While many of us may not be operating at peak productive capacity under the waning sense of purpose and financial catastrophes of COVID19 lockdown, Reece Prain doesn’t seem to have any qualms in bucking that trend. The seemingly endless list of genre descriptors attributed to his projects doing little to present the man as someone who likes to sit still. With a fresh EP to Muddy Lawrence’s name and Diploid’s latest release only a handful of months earlier, Discipline Mag had a chat with Reece about his latest releases, past and future tours, collaborations, and of course, el virus.
Discipline Mag: Hi Reece, thanks for taking the time to talk with Discipline Mag. Where abouts are you located and where are you from?
Reece: G’day, I’m currently living in Melbourne, Australia. I grew up out in Pakenham, which is like an hour or so south east from the Melbourne CBD.
DM: Your latest release under the Muddy Lawrence moniker, Rapidly Increasing, seems to overtly reference implications of COVID19. Was there any catalyst for this release pre-lockdown, or was it entirely conceived out of the pandemic?
Reece: The actual recordings were recorded sometime in 2018-2019. I have only just recently gotten a computer as I am now working from home, so I finally had access to the recordings and have been able to mess around with them. So yeah, I mainly put it together and mixed the audio in the first couple weeks of lockdown. Which is why it’s very much related to the pandemic.
DM: Track 3, Nymphicus Hollandicus, has taken its title from the scientific name of a cockatiel. Cockatiels being relatively common household pets, was this a comment on pet ownership and loneliness during lockdown? Or something else entirely?
Reece: I called it Nymphicus Hollandicus, because there is audio of my partners cockatiels on the track. We usually take them on our exercise walk during lockdown, but really it’s not much of a statement haha
DM: The pairing of animal themes with noise music is a fairly strong trademark of Merzbow’s later releases and I read that some of your recent work has been inspired by him. Was this track a homage to Merzbow, or was the influence more unconscious? In regards to his strong views on animal rights and other matters, do you actively relate to any of his ideals? And thirdly, for anyone interested in Merzbow’s work, what is one release you would recommend?
Reece: Merzbow and a bunch of noise musicians from japan (The C.C.C.C, The Gerogerigegege, Massonna, Otomo Yoshihide) are very much a big influence on me. The name title wasn’t really a nod at Merzbow, it’s a bit of a coincidence/unconscious influence. As for Merzbow releases, I like these three: Daham. Tomarigi. Pulse Demon.
DM: Despite being a ‘noise’ project, Muddy Lawrence has an interesting crossover with hip-hop. With artists like, say, Clipping, this isn’t entirely without precedent, but still remains pretty fresh. What influences from noise/experimental, hip-hop or anywhere else inform Muddy Lawrence’s sound?
Reece: In the past like 2 years or so I have really dived into the hip hop genre and can appreciate it a lot more than when I was a kid, and if I’m gonna do any form of hip hop, it might as well be within noise.
As I mentioned earlier a lot of Japanese noise musicians influence ML, but I’m also influenced from a lot of the local noise/experimental musicians and the local experimental scene.
DM: The artwork on Diploid’s latest release, Glorify, is a bright, floral collage on canvas, executed by yourself and Mariam (also of Diploid). As Rapidly Increasing has a similar aesthetic to it, was this undertaken in a similar fashion? And is there a thematic carryover within the artwork?
Reece: The artwork for Rapidly Increasing was a collaboration Mariam and I did many years ago, it was made for somebody as artwork for their release, which was never released. While working on Rapidly Increasing I found the image in my dropbox, and I don’t have a scanner, so I just used it.
I don’t know how to scan or photoshop and I don’t want to bother too many people about helping me with artwork at this point in time haha
DM: A few years back Diploid did a small tour of Asia which included a show at Kuala Lumpur’s esteemed punk venue, Rumah Api. KL is a high-functioning city, but can suffer from being a little too clinical and doesn’t rank very high on any list of cultural capitals. Conversely, the fringe music scenes in places like this can sometimes feel far more dangerous, rebellious and devoted than in the West. Would you say this reflects your experience of playing shows throughout Asia? How did you find the show at Rumah Api? And what are some other notable shows did you play on this tour?
Reece: In Malaysia and Singapore, the shows actually felt similar to home, like Rumah Api felt similar to that of Black Goat Warehouse, so it didn’t feel that different.
But in Indonesia, things felt a bit different haha
Our first show was just in a University amphitheater in Jakarta, there was a lot of bands playing (maybe like 10-12), and it went for hours and hours. People were going the extra mile for the scene. Our driver disappeared after the first show, so some guys at that show became our drivers for the next couple days, so, that’s dedication haha
My favourite show and place was Cipanas, which was a largeish town in a mountain valley in Indonesia. It was lovely, everyone was so friendly, and the show was a lot of fun!
DM: Diploid was booked to play Fluff Fest in the Czech Republic in July alongside Integrity, whom you supported in February. For obvious reasons the tour has been put on hold, but was this second appearance alongside Integrity born out of a relationship you formed with the band during their tour? Or was it cleverly orchestrated long before?
Reece: It was a coincidence, I didn’t even know they were playing when we were asked to play, I found out when everyone found out about the line-up haha
DM: With regards to Europe, were there any other high profile shows you had planned? What cities did you want to play? And are you still planning to go ahead with the tour once things return back to relative normality?
Reece: We had a few shows booked in before deciding not to go, I was not aware of any others shows like Fluff Fest.
Yeah, we really hope that we can sort something out with the airline, we had already bought the tickets a couple months before lockdown, if we can, then we will probably go as soon as we physically can. But if for some reason we can’t rebook our flights, or can’t get a refund, we may not be able to go for a long long time, unfortunately.
DM: I loved Diploid’s collaboration with The Body at the Make It Up Club in January 2019. I know you also supported The Body on their tour, but how did this collaboration come about?
Reece: Pete from Whitehorse offered it to us. We’ve played with Whitehorse a lot throughout the years, and we were fortunate for him to think of us.
DM: The guys in The Body strike me as being pretty friendly and down to earth. What was it like working with them? And are the two bands still in contact?
Reece: It was a lot of fun, I’m a really big fan of The Body, so it was a bit like meeting your idol. The collab set was all improvised, so we didn’t really spend too much time with them before the set. Chip bought everyone shots, then as he was paying for it, he realised how much money he had spent. We then made a very small game plan, which I forgot, then we had to play. Not too much, mainly Instagram stories and photo likes haha
DM: Apparently Peter Hyde of Melbourne doom behemoth, Whitehorse, lent supporting vocals to Glorify. Which tracks did he contribute to and what led to his input on the LP?
Reece: He did vocals on the techno track (Grandiose Delusions), I thought his vocals would sound really good over the beat, and yeah, we’ve known each other for a few years, so I just asked him.
DM: I have this imaginary tour in my head that includes Diploid and Full Of Hell on the same bill in Oceania. How can we make this a reality in the future?
Reece: Get FOH to tour and ask if they’d be keen. We would.
DM: Any last words relating to Muddy Lawrence, Diploid, COVID19 or anything else?
Reece: Thanks for asking me questions! Stay indoors if ya can