Photo: Swamp House Photography Click the pic for the Diplazar Facebook Page
One of the funkiest bands ever featured on THE FAT MIX # 5 were stoked when i asked them to answer a few questions for me, we spoke about the Newcastle scene and what goes into their funky fresh sound!
//Can you give us a brief history of the band and releases?//
Sam Madden – We’ve been ‘around’ for a year and a half but we only got really busy over the last 6 months I’d say, our only release is the Someone new EP (Which I tracked, mixed and mastered at my home studio!) but since our setup is completely DIY we can start projects whenever we need to.
Trent Pepper - Well we all have been interested in music before the formation of Diplazar. However, we didn't all meet each other until our first year at university. As we were mates from school I had played before with Oscar, our guitarist. Coincidentally, both Sam, our bassist and Jacob, our drummer, met at the their school and had played together as well. We have so far released one EP entitled "Someone New", with another one in the works which will be called ______ (Name removed for secret reasons) . Of course we plan on recording, producing and realising many more tracks for people to listen to. How did the band originate? Well I was in a high school band with Oscar, but as members finished school and went their separate ways it ended up dissolving. We still wanted to be in a band so I set out finding a bassist and drummer at university and that's when I met Sam. Not knowing what to expect we invited him over to mine that weekend and he comes out with the 6-string bass and Oscar and me look at each other and we have this "wow" expression on our face. We then just started jamming and we just all gelled together. Sam said he knew a drummer and that's how we met Jacob. Jacob rocks up keen as and just sets up his drum kit and starts to playing along perfectly to our first song idea we had, "gold-digger", and like magic the band was complete. Before we know it we had our name, Diplazar, and we're playing a gig.
//How did the band originate?//
Sam Madden – Well Diplazar was basically formed when Trent was running around uni asking everyone if they played bass. I guess not many people did because it took him until the third day to find me, but I wouldn’t say we were a band until I asked Jacob joined a couple of months later, really helped bring the band together.
Jacob Lutton - It started off with our bassist Sam sorta just struttin around uni telling everyone he played a six string, and i guess someone listened, that being Trent our singer. Him, Sam and the most fruciante guy I know Oscar started writing stuff and after trialling a few drummers Sam asked me at our pizza delivery job if I was interested. I said yeah look why not, and here we are.
//What's the first band who made you love music?//
Sam Madden – Gorillaz hands down, the second album Demon Days changed my life, I wouldn’t be playing bass if it wasn’t for it. I really think it helped a lot to be influenced by such a diverse group at a young age, I didn’t have musical stigma and everything was on the table.
Jacob Lutton - There were heaps from all genres, but it'd have to be Tool, that shit is deep and made me listen to music in a new way.
//Who inspires you to make music now?//
Sam Madden – The necessity? Hahaha. I’m trying to make it as a full-time musician, which is always a hard transition for people to make but I honestly couldn’t do anything else with my life, I’m too stubborn to give up on music.
Trent Pepper - Their have been multiple bands which have inspired me to narrow it down to one I find too difficult. I've probably had two main band influences that have led me to path I'm on today. When I was a very young lad I would say my first band that helped me appreciate music was The Beatles ,the band that helped me fully fall In love with music would probably have to be Arctic Monkeys.
Jacob Lutton - I jam Mac DeMarco on the regular now, the DIY attitude and his positive vibes are my jam.
//What are some of the most important things you have learn while being together?//
Sam Madden – Listening is the most important skill, and that none of your band members have the same ideas for the song. Also hugging after arguments or disagreements helps to diffuse any underlying tension!
Trent Pepper - A band is a team so teamwork is essentially, I also strongly believe in compromise making sure everyone gets something you want and that's worked out well so I would say that's another essential component, always chase the opportunities, and hard work and patience cause it's a long road.
Jacob Lutton - That we can only drink AFTER the show, sober band is a tight band
//How do you view your band now as apposed to when you started?//
Sam Madden – When we started we were just trying to understand the logistics of our band, where we sat musically and how to make a diverse originals band work when so many people like to pigeon hole bands. Now however we’re in the grind, playing every show, we can get just trying to win fans over, lucky we do have a small but strong fanbase who keep us going even on bad nights.
Trent Pepper - Better rehearsed definitely. As well, we have a better idea of how to communicate together on stage. We are really starting to learn how to use everyone's strengths in the band when appropriate and we most certainly have more music then before. Plus more people know us which is always a bonus.
Jacob Lutton - We've grown heaps, I'll often look back on all our past videos or photos or whatever and just be like well hot damn look at us now, and it's only been a year and a half, gee whiz.
//What's your favourite venue to play?//
Sam Madden – The Stag and Hunter is super nice to bands and their sound guy Collin just gets our sound. However, the Lass will always be home xoxo
Trent Pepper - So far where we have played I have loved performing at the stag and the hunter in mayfield.
Jacob Lutton - THE LASS O'GOWRIE REPRESENT
//Can you explain what goes on during the writing process?//
Sam Madden – Well we just jam and expand on ideas, everyone has equal input into songs and that’s what makes our sound. Even if people have seed ideas the songs do not end up anywhere near where they started.
Trent Pepper - My brother has a little shack at his house where we record the drums, then Oscar will do his guitar part followed by Sam who will do his bass lines. Lastly I will do my guitar part and vocals. Sam will then have the honor of mixing the components of the tracks and then getting them all ready to be released.
