If you think the glossy pop music Hannah Diamond makes under the PC Music banner is a guilty pleasure then you’re probably completely missing the point. Love or hate it – you’re likely to either think it’s the sound of the future of the worst thing to ever happen ever – PC Music’s foremost practitioner and her hyper-emotional pop tracks like ‘Hi’ and ‘Pink and Blue’ have gained a dedicated following.
The London-based singer is a frequent collaborator with PC Music overlord A. G. Cook and last year teamed up with Charli XCX on ‘Paradise’ from XCX’s bonkers Vroom Vroom EP. Diamond is also a visual artist who does all her own photography/artwork in her signature photoshopped to death style. Where as her songwriting comments on love in the digi age, her photography tackles it’s impossible beauty standards.
On record she might be deadpan, but in person Diamond is super sincere – we talk girl power and self-portraits with the glamorous girl next door.
PC Music is this future synthetic pop that comments on consumerism and pop culture, do you think the flipside of that is that people then think it’s not only disposable but also fake?
I’ve personally had a lot of criticism for being ‘fake’ and things like that. All of the ways it’s been presented do allude to that but although PC music is a lot of different people, I very much consider myself my own self within that. I only contribute to one part of it. People are getting more used to who I am now and realising I am real or what my idea and my vision are for my project. Definitely at the start people didn’t think I was even a real person, thought I was perhaps a bloke who pitched his voice but that is quite tedious misogynistic bullshit.
Are you at the point where you don’t really care about all that anymore?
The more I talk about it, the more it’s a problem. Although there are some funny elements to my images or lyrics, it’s all sincere and I really care about the meaning behind it. Yeah parts of my image making that tie into it have a fake or glossy or plasticy vibe, underneath all of it is something quite sincere.
Do all of the PC Music producers and artists meet up on the regular and have like PC Music summits?
Not really. I hang out with Polly [Polly-Louisa Salmon AKA GFOTY] quite a lot. There’s been one meeting. It’s kind of not that useful because we’re all doing different things, I guess it’s useful if there’s a show or something but other than that it’s better to crack on. All of us at the start were very grouped together as being part of PC Music and no one knew who anyone was, when you’re grouped in with all those people you’re assumed to be the same. We’re very different people with different musical interests and all do very different things and come from very different backgrounds.
You’ve done a writing camp though right?
We did a writing camp once and a workshop where everyone swapped around but even in terms of writing music everyone has their own thing and their own schedule that they’re working to. I’ve been working with some other friends who aren’t involved in PC Music who I’m making a mixtape with; Danny’s been in the studio with other artists who aren’t anything to do with PC Music. Although sometimes we do come together and work on things now, everybody’s gaining their own independence and working out what they want to do and who they want to work with and collaborate with which is really cool.
Do you treat picture taking the same as songwriting?
I can’t make music on my own, so music has to be a collaboration, whereas with my images I am able to do it on my own. It’s not always a good thing to do everything on your own because it means the stuff you make can be limiting but with music I have to collaborate so it’s a really different process. My photography is more selfish because I can have an idea of what I want to make and because I have the skills to physically make it myself, so I can create it without having to try and get that across to someone else. With music I have to use any way that I can to communicate what I think a song should be.
At the start people didn’t think I was even a real person.
What’s next for your self-portrait image making?
I’m working on a 200 page glossy magazine that I’ve made all the images in and it’s going
to be released around the same time as a musical release and basically all the images are going to be self-portraits. It’s quite a nuts project and there’s a lot of things that I do want to comment on within it but I do always worry that it’ll just be seen as a vanity project. The whole reason I started taking photos of myself was because I had zero confidence. There’s something about being a woman that makes it automatically assumed it’s a vanity project, especially the idea of a semi attractive woman retouching photos of herself. That’s why I always try and do it as extreme as possible and make it something that’s completely unrealistic. It’s also fun for me to take it that far because I really enjoy the process – I like being able to go nuts and make it look ridiculous.
What do your family think of your work?
My mum really likes my music. She always wants to know when I’ve made new songs so I run them by her and see what she thinks and if she thinks it’s good then you kind of know it’s a good one. My grandad’s probably the biggest fan. He keeps track of play counts and stuff. He’s always checking how many plays I’ve had on YouTube.
How would you describe your style?
I really don’t like buying high street pieces. I’m always worried about buying stuff for the sake of it and then throwing it away and where does that go? I’m really into eBay – I lurk and I lurk and I lurk. I love getting really good vintage designer pieces for next to nothing. That’s my favourite thing; when it doesn’t cost me anything but it’s a really good find and I really want it or I remem- ber the catwalk show it’s from. If you can take something that you got on a market stall and make it look runway then that’s the most fun.
Should girls run the world?
If there’s ever an imbalance then there’s something wrong. Feminism’s had a rejuvenation which is obviously a posi- tive thing, but in a lot of ways it’s been taken on as some kind of trend. You can see that big brands are cashing in and further removing it from women who are trying to rejuvenate it and bring young people into it. Brands are now reframing it and selling it back to us again. I’m not into that at all.
Can you be too cute?
I have such a problem with cuteness. At the start a lot of people pinned my music and style under the term cute but there’s loads of things I don’t like about it. A lot of things that come under ‘cute’ are pretty naff. It should be kept for pets, dogs and cats. There’s something about cute that’s not powerful.
Do you still keep a diary?
No. I did for a few years mostly when I was at school. I got assigned an art project entitled ‘Self’ or something, a very generic art… I did it for two years. Hell no would I keep one now. I used to write in it every day before I went to bed, when I was doing it I was thinking of it as part of my art project. It’s so cringe to read back on it. It’s good for ideas for songs and stuff but some of the stuff is just oh my god, the things I was writing I was upset about, I’ve no memory of it and I’m on a rant about it – it’s just like who? What? When? I need to burn it or something.
What’s your relationship with social media like?
I worry about it less now that I’ve taken myself offline. I wasn’t having a positive experience, it eats away at your time and I decided I’m not gonna get anything done or achieve what I want to do if I’m just looking at what other people are doing. I don’t really have anything deeply personal on my social media – I post things about me and things I’m up to but I don’t use my account like everyday people use their accounts.
Are you not like everyday people?
I’m the most normal person ever.