Normally you wouldn’t associate an indie alternative band with a classic by F. Scott Fitzgerald, political statements or a much-awaited charity concert, but Dick Diver just so happens to be all three. Formed by Rupert Edwards and Alistair McKay, Dick Diver is a band full of surprises and their name is simply the first of many in what we assume will be a long career ahead.
“Dick Diver is a character from a book by F. Scott Fitzgerald. He wrote a book called Tender is the Night, which was kind of his last finished book before he totally destroyed himself with alcohol and excess. I read it years and years ago and I thought it would be a good name, but I think I was wrong on that point. But anyway, we’re stuck with it now,” Rupert says.
While many people may question the depth of indie singers hitting the triple j airwaves of today, there’s no denying that this band has a little bit more substance than most. The band has most recently joined the line-up for the Heart of St Kilda Concert, which aims to raise $20,000 for the Sacred Heart Mission’s kitchen.
“We’re in a position where we can help out in that way. Playing our own shows can feel a little self-indulgent at times, so helping in this way is awesome,” he says.
And charity isn’t the only thing that Dick Diver dabbles in. They’ve also been ones to throw in a few political statements here and there, after a set at Meredith last year that involved cardboard cut-outs of Donald Trump, Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart and Rupert Murdoch doing an interpretive dance on climate change.
“I think we were a bit nervous because we had played Golden Plains earlier in the year and we felt like we had to do something a bit different. And that idea came about pretty naturally and easily,” Rupert says.
Though politics creeps into their performances their lyrics are a little bit more simple and closer to home. We’ve all picked up a TV Week and shopped at IGA supermarket, and the Dick Diver members are by no means exempt from those experiences.
“I guess there’s a desire there to write songs that reflect our lives without falling into easy sentiment,” he says. We just write about things. The songs really reflect whatever we want to say regardless of whatever people will say about us.”
They mightn’t be famous just yet, but after Calendar Days was labelled The Guardian’s best Australian release for 2013 Dick Diver can’t be too far off.
“It was totally unexpected. I didn’t have any ambition or even think about that stuff when we made it or released it. So of course all that stuff is totally flattering and really nice, and I can’t say I don’t enjoy it,” Rupert says.
Surprisingly, even with their achievements so soon in their career their day-to-day life has been relatively unaffected. Sure, more people are attending their gigs and buying their albums, but they all still hold on to their 9 to 5 jobs. While there are some people who have slotted Dick Diver into the “dole wave” genre, all four-band members actually hold full time jobs. Rupert is a high school teacher, McKay works in an office job, Montfort in a chocolate factory and Hughes is an illustrator.
But when faced with the question of what genre they are, Rupert is reluctant to answer. Hopefully with their next album, which they are currently working on, they can kick the dreaded “dole wave” tag.
“I read something the other day where someone was saying that you can’t describe your own thing because you’re with it all the time and that only other people can identify it,” he says.
When&Where: Heart of St Kilda Concert @ Palais Theatre – August 13
Written by Amanda Sherring