Diamond Rings has gone from a one-man act to band frontman, adding musicians and dialing up the energy in his new album Free Dimensional.
The Toronto artist's '80s-inspired electronic pop first caught on in 2010, when he released the Juno-nominated album Special Affections.
With that album, Diamond Rings — aka John O'Regan — says he was still finding his way and figuring out "how to do the thing on my own."
Since then, he has performed around the world — including on tour with Swedish dance diva Robyn, who helped him learn to engage with his fans in the front row.
He produced his new release Free Dimensional with Damien Taylor, who frequently works with Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork.
"Those two individuals inspired me to step up my game and push my boundaries as a writer," O’Regan said, adding that it took great courage for him to try rapping for the first time, as he does in the song (I Know) What I'm Made Of.
In Free Dimensional, O'Regan performs lead vocals and guitar. He's joined by his new bandmates Karl Skene, Graham Van Pelt and Greg Santilly.
He performed three songs and talked to Q's Jian Ghomeshi about the difference between his onstage persona and the real man behind the image.