After debuting in 2009, Nashville sextet Diarrhea Planet has quickly made a name for themselves as one of the premier live bands in the country.
After debuting in 2009, Nashville sextet Diarrhea Planet has quickly made a name for themselves as one of the premier live bands in the country. Fueled by strong word of mouth off of exuberant recordings and ridiculous live performances, the band’s star has steadily grown each year since their first EP back in 2009 entitled Aloha! quickly became a sleeper hit. When you have a band as technically sound as they are, while also having the mindset to cover Third Eye Blind and prank each other mid-show, it’s one of the few times you can see the appeal of a band just by reading about them.
This Thursday, Diarrhea Planet returns to Richmond for their first show at The Broadberry alongside Richmond favorites Toxic Moxie and Lightfields. Before the show, we chatted with Emmett Miller about the band’s practice regimen, South By Southwest experience, Richmond memories, and more.
What’s new with the band since we last saw you?
Well, I just renewed our van’s registration, got our tags, passed emissions with flying colors, and made it through the county clerk with no interruption or line. Seriously though, we’ve been writing, but it’s been slow going. We tend to write pretty slowly. We’re looking to be in the studio late this summer and hopefully have our next LP out by winter.
That’s a pretty quick turnaround.
Yeah, we were pretty quick with the last EP, Aliens In The Outfield. We had all of that tracked in about two days I think. Mixing was kind of a different story because we were kind of bouncing back between two different studios. Other than that, we work pretty quickly. It’s been great working with Vance Powell and Ed Spear over at Sputnik Sound. They can mix so quickly – their turnaround is unbelievable so that’s great. They just moved over to a new studio so we’re very excited to work with them again. As far as the record goes, being label-mates with JEFF The Brotherhood again is really going to push us to step up our game. We’re going to look to make an album that can hang with their new release, Wasted On The Dream. Definitely looking to make another big rock record.
So up until this tour, it seemed like you guys we’re keeping it relatively quiet. What do you try to do when you’re at home?
We try to do as little as possible when we’re home. Kidding, of course.
Well, for some bands, that can be kind of true.
We definitely go into recovery mode for a little bit, where we all go under the radar for a little bit. Like radio silence and all. But now that we’re getting into the zone again, we’re gearing up physically to be ready to go on the road. Trying to take care of ourselves, eat right, get plenty of sleep. I’ve been working with our drummer Ian [Bush] and we’ve been doing some metronome practice, kind of fine tuning some stuff here and there.
I cannot recommend metronome practice enough. Rather than practice until you get it right, we practice until you can’t get it wrong. It’s important especially with four guitar players. We weren’t able to get as tight as we are until we started doing metronome practice where we would all walk into the drummer with a metronome on and he would just stay put his tempo. He wasn’t going to shift at all. Even if we’re all over the place, we had to lock into him. We had to do that over and over again as we raised the tempo until it’s just second nature or we could do it in our sleep. We started doing that kind of early on. We hadn’t been doing it as much, but now that we’re getting back on the road, we’re revisiting stuff and fine tuning things.
Anything new or crazy planned for this current tour?
We always try to bring a little something to a tour, whether it’s some covers or a few new tunes, and we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves for this one for sure. But yeah, always trying to look to grow as a band and always trying to bring a little bit more intensity to each show. We may not be back home until May, I’d have to check my schedule again. This is a long one – we haven’t been out for a month in at least a year. It will be good to be back in the swing of things. After we released I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, we were on the road all summer long and through the winter so we’ve been back this whole time and getting a little stir crazy. I’m excited to get back out again. It’s going to be good for everybody.
I know you guys just did South By Southwest and you’re veterans of it at this point. What changes about the festival have you noticed since your first time there?
