The south Londoner talks Johnny Cash, engaging with scenes, and going on tour.
Championed as one of skate’s most interesting apparel brands around RN, Diamond Supply Co.‘s latest campaign sees it pay homage to the man in black, Johnny Cash.
Spearheaded by founder and owner Nick “Diamond” Tershay, we’re told the brand “started rebellious like ‘we don’t give a fuck about anything and all we want to do is make product we want to make’,” from which parallels with Cash were born. “I feel like Johnny Cash just made music that he wanted to make. It wasn’t like anybody else’s. He has his own style just like Diamond has its own style. That’s the way he liked it and so do we,” confirms Tershay.
With a number of creative components comprising the collection – namely fashion and music – the designer enlisted London five-piece Childhood and musician Jamie Isaac, with each preparing covers of Cash classics for a recent night of special performances.
Catching up with Isaac on said night, below we discover exactly what Cash’s music has meant to him.
Hey Jamie, how are you? What have you been up to?
I was just on tour with Nick Hakim and his band. They’re great jazz musicians and it was really great to be with someone who’s really honed in on their craft. We learnt so much from them; the last show I was just showering the band with so many compliments! It’s an amazing thing that they do and if you ever get the chance you should definitely go see them.
Nice. You’ve announced some of your own live dates too right?
We’re playing Village Underground in June! I’ve actually never been there to a gig, but I’m really excited.
Cool, so what have you been up to since touring with Nick Hakim?
I stopped writing for a while and didn’t really go out that much, didn’t see too many people. I kind of became a bit of a recluse. I was a bit lost in myself. It was after my first experience of writing a full project and it took a lot out of me. By the time I’d released that record I didn’t feel that way anymore, and then I had to do the live shows and revisit all of those emotions that I had. It put me in such a weird headspace, so after I’d done all of those tours I just decided to shut myself off. I did that and then tried to understand myself a bit better, tried to realise what I was thinking, and then I started writing. I did some features on some of my friends stuff and wrote a lot, went to America and wrote some stuff there.
Did you find yourself writing differently when you were in America?
Well that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always written in south London and I just thought “I wanna go to LA and write.” It’s so opposite, it’s always sunny and I just wanted to see what happened. A lot of this record has actually got a lot of Bossa Nova influences, it’s got a lot of fast drums, and I just wanted to go somewhere where it’s sunny and write this music, go through that stage of being stupid and a bit pretentious and kind of just loving that. I wrote a lot differently, a lot happier melodies, but still with not crazy happy lyrics, so it’s a bit of a contrast.
And what do you want people to take away from the new album?
I want it to be an album people can move to. Other than thinking that it’s a really beautiful record and they can connect to it, I would love that, but for me I write music for myself and I’m just lucky enough that people listen to it.
You’re always described as being part of the so-called “south London scene”. What’s that like?
Well there’s always been a scene in south London. When you used to tell people you were from south they used to completely not even care, and then there were a certain number of artists that popped up and kind of made that scene and people were like “oh, actually that’s really cool.” There is [this] whole jazz scene happening and growing, it’s amazing. All my friends and all my bandmates have different projects within this scene and it’s a really beautiful thing. It’s not a new thing that’s happening. I feel like people think it’s something that’s happened quite recently, but it’s not, it’s really old and people are just starting to pick up on it, which is really good for the people who started that scene because they’ve gotten so much better than they were when they were 16 and their music’s really developed.
It’s definitely become a bit of a style thing though which is horrible because bands will move down or up from another city, reside in south London and then call themselves a south Londoner. There’s something that goes with being from south London. People try and capitalise on that and it’s a shame if you were born there because it’s like fetishising over something that you can’t control. People from really affluent backgrounds have the choice of moving wherever they want and can create a scene everywhere they want, but none of us had that. There’s a bit of a love/hate with that stuff, but all the deep rooted south London scene is beautiful and great.
For sure. So Diamond Supply Co. and Johnny Cash; have you always been a fan of his music?
I’m a massive fan of Johnny Cash. I used to have my hair in a crazy quiff when I was younger. There’s something about his voice that always got me and there’s something about his songwriting which is sometimes kind of stupid sounding but I always loved it. The lyrics are so raw and aggressive and then some are incredibly sad, there’s a longing in his voice that I’ve always just loved.
Has he inspired your own music?
I think more now than it did in the past – that kind of straight down the line, no metaphorical lyrics just saying it how it is. More now in that respect.
You’re covering “Sunday Morning Coming Down” for the launch. What made you choose that song?
It’s my favourite! There’s some amazing lyrics in there and it’s really relatable, just waking up on Sunday morning, really hungover and wanting a spliff. All those really relatable things of like “fuck this shit.” It’s an amazing song lyrically and you don’t really get that in the original so I wanted to slow it down and put a lot of attention onto that.
Obviously Diamond Supply Co. is a fashion company. Do you think that music and fashion are intertwined?
Yeah, I feel like one can’t really exist without the other nowadays. Hip hop culture has a completely different style to, like, folk music. I’ve never really been a massive fashion expert but you naturally gravitate towards what your favourite musician’s wear.
So finally, what else is coming up for you in 2018?
Album, gigs and then I just want to start writing again. I’ve got some sessions booked with some really incredible artists and some really strong collaborations on the way. So yeah, I can’t wait to release the record and start gigging again with my band and being on the road.