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DIIV's Colin Caulfield Finds His Sound

Colin Caulfield lets us in on new music ahead of his show at Desert Daze Caravan 2018’s TJ after-party

Colin Caulfield hasn’t released many tracks from his eponymous solo project, but the two or three songs that are out and about are enough to make you want the whole thing right then and there. The multi-instrumentalist -- who also plays guitar, keyboards and vocals in DIIV, Zachary Cole’s chaotic reverie (check out a SoundDiego inteview with Cole here) -- has been coolly trickling tracks out via his social media, and playing shows on the low here and there.

He prances around, swiftly jumping to conclusions and different impersonations/outfits in his video for "People Talk About Me," a track he dropped late last year. Grimes, Mac DeMarco, Zachary Cole, FKA Twigs, St. Vincent and more possess Caulfield's body for a second in what seems to be a search of sorts. Which leads me to my first question: How did this all happen?

"When I was living in New York (2013-2018), I wrote and recorded a ton of different music," Caulfield explained. "All different styles -- just fishing around for a sound that I was excited about. R&B became a really fun style to play around with, but I didn’t really want to be the white guy doing sexy music (duh). Eventually, I found some sort of middle ground [between] pop, R&B and soul music and I was like 'Oooh, I just really like singing!' After that, the focus of the project became clear and here we are now."

Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jake Portrait produced both "People Talk About Me" and "Bulls---," the other track he’s released. I asked him about working with one of psych-pop’s most lauded musicians.

"It was a really sick experience to have. Jake was really, really instrumental in me learning how to self-edit and be critical of my stuff. And we had a pretty focused approach to making the songs -- everything was, for the most part, made with a MIDI controller and a microphone. There was a lot of just talking about music until we came up with an idea to chase after. It was fun and I’m glad we did those two songs together."

Lucky for us, Caulfield’s on his way to Tijuana with DIIV to play the Desert Daze Caravan Tour 2018 along with Ariel Pink at Black Box on May 16, and -- surprise -- he’s also playing a solo show at the official Moustache Bar after-party, where Cole will be playing a DJ set as well.

What can people expect from his live performances?

"I try my best to make the shows feel like we’re all hanging out, except I just happen to be singing emotionally. Expect some pinches bromas [some jokes], some dancing, and a lot of applause."

At the end of the video for "People Talk About Me," Caulfield smashes a TV, in what is as much cliche pop imagery as it is a rejection for what he’s supposed to project into the world, in return for his own blend of truth. His deep dive (don’t ever pardon my puns) into his emotions continues, and we can’t wait for what he reaps in return -- and for a full EP soon, please.

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