One thing I’ve noticed, I think our second time there, about 2012 or maybe 2013… I’m caught in a time warp, sorry. Anyway, our second time there, every show, we could feel the intensity build and we could feel the buzz – it was a very tangible thing. We would play a show and go nuts and try to do something crazier than the show before. More and more people would show up. We would arrive at the venue and it’d be kind of empty and we’d be kind of nervous like, “Oh, I hope people show up.” Right before we played, all these people showed up. We had a big word of mouth thing that we could really feel, and seeing people turn up and then disappear right after we play in typical festival fashion.
Last year and this year, I get the impression that people already know what bands they want to see so it’s not so much about discovering bands that are out there cutting their teeth, but just kind of getting to see the bands that are all in the same place. It’s kind of a mixed bag. I certainly can’t complain because we have so many people that know the kind of show, know the kind of intensity we bring and are going to come out to see us no matter what, so we’ve got that in our pocket. That’s definitely a privilege and we’re very excited to be back. At the same time, it can make it harder for the up and coming bands that are still under the radar and are still out there trying to get discovered.
As you guys have grown and are doing longer tours with more cities, I imagine your road schedule has gotten a bit more hectic, right?
Yeah, but it definitely feels like hurry up and wait most of the time. Trying to wake up in time, get some breakfast, go to the gas station, hurry up and drive, wait in the van, rush to get to the venue, load in, and then wait for the show. We don’t have a lot of time to explore the town, but when we do it’s always a treat. It kind of depends on where we are. Recently, we went down to New Orleans and had some time to kick back, and that was a blast. Just so cool. We have some friends down in the city too so we got to explore a little bit. We’ve done some stuff here and there, but for the most part, especially if we’re in New York or LA, we have so much going on that we don’t have time to kick back and enjoy the city.
With not getting to see a lot of cities, do you have any fond memories of Richmond, since you guys have played here at least three or four times now?
Yeah! I think it was maybe our third time in the city, we played Strange Matter with Titus Andronicus. That was so much fun. Just a blast and completely sold out. I remember seeing people all the way to the back walls by the arcades. So much fun. Richmond is one of those cities where we usually have some downtime. I love walking around that neighborhood by Strange Matter. There’s a great Korean restaurant across the street – by the way, that’s my idea of getting to explore. “Oh man, I got to walk across the street.” I remember one time in Richmond, there was a festival. I’m trying to remember – it was in a park down by the river near downtown. Our friends from Nashville, Kopecky Family Band, were playing so we got there early.
Had to have been Friday Cheers.
I think so, but I’m not sure – I couldn’t remember the name. That was a blast though. We rolled up to the festival and we weren’t able to get on any of lists or anything so we just told them we were Kopecky Family Band and they were like, “Oh man, you guys got a sound check right now!” Without missing a beat, we just said, “You’re right! Where do we need to go?” He pointed us and we just walked on through. I think that was over the summer – just gorgeous and we got to see a lot of Richmond that visit.
Just one more question. I know you guys have a lot of fun on stage while rocking out, but what are some ways you make sure to have fun while on the road or during shows?
Oh, I feel like we’re constantly messing with each other on stage. Recently, we have a sabotage game called tone-knobbing. If somebody’s in the middle of a solo, you got to sneak up behind them and roll their tone knob back so it sounds like a jazz guitar or try and de-tune a couple of strings. So yeah, we’re constantly messing with each other. The other one, I don’t know the name of the game. It’s the one where you make the okay symbol and if you hold it below your waist, you try and get people to look at it. I try and always get the front row that way. We’ve had some other stuff – like some breaks in song where it’s just Jordan [Smith] singing and Evan [Bird] and I will do a round of rock, paper, scissors or something like that. Most of the time, we’re just trying to think of stuff in the moment that might be funny and if it’s a hit, we’ll build it in so by the end of the tour, we’ve got a lot of jokes going on to make it fun and different. You got to have fun, otherwise what’s the point?
Diarrhea Planet plays The Broadberry this Thursday night supported by Charlottesville’s Left & Right and Richmond’s Lightfields and Toxic Moxie. Tickets are $12 and you can find out more information by clicking here.