Up Close and Personal With Diamond Thug at Boston’s Converse Rubber Tracks

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Boston’s Converse Rubber Tracks Studio isn’t just another strategic musical landmark from arguably one of the most culturally forward brands in the nation. It subsequently makes for one hell of a platform for aspiring musicians: enter Diamond Thug. The South African quartet, who possess a sound that can be best characterized as illuminating and charmingly wistful, recently had the chance to record for free at Rubber Tracks. According to bassist Danilo Queiros, the application process was as direct as they come. “I was just on Facebook one day and I saw the Rubber Tracks link. It was one of those things you enter and don’t really expect anything to come from it. I thought ‘I’ll enter and forget about it. Someone else is going to go and I’ll be a little upset when I find out about it and I’ll cry.’ I applied in 15 minutes and it’s been a life changing opportunity.”

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From Left to Right: Adrian Culhane, Danilo Queiros, Chantel Van T, Ted Buxton

From the moment Diamond Thug started their two day recording session, it was evident that the improvement in their quality of sound was quite palpable. “We recorded our Acoustic EP in [guitarist] Adrian [Culhane’s] home studio. I think it’s an incredible opportunity to work with people who are so highly qualified in their field,” vocalist Chantel Van T gushes. “The technology and the equipment at Rubber Tracks…it was just overwhelming when we got here. We were like little kids in a candy factory. We haven’t heard the final mixes yet, but it already sounds fantastic.” Culhane elaborates on this.

“I think the main difference is the quality of gear we have. We don’t have the best equipment…it’s good enough to sort of get by and to make demos and reproduction and send stuff to people. But we don’t just want to throw out demos—we are a bit fussy about our sound. The drums are one of the most important instruments to record, so we want to record them really, really well.” Like clockwork, newly added drummer Ted Buxton chimes in and voices his opinion. “When we originally released the EP, I hadn’t joined the band yet. They were using electronic drums. Now that I’m in the band, I don’t know if we’ve gone in a different direction but a more evolved sound is happening now. It adds more complexity to recording.”

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The band’s joviality remains vibrant throughout our interview, but they are all simultaneously taken aback when it comes to addressing the prospect of where they plan on going from here. “Obviously, an opportunity like this opens up huge opportunities of marketing and getting to places we wouldn’t’ get to sitting in Cape Town,” Queiros says. “You know, locked up in our little bedroom pressing record all the time. We just want to take advantage of what Converse has given us.” Almost at the exact same time, the rest of the band members in unison remark: “and to keep writing good music!” Converse Global Music Marketing Director Jed Lewis contends that it is the brand’s mission to give such remarkable opportunities to bands both nationally and internationally.

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“So since we’ve opened up Boston in July, this program has been the next chapter in Rubber Tracks. The goal is to really to elevate Rubber Tracks on a global scale. We’ve activated Rubber Tracks all over the world—25 different cities around the world or more,” Lewis divulges. “But this is the first time that we had this big coordinated effort of all of these things happening simultaneously. Just this week, artists from South Africa, South Korea, Brazil, Nashville, and Boston will all pass through these doors. There’s such a wide range of different countries participating in this. 28 to 30 different countries are being represented through this program.” Lewis remains adamant about Converse continuing to extend its reach across the globe. “We want Converse Rubber Tracks to touch into parts of the world that we’ve never been before.  It’s so great to have so many studios that take on its own characteristics. That’s what makes it so special.”

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Global Music Marketing Director Jed Lewis

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