The War Inside My Head: An Interview with Diploid

The War Inside My Head interview series is back with another complete music geekout featuring some of the best, brightest, and most interesting voices in the contemporary extreme music scene. Today is something of a treat, a triple-treat in fact, seeing that we're featuring all three members of the chaotic wonder that is Melbourne's very own: Diploid. For the better part of a decade this fearsome threesome has been combining equal parts grindcore, hardcore, noise, and basically the entire kitchen sink into an emotional force of prowling menace and hurt. They're relentless, they're as sharp as a very sharp thing, and, on top of it all, painfully and blissfully human. Their most recent release, the unrelenting and beautiful I Am Yours. And I Am Here Again is just another potent and fucked up high mark in a discography that's basically impeccable already. So nothing gives me more joy than to present this interview with Reece Prain, Mariam Benjemaa, and Scarlett Shred.

BUT, this would be a great time to remind everyone of our brand-new charity compilation MILIM KASHOT VOL. 3 that features some of my favorite artists, a ton of amazing music, and all for a good cause. So just do it.

As always, check out our various interview projects and other cool shit. And if you'd like to keep abreast of the latest, most pressing developments follow us wherever we may roam (TwitterFacebookInstagramSpotify and now also a tape-per-day series on TIK TOK!), and listen to our shitty podcast (YouTubeSpotifyApple), and to check out our amazing compilation albumsYou can support our unholy work here (Patreon), if you feel like it. Early access to our bigger projects, weekly exclusive recommendations and playlists, and that wonderful feeling that you're encouraging a life-consuming band musical habit. Be well, and on to Diploid.

TEMPLATE

What was the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it?
Mariam: The first album I ever bought with my own money was Green Day’s American Idiot. I was 12 years old, I’m sure I used birthday money to buy it. I got it at my hometown’s local electronics/CD store. I listened to it through my walkman in the car all the time, I think I went back and bought Dookie a few weeks later… tragic.
Reece: I don’t actually think I bought System of A Down's Toxicity with my own money, but I’m pretty sure it was a birthday or Christmas present. I went with my mum down to the local CD shop and got it, this would’ve been like 2003, I was around the age of 10/11.

Scarlett: My parents worked for a record company when I was young so I actually had a lot of Cds and tapes before I ever had to cough up my own money for any. I think the first album I went out of my way to buy was probably Korn's Life Is Peachy which I got at  second hand record store for 5 bucks.

What 2-3 albums did you hear the most growing up?
Mariam: There was a lot of Chuck Berry, Bob Marley and Micheal Jackson in the home. Both my parents have an interest in music, always putting on something that had a good rhythm to dance to. We were a camping family, much of my childhood was spent in the back seat of an old Nissan troopy. The car had 3 different CD’s on rotation, two were Australian rock mix albums and the third was The Very Best of John Williamson. INXS and Midnight Oil made a perfect soundtrack for driving through the Simpson desert or winding through rainforests in Northern Queensland.
Reece: Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet. It took me until I was much older to realize I can pretty much sing along to most of the songs on this record. It’s because of how often my Mum played it when I was growing up. Also: Misfits – Static Age. One of my brothers must have downloaded this album off of Limewire, it was just on our family computer growing up. At some point I got it on CD and I still revisit this record all the time.

Scarlett: My mother and father loved The Pixies so I was listening to The Pixies' Surfer Rosa before I could walk. Pretty much been listening to The Pixies my entire life. Nirvana's In Utero blew my tiny mind in primary school! The production and rawness had me hooked. The drum intro to "Scentless Apprentice" is peak Dave Grohl drumming, and Steve Albini's production! I've definitely worn out a few copies of this one over the years.

What two albums taught you the most about making music (mixing, production, performance)?
Mariam: I was a huge Slipknot and Korn fan throughout my early teens, this was also when I first started to play guitar. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but I was definitely being influenced by the electronic and noise aspects from Slipknot’s self titled album and IOWA, the way samples and vocals were mixed in amongst the rest of the band.

