“This album for me is about two or three years old. It took me two attempts, recording it all on an eight channel Tascam recorder with manual faders and no editing capabilities,” explained Nicholas Braun, who released six records under the moniker of Diz James.
For the past five years, Braun has been making these somber bedroom pop records, by himself with only three microphones, “none of which were all that good.” But the music is. Knowing the tools that were used to create Diz James latest, The Light, you’ll be even more surprised.
“I’ve written a lot of music over the past few years and within the time of 2016-20 I’ve taught myself how to record from the very basis of knowing nothing,” he explained. “There was a large learning curve learning how to turn these recordings onto the machine into something. For The Light, everything happened logistically and in order. I arrived at what I thought was the best sounds I could suck out of all this shitty recording equipment.”
The Light, mastered by Joe Lapinski, released on February 1. The record was written during a time of reflection, after Braun dropped out of school and had to spend some time in the hospital due to psychosis. He was broken, and used music to make sense of it all.
“These songs all kind of deal with the difficulties in life. Whether it be mental illness, issues with spirituality or global situations. They take you through some of these situations in a variety of musical ways,” explained Braun.
“The title track that closes the album really talks about how we all deal with perpetual struggles and moments of darkness, but hopefully we never lose sense that there’s a light surrounding it. It really helped me dig into my negative spaces and not lose touch of something good.”
Braun, who is in his third year as a student in the Music Performance program at Brock University as a percussionist, also performs in local acts Fat Moth and Moonfox. His previous resume include Fourth Way, Senegal Astroturf and Kaptur. Recently, he has started his own live band for Diz James, consisting of drummer Joe Mahony, bassist Graeme Hales, guitarist Scott Lavalle and Danielle Mattachini who performs vocals alongside Braun while he plays his guitar and keyboard.
“So, we have this five piece, and together we’ve been learning music as I write and record it,” Braun explained, while mentioning that he was moving towards digital recording for his next record. “We’re writing together and really honing in on a sound, trying to move away from more melancholy sounds and moving towards music with a bit more energy.”
With The Light casting a shadow behind him, Braun mentioned that he already looking forward, ready for the year ahead.
“It’s been done for a while, and it was time to share it and be ready to move on right away. I wanted to get this album out early this year and follow it up with more new music throughout the year. I really want it to be a busy year,” he said. “I’ve just been through some negative experiences and am excited to create something more energetic and positive for an audience. ”