Sitting down with Cal, lead singer of the supremely riotous Brighton group DITZ, a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere takes hold. As someone better known for their fiery and eclectic stage presence, it feels particularly pertinent to catch Cal as the band settle for some unembellished conversation on their life in the band.
Even during sound check before a show, Cal struts centre stage with his own effeminate and raw confidence, screaming “Check! One! Two!” as the sound engineers hastily tweak the microphone levels. Exuding a Mick Jagger-meets-new-era-rock persona, Cal possesses something that is both rich and authentic in his energy and quirkiness.
This has all built towards Ditz first EP, the wrangling and to the point ‘Five Songs EP’. Boasting all the energy and liberating determination of their live show, the band have channelled their enthusiasm into an intense and undeterred release, new single ‘Role Models’, a prime example of this.
Sitting down, cigarette in hand, he is soft spoken and calm as he opens up about DITZ’s music, a personal soft spot for Coldplay, Leeds as a great place to hang out and the consequences of taking a regular, slow drying towel on tour. He has a quiet tone to his voice, conveying an understated, self-effacing demeanour that comes out most clearly when talking about DITZ and their music.
Do you write the songs yourself, or is it a joint effort?
It is quite collaborative. We pull ideas from whatever. Whoever’s got something that they want to work on, kind of thing. Lyrics are usually something I come up with in practice, it’s pretty even all round.
Do you have an agenda when you write music?
I think the love of music comes first, and then after that is when you start picking up on other songs and emulating those ideas in another way. That’s when you start to think about your own messages, you want to write songs before you talk about things I think. Otherwise you may as well be a writer.
In a parallel world where you have no musical talent, what would you be instead?
Maybe this is that parallel world, I don’t know, maybe we don’t really have that much musical talent. It would have to be something that involves travelling, maybe writing or something to do with film, I think I would enjoy that.
Where’s your favourite place to play live?
Leeds is always brilliant. There’s this place called Mabgate Bleach, it’s hard to describe, it’s like an old industrial park. There are people doing pilates lessons in the units next to you and this rehearsal-room-recording-studio-venue thing. They’ve got a really nice community around it, and we hang around afterwards for ages as well. I could talk about Leeds all day because it’s so good. Probably my favourite city in the UK.
Any guilty pleasures?
I’ve got a really weird soft spot for Coldplay.
What’s that early song of yours – ‘I am Chris Martin’ – all about?
It’s kind of a dig, but at the same time, I find him a funny character. Somebody who is so up themselves in such a weird way. I always worry that other people think it’s genuine, like he’s got this big dick energy – I feel like I’m the only one who sees through him. Which is obviously not true, a lot of people don’t like Coldplay. There’s a really good cover of “Clocks” by Cloud Nothing, an A/B club cover. They play the track out of an iPhone and they’ve got a bunch of keyboards with cat sounds and they just mash it all together – so funny.
Any advice for aspiring artists?
I don’t think I’m in the position to give advice out…Don’t take towels on tour unless they’re quick driers. 50 percent lager, 50 percent apple and mango VK, Surf-and-turf shandy, try it. That’s my best advice.
Ditz release their ‘5 songs’ EP on 30th June via Alcopop. Listen to their new single ‘Role Model’ below.
Words: Charlie Forrest Photography: Aidan Stojsavlevic