Scarlett: Skinny Puppy's Too Dark Park will forever be my favorite all time production album! It's dark, psychedelic, immersive and terrifying. A perfect mix of electro-industrial (samples, programming, synths, vocal processing) and industrial metal influence coming into the 90s (chuggy guitars, fast drums, tortured screams, songs structured like rock songs)! This album primarily taught me to break the rules of production. Layer up till the cows come home. Mix sounds you think shouldn't work together. Four different snare sounds in one song is excellent! The second one would be the new Diploid record, to be honest. As a home audio engineer I'd never had an opportunity to spend so much time in a real studio. We were there for 10 days. Between personal performance standards raising, being able to watch Chris (Underground Audio engineer) do his thing for several hours a day in the control room and just doing drum and vocal takes over and over till perfect, it has to be the single most valuable experience I've had as a musician and producer.
What is the last album that absolutely shocked you? 
Mariam: Skeletons by The Brothers Osborne. An album I didn’t expect to fall for.
Reece: I don’t think I need to say much. Just play the first track and listen to the album.
Scarlett: Probably Morbid Angel's Illud Divinum Insanus cos it's shockingly awful from start to finish. Art doesn't really shock me to be honest.

What album relaxes you or centers you the most?

Mariam: I will always put on some Animal Collective if I feel like I need cheering up. Any album really; Sung Tongs, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Feels or Strawberry Jam. I love the playful harshness you get from an Animal Collective album.
Reece: Megan Thee Stallion – Good News. Real hot girl shit.
Scarlett: Depeche Mode's Black Celebration. Dark, romantic synth pop. Basically perfect to the point where I stop thinking about the production and just let the album wash over me. "Stripped" and "A Question of Time" are perfect songs!
What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?
Mariam: I’m always listening to Idylls: Prayer For Terrene, The Barn, Farewell All Joy. I really enjoyed the newer stuff Thee Oh See’s put out last year, Metamorphosed and Protean Threat.
Dropdead – Dropdead 2020. I really love the guitar tone and sound of the record. I also love Dropdead. Discharge – Realities of War. It’s just an EP, but I had found my way into Dis-bands by seeing lots of local bands and listening to Japanese Dbeat (Disclose/Framtid mainly). I needed to not be a poser, and now I listen to this all the time.
Scarlett: Gulch – Burning Desire To Draw Last Breath. Punk hardcore with lots of Swedish death metal influence without being a generic Entombedcore band.  Also, Vile Apparition – Depravity Ordained. Naarm-based old school death metal of mind bending proportions. Absolutely killer! Ollie is my fave metal drummer in Victoria! And Chrome Corpse – Helmet Mounted Display. EBM/Industrial from Seattle. Hard hitting, great to dance to, amazing production and song writing. If you like Front 242 and Leather Strip, yer bound to enjoy this modern work of art.
What album is grossly underrated?
Mariam: I absolutely fell in love with Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising. Almost every song on that album is perfect ("Movies" drags a bit and "Mirror Forever" is a little ho-hum). The instrumentation is just so lovely and Natalie’s meek but powerful voice is stunning.
Reece: Useless Children – Post Ending // Pre Completion. This was a local band that was active between 2008-2012. This album is a massive inspiration to me. The cover art is so cool as well.
Scarlett: Kontravoid – Too Deep. This album is an industrial masterpiece. Should be huge like NIN was in the 90s but I have pretty much never met anyone in so called Australia who has heard of the project. "Turn Away" is a terrifying yet danceable opus.

What album would you recommend from your local scene? 

Mariam: Melbourne 2 by Too Birds. I love the way the album is constructed. I think we were technically not in lockdown when this album came out but I have many memories of doing my hour-out-of-the-house walk while listening to it and admiring the outdoors.
Reece: Melbourne 2 by Too Birds. This came out earlier this year, it’s some really awesome noisy hip hop. (We also make an appearance on the record).

Scarlett: I'm a jaded 34-year-old trans woman from Lutruwita (Tasmania) who grew up in the Naarm based punk scene and what it taught me in the long run is…that I dislike scenes thoroughly. Some good folk but also colonizers, clout chasers, rich kids, bootlickers and technocrats all around! So I'm gonna recommend an album that doesn't fit that scene at all but is still held in high regard. One that breaks the mold, has no three chord D-Beat riffs or boring breakdowns! ESP Mayhem's Bloodsportswear! Synthgrind chaos that doesn't give a fuck about you or yer hearing! Not the album you need! The album you deserve!