You can do what you want to

HERO Sessions: DIIV covers Elliott Smith – Ballad of Big Nothing
By Tempe Nakiska | Music | 22 February 2016
Film Chad Moore
This article is part of HERO Sessions – Live from a garage near you

Put DIIV in a room with a couple of guitars and no rules and you’re bound to end up with something you wanna hold onto. So inviting the band to HERO Sessions was a no brainer. This one’s been in the works awhile and it’s fair to say we’re pretty excited to hit publish.

Call it a celebration of DIIV’s new album Is the Is Are, a ruthless sonic journey that viscerally dissects frontman Zachary Cole Smith’s past few years and unapologetically side-steps from the static dreamlike canvas that was Oshin, their acclaimed first. For Issue 13 we spoke to the Brooklyn musician at depth about the then work-in-progress album, and those core explorations – of struggles with addictions, false friends, love – that have transcended words on a dictaphone to shape this brutally up front output. Time stamped at just a bit over an hour it’s dense and depressive, drawing you in and spitting you out reeling at the end.

The album’s release has kickstarted what’s already set to be a major summer of touring across the United States and Europe, but before they left we got Cole and Colin Caulfield (keyboard/guitar/vox) together at Cole’s New York apartment to play us three songs.

Line up number one, a cover of Elliott Smith’s devastating Ballad of Big Nothing, from the 1997 album Either/Or. Amongst the likes of Kurt Cobain and Johnny Thunders, Smith is one of Cole’s idols – one of his most treasured things is an acoustic the late singer songwriter once played, a gift from girlfriend Sky Ferreira, and his artistry was a major influence on Is the Is Are. Stripped back and softened, Smith’s lyrics take quiet flight.

DIIV’s new album, Is the Is Are, is out now on Captured Tracks. Follow DIIV on TwitterFacebook and find tour updates at their website.

Stay tuned for more DIIV sessions to come.

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