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Artist Spotlight: Diamond Rings

The very definition of eclectic, Toronto artist John O, aka Diamond Rings, kicks off a group of back-to-back electronic performances on Saturday, August 31 on the TuneIn Stage. While the stage will later play host to Swedish duo Icona Pop and the legendary Gary Numan, Diamond Rings’ afternoon set is not to be missed.

While taking a break from his role as the singer/guitarist for indie rock band D’Urbervilles, John O formed Diamond Rings as a glam solo project in 2008. Known for his artsy makeup, over-the-top outfits, and constantly-changing hairstyles, John O’s intention was to redefine the male pop star. His website biography sums it all up in one simple sentence: “Diamond Rings defies laws of time and space.” While it seems ridiculous, closer examination provides the claim with some merit. Take the video for “All Yr Songs,” for instance:

A surprisingly accurate blast-from-the-past, the video includes every terrible ‘80s animation feature you could think of. But the tune is infectious, and Diamond Rings proves to be the perfect blend of Cut Copy’s electronic tones and deep vocals, and Boy George’s taste for eccentricities.

His video for “Runaway Love,” off 2012’s Free Dimensional works in the same way: take a classic car show (your typical music video motif), but juxtapose it against Diamond Rings and his glam posse, and it somehow works:

The song is stuck in your head for the rest of the day, and you find yourself pining after the various jackets John O rocks in the video: jean with studs, or leather covered in safety pins.

Despite the high production of his videos, live footage of Diamond Rings isn’t lacking in performance value. He plays guitar and tours with a full backing band, far from some of his counterparts that simply stand behind their computer. Named an “Artist to Watch” by Rolling Stone, and given love by Pitchfork since the beginning, Diamond Rings is a must-see set at Bumbershoot 2013. Watch him glam his way across the TuneIn Stage on August 31 and we guarantee you’ll be dancing and singing along.