Diiv have cancelled their European tour, including scheduled shows at The Great Escape in Brighton, London’s Heaven and Primavera in Barcelona in May.
Speaking to NME, frontman Zachary Cole Smith said: “I have to be off the road. I’ve been touring in various formations for three years, and the past year of my life has been completely given over to being on the road.” He went on to explain the growing pressure he felt to keep the band touring, and worrying whether the growing team around him got paid or not has finally taken its toll on him, leading him to cancel all but key festival dates in June, July and August. Cole added that their planned performances in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain have all been scrapped.
“It’s an unspoken thing, it’s not real articulated pressure to constantly tour, but I do feel it,” he said. “And everyone wants you to play in their city, so there’s a pressure from fans. Management make these plans, like, ‘January, February, you’ll do this tour, then March, go to SXSW, April to Coachella and back, then May do Europe, then June, fit in some recording, then back to Europe for festivals, then play some more festivals, then a week’s recording, then out to Reading and Leeds then a few shows in New York, then September, do this tour…’
“There’s just this constant barrage of stuff. As an artist, the biggest, most important reason for me to do this is to write and create. That then becomes the thing that falls by the wayside because you have to keep all this other stuff going.”
“There’s always this thing when bands cancel tours that they make this grand apology, like they’ve betrayed their audience so deeply. ‘We will make this up to you, this is the most important month of our lives’ and it comes off as being such bullshit. I just want to cancel the tour and say to everyone they won’t see us next month, but you will see us the month after or at a bunch of other shows.”
He also stated the tour was due to make a financial loss of around £10,000 due to the way it was booked, without his knowledge, and because of confusion with European promoters. The cancellation comes after Smith posted a blog criticising SXSW and the heavy branding at the Texas festival. Adding to that statement, he said: “It wasn’t a big thing, but I am glad what I said resonated. I just think this year was the year it finally jumped the shark and went into an extreme corporate set-up.
“And honestly, I don’t want to be like Fugazi having some big anti-corporate message, I’m not a pop-punk band in the ’90s or Rage Against The Machine or whatever. Branding in these times is essential, it’s about the only subsidy for the arts there is, and you might think that’s sad, but it’s just the way it is. We just did some branded shows in California for the release of Dave Grohl’s Sound City film and we were paid generously. I have absolutely no problem with corporate branded events or tie-ins or whatever, as long as the artists are paid for what they do. And I don’t think they always are.”
Smith said the band had been busy writing and recording the follow-up to 2012’s ‘Oshin’ with Chet ‘JR’ White, formerly of Girls in San Francisco, and that the music they were making involved a lot of improvisation, compared to the “very deliberate” nature of their debut.
“I’ve been writing a ton of stuff, in bizarre different circumstances,” he said. “It feels like the last year has been the most insane of my life so far, moving around, being on tour and doing a lot of writing in different scenarios. The music coming out of it has been pretty bizarre.”