Chrissy: How did you all meet?
Piera : After playing in several bands and being the only girl, I decided I wanted to start a girl band. I met Mia through her brother who was in the band Glass Machines with my husband back in 2014. I mentioned to the guys if they knew any female musicians, and Mia’s brother mentioned her and gave me her number. We practiced a few days later and have been playing together ever since! I met Jess at Mia’s birthday party shortly after and was drawn to her after hearing her sing happy birthday in harmony. After we found out she also played drums and wanted to join us, we had a trial practice and the rest was history!
Jess: I met Mia through my boyfriend and our mutual friends. She told me she was playing with Piera and later Mia’s brother played me a recording of theirs and I told him I’d be interested in playing drums with them.
Chrissy: Are you all originally from Rhode Island?
Mia: I am originally from Bristol, Rhode Island.
Piera: Mia and Jess are. I was born in Italy and was raised in Long Island & Brooklyn, NY.
Jess: Piera’s the multi-cultured one.
Chrissy: What do you all play? Whats your background in music?
Mia: I play guitar, and my background in music comes from growing up in a rock n’ roll family where everyone plays an instrument. I was raised on the Beatles, Wilco/Uncle Tupelo, and older stuff like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, and the Grateful Dead. My Uncles have all been in a band playing roadhouse/classic rock since the mid 70’s. In my family it only makes sense to follow in the family footsteps and play in a band.
Piera: Mia plays guitar and sings. Jess plays drums, guitar and sings. I play cello, guitar, drums, synth, & sing. I’ve been playing cello since I was 8 years old, guitar since I was in HS, & singing forever! I have a Masters & Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education from URI & SUNY Stony Brook.
Jess: As for me, I’ve wanted to express myself musically since I was a child. For years I kept it mostly to myself and only played with others non seriously until I joined Tiny Diamond.
Chrissy: Your first self-titled album came out in 2016 and then you immediately launched Light Codes in 2017. I read on your self-titled that each song was recorded in ONE TAKE! That’s impressive, is that how you typically like to work?
Mia: I know I would rather track out songs in the studio. After tracking Light Codes, that’s my preferred method. One take recordings are fine in a pinch though.
Piera: Well, we did it in one take because that’s all we could do with what we had to work with! It was nice because we were able to finish a 7 song EP in one day! However, recording at the studio was definitely my preferred method
Jess: On our first album we recorded each track live in one take. On our second album we were able to record all the instruments together live (save for a few overdubs) and then layer on the vocals
Chrissy: Did you record both albums at Newcastle Sound in Barrington, RI? What do you like about that studio?
Piera: The first EP was recorded in my basement! “Light Codes” was recorded at Newcastle Sound. The studio was great to work in, but what was best was working with our sound engineer/producer Mikey Bullister. He was a real asset to “Light Codes.” He had great ideas and was incredibly easy to work with.
Mia: I liked the low key vibe of the studio, but really, I think that the feeling came more from Mikey. He was integral in the process and helped us to get a great, full sounding recording.
Jess: We loved it. It was a cozy little studio that suited our needs. And Mikey was amazing.
Chrissy: Tiny Diamond has been a band for 4 years now, reflecting back, how have you all grown together and what do you hope for in the future?
Mia: We are sisters. We work together, we rock together, and we go through life together. We have been through it all at this point: relationships, vans overheating on tour, babies, degrees, careers, you name it – we are always there for each other. I can’t imagine not having my girls by my side to go through life with.
Piera: Mia said it best, we’ve been through it all and are closer than ever. We all know each other’s strengths especially when it comes to creating, writing, and performing music. We are really supportive of each other’s ideas and songs we each bring to the table. For the future, I hope we make a music video, record a full album, and tour again!
Jess: We’ve grown a lot as a band and as friends. I think we tend to put our friendship first but our friendship is very intertwined with this project. It’s great to have a group of friends who support your creativity and make things happen.
Chrissy: Were you in different bands before you came together in this project?
Mia: I was in one little band that never got off the ground, but at that time I had major stage fright and anxiety issues. It really wasn’t until I started making my music with other women that I gained any confidence in my music and writing abilities.
Piera: I was in the band “Something Red” a year or two before Tiny Diamond.
Jess: Mia and Piera were. I was mostly recording my songs on my own and occasionally playing drums with friends for fun.
Chrissy: What fuels a lot of your lyrics?
Mia: My personal experience influences my lyrics. Throughout my whole life I have always been an outsider, hanging on the fringe of what’s considered “hip” and “cool.” I have never gotten much attention as a person and I have always used that as fuel for my songs. I hope to reach other folks who don’t fit in, or feel a little weird, or are sometimes hung up on their personal issues and anxieties. My songs are dedicated to all the fringe dwelling underdogs out there, you are my people.
Jess: For me personally, whatever is moving me to action when I sit down to write. Sometimes I’m compelled by emotions, sometimes ideas. I’m just listening to my inner struggle and giving it a voice.
Chrissy: In today’s political climate do you feel a pressure to address your personal opinions in your music?
Mia: I am a loud, liberal, Irish girl who was raised to tell people my opinions. The current political climate is only throwing gasoline on the fire that is my inability to shut up.
Piera: I don’t write songs about my opinions per se but I do write about my feelings (that can definitely reflect my opinion). Hence the song “Anxious” I wrote in 2016 haha!
Jess: I think we do, but not always in an obvious way. Most of our songs contain our opinions others maybe purely emotions.
Chrissy: Who are some of your favorite PVD bands right now?
Mia: As a kid who came up in the local punk scene, my favorite bands are the loud ones. I always have to shout out my boys Echo Rider, who are tearing it up in PVD right now. I’m also really grooving to You are My Only Friend, and I always love the folk punk vibes of the Adjuncts.
Chrissy: What do you love about Providence and how do you involve yourself in the community beyond music?
Mia: I have been involved with the local scene for well over a decade at this point. I always love how close knit we all are. I do think that the coverage of the scene has been more biased lately as far as what bands get more attention, but we are all still here. Providence has always been a welcoming place for outsiders, and that has never changed, in spite of what you read. There are many local bands that deserve to be heard and written about, but you still will only hear about a few if your reading the “papers,” or whatever platform these people are still on. Dig! Dig for the stuff you haven’t heard of yet!
Piera: Love all of the arts, culture, architecture, and people throughout Providence. I vote at every election, teach music lessons to children in Providence, and support small businesses every day!
Jess: It’s our home. We live here and work here. We’re invested in trying to make it as great as its potential. We vote, we support local music, art, business etc.
Chrissy: And for the win! What’s a piece of advice that has always stayed with you?
Mia: My high school journalism teacher, Mr. Jackson always used to tell us: “Speed and Accuracy. Accuracy first.” I think about that at least five times every day.
Piera: “I never practice, I always play.” Wanda Landowska
Jess: Anything Buddhist.
Interview by Chrissy Stewart
Photo credit : Scott Pacheco