#6 DIIVES REVIEW OF 2018
Updated: Jun 12
JUST A STREET LAD
I released ‘Just A Street Lad’ at the beginning of the year and got to work with my good friend Dave Jones from DPAD-FTW on the music video. Up until that point, as Diives, I had kind of been under a cloak of anonymity, but we wanted to start to reveal that it was me behind the songs and ‘Just A Street Lad’ was perfect for that, as I’d already released an acoustic version as ‘Nik Lloyd’. It was cool because we still used the haggard old TV that we’d been using in all the promo videos up until then. I loved that old TV and I’m sure it will make a few cameo appearances in upcoming videos. ‘Just A Street Lad’ was very well received and got radio spins from BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Merseyside as well as various local stations.
Watch the video for the track below:
“Another killer track to add to the growing collection of punchy ballads from this exciting new act” - The National Student
MAKE IT OUT EP
On the same day as the ‘Just A Street Lad’ single, I released a six track EP called Make It Out. This was a big turning point for me, because I’ve had so much creative freedom under the alias of Diives and this EP captured that. You can hear the transition happening from songs like ‘Street Lad’ which had that old ‘Nik Lloyd’ sound, to ‘Anxiety’ where I got to get a lot off my chest over a much darker production. My favourite song from the EP was ‘Lies (The Worst Ones)’ which I think was a prelude to the overall Diives sound that I’ve created today. It’s probably still my favourite track that I’ve written in a while. You can listen to the entire EP below:
“Championed by BBC Radio Merseyside, Diives comes through with a delivery that's heartfelt, honest and full of personality.” - It’s All Indie
ALL IS FULL OF LOVE
For years, this had always been my favourite song by Björk and I just recorded this cover for myself really, but when it was finished, I was so happy with the results that I decided to share it. The sentiment in the lyrics is something else to me: telling somebody that they’re looking in the wrong places because you’re standing right there and they “can’t see you”, very clever lyrics.
You can listen to my cover of ‘All Is Full Of Love’ below:
WHEN WE CAN HIDE
(SWIMMING TAPES COVER)
Swimming Tapes are my favourite new band around. They have a really chilled-out sound which I’ve been addicted to at the minute. It’s been a while since I’ve liked every song that a band has released, but there hasn’t been one that I’ve not liked yet. This was one of my favourites from their EP: ‘Soft Sea Blue’. I was so happy when I posted the track, the band ReTweeted it and said “This is awesome”.
Listen to my cover of ‘When We Can Hide’ below:
ROCK THE CASTLE
In July, I got to play the first Annual ‘Rock The Castle’ event in my hometown of Flint. Proper little festival (Which is so huge for our small town) held inside the grounds of Flint Castle. The event was a massive success, the whole town got together to drink and listen to live music for the day and it was boiling hot too. I’ve played in front of huge crowds before, but for some reason, this was the most nervous I’ve ever been, I couldn’t even feel my hands, which made it so hard to play, but once I started the first song, I just got lost in it all and loved every minute. Here is a quote from me on the night, still a bit drunk and still on a high from the gig:
“What a night! I don’t often get nervous, but I was absolutely petrified tonight, playing in front of so many people in my hometown! But I settled into it a bit, & I can’t tell you what it felt like to look out over that river hearing everyone singing back to me! I’ll admit, I choked up a bit! Every act was amazing, & I’d love to see Rock The Castle happen every year!”
A photo taken early in the day before the whole place filled up
Also in July, I released the single ‘Who Knew’. The song has been a fan favourite in gigs for a while, so it felt good to be able to share it with fans of the song. Filming the video for this was great. I got to work with Andy Willsher who has worked with the likes of Biffy Clyro, The White Stripes and Kasabian. We just went around all of my favourite spots in Flint, met up with mates and then finished it off with a Gig in the Dee Inn in Flint where everyone was in good spirits! I absolutely loved the work that Andy did on the video. It looked better than I pictured it in my head. ‘Who Knew’ had such a great response from all over the World. BBC Introducing DJ’s played the track a lot during the release campaign. Adam Walton, Dave Monks and Jade Burns have supported me so much and are always keeping an eye out for my latest releases, so I can’t thank them enough. The local stations were also big fans of the track and I’m still getting positive feedback from people who have played the track even this long since the release date.
