Roots rockers The Actual Goners recently released a brand new single called "Diamond Dust" and to celebrate we asked Tristan Armstrong to tell us about the song. Here is the story:
"Diamond Dust" started on a summer's afternoon when I had been strumming the opening progression on a 12-string guitar. The sound of chords chiming out on a 12-string has such an epic quality. I immediately started feeling an excitement about the sound. It had a Springsteen-esque anthemic thing going on. Many of the songs I'd been writing for The Actual Goners up to that time had more of a moody/introspective vibe to them, but I knew whatever I came up with lyrically for this one had to be more joyous and outward looking.
I was envisioning Roman candles firing out over a field. Yellow grass, scorched from weeks of peak August heat. A romanticism of summer itself.
The first verse describes some people walking across a field in the direction of the setting sun. Their end destination is unclear, and as a result they continue to walk in circles, but don't seem to mind.
The second verse describes two people who have left a loud house party, where the party goers are wrapped up in a singalong of "Diamond Dust." (I'd first thought of "Diamond Dogs" by Bowie, but changed it to "dust" to rhyme with "us." The title of this fictional song, in the end, became the title of the actual song. So there's a sort of meta happening.) They leave the house and walk the grounds for a more intimate discussion when they begin to see visions in the night sky.
The bridge goes into a personal experience I had a few years ago, trekking around with friends one night in Ucluelet, BC. The five of us had walked from our cabin out to Amphitrite Point, where there is a historic lighthouse. It was a particularly dark night, but once we had made it through the woods to the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the lighthouse beam was at full power, circling around us and creating an amazing spotlight on the trees from where we had emerged. One member of our party had decided to scamper across the jagged rocks near the crashing waves below and started to climb up the base of the lighthouse. Instrumentally, the idea was to combine an east-coast rock sound with atmospheric elements. This is highlighted in the breakdown section following the bridge.
The chorus, and the overall theme of the song speak to having shared experiences and adventures with friends. A celebration of moments when you've felt like you're truly on the same plane as those around you.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the group here