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The Patient Elegance of Diving Station

Diving Station

Diving Station, a Manchester-based alt folk four-piece, is comfortable taking it slow. 

“It wasn’t like we got all these gigs quickly and it went really well,” said singer and harpist Anna McLuckie. “It’s grown a little bit every single year which has actually made it last a lot longer. No flash of something really really exciting and then you get bored of it.”

These are modest words from an outfit that has performed at Glastonbury and been featured on BBC Radio, but they reflect a crucial part of Diving Station’s band ethos: a deep commitment to giving their music the space to breathe, and grow. 

“When we start a song, somebody will improvise something on the spot and we’ll all throw around ideas together,” said guitarist Sean Rogan. “Nobody goes home and brainstorms separately. And we do it for 3 hours a week, and then part ways.”

The band’s patient and intimate songwriting process is audible on indie pop gems like “June Damp,” and “You’re Not Listening.” Arrangements are smooth and spacey with no instrument dominating. Harps, synthesizers, and sparking guitars compliment McLuckie’s voice with subtle flourish and tempered complexity. Like a master painter, Diving Station is able to provoke and progress without losing form. 

“Arrangement is something we’ve always spent a lot of time on, and we put as much time into writing a guitar or harp part as anything else,” Rogan said. “We never write a song and figure out a bunch of instrumental parts afterwards.”

The band’s collaborative approach can be traced back to the Royal Northern College of Music, where all four members were trained. Meeting during Freshers’ Week, they discovered a shared love for indie bands, and an appreciation of assiduous, democratic songwriting. Soon, Diving Station began developing and recording the tracks that would become the “Alice EP.”

Producer Hugo M. Hardy, whose credits include David Grey and Caro, was an early fan.

“They played a gig at the Leeds Corn Exchange and blew my socks off. I met them after the show and asked if they wanted to work on some stuff together.”

Hardy has been collaborating with Diving Station ever since, and recognizes that the band’s dynamic is truly unique.

A lot of projects I work on are mostly led by one person,” Hardy said. “With Diving Station, everybody is so involved in every decision and brings something really unique to the table. Anna is an incredible vocalist and lyricist, Sean comes up with these wonderful textures, George [Burrage] is so melodic, and Barney [Kimberley] is especially creative with his drum parts.”

Diving Station credits Hardy with focusing and refining its sound, pushing the spectacular “June Damp” EP towards pop without sacrificing the band’s creative essence.

“Through recording, Hugo has pushed our sound a lot, and we’ve really grown with him,” Rogan said.

“Our first EP is a reflection of us being in a college at the time, and being exposed to lots of music,” added Burrage. “More recently, we’ve learned to focus more on the importance of simplicity in making a great song.”

This approach, noticeable in each of the feather-light, tight, and delightfully idiosyncratic tracks off the “June Damp” EP reflects a creative vision six years in the making. It’s partly why it’s so hard to compare Diving Station to any other bands; perhaps the slightest whisper of Sylvan Esso or Rozi Plain.

Deep sea diving is a cautious and patient art in search of extremes- the lure of the unknown, the sublimity of the loss of gravity. Diving Station’s disciplined, yet all the same, expansive and experimental sound earns the band its name.

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Colter Adams
the authorColter Adams
Colter Adams is just plain sick of the suburbs, and will be fleeing to Maine in the fall where he will attend Bowdoin College. As a journalist, he covered environmental politics and student press freedoms with work featured in the Washington Post and the Falls Church News-Press, before settling on his true calling: independent music. Colter now edits the music section of his school newspaper, and performs as a singer and pianist for indie pop outfit, Indigo Boulevard.

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