Despite having a band name that may repel some, Diarrhea Planet are a band that you want to know about. The Nashville, Tennessee outfit come from a tight knit scene that has helped raise one another to new heights. With four guitar players, high energy performances, and just the right amount of both punk and pop, Diarrhea Planet are consistently pushing themselves – and their hard work pays off. With their newest album Turn to Gold due out this June on Infinity Cat, Northern Transmissions caught up with bassist Mike Boyle to get a sense for how the boys were feeling coming into it’s release.
Northern Transmissions: My first question is one that I’m sure has been asked many times – how did the name Diarrhea Planet come to be?
Mike Boyle: That’s kind of the thing where you start a band, you name it, and you don’t think much about it. We were all in different bands at that time and this was just one we were kind of doing for fun. Now we’re still doing it and I still don’t even think about it unless someone asks what’s the name of the band and I’m like “Diarrhea Planet” and then you think “Oh, that’s kind of a funny thing to say” but for the most part it’s just a name. It’s not something we think about.
NT: Your third album Turn to Gold is due out this summer through Infinity Cat Recordings. What can you tell us about the upcoming release? How does it fare to it’s predecessor I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams?
MB: We recorded it with Vance Powell so the production is a lot different. It’s cleaner, it’s heavier. I guess as far as the songs go, it’s kind of the same. We have a lot of songs that are heavier than our previous releases and we also have some that are a lot more mid-tempo. I think that the previous two releases were much more straight forward like okay here’s this guitar part, here’s this tapping solo over it, that’s what you’re listening for. This one’s a little bit denser and there’s a little bit more to listen for. Everything won’t jump out at you all at once, like I think the previous ones were.
NT: You guys have been with Infinity Cat for a while now, right?
MB: Yeah we’ve done two full-lengths with them and two EP’s, and they re-released our first EP Aloha as well.
NT: That’s great. How has your experience been working with them? It seems like they’re a pretty close kind of family of the Nashville scene.
MB: Yeah it’s been amazing, really. To be honest, growing up, I grew up in Nashville and I thought all the Infinity Cat bands were the coolest bands. Now we get to be a part of that and know all those people and they’ve been so good to us. JEFF the Brotherhood specifically has taught us a lot about how to be a band and how to tour, how to put out records, how to go from playing local shows to getting on the road and putting stuff out.
NT: I was going to mention your relationship with JEFF the Brotherhood and Turbo Fruits as well. I know that’s all a tight kind of scene.
MB: It’s definitely changed over the years because a lot of those bands tour now and when everyone’s on the road, everyone’s not seeing each other all the time. The tight knit group that used to be all those local bands – we aren’t playing together as much. We would all be playing the same venues several times a week, the same shows, and see each other all of the time. Now that everyone’s on the road all the time, that’s a lot different. I think that there’s a new group in Nashville of people who are doing that. We see some of that but again, because we’re gone, it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on at home.
NT: You say that JEFF the Brotherhood took you under their wing in a way, and influenced you a lot. It seems like you guys are doing that now with Music Band, which is pretty cool.
MB: Yeah absolutely. I’m actually in the Music Band van right now. They’ve been killing it. It’s been really great to have them out with us on this tour. We did one in November with them as well and it’s been refreshing to have some friends from home with us.
NT: You guys are known for your high energy shows and your onstage antics. What would you say the most important part of the live performance is?
MB: I think a lot of it has to do with how many of us are up there and how much is going on. I think there’s a lot of people to watch, a lot to listen for, and it’s loud. All of that together makes the whole experience.
NT: Definitely. You have a six-piece lineup with four guitar players, so it’d be a full stage for sure.
MB: Yeah, I think people who come and show up for the show and don’t know that ahead of time kind of wonder how is this going to work? A lot of the times it’ll be on a stage where we don’t actually fit. That can be kind of comical, initially.
NT: What was your most memorable performance at SXSW this year?
MB: The Infinity Cat party at Barracuda was really fun, just because we played with a lot of our friends. We’ve played at Barracuda several times. It used to be Red 7 and now it’s Barracuda. That place is always fun, just getting to see the people we’re used to being around. The Do512 party we played outside at Barracuda and that was also really fun. Just playing outside is always nice, especially when you get a crowd.
NT: Who was the best act that you managed to catch in between your hectic schedule?
MB: I saw Charles Bradley and I was very happy to see him. I play bass, so watching that bass player was pretty mind blowing. I don’t play bass anything like him, but that guy is incredible.
NT: How is it being the bassist up there, holding it down amongst four guitarists?
MB: It’s fun! I think Ian (drummer) and I kind of just get to hang out, hold it down and watch all of the guitar antics, watch them run around and climb on stuff. Half the time, we’ll be looking at each other and laughing while one of them is climbing on something, or making a face at someone in the crowd.
NT: It’s a good point-of-view for you to have. Who designs your album artwork?
MB: For Turn to Gold, Emmett, our guitar player, came up with the initial design and then he and our drummer, Ian, kind of finished it up together. The first two we did, we had Perry Shall do. I think he did a good job in keeping some sort of continuity in the aesthetic of how they looked. This is a little bit different, but it kind of has the same idea.
interview by Ava Muir