Come here, come forth, good people of the noise. Today is another wonderful day of us showing you, our dear reader, our favorite creator of noise of the week. This Monday, we have the incredibly underrated Divingstation95 to present. Divingstation95 is the brainchild of solo artist Thomas Clark. I got in contact with Thomas after he shared his newest record, Fear is My Constant Companion, in a group on Facebook we were both in.
It was late in the evening and I was just on Bandcamp looking for new music, so I thought I could check the record out as well. Little did I anticipate to be quite enamored with the album – the atmosphere, the vocals, everything. It was new and fresh; the songwriting an unconventional mix of a multitude of genres. I listened to the entire thing that evening. In the morning after I looked up other records Thomas made, lo and behold he already made myriad of art to work through. Four LPs, lots of cover songs, and a few EPs are already under his belt, and it seems the young writer just won’t stop. So naturally I just had to invite him to a little talk and get to know him and his project better.
So who is Divingstation95? As I mentioned above, there is only one mind behind the emotive works by the name of Thomas Clark. The young musician started out learning the violin, though as he grew fond of the music which influenced him, his gaze wandered over to the acoustic guitar. Even though the acoustic guitar is his weapon of choice for now, he didn’t dismiss the thought of using violin again in later recordings. There is something to be said about his more classical training though, as his music sounds quite languid, fluid, or continuous. This might seem paradoxical given the almost droney nature of Fear is My Constant Companion, yet every song has a strong sense of progression and the entire record has a great feeling of resolution. It feels like the music is inevitably heading for something. ‘The future is music that’s undefinable’
But how does the music sound? Like nothing you’ve heard before. As that is nondescript, I will elaborate: the genre tag that stuck out the most to me when scouting Divingstation95’s page was ‘doom pop’. It’s an odd term you don’t see often and the few bands I’ve seen using it all had pretty much nothing in common. For Thomas, this tag encapsulates the oxymoronic nature of his compositions. He uses acoustic guitar and granular synthesis to make soundscapes that are dreamy, almost surreal; enhanced by his fragile, light voice in which he leans heavily into. He also plays with synths, drum machines, lots of distortion, and pretty much everything he can get his hands on.
This is heavily contrasted by the foreboding distortion he sometimes layers over his guitar and the splintering noise harbored in some of the songs. “Suicide Forest” for example uses black noise as a prominent canvas on which tape like synths and acoustic guitar lines are painted. The noise keeps a constant, uncomforting pressure on the track, as if the sky is threatening to fall down upon the listener. This play of opposites evokes feelings of power imbalances, the nature of fragility as strength and the complexity of character. It also highlights an important lyrical topic: the abuse of power or status.
Thomas grew up quite sheltered in his life until the passing of his mother, which led to him admitting that he was quite oblivious to the tragedies going on in many people’s everyday lives. When a person close to him was met with abuse, it impacted Thomas, which is why he dedicates many of the lyrics to victims of abuse and tragedy, be it sexual, physical, or mental. What really shocks him to this day is the unrelenting wave of reports of people in power abusing the people they should take care of. Some of his songs are very careful with their lyrical content, while others are very clear and direct critiques like “If There’s One Thing I Enjoy, It’s Going Overseas to Kill a Lot of Innocent People”, which is a clear critique on the military-industrial complex.
The music of Divingstation95 is a direct reflection of what Thomas cares about and what keeps him up at night. Apart from the topic of abuse, his music focuses on OCD and mental health; another reason for the stark contrast in his music. The distortion and noise is somewhat representative of intrusive thought, sometimes creeping into the idyllic nature of his music, sometimes crashing through the roof of it.
In the end it really doesn’t matter how much I talk about the music of Divingstation95, as you can only really experience what doom pop sounds like if you listen to it. If you like what you hear, you should keep an eye on Divingstation95‘s Facebook and Bandcamp, as Thomas is quite the workhorse and is already working on a new record.