They haven’t even played a gig but Diablo Rose are already blooming. rushonrock editor Simon Rushworth caught up with alt-rock’s odd couple as they put the finishing touches to next year’s hotly anticipated debut album.
Walk through the front door, along the hall, past the kitchen, out the back door and cross the garden path. It’s not the most conventional route for those sniffing out the most exciting rock sound to emerge from the region in years but it’s the right one.
Hidden away in a converted garage, a few miles out of Durham City, is a creative hub bursting with heavy riffs and thumping beats. Enter this sanctuary for the sonically adventurous and you’re likely to catch Chris, an unassuming young man, crouched over a computer and adjusting his glasses as he studiously considers each fresh chord. Next door, in the ad-hoc soundproofed studio, there’s Adam – all big hair, bold tattoos and brooding angst.
Talk about the odd couple. They look like they should drink in different pubs, listen to polar opposite records and laugh out loud at one another’s fashion sense. “We do think we look weird,” admitted Adam. “Well, Chris looks weirder than me! Together we look like chalk and cheese. But Diablo Rose is all about challenging convention and leaving a lasting impression – visually and aurally.”
It works. Like a Pet Shop Boys for the alt-rock generation there’s something strangely endearing about the Diablo Rose boys. And while their wardrobe preferences won’t ever overlap, their musical tastes most certainly do.
“We like a lot of the same bands and a lot of the same songs,” said Chris, a bass player by design but equally adept at bringing Adam’s best ideas to fruition behind the buttons of his mobile mixing desk. “But of course there are times when we don’t see eye to eye. There’s no change there.”
Chris is referring to their time together in the now defunct Baby Rattlesnakes – a raw rock n roll band which never reached its full potential despite a slew of fantastic singalong anthems which won the band coveted and diverse support slots with the likes of the Quireboys and Electric Eel Shock.
Adam quit to form Dirty Rock N Roll and Chris ended up playing the tracks of his youth in a punk covers band. But they kept hooking up, kept talking of unfinished business and kept alive their dream of creating an ambitious rock band without boundaries.
“We find a lot of new music far too ‘samey’ and wanted to create something a little bit different and little bit mysterious,” added Adam. “Diablo Rose is as much about the image, the story, the characters and the anticipation as much as the music itself. When we wrote the songs we had an image in mind and when we worked on the artwork we had the songs in mind. It’s a living, evolving thing where the music is the heartbeat.”
Familiar with stages across the North East and boasting a ready-made fan base culled from followers of their former bands, the only surprise is that Diablo Rose has yet to make its live debut. Again, according to Adam, it’s all part of the plan.
“Right now we don’t want to give too much away,” he added. “We want people to hear about us without really knowing what we are or who we are. We want to maintain that air of mystery and build a level of anticipation. By the time we do play a gig we want it to be because there’s a genuine demand and a certain level of excitement. We have a band ready to go – lads we’ve worked with in the past who can pick up and play whenever we give them the nod.
“We’re not lazy – our record as gigging musicians speaks for itself. But this time, rather than spend time in the back of a car trekking from town to town, we’re sat in a garage making the very best music we can. Chris and I have never properly sat down together and written the very best songs we can – now we have taken that opportunity.”
What Diablo Rose do prove is that the Garage Band (Apple’s DIY recording studio software suite) generation is quite capable of creating industry standard music from the most remote of locations. Listen to the band’s four-track debut EP and the sound is way better than you’d imagine two lads at the end of a garden could possibly manage. Way better.
“Our music has already been passed around at a few big festivals and we’ve had support from radio,” he added. “We’re very interested in the feedback we get because we don’t see Diablo Rose as the finished product by any stretch of the imagination. In fact it’s quite the opposite. We’re ready and willing to listen to what other people have to say before we take that next step.”
The next step for a band which thoroughly enjoys its genre-defying reputation (think Biffy Clyro meets the Foo Fighters meets QOTSA) is to complete and release a full length debut album and make that all-important return to live action. “It will happen,” added Adam. “But it’s not the be-all and end-all. We’re making good music and that’s all that matters.”
* Diablo Rose are on Facebook. Go to www.diablorose.com to hear the band’s latest material.