//Can you explain the recording process you go through?//
Sam Madden – Sure, what we’ve done for the Someone New EP and the super-secret new EP is go to my Nans flat, setup the drums in a room, mic’d them with our Ashton microphones (which cost under $400) and hit record. We picked the best drum take and then started layering guitars, bass and vocals (we also don’t use a click track!). Then everyone leaves and I get to mix and master it by myself, thanks guys <3
//What does this release mean to you? //
Sam Madden – This new one is a big step up from our previous work, I think it’s pushed everyone to new areas and expanded what Diplazar sounds like, which is the goal of all our releases. To me it means another step up, being in a band and being as serious as we all are means everything we do next has to improve and progress the band.
Trent Pepper - This release is very important to us as before release people were only able to hear half of our current set online. After this EP comes out, people will have more of us to listen to and will be able to hear it as many times as they like. As well, this is an EP release which is always exciting not to mention it is a second one which marks our progress as a band.
Jacob Lutton - It's refreshing, and gonna be the next level that we've been pushing for. Very keen for everyone to hear it!
//What does the scene mean to you?//
Sam Madden – Without a scene bands can’t exist. Newcastle is really interesting at the moment I think we’ve lost a lot of venues over the last 10 years and that hasn’t made it easy for bands starting out. The Lass and Drone/Hombre were the gate way venues for starting bands to work at until they were ready for the Cambridge for example. Now that Drone doesn’t exist and the Lass is on the other side of the tracks, really closed off from the Newcastle CBD. IDK the scene just seems really disconnected at the moment, luckily the Venom Lips (Formally In Motion) really love our sound and help us out a lot navigating where we should be looking. People Like Alex from Zappo (R.I.P.), the Newcastle music collective… Scene is all about making friends and treating those who help you with the same respect.
Trent Pepper - It means a lot to us, we all love preforming in front of people especially music. So for their to be a "scene" that lets us show people what we have come up with is great.
Jacob Lutton - No scene = no music, at least no one would know about it anyway haha.
//If you could change one thing about the scene, what would it be?//
Sam Madden – Make it feel more like a family, that’s the one thing me and Jacob really miss from the hardcore punk community, even though the music isn’t for everyone they really want you to feel welcome there. Low key if any hardcore bands are putting on shows hit us up!
Trent pepper - Well unfortunately some venues don't prefer you not to do original music which I'm not a big fan of as it limits you from hearing or discovering new music one might like. So I would say if in terms of venues within the music scene if they relaxed on what could be played it would be fantastic.
Jacob Lutton - I guess some of the stigmas and misconceptions about different genres and the people they attract. People are quick too judge others on the music or scenes they're apart of, I mean, it's just music all the same, you do you.
//What song means the most to you?//
Sam Madden – Downtown maybe? I’ve had people sing my bassline at me when we play it live, how many times does that happen for a local band haha. I’m studying jazz at the moment so songs have a feel to me rather than a set-in stone meaning so it just depends where my head’s at. Someone New has a bass solo at the end that changes depending on how the song makes me feel that night
Trent Pepper - Rough patch, man it's a sad song but I guess that's why it hits me. I would also say gold digger as it was the first song we wrote together as a band so it's kinda special.
Jacob Lutton - Parabola by Tool, or Easy Easy by King Krule, both resonate with me and how I view life.
//What's your favourite song to play live?//
Sam Madden – We have a new one called Sparkie that is almost straight punk, but it swings really hard and I can just let go and thrash, as much as someone playing power chords on a fretless bass can let go. So many of Diplazar’s bass parts require focus that I really appreciate the sections where I can just chill on the root note haha
Trent Pepper - Ooo that's a hard one, I would say either downtown or someone new, both are crowd favourites and it's great to hear people sing along to your tunes as then you know your connecting with the audience which I believe is essential.
Jacob Lutton - There's a few in the works that will take the #1 spot, but my favourite one we play currently is handsdown is Downtown, gets the heart pumpin.
//Why do you play music?//
Sam Madden – Because it’s all I know how to do, music is my life and I’m 110% dedicated to what project I’m doing, whether it be Diplazar or a country covers band. Plus, every gig I play makes my girlfriend feel a bit better about me being a musician.
Trent Pepper - Many reasons on a personal level it's to share my story in whatever I write about lyrical and it's a great stress reliever. Also it's just so enjoyable and freeing to make music. As well, I love entertaining people and music captivates people it's a something to some level in which we can all appreciate.
Jacob Lutton - Because it's all I wanna do, no matter what shit gets thrown at ya in life I can always just come back to music, best remedy out there.
//Would you encourage people reading this to start bands?//
Sam Madden – 100% a strong scene is a healthy scene, just be supportive of others and don’t have a superiority complex of your music
Trent Pepper - Yes of course if they want to start a band they should!
Jacob Lutton - Yes. Start a band. Start 2 bands. Hell, even start 3 bands but probably don't start 4 bands that's too many.
//What advice do you have for new bands?//
Sam Madden – Make sure everyone is in the same place as far as goals, you get along with everyone and you’re all contributing equally somehow to the band. And also have fun
Trent Pepper - Be true to yourself music is an art and people will respect your interpretation of it if you be you but don't forget this is something you must have enjoy and have fun while doing so.
Jacob Lutton - Work together like the team you ARE
//How important is it to network with other bands?//
Sam Madden – Essential. One part of the show is playing your set but you have to support every other act that plays, it’s the only way to keep a healthy scene going. When bands bail halfway through a show… I know people have to eat but at least have some of the band stay and support those guys, they deserve that respect. If you as a band member won’t stay for another band why should fans stay for you?
Trent Pepper - VERY IMPORTANT this is an industry where everyone can work together so do so! It can provide great experiences and opportunities, and contacts as well.
Jacob Lutton - Very, some of the friendships we've made have given us some golden opportunities we would never have gotten. More friends = more shows = more mon..- I mean fans. More fans.
You can stream their debut EP Someone New below!!