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DIANAS Prodigal daughters return

Melbourne-based, Perth-born band Dianas have just released their third EP Leave Love, a cassette that records a phase of transition, heartbreak, and new beginnings through the lens of women’s lived experience. To celebrate, the band are putting on an end-of-year homecoming extravaganza at Badlands Bar on December 27, with a killer line up of Perth’s finest women-run bands. JESS COCKERILL caught up with Nathalie Pavlovic, Caitlin Moloney and Anetta Nevin to discuss leeches, cults, bad dance moves and the EP.

Leave Love is your third EP, what’s it about, what can listeners look forward to?

Caity: It’s kinda just a little collection of songs that we’ve made over the last year, since Anetta joined and since I moved to Melbourne. There’s no real overarching theme, or it wasn’t really thought about as an EP… Nat moved here first, I moved here after, we didn’t have a drummer for a while, then we got Anetta on board, and it was during a phase when we were just working on things and the songs that were written during that time.

In terms of sound, I feel like the ethereal vocals are a result of like, I can’t sing in any other way than a really high baby voice. And then Nat is kinda forced to follow along with that situation… We also try to offset that a little bit with the guitars, and the actual instrumental side of it, because it is quite a feminine vocal style. Hopefully the combination of the two creates something more interesting than like, one or the other.

How did the EP name and theme of “leaving love” come about?

Nat: It stood out for me personally, like if anything had described this period, that one was the most relatable to me personally, I don’t know, maybe you as well [Caity]?

Caity: Well, I guess I moved over here and uh, “left love”, and Nat has also kinda recently “left love”. Ben [Anetta’s partner] is terrified. Don’t worry Ben. Anetta is still totally keen on love. It’s not like an invitation to leave love, it’s not like “fuck it it’s fucked”.

Nat: In fact I think it’s the opposite of that, that song. It’s more about the sadness of leaving it.

Was the plan always to bring Dianas over to Melbourne? Do you feel like you’ve become a “Melbourne band” by now?

Nat: Well Anetta came first, 3 years ago, and then I did two and a half years ago, and then Caity one year ago. So yeah, it was pretty staggered. I spent so much money on flights, Tigerair should’ve sponsored me. But I feel kinda in the middle of Perth and Melbourne now. When I first moved here, I wasn’t that committed to staying. I haven’t been here long enough.

Anetta: I feel like I’ve been here long enough. With moving to Melbourne, I think it’s good to connect with a wider community. We’re going to Sydney a lot more now, you can drive to another big city from here. And it’s cool being connected to a national network of bands, rather than just our own insular community. But yeah, it is hard moving here, and it’s not instant to actually connect with people and that community. It takes a long time.

What’s been the process for getting this EP together?

Nat: I guess this EP has sort of been us figuring that out as a band. It’s totally different to how we’ve worked in the past, I don’t know if it’s how we’re going to work in the future. It’s been mostly Caitlin writing the majority of the songs, and then us workshopping the rest. But since then we’ve been working a little bit differently, writing together more. When we first moved over we were working out the guitar parts for ages, and then for others they came really naturally, with Anetta. It’s all really different. They’re all super different in how they’ve been realised.

Were there any challenges in getting the EP together?

Caity: I can’t even remember, it was all ages ago.

Nat: Yeah there was. The recording.

Caity: Oh yeah… Nat recorded us for the first time and I uh don’t think I was very helpful in that scenario….

Nat: It was a nightmare. No! It wasn’t. But it was just the first time with that different dynamic, we’re used to just playing together and writing together. Recording together was next level. Jess Bennet from Love Shack recorded the drums, Aiden Senecia who’s done all our other stuff did two songs, and then I did the rest.

Recording is why I moved [to Melbourne], to study sound production. I’ve been doing that for two years, but this is the first time I’ve felt comfortable recording us. I don’t know if we’ll continue that. It’s just funny, again looking back on it we can laugh, but at the time I think I was in tears… recording your own stuff is so different to other people, there’s no objectivity, you don’t know when to stop… You can’t just be like, OK we’re stepping back from this, which is what I’d usually be like.

Why did you choose to put it out on cassette with Healthy Tapes? Not a lot of people have cassette players these days.

Caity: Yeah, I don’t have one.

Nat: I don’t have one either. I haven’t heard it yet. But we wanted something physical, and an LP’s too extreme, and CDs no-one wants, apart from Anetta. They’re a dying art form.

Anetta: Yeah, for cars! And up until recently i had a tape player in my car too.

Caity: But I like the way a cassette looks, it’s like a nice little thing you can sort of keep. And you get a download code, and it’s really pretty…

Nat: Caity does all our artwork, it’s hell good. She does everything, she’s actually a genius. Certified, by me.

You’ve put a video together for Leave Love. When’s that gonna be out, and what can we expect?

Caity: You can expect… something. It was shot on 16mm film, it looks really nice. It’s kinda like an amateur dance video, we did work with choreographer Zoe Marsh who is not an amateur but we are the amateurs, hundred percent. She’s worked with Eurovision people, I can’t believe she lowered herself to the level of working with us. But it was so fun, we had rehearsals over a week at the dance studio and then went out to film it all over the place.

Anetta: We went to this bay that was underneath the lighthouse where they shot Round The Twist. There was a forest in an area called Sanitorium Lake, it was very creepy.

Caity: Leeches were falling from the trees, someone got a leech in the eye. It crawled up under his eyelid and latched on. We were all on high alert after that.

Anetta: I got leeched and I didn’t realise it, and then I tried to kill it and I couldn’t kill it, they won’t die without a lighter or salt.

Nat: As the cameraman was saying, “someone get a lighter! Put a lighter in my eye!” Looking back on it, you don’t remember how grumpy you were or how much leeching you got. It looks like we just had a lot of fun.

Caity: We explored Victoria quite a bit more than I’ve seen since I moved here, which was really nice, it was a good excuse to do that.

And then you went on tour around the east coast. How’s that been? Gotten to see a lot of regional Australia?

Anetta: We played Ballarat. I get angry at old men, because they’re dumb and sexist and they think we’re interested in hearing their stupid opinions, and then they get off on making us angry.

Caity: I mean, this was one specific old man.

Anetta: I felt the same about that guy in Wollongong though.

Caity: OK, two specific old men.

Nat: Wollongong was actually great though, when we drove in we just went ‘oh my god! this is so nice!’ we hadn’t thought about how nice it actually was. It was on the coast, it was breathtaking. And then we played at Frank’s Wild Years, this record shop in Thirroul. We’re actually considering giving up city life and moving there to the coast.

Anetta: I wanna live there. Bask in the escarpment.

Nat: And then Sydney was our last show, that was really nice.

Caity: Next time we go to Sydney we’re going to fly, cos that drive home was… I cried. I cried at the podcast.

Anetta: We were listening to a (Brian) Jonestown Massacre podcast, we had to turn it off. It got a bit much. We were very tired and I really empathised with his victims, because the foundings of his cult were in a socialist, racist-smashing regime, and I can really get behind that.

Nat: It did really show how you could get to that point.

Caity: Don’t let me join a cult guys.

Lastly, what’s the plan for Badlands Bar, and who else is playing?

Anetta: Oosterbanger! Intercontinental Sounds! Childsaint! We’ve got Heebie Jeebies! Rabbit Island! Debbie Downers! Dianas, that’s us! Oh and Childsaint DJ’s.

Nat: It’s actually a lot, it’s huge. It’s gonna be like a small festival almost. And I think in the whole lineup there’s only like one dude, in all those bands.

Anetta: I’m so excited.

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