Diamond Youth

Diamond Youth is gearing up for the release of their new EP, Shake, out February 4, 2014 via Topshelf Records. The ever plucky Armando was able to have a rather detailed chat with founding member Sam Trapkin. In their discussion they briefly touch upon the EP in question before engaging in a much more interesting conversation on plethora of topics vaguely related to the band.

At one point the topic of professional athlete Deion Sanders and how his inspirational speaking ability was integral to forming the band came up; truly a story reserved for the likes of VH1 or at the very least a Spinal Tap rip off.

You just wrapped up a tour with Polar Bear Club last month, a huge coast-to-coast ordeal, how was that?

It was great man. It was only our second U.S. tour but it was our first time visiting some places like the northwest. It was a great tour for us, we didn’t have any major blunders. Last tour our van broke down. This time it was smooth. We were already friends with most of the bands so that was really fun. There wasn’t any intimidating kind of vibe. It was more just a friends having fun kind of vibe. Our friend Trevor tour managed us.

You mean Tracker?

Yeah Tracker, you know him?

I follow him on Twitter and Instagram. I’ve only ever met him on one occasion but I am acquainted with who he is.

Oh cool. Yeah, I had him as a tour manager before and just kept in contact with him so it was great to have him again.

Yeah he is an interesting guy and he is good at what he does. Plus he is hilarious on the Internet. So you said this was your second tour, your first was with Cheap Girls, wasn’t it?

Yeah, Cheap Girls and Make Do & Mend.

That is a great lineup. It’s funny, the two times you’ve come to California on tour have been with amazing lineups but I can never go because of work. I always get upset and tell myself "damn it, I keep missing them on these amazing bills!"

(Laughs) Well we will be out there again this year.

Alright, well that’s actually a topic I do want to touch upon. Do you guys have immediate tour plans for 2014 or is it still kind of in the works?

Yeah. We just announced an east coast tour with our friends in Turnstile, Angel Dust, Turnover and Blind Justice. That’s just the east coast but we do have some west coast plans we can’t announce just yet, but we are figuring it out. Well, let’s talk about something coming up that you can share some info on. You have your Shake EP coming out soon. Speaking of which you released your last EP Orange last February and are releasing Shake this February. Do you guys have a thing for the month of February or is this something that happened by chance?

(Laughs) Here is the thing with February -- I fucking hate February. Basically what happened is both times we wanted to record in the summer and release it in the fall but by the time everything is done no one wants to put it out at the end of the year. So it’s just the way things turned out and we get talked into putting out the next year but we did record this back in September.

It makes sense too when you look at how the industry works, everyone already has their end of the year list at the first week of November and there is still another seven weeks of the year left.

Yeah, but I don’t really care about how the industry works. I mean everything is pretty much happening online or on tour and for some reason people still seem to care about retail or how the industry works in regard to December with everyone in press taking off for vacation. Our philosophy is this: people don’t die for a month, they’re still on their phone and on the Internet. So we don’t really care too much about that but I can at least see the downside of releasing something late in the year.

Totally. I get it too. It’s really annoying that everything (music) industry-wise kind of shuts down in December. I mean people don’t stop listening to music but sometimes people get busy with all the end of the year events. Then they’ll listen to a record that’s amazing and realize it came out last year and be like "oh shit."

I mean I check my phone every day and that’s something we have going for us. We keep in touch with people on Twitter, Instragram and Facebook. It’s not like people stop using those forms of social media for a month. It is kind of screwed how people perceive music and releases that it does kind of get lost at the end of the year.

I gotcha. Well Shake is coming out in February. What can you tell us about it to give us a little preview?

The initial idea was to do a couple of songs and not really have to worry about the planning and scheduling like we were just talking about. We just wanted to put some songs out and not really worry about it. Have it be something between ourselves and Topshelf, our label. Have it be a fun little 7-inch which it still is. We kind of just tried not to have any outside pressure of any kind with the writing or anything, not that there is a lot. We just wanted to do whatever we wanted, that’s basically what Shake is. We did all the artwork for it as usual. We just shot a video for it. I guess in terms of approach it’s not too different from Orange. You know, it’s just a little wilder.

Unless I’ve missed something I noticed that you guys have only release EPs over the course of your time as a band. Is there something you prefer about releasing EPs every so often over the traditional release format of a full-length?

I think that it can be a mistake to put out a full length right off the bat. In my opinion I want the first full length to be the shit. We just haven’t been in the mindset where we want to go away for a year or two and write this thing and come back because shit changes. We would rather just put things out more regularly and stay active as a band, constantly updating. Every time you release something and put out more songs you kind of change as a band and grow. I mean we aren’t against LPs but at this point it just makes a little more sense to be more frequent; keeping making music and art instead of hiding for a year or two.

I totally get that. It’s like being in a relationship with someone. You don’t want to force it. If it happens that’s awesome. Why change something that’s not broken?

