When Diamond Rings agreed to do an interview with me the morning of his show in Montréal, I was happy to learn that fame had not gone to his head. Despite being tired from his arrival (and having been delayed at the border), Jon O’Regan took the time to explain the focus of his new album Free Dimensional and his aspirations, not just as an artist, but a performer.
It’s 11:14 a.m. and in one minute, all the back-and-forth emails and mental preparation was going to come down to him picking up the phone. Before his second LP, O’Regan was an up-and-comer from Toronto whose last appearance in Montréal left his audience dazed about his look and sexuality. Overcoming Crohn’s disease gave him a new outlook on life when approaching his second album. “I just want people to be themselves when they listen to this album. My hopes are to inspire others to be themselves.”
Free Dimensional, the follow-up to his 2010 debut Special Affections, is an eclectic mix of pop and electro, with a touch of alternative rock; debuting the song “Just Like Me” to audiences on the Late Show with David Letterman and CBC’s Studio Q. Much like his lyrics and performances, O’Regan exudes confidence on stage. He attributes his new found success to the control in his work and himself. Unlike, his first album that was more emotional and computerized. “The second album doesn’t focus on one specific genre, but a range which is why it’s called Free Dimensional. It’s meant to be a fun way to explore different genres.”
Although you can find him on YouTube with a guitar in hand, don’t expect an acoustic album anytime soon. “I really want to focus on the sound and my dancing; I’m currently taking dance lessons to improve the choreography.” If you watch videos like “Wait and See” from Special Affections and “Just Like Me,” the choreography is not Diamond Rings strong suit, but it serves its entertainment purposes. “Instruments do play a key role and I am focusing on the production. All of these elements are what is going to help me as an artist.”
Inspired by the 80’s and 90’s fashion and music scene, O’Regan reveals who he would collaborate with if he ever had a chance. “I was really into C+C Music Factory and 2 Unlimited, I would really be down to do a collaboration if I had to choose.” Prominent artists amongst the house scene that defined the 90’s inspired this boy from Toronto to make a revival through his fluorescent leggings and acid wash denims. However, don’t let the fashion in his videos fool you, because on stage he is by-product of the London punk street fashion glamorized for the audience.
By the end of the conversation I asked him one last question: Where would your dream concert be? “I’d have to say the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto; it was one of my first concerts where I saw Weezer play.” We laughed as he went on to describe the outdoor scenery and vibe of the crowd at that concert, which is a charismatic energy he brings to every one of his concerts. Thanks to Magali Ould at Secret City Records and Blue Skies Turned Black for making this interview possible.
This interview was conducted by and published with the consent of collaborator Alyssa Boicel, a Montreal-based Californian who stalks electro and dance artist as a profession.