I am a huge Diamond Plate fan. I love their last album “Generation Why?” I love seeing them live, even getting to just rock out on the rail on the few occasions I’m not working. Everything about this band is just to die for love!
Late spring finds Diamond Plate comfortably back in Chicago after yet another tour. Rumor has it they are working on fresh new material at V.I. Studios in Chicago where pre-production demos are being created. I was lucky enough to catch up with this uber talented and uniquely funny quartet on their last tour. Totally tongue in cheek and with loads of laughter being shared, we discussed everything from sheep to underwear to life, the universe, and everything. Diamond Plate boasts an impressive line up of Jon Macak on bass and vocals, Konrad Kupiec on guitars, Mario Cianci on guitars, and Jim Nicademus on drums.
With the exception of Mario the band loves having support… by way of 100% pre-shrunk cotton underwear from Costco. Yes, this is how our conversation started out.
Mario: I don’t wear underwear with these pants.
Don’t you get hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable with all the movement?
Mario: These pants are like tight enough as they are.
Konrad: I find the more support the better. I actually go with long underwear.
Mario: That’s enough support for two people. Comfort is #1.
And where would you purchase such comfortable support?
Konrad: Costco. I buy in bulk.
Important questions that fans want to know about. Diamond Plate provides a nice little “how to” as it were to life on the road. 1) Shop at Costco. 2) Buy in bulk. 3) Look for support.
Mario: Then you save a lot of money.
Being on tour is all about saving money. What else do you do to save money while on tour?
Konrad: Well, we don’t make any money, therefore there is no money to spend.
Mario: Works out fine.
Jon: The first step to saving money is by never making any to begin with.
Konrad: Tour lesson #1: you’re not going to spend money if you don’t have any.
The mathematics of touring; you’re not making any money and yet you’re still on the road. Why? Why not do something that makes money?
Konrad: Music, it just goes beyond all that as cliché as it sounds. If you’re a good musician you’re not in it for the money. You’re here, we’re here in Philly fifteen hours from home because we want people to hear our music. That’s as honest an answer we can give.
Mario: You can give all the explanations in the world you want. But at the end of the day it’s all just because you want it. No band that I would think of in their right mind would say, “Oh, yeah. We’re going to tour and we’re going to make a lot of money.”
Konrad: It’s non-existent. In this day in age gas is almost $5 a gallon a few weeks ago. You’re not going to make money when you’re playing music. It has to go beyond that. Beyond the tangible like I’m going to have money in my hand. It’s more gratifying, I’d rather have a few hundred people see us every show and listen to the music.
So touring and music becomes very existential. On a different note, you guys went to Wales this year. Why would anyone choose to go to Wales? What were you thinking?
Mario: Sheep, man. So many sheep. We’re just listening to Pink Floyd all the time. And we’re like “WOW! Sheep! I get it.” It was great.
Konrad: I pretty much saw that album cover everywhere.
Jon: In Wales we played at Hammerfest with Anthrax and Chimera and Skindred. Amon Amarth, Paradise Lost…
Konrad: That was our biggest show out there, that one in Wales with over 2000 people.
Were they people or were they sheep?
Mario: It was a mix of both!
Jim: Sheep in the pit.
You also played in London, Camden Underworld. Was this your first time in London? What did you think of the city? What was the show like?
Konrad: Our first time in London was with Anthrax a few days before at the O2 in Islington. Another sold out Anthrax show that we did there, absolutely incredible. We loved it. It was cool. A lot of people from Earache came out. We got to meet everyone. That was our first time meeting a lot of people from Earache. It’s unfortunate that we travel but we go to the venue, play a show, get back in the van, and travel a little more. Not a lot of time for recreational looking around. You’re always busy. Hopefully as we tour more we’ll have more time to sight see and all that. We love being on the road as much as this is like a job. It doesn’t feel like it at all. We’re out here everyday playing music.
Jon: And it doesn’t feel like a job because you don’t get paid.
Diamond Plate has been on the road supporting Generation Why? for quite a while. They’ve done several legs of touring including a winter 2011 tour with Warbringer. I wondered if they were doing anything different on this USA Tour than what they did the last time. Is there a difference in logistics? What was your learning curve like?
Mario: Oh, yeah. Everything is totally different. Before we didn’t know what we were doing. We honestly didn’t know.
Konrad: With this tour we’re putting more thought into stage production, cool shit lined up! We’re changing up the set list. All of our new merchandise and new art are on sale. We’re really working on the aesthetic of the band and the professionalism of the band. Last time you saw us that was our second tour ever (October 2011). We had a few months to learn, regroup, and just work on ourselves as a band and as a touring band.
As a touring band, what’s a typical day like for Diamond Plate?
Konrad: Hurry up and wait.
Jim: Wake up in your local Walmart parking lot. Wander in there, buy something for breakfast, travel to the next gig.
When you go into the Walmarts in the morning, are you dressed as the “people of Walmart” or do you dress normal?
Jon: We’re a little closer to the people of Walmart.
Konrad: We shower at Walmart in their sink. That’s the real life of a touring band I guess, it’s fun.
And next tour you can graduate to being the “people of Target”.
Mario: Oh, Target is way fancier for us.
Jon: We can dream.
Konrad: That’s a long-term goal. Dream big guys. You keep up with us long enough you can shower at Target one day. Hope we can inspire some kids to do this.
When you’re not showering at the Walmart, what do you like to do for fun?
Mario: Looking for wi-fi.
Konrad: We have a game called find the wi-fi.
Mario: Whoever finds it first has to text everybody else. That’s the prize, you have to text everybody.
Konrad: And the bonus round is find a clean bathroom.
Jon: That’s a hard one. Walmart is very good at that. I don’t know about Target.
Mario: Target is a step up. We’ll see when we get there.
Konrad: The rest is just writing music, playing music; that’s all we do.
How has the fan reaction been on this tour? Picking up any new converts?
Konrad: Yep. No doubt. That’s the whole plan. People seem to be really responsive to our live show a lot more than just the album. I think a lot of people were quick to judge the band based off the album. But once they see us live, they get the bigger picture to what the band is all about and feel the energy a lot more.
What is the band all about?
Mario: Just hanging out bro. Just hanging out.
Konrad: Hanging out a the Walmart and stuff.
Mario: Live. Energy.
Konrad: It’s showing people a good time and entertaining them and hopefully getting some kind of message across.
Mario: Making sure anybody watching is having a good time.
Jon: If you come off to your fans that you’re trying your best and you’re working hard; at the very least they’ll respect you.
Mario: Even if they don’t like you, they’ll respect you.
Konrad: Yeah, We can just put a smile on someone’s face
Jon: Come see us at any of our shows and stop by Walmart and say “Hi”.
Konrad: Just please pick up the album. If you like it awesome. If you don’t like it, cool. Come out to the show and we’ll change your mind.