I N T E R V I E W
Diploid / The World At A Glance
By Chris Yousef
Chris Yousef conducted a double interview, featuring the two Melbourne bands - Diploid and The World At A Glance - who are playing tonight at Biddy's along with Auckland's Markdown and Wizz Kids.
How did the band come together? What was the rubric when initially forming the band?
TWAAG: Both bands were formed in high school, for The World at a Glance it was because we really wanted to play in a band like At The Drive-In and Rites of Spring. I (Scott) had only just picked up the guitar as I was originally a drummer and I really wanted to play in a band like my idols. Our bassist Liam is our second bass player, but was a bright spark to our playing as our first bassist left and we were unsure if it was going to keep going. And we have been playing music ever since!
DIPLOID: We all went to high school together and Scott and I were in TWAAG together. I was massively into punk and hardcore and wanted to do something fast and noisey. We were friends with Mariam and she had been playing guitar for years and was keen to be in a band, so she joined on guitar and vocals. I really wanted to do duel vocals similar to F-Minus and Nausea so that's where the idea for having dual vocalists came from.
What are the ideas and politics which motivate your band?
TWAAG: We aren't an overly political band in terms of lyrical content, but we strongly believe in supporting marginalised people in and around our scene, including acknowledging the rightful custodians of the stolen land of Australia that we perform on.
DIPLOID: Same as above really. Our guitarist Mariam is mixed race, her father is from Tunisia, and in Australia recently there has been a lot of Islamaphobia in parliament and attacks on Muslims, so it's definitely something she is vocal about.
What themes or subject matter do your lyrics revolve around?
TWAAG: usually around dreams and how the subconscious plays such a heavy part in influencing who you are and what you do. There is also quite a heavy science fiction theme, as we are all fans of various space related films, books, TV shows. We tend to use those as metaphors in our lyrics to describe how we feel. Like most people we all suffer a form of mental illness and using these metaphors helps us articulate how we feel and relate to the world around us.
DIPLOID: Our lyrics tend to focus on negative and dark aspects of life. Usually focusing on horrible people or terrible events in history. We also write a lot about feminism and sexism in our society and in recent history. We also have a lot of songs about mental illness and it's impact on your life and how it can make the simplest of tasks impossible. We have a few personal songs about different things that have happened in our lives, but yeah, we don't tend to write about positive things.
What inspired the latest Diploid album?
DIPLOID: Mariam and I watched Snowtown together, which is a filmed based off of the Snowtown murders which happened in Adelaide during the 90s. After watching it and studying other serial killers and other horrific things, which happens to be a personal interest for us both, we couldn't help but feel negativity towards a lot of society, we decided to write an album about a lot of these stories and the lead up to these events. We in no way endorse or glorify the behaviour by the people we have written about, but it's really interesting to think about and talk about some of the horrific things humans are capable of.
Which bands past and present have influenced your songwriting?
TWAAG: At our core we have always been influenced by post-hardcore bands like At The Drive-In, but recently we have also slowly been incorporating a wider range of influences into our sound, such as Godspeed, You! Black Emperor, Tera Melos, The Blood Brothers, Melt-Banana and Envy.
DIPLOID: Our influences change pretty regularly, Mariam and I are always looking for new music, but a few major ones are: Iron Lung, Bongripper, In/Humanity, F-Minus, Extortion, Neil Perry, Black Flag, Discordance Axis, Useless Children and Infinite Void.
Is there any music which you’ve discovered recently and would recommend?
DIPLOID AND TWAAG: Just yesterday we saw HEX and Hollywood Fun Downstairs, we all thought they were amazing. Definitely check them out. Between all of us this is what we've been listening to lately: Angel Olsen, Stockades, SECT, Mort Garson, Friendships, Jay Reatard, Leviathan, Iron Lung, Oathbreaker, The Body, Full Of Hell, Courtney Barnett, Crass, ANOHNI, Useless Children, Clipping, Melt Banana, Animal Collective and Infinite Void.
What have been your best or most interesting playing/touring experiences as a band so far?
TWAAG: probably the most interesting was touring South East Asia, everything is really legit there. They absorb punk into every part of their being, and the shows were nuts because of that. It's so cool and refreshing to see how dedicated people are to their scenes in places like Malaysia and Indonesia. They are beautiful and unique countries as well, it was a great time.
DIPLOID: Same as above
Which Melbourne bands do you most enjoy playing with/seeing live?
TWAAG: bands like Shiny Coin, Stockades, Infinite Void, Two Steps On The Water, Hideous Towns and Fourteen Nights At Sea and Celiac are bands we always like to see and hear! There are heaps more but we've drawn a blank because there are so many good bands.
DIPLOID: We play with Sick Machine a lot, they are great PV band. Some of our favourite local bands are: Umbilical Tentacle, Internal Rot, Whitehorse, Manhunt, Scab Eater, Older Men, Shiny Coin and Mutton.
Is there a place you haven’t played yet which you would really like to?
DIPLOID: We really want to take Diploid everywhere we can. We will most likely be hitting up Japan and South Korea next year, we really want to go back to South East Asia and maybe even hit up Nepal and Vietnam. We also want to go to the USA, Europe and South America. If anyone reading this can help us out, please contact us! We're just trying to do as much as we can before we get proper full time jobs and have mortgages to pay off.
TWAAG: We'd love to play Japan! We have friends who have toured there and it looks amazing. But same as above really, if anyone can help us out with booking and whatnot please let us know!
Other than playing shows, is there anything else you particularly want to do while you’re in New Zealand?
TWAAG AND DIPLOID: Scott and Liam are only here for 5 days so we're going to fit as much sightseeing as we can. There will probably be a fair bit of record buying and eating a lot of vegan food. We want to come back for longer and do some camping. Mariam and Reece are heading to the South Island to go travelling and camping and seeing the amazing landscape!