Concordia’s Diamond Tree

Concordia student from local band releases second EP album 

Concordia is home to numerous talented musicians, and David Tone, the front man of Diamond Tree, is a force to be reckoned with. Currently majoring in journalism, he is the writer, singer and guitarist of the alternative rock group.The band’s second EP, The Will to Evolve was released on Sept. 3. Alongside Tone, band members include Guillaume Lavigne on drums, Marc-Antoine Guay-Rochon on keyboard and Samuel Robinson on bass guitar.

Every musician has a story to tell, a journey that has brought them and their music to where they are right now. For Tone, it began halfway across the world.

In 2009, Tone signed up for an exchange volunteer program with Canada World Youth, an international volunteer organization. He travelled to Mozambique, Africa where he stayed with a host family for three months. He volunteered in the flood prevention department to minimize the flooding situation in Mozambique. It was on that trip that Tone started to sing and write songs. “The trip gave me so much to sing about and write about, I also had more time to sit down and compose lyrics,” said Tone. When he returned back home, Tone recorded the songs that he had composed in Africa and created his first solo record called The Demos.

Tone met Lavigne at Ottawa’s Bluesfest in 2012. “I just remember seeing him in a tie-dye shirt and I was like, ‘this guy’s cool.’” They hit it off right away. In fact, Lavigne and Tone began jamming together on a regular basis, with Lavigne playing drums to Tone’s songs.They soon became known as Electric Elephant, and even played a few shows in Ottawa during the summer of 2013.

Yet Tone couldn’t shake the feeling that there were greater musical opportunities outside of Ottawa. When a friend from the Mozambique trip invited him to come live in Montreal, he couldn’t refuse. “The music scene is so much better in Montreal [and] there are more opportunities here,” he said. Lavigne moved to the city a couple months later, and the two of them continued to create music together. “If there’s anything that I want to be known, it’s that I’m really fortunate to be working with this guy. He’s my partner in crime and he brings good ideas to the band” said Tone about Lavigne.

The duo had to change their band name since Electric Elephant was already an established band in Iceland. They became known as Diamond Tree. “We wanted something that sounded natural,” said Tone about the name change. “Trees are soothing and calming, kind of like the ocean. We also wanted a name that represents nature and technology because they are both the most vital things that we have.”

Concordia student, Dave Tone is the singer, songwriter and guitarist of Diamond Tree. Photo by Martine Ouellet.

Diamond Tree released their first EP on May 8, 2015, which was produced by Tone and Lavigne. Lavigne played the drums and the percussions while Tone sang and played bass guitar. The album was a success, it received quite a few downloads and donations. However, Tone was not satisfied with the overall production of the audio.

Over the course of eight months, Tone took singing lessons. He had also started busking in the metro for two to three hours, three to four times a week, as of October 2013. Eventually, Rochon, their keyboard player came into the picture. They met Rochon through a mutual friend and started to jam together. “Marc-Antoine has a jazz background which adds a lot of interesting elements to our sound. He plays a lot of cool chords, he’s a very jazzy guy,” said Tone.

When their second EP, The Will to Evolve was released on Sept. 3, Tone heard a huge improvement in terms of sound and vocals. The album was mixed by Philippe Da Silva, their mixing engineer, which Tone said payed off for them. “The results show, because [the second EP] sounds so much better,” he said. He is also proud to say that a part of Montreal is included in their song “Sailor Swim.” They recorded church bells from the Anglican Church of St-James the Apostle, which can be heard at the very end of the track.

The trio were then desperately seeking a bassist, “I had put up signs all over Montreal, spoke to every person I saw walking around with a bass case and would ask them if they had a band,” said Tone. Fortunately, the band met Robinson after the release of their second EP. They met up to play music at Crowbar where they have jam nights and played music together. “Samuel is the coolest guy on earth; he’s a very talented bassist. I am so lucky to be working with these guys, they all want this band to succeed” said Tone.

Diamond Tree’s music is about the human condition: “love, success, failure, pain and pleasure” is what Tone mostly writes about in his songs. “We’re all about rock and roll and high energy. When we get on stage, we just rock out as much as we can. Playing music is a way to open up and have fun,” said Tone.

The band is already getting ready to release a couple of projects in the near future. “I’ll be launching the longest project I’ve ever worked on—for three years—  in December. It has to do with busking and an empty Texas Mickey’s [bottle] of rum.” Tone’s ultimate goal as a musician is to tell a story through his music. Every lyric that he writes is profoundly meaningful. To Tone, the most important thing is that people really listen.

Stay tuned for their next show coming up Saturday night on Oct. 8 at L’Escogriffe bar.

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