Longtime electro-industrial act unleashes its sixth disc, Stitched
By Marisa Demarco
It's No. 1085, the 85th release for Tommy T's DSBP Records. That's a huge number—even without the 10 prefix—for what is essentially a locally run label. Tommy's proud to say that No. 85 is the sixth release for his own band, Diverje, an electro-industrial project that's been around for more than 10 years.
Diverje hosts a revolving cast of members, but these days it’s staffed by Vince Pujol of France and New Zealander Josh Wood. With only an ocean between them, these three communicate by swapping files online and mailing CDs back and forth. "There's a lot of dimensions to Diverje," says Tommy. "It's not a sterilized electronic project that only writes albums."
To give life to his noncorporeal creation, Tommy hired the Vertigo Venus boys, Jeffie and Chris, enlisted Brian Botkiller on Drums and added bassplayer Krissy. For two years, Diverje has done what it could to expand the industrial goth scene beyond Thursday night dance parties and into other clubs. Aside from the well-established goth night at OPM, "in Albuquerque, it's a new and blossoming thing," Tommy says. "A lot of people from here will say, 'You guys don't sound like anybody else.' And I always take that as a compliment, even if they don't mean it as such," he laughs.
Tommy's been doing this stuff since the days of analog—just him and a synth and a couple of friends. He savors electronic music, he says, because it's still uncharted ground. But he admits he can't even listen to his first album because its overall quality wasn't anywhere near where Diverje is now. Diverje, or any electronic project, really, faces a lot of competition in 2007, a playing field suddenly cluttered with teams. "Everybody's got a computer, and everybody's got programs on that computer, so you've got a lot of people that think they can do electronic music." Tommy T doesn't fear the competition, nor is he afraid to look at it as a competition. "I want to be more popular. I want to be known. I want to sell more. And I’ll work for it."
He's deejayed a radio show called "Cyberage" on KUNM 89.9 FM for about 12 years. He hosts for free. It's all part of getting involved and putting your name out there. "A lot of my friends are just musicians. I don't mean to say "just" like a put down, but if you want to make it as a musician, you've got to jump on a lot of other things."
With his label, band and radio show, he's close to being able to make it as a musician full-time, though music as a career isn’t only the party life it might sound like, he says. Diverje enjoys more success out of town than it does in town, and that still doesn't mean fans are snatching the discs up left and right. "The underground is really the underground. We're not selling thousands and thousands of CDs. Sometimes it's like five or 10 at a time. But it all adds up."
Diverje can also boast a fair amount of radio play—but it's all college radio, public radio and Internet radio, he says. Still, Tommy's not twiddling his thumbs waiting for the day mainstream audiences take notice. "Being a single dude and living alone and having all this stuff at your fingertips, at some point, you're like, 'All right, well, this has all happened for a reason, so I'm going to make the most of it.’"
Celebrate the release of Stitched with Diverje at Burt's Tiki Lounge on Tuesday, July 24, with Vertigo Venus and Brian Botkiller. Tommy T's having a second CD release party Aug. 5 with Vertigo Venus and zRam! at Atomic Cantina.
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Erika Wennerstrom • singer-