Interview with Di Ivories

Indie meets psychedelic dream-pop project Di Ivories dive into realms of disco in hypnotising new single ‘Have U Noticed?’. Led by singer, keyboardist and composer Diego Martinez, the immersive project have received praise from Under the Radar, The Stumble Upon, Music Crowns and BTR Radio to name a few. Combining indie rock with unpredictable instrumentation, Diego’s chaotic music may be eccentric but it’s certainly able to win over your heart. Written in fall-winter 2020 where the dark days of the pandemic were still fully upon us, there’s elements of relatability throughout the new release.

To anyone new to your music, name 3 words that best describe your sound.

Eccentric, Psychedelic, Dream Pop – Emphasis on the Eccentric!

Introduce yourself (yourselves) and your hidden talent!

My name is Diego Martinez and I was born in a small city in Colombia, my family moved to the US when I was 6 years old and resided in Miami FL for 17 years up until I moved to New York City. In my preteen years I was definitely the weird kid at school I would pull my hair a lot when I got stressed out (when someone spoke to me in English) as I wasn’t very good back then and I didn’t like learning a new language. People would make fun of me because I would have a bald spot on my forehead from all the hair pulling, I just hated not being able to communicate with people. I think expression is the greatest form of communication through any kind of media, and it’s my favorite form of talking. Eventually when I got a good handle on English I was able to make a lot of friends in high school and started my first band with some really nice Miami people. We played together for 10 years in the local Miami Music Scene and disbanded in 2016. That is when I decided to blossom into making my first and only solo project, and have something wholly representative of myself. Here I am now doing my best to use my language to engage people and be kind to those around me. Starting from a kid who pulled his hair whenever he tried to learn a new language, I can now speak 5 languages and I have the largest head of curly hair that I don’t pull anymore 🙂

What made you decide that music is the right path for you?

My mother signed me up for xylophone classes in Colombia when I was 5, and somehow I really liked it? I honestly don’t know when but I think I was around 8 or 9 and living in Miami but something prompted me to switch to piano and learn all the classical songs, read sheet music, the whole enchilada. When I was growing up I always saw music classes or private piano lessons as a chore, my mom would force me to attend these classes at a local church after school. I honestly learned a lot of theory and it of course helped me understand the principles behind all great music. So for a while music was something that I didn’t necessarily like doing, as much as I had to go to school or do my laundry. It wasn’t until I turned 13 and my uncle gave me a tape player with Total Eclipse of The Heart by Bonnie Tyler on it. That track literally changed my perspective on music. From there I went on to learn about rock and roll, bands like Pink Floyd and Queen really opened my eyes. That’s when music became an obsession to me, and instead of going into my piano lessons to learn classical songs I asked my instructors to help me learn songs like Bohemian Rhapsody, Piano Man, Imagine, Hey Jude, and all those rock classics. After I did my first recital, a group of totally unknown teenagers asked me to play keys in their band, and when we jammed for the first time, I knew that someday it would totally kick ass to sing my songs and have a band next to me performing our hearts out for a crazy crowd. To this day, I wonder how good I would be at the xylophone if I kept practicing it.

What’s your writing process like? Do you write the music or lyrics first?

Music always comes first for me, I don’t know how Elton John does it by reading a set of lyrics and molding these beautiful melodic structures around it, but that’s beyond brilliant. My process is basically to jam on my keyboard for an hour or two and listen carefully if there’s a melody in there that might shine through the woods. If there’s a solid melody that I like I’ll jam on it for a little while, record it on my iphone voice memos, and then repeatedly listen to it for days. Usually if it finds its way in my head, it means the song is worth finishing. So then the next step would be to build all the instruments around the melody, then organize the structure (the longest step), and finally lyrics come last. Everytime I edit the song, I re-record it from my voice memos and keep listening for 1000 more times until something else comes to mind. I really like to let these kinds of things come to me, especially when it’s lyrics because I truly believe the song chooses the lyrics. I could record it on more professional software, but when it comes to songwriting I believe the song should sound good on its own when it is just bare-bones. 

What would be your dream support gig? Bonus points for place/venue.

I want to open for Vampire Weekend or Caroline Rose at the Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Red Rocks, Colorado. That has always been a dream of mine to play with those artists, and specifically in that stage.

You can find Di Ivories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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