Kathy Diamond Miss Diamond to You

Kathy Diamond Miss Diamond to You

Disco is no longer a dirty word; this has been obvious for a few years now. And while the once despised genre has taken on many new forms during its rebirth, Kathy Diamond feels like the most suitable artist to carry the new generation’s torch the way her obvious idol Donna Summer did 30 years ago. Just like how Summer had Giorgio Moroder bending sounds for her voice, Diamond has Maurice Fulton as her composer. Their teamwork is exquisite, to say the least, as Fulton delivers some of his best work to date for this collaboration; his inner minimalist warps a disco universe where the standard four-to-the-floor beats converge with warm electro synths and funk-sloping bass. As with most of his work, there are plenty of surprises, none more eyebrow raising than "Until The Sun Goes Down,” an instrumental that finds middle ground between Afrobeat and dub step. But it’s Diamond’s voice that’s on display here and on cuts like hypnotic single "Over,” her vocals smoulder with sex overtop a commanding wood block pop and some prog-inspired synth rolls. If disco hadn’t burnt out at the end of the ’70s, it would have sounded just like this futuristic masterpiece by Kathy Diamond and Maurice Fulton.

Your MySpace page says you’ve been writing music since 1993. Why did it take so long to release an album?
Yeah, I’ve been writing forever! It’s not that I’ve been waiting to write an album; I think it’s something that evolves with age and confidence. I’ve been chasing a dream for such a long time and the way forward for me was always to get signed by a major so I could leave my "real job” and concentrate on the music full time but unfortunately, or fortunately now, it never happened. So, I just thought to myself one day, "I’ve had enough putting my energy into that route” and concentrated on writing a collection of songs that I really liked. Maurice and I had worked together before [in 2003 for "Sunshine” on the Cottage label] and out of the blue he called me and said, "Hey, Kat, do you want to do an album?” Obviously it took me all of 20 seconds to breathe and then say yes! I couldn’t have chosen a better producer/co-writer for my debut album. We then hooked up with Permanent Vacation, a great independent label with taste!

How did Maurice Fulton come on board? What exactly was his involvement?
Maurice took my original songs and brought them to life! I couldn’t have envisaged what he was going to do with them but I trusted that whatever he did was going to be brilliant. He’s responsible for the way it ended up and I can’t thank him enough for that. I’m a very lucky girl!

What was your objective with the album?
The objective was simple: to get people listening and dancing. That’s all you really want when you write songs — you want people to be smiling — and wherever I go the response is amazing. So many people love the album and for me that’s such a buzz. It just makes me want to get back in the studio.

To me it sounds very futuristic and seems to present the sound of what disco could have evolved into had it remained relevant. Were you trying to put your own spin on the genre?
Yeah, a lot of people have said that. I’d like to think it’s got one foot in the past and one in the future because that’s me all over. Whether it’s music, film, clothes, furniture, whatever, I love the whole vintage thing. I think I’ve always written with a soulful vibe, as that’s the kind of music I grew up with: a lot of Stevie Wonder, Donna Summer, Michael Jackson, the whole Motown scene, Quincy Jones, I could go on! I think Maurice then just completely went for it on the big disco thing and the sound was nailed.

Disco still gets a bad rap. Though it has come back in vogue over the years, it’s still seen as indulgently cheesy. What is it that attracts you to that type of music?
Disco does, and did, get loads of bad press; it’s all part of the story. It’s always been fun and I think maybe music snobs don’t find it credible because it was really popular and not very organic, not very strum-y, if you get what I mean. Opinions and assholes — we’ve all got one! I think it’s great. If you have any sense of rhythm you can’t help but dance, that’s what I say!

Are you performing the album live? Is a North American tour something we can expect soon?
I’ve been doing P.A.s at parties in the UK and Europe and I’ve been having a ball. But now I think is the time to get a real live band to go for it, so that’s the plan, along with writing my second album. Times are good and I’m really enjoying myself. It’s busy, busy, busy, but a good busy. There are a few collaborations in the pipeline too. Look out for the new Toby Tobias album and also keep your eyes peeled for Softrocks. There are some really exciting things happening there! (Permanent Vacation)