Full-lengths are weird too. People that usually go crazy about full-lengths or how you should make a full-length probably don’t even listen to the whole thing, they probably only listen to the first five songs which is what an EP is anyway. There is this weird thing with full-lengths. It doesn’t matter how many EPs you put out. If you put out enough EPs you basically have two full-lengths at this point. Every time we announce an EP everyone is like "when are you guys going to put out a full-length?" "I wish it was a full-length."

(Laughs) I definitely get that. I’m not in a band or anything but I can see how it can be somewhat tiresome after a minute. The way I see it, regardless of whether it’s an EP or a full-length, who cares how many songs there are as long as they’re good. As long as you’re consistent in putting stuff out often enough, it works.

Think about it this way, full-lengths don’t exist because they’re the best format. They were invented by major labels to make more money off of singles. We’re not on a major label and we don’t care about making money off of singles because we don’t have singles so why the fuck would we make a full length?

I gotcha. Alright, you guys have been a band for three years now?

Yeah, about three years now.

How did you guys come together?

Our singer Justin and I went to art school together. We just kind of had our own friendship separate from the rest of our friends. I grew up going to hardcore shows and I was in hardcore bands, I still am. The way it happened is I had this friend at school and some other friends kind of wanted to start a band with him. He’s a really good singer, they really liked him, and I kind of wanted to try something different. I was at work one day, I used to work at Under Armour, and Deion Sanders came in. He gave a speech at work and I got so pumped up. I was like "this is it." and I hit up Justin. Then I hit up everyone else and we just started that way.

I’m not going to lie, that sounds like something that came out of a fucking movie. Deion Sanders came into my work and gave an empowering speech so I decided to start a band.

Deion Sanders is so sick. I was at work that day, I was sitting on a chair and I felt some put their hand on my shoulder as they were talking. They thought it was a chair but it was actually my shoulder. Then I turned around and it was Deion Sanders rocking a doo-rag with flames on it. He just looked so tight.

That’s crazy man. Why was he there in the first place? Was he there specifically to give that speech? What was the deal?

At Under Armour we would have what is called "Armour Day" where they bring in big athletes to make a special appearance. So he was just in there to talk to that day.

That’s actually pretty cool.

I am sure it happens all the time for plenty of bands.

Deion Sanders is just responsible for every successful band in the scene. "Oh Deion Sanders came into my work and gave me a cool speech."

What if you found out that was like a thing. He ended up starting a lot of bands and people thanked him in various interviews.

Deion Sanders totally started Jawbreaker


So you don’t work there anymore or do you do that when you’re not touring?

I did until last winter, so I quit like a year ago. I just had too much going on but I was there for four years.

I was about to ask if you could hook it up with some compression shorts.

I used to be the hook-up guy but not anymore.

For sure. I was going to ask this earlier but you guys played a show with Jimmy Eat World the other day if I am correct, how was that?

It was just one unfortunately but it was worth 30 regular shows so it was great. They’re one of my favorite bands. It just went perfectly. It was great to play with them in our hometown. Especially with a show like that it’s just crazy and it was just our two bands, too. I was on the side of the stage in another place.

I bet dude. I’ve never seen them do a show, just at a festival. Granted they were headlining and they played a full set but it just doesn’t compare to seeing them in a venue as opposed to a field.

Yeah. It was my first time seeing them live like that. I saw them at the Bamboozle Fest like a year and a half ago but they only had 30 minutes so they just played the top hits.

When I saw them it was at the west coast version of Bamboozle. They used to do one in California called Bamboozle Left. They only did It three or four years and I believe they played the second year and they were the main headliner for the night. They played for a little over an hour. I guess they stopped doing the festival because it wasn’t selling enough tickets or something.

That sucks.

Yeah and the lineup was really good that year. The lineup was pretty stacked that year. You had Hot Water Music, Alkaline Trio, Streetlight Manifesto, Shook Ones, Dead to Me, Set Your Goals, H2O. It was a really interesting lineup.

The Bamboozle I saw them a,t the lineup for that stage was My Chemical Romance, Jimmy Eat World and then Foo Fighters, all in a row. I’m not really a My Chemical Romance fan but I would be down for Foo Fighters.

I’m down for My Chemical Romance, I like a few songs. Jimmy Eat World was sick but the Foo Fighters were fucking awesome. I was just weathering the storm. It was on a beach and sand was in my eyes as I was next to some dude singing horribly. I couldn’t even hear the Foo Fighters but I was still there.

That’s tight. That’s all I’ve got to ask so is there any final statement you want to leave the readers with?

I don’t know man. Punknews readers have been really mean to us.

You know man, a lot of our commenters are douchebags and have even talked shit on me. They don’t even know me. They need to chill out.

(Laughs) I don’t know, for us it exciting that people say anything in general. People definitely have shit to say on Punknews, usually not nice, which I can respect because at least they’re saying something.

And it’s funny because the people who comment represent maybe one percent of the readers we have. So people just assume all the readers at Punknews hate everything but it’s really only the ones who comment.

(Laughs) That’s cool. I’m fine either way. I support them either way.

You support them even if they are shit-talking haters who are salty as fuck.

Let them air it out dude.

As long as they are being tough guys in the pit and not in the Internet I am cool with it.

(Laughs) It’s all good for us.