Nicholas Thorburn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nicholas Thorburn
Islands, Scandic Malmen 2.jpg
Nick Thorburn performing with Islands in Stockholm, 2012.
Background information
Also known asNick Diamonds
Born (1981-11-27) 27 November 1981 (age 40)
Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada
GenresIndie rock, alternative rock, indie pop, lo-fi, electronica, alternative hip hop, hip hop, rock, art rock
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, producer
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, drum machine, percussion, echoplex, recorder, glockenspiel, accordion
Years active2002–present
LabelsRough Trade, ANTI-, Manqué

Nicholas Thorburn (born 27 November 1981), also known by his stage name Nick Diamonds, is a Canadian musician originally from Campbell River. He has fronted numerous bands such as The Unicorns, Th' Corn Gangg, Islands, Reefer, and Human Highway.


Thorburn was born in 1981 in Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada, which he says has influenced his songwriting.[1] Nature, in particular whales, are a subject of interest;[2] his lyrics include references to rivers, swans and frogs. He also had a formative experience in a visit, along with his father, to see the killer whale Luna; his memories of the visit became an influential part of Islands' debut album Return to the Sea.[1]

Thorburn has fronted The Unicorns, Th' Corn Gangg, Islands, Reefer, and Human Highway.[3][4] Thorburn has gone by the stage name "Nick Diamonds."[1][5]

His vocals have been noted as a distinguishing feature of The Unicorns and Islands.[6][7] His production technique involves dark personification over enjoyable music, though he is "usually wary of composing dance tracks."[8] This contrast is observed in his live performance as well.[9]

In 2005, he co-wrote with Adam Gollner the satirical charity song "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?" organizing the collaboration of many artists.[10] He guest performed on Les Savy Fav's 2007 album Let's Stay Friends.[11] Reefer, his collaborative album with producer Daddy Kev as Reefer, was released on Alpha Pup Records in 2008.[12]

Thorburn has made an album with Honus Honus (also known as Ryan Kattner) of the band Man Man: "One thing that has been floated around is Honus Honus from Man Man and I making a record in a new (sub)genre we are developing, called Doom Wop, which is essentially low frequency, and extremely slowed down music atop traditional doo wop harmonies. Or something."[13][14] The project, called Mister Heavenly, also involves drummer Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and The Black Heart Procession and has had actor Michael Cera playing bass on the tour.[15]

He released the solo album, I Am an Attic, on his Bandcamp page in 2011.[16] Thorburn was featured on the 2012 El-P album Cancer 4 Cure, singing the chorus of the track "Stay Down".[17] In 2014, Thorburn composed the theme music and score for the critically acclaimed podcast Serial.[18] In 2015, he released a second solo album titled City of Quartz.[19]



Guest appearances[edit]


Year Title Notes
2012 Only the Young composer
2013 Everyday Is Like Sunday actor
2013 Bitch actor
2013 Drunk History television series; extra[21]
2014 Lennon or McCartney in interview clip
2015 Diamond Tongues actor
2015 That Dog director, writer
2016 Golden Vanity composer
2019 The Ripper (Huluween short) actor

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Van Evra, Jennifer (3 November 2006). "One man's Islands". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. p. R6. ISSN 0319-0714.
  2. ^ Pareles, Jon (11 October 2006). "A Barrage of Calamities Set to a Vintage Soundtrack". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  3. ^ "Nicholas Thorburn Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  4. ^ Home is where the broken heart is for Islands’ Nick Thorburn | National Post
  5. ^ Carew, Anthony (10 December 2004). "Horned wonder". The Age. Melbourne. ISSN 0312-6307. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  6. ^ Jordan Hickey (11 April 2006). "Islands worth a visit". The Maneater. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  7. ^ Jim Withington (12 July 2007). "Up & Coming". The Portland Mercury. Archived from the original on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  8. ^ Ben Breier (5 October 2005). "Islands: All metaphorical, not at all tropical". University Wire. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  9. ^ Lauren Hill (20 October 2006). "Islands' show reveals a disappointing mediocrity". The Johns Hopkins News-Letter. Retrieved 30 December 2007. Out to pick a fight, Diamonds quickly found an audience member to bicker with early in the set. His sulky demeanor contrasted oddly with the band's peppy pop songs.
  10. ^ "Sum 41, The Arcade Fire And Beck Collaborate On Anti-Halloween Single". Chart. Toronto. 22 August 2005. ISSN 1198-7235. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  11. ^ Katie Hasty (21 August 2007). "Les Savy Fav Thinks Big On First Album Since '01". Billboard. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  12. ^ Grandy, Eric (23 October 2008). "Album Review – Reefer: Reefer". The Stranger.
  13. ^ Weiss, Evan (20 October 2009). "Music: "Vapours" by Islands". The Arts Section (blog). Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  14. ^ Charlesworth, Jenny (29 December 2009). "Islands and Man Man Join Forces for 'Doom-Wop' Project". Spinner. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  15. ^ Michaels, Sean (2 December 2010). "Michael Cera joins real-life indie band". The Guardian. London. ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878.
  16. ^ Bevan, David (26 August 2011). "Nick Diamonds: I Am an Attic". Pitchfork Media.
  17. ^ Weiss, Sam (15 October 2012). "Video: El-P f/ Nick Diamonds "Stay Down"". Complex.
  18. ^ "Serial Podcast Website".
  19. ^ "Nick Diamonds: City of Quartz Album Review | Pitchfork". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  20. ^ "The Sting, by Nick Diamonds". Nick Diamonds. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  21. ^ Bell, Mike (25 March 2014). "Islands still floating closely, optimistically towards mainstream success". The Calgary Herald. Retrieved 11 November 2016.

External links[edit]