Dance

How U.K. Producer Diamond Eyes Returned to Music After Sickness, Abuse and the Deaths of His Best Friends

Diamond Eyes
Daniel Alexander Harris

Diamond Eyes

In 2015, U.K. producer Diamond Eyes dropped "Stay With Me," a collaboration with The Voice contestant -- and Diamond Eyes' best friend -- Christina Grimmie. The next year, Grimmie was gone, after being shot at a concert in Orlando on June 10, 2016. She was just 22 years old.

This tragedy came amidst a series of other major setbacks for the producer born Joshua Marment, with another close friend passing away shortly thereafter due to health complications and Marment himself stuck in an abusive relationship and also coming down with a glandular flu that left him incapacitated. 

While Marment's career had gotten major traction in the early 2010s with his dubstep singles and EPs like Night Life getting rinsed by genre royalty like Skrillex, these traumas left Marmentt not only creatively uninspired, but emotionally devastated. He sank into a period of intesnse grief, depression and mourning, with his musical output slowing to a trickle.

In time, however, Marment turned to therapy, using this work -- along with the healing power of music -- to come out the other side of his trauma. His latest track "Gravity" serves as an homage to both Grimmie and the emotional evolution he's made in the years since her death. Out this past Friday (Jan. 19) via indie label NCS, the song is a soaring future bass anthem with Marment's voice singing about the weight of his emotions and how he ultimately decided not to say goodbye. Hear "Gravity" below. 

Here, Marmontt discusses the tragedies that affected his career and how music helped create a path out of this darkness. 

Tell us about the series of setbacks you experienced, and how they affected your ability to make music.

I was hit with a flurry of setbacks around 2016 -- most notably, I lost my best friend Christina Grimmie, who lost her life due to being shot, and my best friend Harvey due to health reasons. At the time I was also in a toxic and abusive relationship, which I decided to walk out on. Even going through these events, I always created music -- I must’ve created over 80 drafts and demos, which when I look back, was nuts. It was family, friends and music that got me through those times.

What was your lowest point, and how did you pull yourself out of it?

My lowest point was when I realized I wasn’t strong enough to carry the weight of my friends' deaths and the toxic relationship aftermath on my own. I decided to reach out to a therapist specializing in CBT [cognitive behavioral therapy] to guide me to triggers and to teach me how to deal with my health. It was a really beautiful time; imagine it like a big clean up in your home, just pulling everything out that you didn’t even know existed. Whilst it was exhausting emotionally, the end result of having a ‘"clean home" gave me a feeling of peace I never knew I could achieve.

How did music help you through this healing process? 

In broad terms, music was and is like a second therapy. There would be times where I felt overwhelmed and tired, which is when the works of Adam Young of Owl City would make his way to my ears. Then there were angry times where the soaring vocals of Oli Sykes from Bring Me the Horizon and Spencer Sotelo from Periphery would connect with me. I’d be screaming my lungs out to "Avalanche" and "Scarlett" driving down a rain-soaked road. Other times, I’d feel content and adventurous, so the nostalgic and smokey synths from The Midnight would guide me through the 1 a.m. drives with the windows open.

Why call the new track Gravity? What does the song say about where you're at in your life and career?

I landed on the name Gravity when I was writing the hook, and in that time I felt this lifting of heaviness from my chest. It felt akin to being weightless and free from everything that was overwhelming me at the time. I feel like to everyone who listens to Gravity will get the raw and real emotions. That's where I am right now -- going through life just the same as you guys and everyone else -- and when I write and produce records, they’re an extension of my life. They’re real, and there is always a piece of me in every song. I hope to move forward in my career and grow so one day I can reach a wider scope of guys and girls who need a voice.

Given everything that's happened, how do you stay uplifted and inspired? 

I’m human just like you, so I struggle and fall some days. What I do is remember my friends and loved ones that aren’t with me any longer and fight for them. When Christina died, my late grandfather told me, “Josh, now is the time to pick Christina's banner up and charge forward holding up her name and everything you believe in." 

What do you want to say to people out there who are struggling?

Guys and girls, you’re stronger than you will ever know and more brave and incredible than any superhero. Own your weaknesses and find strength where you must. Scream your heart out to songs that make you feel on top of the world. It's also okay to breakdown, just be sure to get back up. Live your life, because whilst its ending is certain, your time now can be beautiful and filled with wonder, love, adventure and so much more.