Kye Sones on their album, early slots and their name
Virtual Festivals’ Chris Swindells catches up with Kye Sones, one half of electronic pop duo Diagram of the Heart, to talk about love, dance music and playing the “breakfast show” slot at festivals.
Though he’s halfway between a photo shoot and a date with the studio, Diagram of the Heart frontman Sones still manages to find a quick 15 minutes to talk to VF across a temperamental phone line.
“We're always writing and making stuff whenever we get time off,” he explains. “As soon as we have an idea, we like to put it down somewhere.”
As the first new signings to the recently resurrected Deconstruction Records, the legendary dance label headed by Mike Pickering of M People, it's clear that those ideas have potential. “The good thing about Deconstruction is they've got one foot in the club and one foot in the charts,” explains Kye. “It's definitely the best home for us.”
The ambiguous band name mirrors the diverse influences that shape their euphoric pop. “We were looking for a sample of a heartbeat and I just saw it and said: 'What about that?' We liked it because it didn't sound like anything. It didn't make us sound like an indie band or a pop band or a dance act.”
With his emo-fringe and military jackets, Sones makes it difficult for VF to pin down an aesthetic as well. The look allows him to double as vocalist and poster boy, while partner Anthony Gorry is the brains behind the buttons, keeping the music going.
“I think our album's a brilliant album to mend a broken heart because that's what a lot of the songs on the record are about. It's like, 'Shit happens, let's go out and jump up and down and put our hands in the air.' That's the thought behind it. It's by no means a depressing, sad album.” Quite the contrary, from the singles released and tracks floating online it’s clear that the music is escapist, it’s the yang to the yin of the high unemployment, VAT rises and student riots.
Growing up in the nineties, Kye was raised on the Britpop explosion and struggles to remember the early Deconstruction releases. “I was quite young the first time round. As I got older, I just loved dance music, so the whole Diagram thing is just mixing them together. Anthony's from a dance background, producing and remixing, so it just kind of happened that way.”
With a steady stream of accolades already under their belts, Diagram of the Heart could be forgiven for showing some of the arrogance that comes naturally to young rock 'n' roll groups. Instead, the frontman is happy to share the limelight: “We don't ever call ourselves a duo,” he says. “We always just see it as a band. When we play live, there aren’t just two of us; we have three guys behind us: a drummer, bassist and guitarist.”
The mounting expectations of the music media can be overwhelming for some, but Kye isn’t feeling the pressure. “If anything,” he says, “there's less pressure because it shows that the name's getting out there and we're being recognised, it's encouraging.”
Their growing reputation is partly due to their hard work on the festival scene, including a performance at Ibiza Rocks supporting Calvin Harris. “That was the best festival we did last year,” he tells us. “They'd never heard a note of us before and they gave us a great reception.”
They’ve also got the backing of The Ting Tings and Fearne Cotton, who have both been spotted at gigs. With the rest of the year ahead of them, Kye hopes for “a really good summer of great festivals.” He adds, “Last year we were earning our stripes, we were first on. I call it the breakfast show because when we were playing, everyone was still in bed. I'm glad we did that, but hopefully this year we'll play them all again and have a better slot.”
Diagram of the Heart are set to release the single 'If I Were You' near the end of March and their album 'Vital Signs' in the summer.
Diagram of the Heart are part of Virtual Festivals' Ones to Watch in 2011 – click here to see who else to keep your eyes on.