30 seconds with… Diagrams

Diagrams is the new project of former Tunng co-frontman Sam Genders.

Instead of Tunng’s experimental folk, Diagrams’ sound is a minimalist electronic pop adventure in music which still retains Genders’ playful lyricism.

M caught up with Genders and asked him a few quick-fire questions:

How long have you been making music?
I started writing songs at primary school but I joined my first band when I was 12 and started playing around the pubs and clubs of the East Midlands – 20 odd years and quite a few adventures ago.

What inspired your latest album?
I took some time away from music and spent a few years working in an inner city school. That changed my perspective on a few things but most of all made me a much happier person. There’s a positivity about this record that hasn’t been there in everything I’ve done.

What process do you go through to create your music?
I pretty much always start on a guitar – even for the synth and beats stuff. I play around with chords or a riff and sing nonsense syllables over them until melodic shapes come up that I like. Then words start to appear out of the nonsense and I tend to write lots of lyrics in a stream of consciousness kind of way until an idea grabs me. That’s when the song usually begins to appear. After that I try and work with a producer – such as Mark Brydon who produced the Diagrams album. Someone who can make my ideas a reality at the technical level and bring ideas of their own to the music. I like to get in the studio quite early on, often before the song is fully written. I’ll often record a guide lyric that I change later on because the I find the process of recording very exciting and that spurs me on to write better.  I quite like it when the person I’m working with sees things differently to me – that friction can be very inspiring.

How would you describe your sound?
I think of it as alternative pop. I’m trying not to stick to one template if possible and try to take influences from everywhere.

What would your dream collaboration be?
Kieran Hebden or Fever Ray

Where can we catch you performing next?
Hoxton Bar and Kitchen in east London on 13 March.

Diagrams is the PRS for Music Featured Artist for the week beginning 27 February. You can read the article here. Watch the trailer for Ghost Lit below.


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