Melbourne trio Diploid are one of the most interesting bands to emerge from the Australian underground in recent years. Their new album, Everything Went Red, compellingly encapsulates the band’s eclectic approach, mixing elements of punk, grind, black metal, sludge, doom, power violence, screamo, noise and more. UB spoke to Reece Prain (bass, vocals, sampler, noise, tape loops).
Live your sets are typically short and relentless, but some of your recordings, most notably the almost 15 minute long piece I Can No Longer Drag My Body Across This Earth, are more protracted. Do you view live shows and studio recordings as two very separate things? i.e., you don’t necessarily feel the need to recreate live what you’ve produced as a recording?
I tend to view the two as separate, mainly because our recordings include more instrumentation than we can produce live. As in regards to that release, we have all jammed improvised sets and noise jams together for years now; we used to release them under the name Muddy Lawrence, we’ve even performed under that name a couple times doing noise and improv performance. So we typically do our fast punk stuff as Diploid and droney/noise stuff as Muddy Lawrence.
Did the use of a sampler, ‘noise’, tape loops, a noise machine and a drum machine on Everything Went Red change your approach to the song writing and/or recording of the album, compared with your older releases? If so, in what way?
The drum machine and tape loops added a whole different dynamic to the songs. While both are very brief on this record, they added more sounds and different ways to approach songs writing on this record; we are definitely going to bringing them in more for future releases. As for the sampler, we’ve had samples in our songs since our first EP, but now we are able to translate that into live performance way easier; for a short while I did the samples off of my phone, which always ended in technical difficulties, even once getting a text message and it buzzing over the PA.
Did you put the album’s songs and the track order together with the intention from the outset that it would work as a whole, as a cohesive piece of work? Was there a certain overall feeling or atmosphere that the band was trying to convey?
This record is basically in four parts; I see it as track 1-3 as part 1, track 4-8 as part 2, track 9-12 as part 3 and track 13-14 as part 4. While the record isn’t a concept album, its general themes are about death, personality disorders, problems outside of one’s control and mental deterioration/illness. Basically we wanted to make a heavy grim record that incorporates a lot of different styles; after each release we always talk about how it should’ve been heavier and noisier. While those aspects have improved, it’s something we are still working on.
Melbourne arguably has the healthiest underground music scene (and music scene in general) in Australia. Do you have any theories as to why that is?
I think it’s because we have lots of places and bars to play at; many bars through Melbourne have shows nearly every night of the week, with all varieties in sizes, so you don’t have to have a massive fan base to book them out. However, this is only if you’re 18 and over, I think it is lacking in easily accessible AA venues. When we started we would only ever play at this community centre in Thornbury called Loophole, mainly because we were young, were pretty bad and not many people would come to see us (our friends stopped coming to our gigs fairly quickly). So while the scene is amazing, we do lack in AA places, which I feel is definitely slowing down any new young bands coming into Melbourne’s music scene.
What do you enjoy the most and the least about being in a band?
I enjoy creating music and putting out records, performing and travelling. It’s also a project that I can work towards that I really love. I also really enjoy playing with Maz and Scotto, both are amazing people and amazing musicians. One dislike is just sometimes getting too stressed out over things. In the past 15 months we’ve released 2 LPs, 2 tapes, 2 split records, done two Aussie tours and toured Japan and Korea. So in amongst that I got pretty stressed out sometimes ha ha.
Beyond the current run of album launch shows in Australia, what plans does the band have and/or what are you hoping might eventuate?
We’ve got a couple shows in Melbourne in the coming year, we are also playing a couple of gigs in Tassie for the first time! We also want to tour Europe, but money is a bit tight at the moment, so we will see how we go. We also have a collaborative release with Biles in the works and hopefully will follow that up with an EP or possibly an LP depending on finances and the writing process.
Everything Went Red is out now through Black Wire Records/Art As Catharsis.
December 9 – 21 Maude Lane, Marrickville, Sydney (all ages)
December 10 – Urge Records, Wollongong (all ages)
December 11 – The Yarra Hotel, Melbourne (as noise act ‘All Cats Go To Heaven’)