Earth interview (10/2014)
|Conducted by:||Apothecary (phone)|
A little over a month ago, I reviewed the latest album from one of my favorite bands, Earth. Warmly invited by their PR agent for an interview afterwards, there was no way I could turn down the offer. After arranging a good time via email, I sat down on the telly with Dylan Carlson, mastermind of the band, discussing touring and what's been on his mind lately musically.
Che: Hello, Dylan, and thanks for taking the time to chat with us today over on Metalstorm. How have you been lately?
Dylan: Just settling down and relaxing, now that our tour is finished.
Che: Let's talk about that U.S. tour. How was it, any favorite dates or moments?
Dylan: The tour went over really well. It was a bit hectic, very old school in a sense. We had just parted ways with one of our managements, so there was some pressure in the air. A lot of work went into pulling it all off, but it was well worth it in the end. King Dude supported us, and it was a hell of a time.
Che: King Dude sounds like a great choice for support, given the similar, dark and bluesy style you guys are both making use of these days. I'm assuming you two have known each other for a while, then?
Dylan: I had actually never met him before, it was our first encounter (*laughs*)! But yeah, he's a great guy, and his band performed well. Hope to see them again in the future.
Che: Sounds like quite the experience! So let's take a second and discuss the latest Earth album, Primitive And Deadly. I highly enjoyed this one, and I'm sure many fans are feeling the same way. When did the ideas for this really start to come into form?
Dylan: I had originally started working on new material towards the end of 2012. It was during the final part of our tour for the second Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light album. It was our first time touring Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, and we were also touring as a trio, so I suppose it was a reaction to the lineup changes and all these new experiences. I had felt as though the Angels albums were a bit too similar (they were both done in one session), so I wanted to do something a little different, and continuing a bit in the direction of my solo stuff. The band was off all of 2013, and this is when I began the main songwriting, with us recording in December.
Che: How exactly did you decide that you were going to use vocalists again this time around?
Dylan: Well we hadn't used any since '96, so it was a big move of sorts (*laughs*). At first I had written "Rooks Across The Gate," with lyrics, as one of my solo songs, but after I showed it to Adrien he ended up liking it so much that I decided to rewrite it for Earth. I had known Mark (Lanegan, ex Queens Of The Stone Age) for years, and I found him to sing on it, as he was working in the L.A. area at the time. He ended up asking to do the same for "There Is A Serpent Coming" as well, and I told him to go for it! In the meantime, Randall Dunn, our producer, had been working with Rabia Qazi's band, Rose Lindos, and eventually she came into the picture as well to guest on "From The Zodiacal Light." I couldn't be more proud of her, she's only 22 and has an amazing voice.
Che: I noticed in my listening that Primitive And Deadly sounds a lot like The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull, that same kind of bluesy, Western, and overall psychedelic vibe. Was that your intention?
Dylan: I'm not sure if it was intention, or just how things turned out. Either way, this new album is more concise, the songwriting is tighter and doesn't have as much improv, so it does sit closer in personality to The Bees, although Bees was a bit looser and more airy. Randall is an amazing producer, he has a great ear and is overall great at layering with albums.
Che: So it seems to be pretty evident that blues was a huge influence on you, from a pretty young age?
Dylan: Absolutely, the blues has influenced me for a very long time. When I got my first guitar, my first instruction booklet that my mom got me was one on blues. I'd guess I feel a special connection with it because these are really the roots of our style, blues developed rock and roll, I mean Chuck Berry was a rock guitarist originally playing blues and country. Even your earliest metal bands, Zeppelin, Sabbath, etc., were highly blues influenced, and sometimes it feels as though people forget this part of the genre's ancestry.
Che: And that's something I've always appreciated Earth for, that sort of timeless feel of your music. How have the other band members contributed to the songwriting process as of late?
Dylan: The bassist and the drummer come up with their own parts. I write the riffs and most of the lyrics, so things tend to fall in place around me. I wouldn't say that I'm a control freak, and I work with the people I work with because I like what they do. They can see things that I can't, and vice versa, which is an important part of the whole process.
Che: In some circles, your reputation precedes you. Even though Earth aren't employing such a style anymore, in the drone scene especially, what with the band's first couple of albums, you're regarded as something of a living legend. How do you take to all that?
Dylan: It's both flattering and very cool that people like what I do and are inspired by it, but I can't really make too many claims to that. It feels more like I was just taking my influences, doing my own thing with them, and it happened to work out. I feel very fortunate to have had a career that's lasted this long and has been this well received along the way.
Che: It has been quite the journey for you, hasn't it? With Earth, it always seems like you guys have been reinventing yourselves into different, but just as potent incarnations. Do you see this current, psychedelic blues type sound as lasting a little longer, or ultimately paving the way for something else entirely?
Dylan: Well I never try to redo records. Albums to me always represent a certain moment in time, I don't really have a grand scheme or anything like that, so the next album most likely will see a change of pace. I've been working on new tracks that bear more resemblance to "Torn By The Fox Of The Crescent Moon," so maybe you can expect something a little heavier in the future?
Che: Let's just not get our hopes up for the return of Earth 2 or anything like that, right?
Dylan: (*Laughs*) Never say never!
Che: So are there any tracks on Primitive And Deadly that you feel best represent what the album's all about?
Dylan: "Torn By The Fox Of The Crescent Moon" and "There Is A Serpent Coming" are probably my too favorites, and "Even Hell Has Its Heroes" is something I'm very proud of as well.
Che: Changing focus for a moment, your contemporaries in Sunn O))) have been doing a lot of collaborations recently. Do you see any bands or musicians that you'd like to work with in the future, whether on collabs, tours, or something along those lines?
Dylan: There are a number of individuals I've worked with that I'd like to continue to, but as far as new possibilities, I prefer happy accidents over planning. I like to let them come to me.
Che: Well I'd say the possibilities truly are endless then! Ok, before we wrap things up, what's been on your playlist recently?
Dylan: I've really been liking Blue Pills, their debut came out this year. Grand Magus' Triumph And Power is also worth investigating, I would say.
Che: Thanks again Dylan for all the insight into your tastes and Earth's musical evolution, it was a pleasure talking with you. Any final words you'd like to leave your fanbase with?
Dylan: A big thank you to everyone, you guys helped make this new Earth album our best selling yet in only its first week! We appreciate the support and hope to see you all on the road sometime soon.
||Posted on 17.10.2014 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.|
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