Q&A: Diarrhea Planet

Q&A: Diarrhea Planet
Courtesy of Wrenne Evans Diarrhea Planet is (from left to right) Mike Boyle, Jordan Smith, Emmett Miller, Brent Toler and Evan Bird.

Courtesy of Wrenne Evans
Diarrhea Planet is (from left to right) Mike Boyle, Jordan Smith, Emmett Miller, Brent Toler and Evan Bird.

Listen up Fayetteville punk rock fans. A super-fun, super-talented band is coming to town. Yes, their name is actually Diarrhea Planet, and there’s four guitarists in the band.

Saturday will be DP’s first show in Fayetteville at JR’s Lightbulb Club on Block Street. The band is a mash-up of styles, but overall it’s probably safe to say they’re a rock ‘n’ roll band with some pop punk influences. Imagine if Blink-182 was heavier and had bad-ass guitar solos. That doesn’t exactly do them justice. Their Facebook page explains their sound as “Watching School of Rock for the first time, every time.”

The current lineup for the band consists of Jordan Smith (vocals, guitar), Emmett Miller (guitar, vocals), Evan Bird (guitar), Brent Toler (guitar, vocals), Mike Boyle (bass), and Ian Bush (drums).

After getting critical acclaim for their latest full length album, “I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams,” the group has played several festivals, the likes of Bonnaroo, South by Southwest and Governor’s Ball Music Festival.

Here’s our Q&A with Jordan Smith, who’s a really nice dude. Remarkably, there was only one poop joke:

TFW: Has your band name gotten you all into any funny, strange situations?

SMITH: You always have the people who chuckle about it. Most stuff is entertainment companies and companies in general are more cautious to do stuff with us until they see enough people jumping on the bandwagon. I say that with a sort of bitterness.

Our name has kinda limited us. Every single thing that we do, we have to prove that we’re above and beyond in our abilities. I feel like the name itself has created an uphill battle. It’s great though because we’re also a very independent band. Nobody wanted to work with us because of our name. Everything we’ve gotten has come from touring hard and working hard. Y’know a band named Diarrhea Planet is probably one of the least marketable things you could ever have. If they see the band’s name it turns a lot of people off, which is a bummer. It’s not like we have the F-bomb, something sacrilegious or truly offensive in our name. It’s just kinda gross or childish.

People have a hard time describing our sound, and we just tell them that Diarrhea Planet is a relatable experience, with something for everyone.

It took us a really long time to find a booking agent. My first strategy was “What bands have a worse name than us?” I thought of the the band Fucked Up. I contacted their booking agent, and they wouldn’t book for us because of our name, which I thought was funny. All that being said I’m happy where we’re at.

TFW: Most people would think three guitars is too many. How did you all figure out how to make four guitars work simultaneously?

SMITH: Initially it wasn’t something that just naturally worked. We had to sit down and figure it out together. Our first strategy was we have to function like a three piece band. So me, the bass and drummer would function as a unit and be locked in. Emmett and Evan, who play a lot of the dual lead tap parts, they write parts that coincide with the unit and Brent is kind of our rogue star fighter out there on the edge of the galaxy.

We all have characteristics and options on the fret board that we prefer to stay in. We all switch off between rhythm and lead. We developed this hybrid thing where it’s like, I need a huge rhythm tone. So that’s me or Evan. I need a singing lead tone, so that’s going to be Brent because he has a lot of sustain. I need a staccato lead, Evan’s the best at that. Everybody kind of communicates. Once you learn someone’s style (they) fit them in in each role in each part of every song. That’s it in a long nutshell.

TFW: You guys build some huge, harmony-layered parts in your music. Are you guys all classically trained?

SMITH: [laughs] No. Emmett is the only one with training. Everything we do and know is what we discovered together. All of us know a general kind of theory together.

TFW: What bands have you guys been listening to recently?

SMITH: My favorite band for my whole life has been the Smashing Pumpkins. I actually got to see them live for the first time last week and it was like the best guitar experience of my entire life. One band we’ve really fallen in love with is Twin Peaks from Chicago. Another band we’ve really grown to love is King Tuff. Lately, Sturgil Simpson, Robert Ellis, Dawes’ new record is great. Sturgil I think is the most important music person right now.

TFW: What are some life lessons you’ve learned from a life on the road?

SMITH: We’ve all learned a lot of things. Nobody parties like we used to. We’re not really a rage band anymore. One of the biggest things you learn, how important it is to have your band. You have two options, you either operate as a business, where your bandmates aren’t your friends — they’re coworkers — or they’re your family. It’s very important for everyone to be on the same page and to be 100 percent honest. We realized how important it is, in everything we do, to be a unified front. To make our band a safe environment where all the members can voice anything without anyone coming down on each other. You learn how to effectively communicate and love one another without wanting to drive each other crazy and wanting to kill each other.

You get good at checking yourself. The tour smooths out all the roughest parts of your personality. You either collapse, blow it and can’t tour or you get in the touring groove and learn how to smooth that out and gel with everyone else.

TFW: What kind of state of mind is the band at right now? I know the band has developed and changed a lot and there seems to be more mellower stuff coming from you guys like “Peg Daddy.”

SMITH: This record is going to be a growing record for us. I’m not sure what to expect. I really like the stuff we’re doing now. This is the first time as a band we’ve written together. We haven’t written an entire part by ourselves.

This record is the first step toward being a band like The Band, where we can do any genre we want. We can shift singers and styles. Part of being a great band is being versatile. We’ve been pretty quick to dodge out of the punk thing because we’re a rock band. There’s a lot more classic rock in the stuff we’re writing. It’s like we’re not angry anymore. Our focus is different, and we’re different people. We aren’t listening to the same music as we used to.

There’s a lot to be said about anyone who’s making a genuine effort. Everyone wants to be the 1 percent. Anyone can find success as long as they don’t obviously “sell out.” Meaning you’re giving up your ideals and dreams and image because you’re desperate for money and you’re willing to do anything. You’ll never hear DP sell out our sound.

TFW: When you’re writing, how do lines and phrases like “dad dick” and “ghost with a boner” come about in songwriting?

SMITH: [laughs] Well that started out as a low pressure, lets make it clear we’re here to have fun. I love humor. Lately most of the lyrics on this new record are very serious. A lot more than I usually write. I still have to insert humor, because I think the most important thing an artist does is establish trust with the listener by being real.

I try to write like I’m having a conversation, and I use humor all the time. The reason the jokes have been staying in there and our name is still Diarrhea Planet is because it feels more genuine to cut up every once in a while. To me at least. I feel like I need to pour all aspects of myself into my work. I want somebody to listen to it and get a good idea of who I am.

TFW: At the end of the day, there’s got to be nothing better than having your lyrics copied into a Facebook status update or super imposed over an Instagram post, right?

SMITH: [laughs] If I was real lucky and I was born 10 years earlier I could have been an AIM away message.

Diarrhea Planet w/Teenagers

Where: JR’s Lightbulb Club, 21 N. Block Ave., Fayetteville, AR 72701

When: Doors open at 9 p.m. Music at 10:30ish p.m.

How Much: $8

Categories: Galleries