Watch the video for ‘Who Knew’ below:
“Welsh singer-songwriter shares a galloping and thunderous pop-rock stomper, with hints of The King Blues” - Mystic Sons
“North Wales songsmith Diives’ Who Knew is a triumph of indie pop that carries elements of British musical icons” - Music-News.com
“The video stars fellow Flint natives and captures the rawness of a Diives gig. Perhaps his best yet, ‘Who Knew’ sees the songsmith channel the angst of a breakup into a trademark sing-along slice of alternative indie pop” - iluvlive
At the beginning of October, I was invited to come and compete at Indie Week. In the build up to my heat, I was just treating it in my head as a Gig and prepared as I normally would for any other Gig, but I was just really happy that this one was in Manchester. So I played six songs at O’Sheas Irish Bar and it wasn’t until I was on stage and spotted the judges that it dawned on me that I was in a proper competition. Every act on the night was absolutely amazing and at the end of the night, I went to find all the other acts so I could tell them how good they were and congratulate the winner when they were announced. Then the judges read out the name of the winner and I didn’t quite hear them so just started clapping, then one of the other artists turned and said “I think that’s you mate” - Honestly didn’t expect it all.
Performing at my heat in O’Sheas Irish Bar, Manchester
So I’d won my heat and then I was back for the final at The Bread Shed in Manchester three days later. The final was an amazing experience! Every act was top notch and the winner, Izzie Walsh, fully deserved it. I’m so glad I was asked to perform at Indie Week and would definitely do it again!
Performing at the Indie Week Final - The Bread Shed, Manchester
WE WERE YOUNG ONCE
(WORLD WAR 1 TRIBUTE)
Also in October, I was kindly asked by Cal Roberts of Skellums to add some vocals to a tribute song that he was recording, all in memory of the fallen soldiers of World War 1. Cal recruited 100 Musicians from around North Wales to help on the track and all of the proceeds from the song would be going to The Royal British Legion. It was an amazing experience to be involved and see how other artists work. I got to spend a day at Cal’s brand new 1619 Studios in Rhosesmor and added some high octave vocals to the chorus of the song. I was so grateful to be included in a project to mark 100 years since the end of WWI and Cal did an amazing job on the production. It looked so daunting when I saw how much audio he had to sift through, but he absolutely smashed it. While I was there, Cal’s friend Lucy was filming the whole thing and they had obviously been doing this with every musician who took part, so to see that all come together in the final video, it was like seeing a ‘Making Of’ as well as a music video, they executed it perfectly.
You can watch the video for ‘We Were Young Once’ below:
You can also purchase the track below, all proceeds will go to charity:
In November, I got to release a brand new track ‘Wheels’. It’s my favourite thing I’ve done in a while and I think it captures that new sound that I’ve created under the name of ‘Diives’. Also, going on from the earlier point about creative freedom, I definitely explored that more with the lyrics on this one, going a bit darker and a bit more personal, but doing it metaphorically. This song was a free MP3 Give-away and if you haven’t yet received it, please give me a shout and I’ll get it over to you.
You can listen to ‘Wheels’ below:
“I think he’s excellently skilled and there is great spirit to [Wheels]” - Adam Walton - BBC Radio Wales
WE WERE YOUNG ONCE
Towards the end of the month, Cal told me that the cameras would be coming to record an acoustic version of ‘We Were Young Once’. I was honoured to be asked to perform for TV. North Wales TV came along and we did a few takes with the children’s choir backing us up. It was great to get that kind of recognition for Cal’s track, which he’d obviously worked so hard on, so it was nice to see his vision get the appreciation it deserved. Again, it was great working alongside Cal and I’m sure we will definitely collaborate on more projects in the future.
Watch Cal’s Interview with North Wales TV below:
You can also watch a clip of the acoustic TV performance of ‘We Were Young Once’ below:
I have many Gigs coming up over the Christmas Period, you can see them all below. I am always willing to play anywhere and everywhere, so if you have any private events that you think I would be suited for, just give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be there.
I’ve got so much happening in 2019, but before this year is out, I’m going to be giving away a brand new track as a thank you to everyone that has signed up to My Mailing List and everyone that continues to support me . So keep an eye out for that one on the lead up to Christmas.
Thank you for taking the time to keep up to date with what I’m up to with my music.
I’ll keep you posted on everything Diives in the New Year.
P.S. Why not go back and have a read through some of my other Blog Posts below:
#3 - Writing Songs
Upcoming Live Dates: