Interview: Dick Diver’s Rupert Edwards
In the lead up to their extinction-fighting appearance at Melbourne Zoo Twilights and recording the follow up to their 2013 release Calendar Days, Dick Diver’s guitarist Rupert Edwards caught up with Vulture Magazine to compare summer reading lists, the band’s dynamic and future releases.
Since their inception in the outskirts of Melbourne, Dick Diver has been experiencing repercussions of having a name that sounds suspiciously like a euphemism, the dick joke.
“There’s been hundreds of them,” says Edwards.
“Oh god, whenever they are talked about in the context of the band’s name, I recoil a bit because it just reminds me of how much an idiot I was to even think of that name for the band.”
Vulture confirmed first of all that the band name is a reference from an F. Scott Fitzgerald book, Tender Is The Night and not a euphemism.
“I haven’t read any F. Scott Fitzgerald for a long time. I went through a big Nabokov phase; he sits on top of probably the stellar writers that I’ve read. I guess for years and years, I read too self consciously, I read the classics … I don’t know if they influenced me that much, but I definitely got a lot of enjoyment out of it.”
As for what Edwards recommends for Vulture’s summer reading list, it’s an autobiographical series by Karl Ove Knausgaard called Min Kamp (My Struggle).
“It’s got the same title as Hitler’s book, but it’s not Hitler’s book … it’s like Harry Potter for adults, I really love it, it’s so engrossing.”
Even with somewhat obscure literary references, Dick Diver isn’t exactly pop for the thinking man, says Edwards, “I don’t think you can just be intellectual in your appreciation of music.”
We better understand this sentiment when Edwards explains how he came to play guitar, “my sister got an electric guitar when I was like, 12, but I gave up probably 200 times.”
“I didn’t even work out what a chord was until I was like 20, I was just picking single notes on and off for eight years until I knew what chords were,” says Edwards.
Edwards did not become serious about guitar until he and fellow Dick Diver Al McKay were in their early twenties.
“We met when we were preteens, but we didn’t even discuss music, we didn’t even start playing instruments until [we were] 19 – 20. There was never any grand plan to start a band or anything until we were in our twenties.”
Since then, Dick Diver’s band dynamic has been set and orderly, as far as the writing and recording process goes. With only scant three days in the studio to record Calendar Days, the Dick Diver is a well-oiled, organised music machine.
“We all pretty much write the songs individually and they’re usually 90% formed, except we have to work it out as a band ‘cause everything you might have come up with might not work really well in the whole band setting. That part is where the songs go from a pretty crappy demo to something that looks a bit more lifelike.”
“Everyone just writes their own songs, if it’s my song I’ll work out the guitar parts – or my main guitar part and the lyrics and the arrangement,” says Edwards.
“Most of the arrangement probably might get changed. It’s the same for everyone else, we haven’t done much writing lyrics for each other’s songs, there’s been a bit of that but not much.”
“’Lime Green Shirt’ is one that was kind of co-written with Al McKay. I kind of had the music and a few words but he finished off the lyrics,” says Edwards.
If you’re wondering which songs were written by Edwards, look no further than popular tracks ‘Calendar Days’ and ‘Water Damage’.
Edwards says he takes inspiration and influence in his song writing from a want to entertain himself and forget about the day-to-day things that constantly require his attention.
“… it’s kind of like an escape in some ways. That might mean anything, there’s not one style of thing that I always go for. Coming out with something that doesn’t remind me of myself is kind of the goal, if you know what I mean,” he says.
“Obviously there’s a lot of good stuff in life but being able to make something that seems a bit weird and mysterious that you can’t exactly explain and that seems a bit outside of you is really interesting to me, and that’s what I try and go for.”
With some time in the studio booked in to record their follow-up to Calendar Days over the Easter holidays, Edwards feels that they are ready for a new full length, “… we’ve got a bunch of songs written,” he says.
“I think the song’s we’ve got are really good … maybe. I don’t know about equalling or topping [Calendar Days] but I think we’ve definitely got it in us to make at least one more really good album, that’s for sure.”
Edwards can’t tell us any possible titles for the new release, “… but there might be a song on it called ‘China Boy’. That’s by Al MacKay.”
Dick Diver will play Melbourne Zoo Twilights in support of Neko Case on Saturday, March 1.