Who would have thought, that London could be hiding a truly great country rock singer-songwriter, who’s music sounds like it was born and mastered in Nashville itself? Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s not a secret anymore. Meet Diesel13 – a talented musician from north London, who’ll dazzle you with his foot stomping sound and distinctive vocals in the same way as the one and only Mr Johnny Cash would. Just ask the ‘True Blood’ makers. They have chosen a couple of tracks from his upcoming album ‘Hobo Risin’ for the next season of the famous series and for all the right reasons. His music carries a unique spark within itself and once you hear it, it stays with you. It’s here, ready to strike hard and make itself known.
One thing is for sure – you are going to be hearing loads of great things about Diesel13 very soon.
In the following interview, MGMB talks to the singer-songwriter about his latest single ‘Roar’, upcoming album ‘Hobo Risin’, his music influences and much more.
Could you tell us the story of you becoming a musician and the reasons behind the name Diesel13?
I started playing guitar at the age of 16 while getting into bands like Poison, Guns ‘n Roses, Skidrow, Motley Crew etc. The minute I picked up a guitar I was writing songs! My nickname Diesel came from when I was younger and the amount of energy I had. The actual qoute that nailed it was: ‘ You don’t stop! You’re like a Diesel engine’, and that was it. 13 comes from a lucky number of mine.
How would you describe the sound you are creating and what drew you to this particular genre?
In regards to the sound I have now (foot stomping country rock Cajun), I have naturally evolved into my style through years and years of trial and error. I have never had a plan to be in a certain genre or sound, I just let it flow. I have recorded loads and loads of stuff albeit folk, acoustic, pop etc; and gradually found country rock (if thats my sound!). And here I sit comfortably.
What can you tell us about your debut single ‘Roar’ and where did the idea to write the song come from?
I am really pleased with the single. The inspiration came from a long and loving relationship with gospel and the American deep south. I try and use imagery in my songs through my story telling, so with ‘Roar’ I tried to conjure up a story of a man trapped in prison way down the American South, quite literally cracking rocks under hard labor as they did years ago and try to tell the mental anguish and feelings of being trapped within a prison of hate that certain people had against them in that time.
How is the recording of your debut album ‘Hobo Risin’ coming along and what has the journey of making this record been like?
My album ‘ Hobo Risin’ is almost finished! 13 tracks have been completed (it just had to be 13 tracks, of course). To my amazement I am getting it mastered by Pete Maher, who has mastered the likes of Katy Perry, U2, The Killers and many more big bands! He loves my music and has agreed to help me, which is utterly brilliant. I am so pleased with the album – it sounds foot stompingly brilliant!. So, I just need to talk with my record label to see on release dates etc.
Two tracks from the album have been picked for the next series of True Blood. Congrats! How did it happen and what was your reaction when you found out?
I was over the moon to have my songs picked out for True Blood. It was a massive kick start and confidence boost for me. I seriously couldn’t sleep properly for a week with excitement.
You say your heart is firmly placed in Nashville. Is that one of the places you’re aiming to break with your music?
The American south sound has always drawn me in musically, since listening to my mum’s collection of Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash etc, which I would listen to on her headphones before going to school in my younger days. The names and imagery surrounding Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and the surrounding southern states have a certain magic with me that I can’t explain, but one day I will get there and truly know why. The thought of playing my music alongside a gospel choir has been a dream of mine for a long time. I have written songs specifically for a gospel choir and myself that I am saving for the day I get the budget and backing to record.
Where do you usually gather the inspiration from when writing songs?
The process of writing songs is always the same for me. A line or chorus hook comes to me that reflects the chords that I am playing around, and that line 99 per cent of the time holds the key of the whole song within it, feeling, story and beginning.
Who would you class as your biggest musical and non-musical influences?
My main influences for writing songs have to be a lot of the country singers which I have mentioned and many more of the old school tradition, like Elvis, who had an amazing rhythm. Bob Dylan was and still is an inspiration for song writing and imagery, John Fogerty from CCR and the Waterboys’ lead singer and song writer Mike Scott, who is an amazing dude.
Besides making music, what other interesting hobbies do you have?
I love circuit training! Killing myself with lunatic exercises one after another until I collapse! Sounds crazy but I love it. I’ve also done quite a few marathons and mountain runs, which I also love.
Other than the album release, what are your plans for the upcoming weeks/months?
I am starting to get out and play solo gigs at the moment, just me and an acoustic guitar, as well as reheasing with the band to get ready for the album Hobo Risin’ s release. And fingers crossed, we may even get across the great pond and get to the U.S. one day and fulfill that dream of mine. Watch this space.