Kool Kats feat. Antonia Sellbach (Love of Diagrams)
It's a shame that more and more bands seem to go under the radar these days, especially in the internet age. Then there are others that are just so good, they become gems that maybe most people don’t deserve. Love of Diagrams is that band. They’re a power trio of infectious guitar hooks and laser precision drumming, all thread together by monumental bass lines.
We caught up with Antonia Sellbach, the Diagrams bassist who also is an accomplished artist and a full time mom, talk about prolific!
Fresh Pots!: People talk about post punk revivalism from the early to mid 2000s, and when it came to the bass you always heard Carlos Dengler, but never Antonia Sellbach. I guess most people were deaf back then! That being said, you’ve written some of the most radical bass lines in recent memory. Who and what inspires your playing?
Antonia Sellbach: Well i just had to Google who Carlos Dengler is so i guess the jokes on him! Devo and Pylon have been big influences on me. And the thing about my bass lines is that they're quite melodic- they jump from low stuff to melody being played high on the neck. I was self taught on the bass, and i think i was probably a wannabe guitar player and that was my way of getting some melody into my bass lines. The first 2 albums- 'The Target is You' and 'Mosaic' probably have the most melodic bass- they're a lot of fun to play.
FP!: You’ve gotten to open for some pretty great bands (Sonic Youth, Death Cab for Cutie, Stereolab) among those do you have any crazy or interesting stories? (like maybe Thurston Moore started his own religion?!)
AS: Well this isn't strictly a support story, but love of diagrams were playing a gig in New York, we were getting wooed by some of the folk at Matador and they brought Steve Malkimus to the gig. When i looked up and realized he was in the audience (the crowd was a bit thin, it was easy to see) i dropped my pick. I've never done that since, but i was such a huge fan of pavement when i was a teenager i could barely keep playing. There are just some people i guess who if you start listening at the right time, make a really strong impression and he had been one of those for me.
FP!: The Diagrams were once signed to matador records. What are some pros and cons of being on a major vs indie label?
AS: We had been huge fans of a Matador before we signed to them so it all felt like a dream come true (at that moment at least). Another pro was slowly building a bigger audience for ourselves overseas (UK, Europe, US), having better connections with venues, radio, media etc in far away places. Cons were losing a lot of control, not being in charge of what money was spent or how.. i could totally go on but I'm not going to.
FP!: You’re an established artist as well, has painting always been a passion of yours or was it more recent?
AS: i started studying art in the early 2000s. My parents were artists so i grew up around that culture. My painting practice has been mainly over the last 10 years though, before that i was doing a lot of abstract works on paper. More and more i see a tangible link between the art and the music. There's a lot of rhythm and melody in abstraction.
FP!: What does the future hold for the Love of Diagrams?
AS: Not sure. Luke and i have Albertine (our baby) now, so there's a bit of extra logistical stuff going on to make it work. But that said, i got home the other day and something was playing on the stereo and i said ' that's cool, what's that?' ..and it turned out to be one of our jam tapes from when i was pregnant (i guess our last jam we'd had?) It sounded great to my ears and i doubt very much we could stay quiet for long once we get stuff going in our heads. The thing is though, that after Matador i felt like no American label would touch us, i really felt like we had be tarnished.. so we've never really found a US label interested in us since which i no longer really care about. So if we do more stuff you'd have to order it from Australia. We're pretty low key for what its worth!
FP!: Lastly, as we ask all our guests, how does Antonia like her coffee?
AS: Coffee makes me anxious.