there, be sure to check them out.