Formerly known as Blackstone Rngrs, Pale Dīan is a band from Austin, Texas specializing in dark pop/dream pop. Consisting of vocalist/keyboardist Ruth Ellen Smith, guitarist Derek Kutzer, and drummer Nicholas Volpe, Pale Dīan is a group that strives to make an emotional connection with their audience.
Unfortunately, they weren’t able to cross the US/Canada border to play their scheduled show at the Rickshaw Theatre on June 19. They talked to The Peak, though, and expressed that they were really excited to play here. They’ve never played a show in Vancouver, and it seems like that won’t change anytime soon.
Kutzer cited influences in Roy Orbison, Cocteau Twins, and Bob Dylan, and said his favourite song to play is “In a Day.” Smith, on the other hand, favours the album intro off Narrow Birth, as well as “Diana.” She also added that she feels the “stage is therapy for me. I am raw and not expecting to show or feel any other way than exactly how I am.”
On the subject of moving from the Blackstone Rngrs project to Pale Dīan, Kutzer said, “Well, we had just let go [of] our drummer and original member of Blackstone Rngrs, and we had finished recording about half of what became Narrow Birth, and we kind of took a step back and viewed everything and realized that whatever was developing was something different than Blackstone Rngrs.“We had grown apart from the name, and really felt overly self-conscience [sic] about it, and thought it was the right time to make a change. Ever since we started Pale Dīan we had a newfound confidence, and it really felt more like ‘us.’ It felt more natural, for sure.”
Narrow Birth is their debut LP. “If I could break it down into one sound, I’d say buzzy/distorted,” said Kutzer.
The trio is also familiar with hardship, and trying to make ends meet — a struggle students are often all too familiar with. They spend almost all the time away from the band working to pay rent and finance their lives.
“It is hard to have a normal life,” admitted Kutzer. “When you are gone for two months at a time, you’ve got to figure out all those finances, because you’re not generating the income to pay all of your bills and rent, and to top it all off, you’re working some job that pays shit wages/tips, which means you gotta work a whole lot of hours to earn anything substantial.
“So, yeah, we all work a whole lot. But we are trying to get to a level where the band can start replacing the so-called day jobs for generating the income it takes to survive in a market-capitalist system.”
Kutzer even joked about having a ‘normal life’: “Wouldn’t it be nice to tend a garden? Wouldn’t it be nice to not stress about where I’m gonna live when I get back, or not have to find someone to sublease my room? Wouldn’t it be nice to not work service industry and independent contractor jobs just because they [all] have a flexible schedule? All those things would be nice! But, nah. It is nicer to create something on your own terms and then take it out to the world, even if it means sacrificing a great deal of the so-called comfortable life.”