“A band is something to figure out.”
Hallelujah the Hills, a band out of Boston, used this idea for their 2016 album, and the more I ponder it, the more it feels true. Being in a band is a cultivated undertaking that blurs friendship and collaborative art. It is a choice to take a trip together and figure out all the details on the way.
Providence’s Tiny Diamond came from cellist Piera Leone’s desire to start a band. After meeting guitar player Mia Dady, the two started to write some acoustic songs. Then, while talking with Jess Teixiera at a party, they found a drummer and they began to write as a three-piece band. With guitar rooted in Bob Dylan, drums with Ringo in mind and bass with a nod to a classically trained past, what began as friends just creating music together became a seven-song self-titled and self-recorded EP. Released last April, Tiny Diamond shows a hint of their influences but stands proudly on its own, keeping with the band’s attitude of “ignore your influences and do your own thing.” Above all else, it is the product of a friendship built around creation.
I spoke with Tiny Diamond before a recent Saturday evening practice and the idea of a band being something to figure out came to mind. Piera, Mia and Jess approach their songwriting process as an active collaboration. There is no single songwriter, rather they each bring songs, chords, lyrics or just a simple idea to practice that they critique together and make into something that is wholly the product of their band. Democracy. Equal stage time. “Everyone is a part of it,” is how Jess puts it. They see their corner of Providence (and Newport) from a punk-esque, dynamically plotted out, lyrically deep point-of-view, complete with tight harmonies and that bellowing cello.
Their second EP, which they’re currently in the process of recording, is set to be released in June. It is an even split of six songs that they are each contributing two songs to. With their upcoming release, Tiny Diamond continues to play live just about every month, with an upcoming benefit show at Alchemy with Viennagram and Volcano Kings on April 22. They also have a small teacher-schedule approved Memorial Day tour planned to Piera’s little hometown of Brooklyn, NY and parts of Connecticut. Like all bands they keep an open mind about getting signed, but with the realities of this day and age, the route to the record label is very different than it used to be. As the band notes, “the scouts aren’t out there in the audience anymore.”
For Tiny Diamond, the idea to start a band led to an equally shared lo-fi vision of jangly folk-rock with chugging cello, surf-tempo drums and punk-approved, down-picked strat. They’re a band with a distinct sound and genuine enjoyment in being a band together. “We’re honest with each other,” Mia says. “We’ve got a nice little sisterhood.”
April 22 at Alchemy with Viennagram and Volcano Kings
71 Richmond Street