|Venue:||Islington Mill, Salford|
You just finished work, you’re pissed off, you hate your shit job, and you’re looking for the best way to slip through the ether into the reverie of solitude, away from the monotonous cascade of boring everyday living and the arduous tasks that are bestowed upon us by our wretched society. Sound familiar?... or is that just me? Well look no further, the best way to transport you the hell outta here is with a little help from Earth. The hypnotic noodlings of Dylan Carlson have over the years been backed by a host of amazing musicians, giving life to a variation of different entities. From the droned out sonic assaults that were Earth 2 and Phase 3: Thrones and Dominions to the melodic interplay that you can hear on the latest record Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I, each of which have their own unique catatonic effect over you.
So learning the band were to play at Islington Mill once again after missing their 2009 visit, I jumped into action and headed on over to the industrious surrounding that holds Salford’s best venue in search of that golden ticket to the beyond. I managed to catch up with the legend that is Dylan Carlson before the gig to ask him a few things about his journey so far.
BR. The album you released earlier this year ‘Demons of Light 1’, will it be the first of two recordings? What’s the idea behind it all?
DC. Yeah, the second part is already done; we recorded it all at the same time and mixed it all at the same time. And then since we always do vinyl if we’d done the whole thing, say we did a double vinyl with the etchings it would have been like four vinyl and the production costs would have been huge, so we just decided to split it into two. Originally Greg (Babior) didn’t know if he was gonna be able to release it till next year but now its like sometime October and the start of next year. And it’s going to have the same artist Stacey Rozich who did this one which is cool.
BR. How would you describe the evolution of the band from say Earth 2 which was very drone oriented up to today?
DC. Erm.. (Laughs) Dunno. I guess for me there was a minimalism back then in the melody but it was always very loud with lots of stuff going on, the minimalism is now increasing in different ways but the raw materials are still really simple. I mean it got kinda busy again I thought with ‘The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull’ because it went very stripped. Basically I’m trying to find the one train of movement where it’s a melodic interplay without a lot of harmonic stuff getting in the way, so it’s just like the Cello, Guitar and Bass are all doing melodies that interweave.
BR. Do you see that stripping down continuing?
DC. Well we’ll see I don’t really have a master plan (laughs)
BR. One of the things about your music that stands out is how you show restraint and the very subtle changes can have a really big impact, where as most people would stick in a big bend on a note you don’t. Is that a natural thing is it more of a conscious decision.
DC. I think it’s a little bit of both, I mean I’m not the worlds most amazing lead player so I’m sure that has something to do with it. Bands like Grateful Dead who I love, especially in a live setting, sort of stretch all their songs out and it’s the really subtle changes that make the song, I love all those little moments, I guess that’s a big influence. Also when the whole grunge thing happened and it was loud soft, loud soft it just got a little like… ok… Led Zeppelin did it back in 69’ and it was cool then but now, come on... I mean I like grand gestures because I like metal and metal is all about the grand gestures. I just try and steer clear of all that, with Earth there are certain things that have to be there like long and slow, but within that there is a little wiggle room, but if I did anything too radically different I feel like I would be cheating people. I mean if I did a synth-pop record and tried to call it Earth it just wouldn’t be right.
BR. You wrote a track that was featured on the soundtrack to ‘The Limits of Control’ is that something that you would like to do again?
DC. Yeah I would love to do it again, I mean I would like to actually get to do a soundtrack as opposed to have someone pick the song. I mean it was great having them pick the song and I guess he wrote the character of the driver based on the song which was cool but it would be nice to actually get to watch the movie and play the songs that fit. I got a little taste of that when I played with Master Musicians and two other guys, this guy made a movie in four parts and on the debut each of us played an improvised set to one of the four parts.
BR. Do you draw any of your influences from any of the films you watch?
DC. I would say right now the biggest influence would be Pans Labyrinth the Guillermo del Toro movie.
DC. Yeah I love that movie; he’s like my favorite director, if I had to pick a director I could work with it would definitely be him.
BR. What about Literary influences?
DC. Yeah, Susanna Clarke with that book Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. It’s about these two magicians restoring magic in England during the late regency period. You should have a look it’s pretty cool.
BR. You mentioned recently you’ve been listening to Pentangle and Fairport Convention quite a bit, is that a new thing or have you always been a fan of British Folk.
DC. Not really, I’ve owned Liege & Lief for a long time but it wasn’t until just recently that I went back and bought the rest of their back catalogues.
BR.I know you don’t particularly follow new music as such but is there anything from Seattle that you’re listening to at the moment?
DC. Lets see… There is this band called The Low Hums that I really like, they have Jonas Haskins who played bass with us for a while and did a couple of tours with us. They're kinda coutry-ish because they got a pedal steel and a banjo player, they sound really cool. Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter who we toured with before and I really like Wolves. Then there is Mount Erie from over in Anacotes in Washington which isn’t really Seattle. I mean I know there are a lot of bands coming out of Seattle that are getting really big, but they aren’t really the sort of bands that I know or am particularly interested in.
BR. Do you have any highlights from your previous tours any thing that stands out over the rest?
DC. We did a two week tour with Wolves down the west cost to get ready for the album, which is why the recording went so well because we had the time to really work on the material live and it was a very live record. Innsbruck was a good show, the crowd was off the hook excited they were all head banging and it felt a little like a metal concert it was a little crazy. I know all the crowds are really nice to us; it’s kinda weird really because obviously back when we first started out we weren’t really as widely received as we are now, and people are a lot more open.
BR. I guess these days you won’t get people just stumbling in to your gigs and not knowing what the hell is going on.
DC. Yeah, well we did play a New Years show in 2007 with Neurosis in San Francisco and there were some unhappy campers, I mean I guess they were probably from their fan base. So there was a few grumblings but I think they must have just thought we were a bunch of hippies or something.
BR. Do you take the same approach to growing your facial hair as you do with your music, where less is more or do you ever just let loose and grow a huge Beard.
DC. You know what, I wish I could have facial hair like this British General Sir Charles Napier; he has the best facial hair of all time I think, but unfortunately I don’t have the right kind. There is also another British General Lord Earl Roberts he has some great facial hair, I like all the Victorian era I guess.
BR. If the world was to end tomorrow and you could tell our readers to go out and do one last thing what would it be?
DC. Wow. Erm…
BR. You can’t say go and buy an Earth record.
DC. I would never be so crass for sure, I would say go and visit a megalithic burial site and hope you are abducted by fairies, or at least that’s what I would be doing, I might be sat there a while but I’d be happy. (Laughs)
Posted: Fri 8 April 2011 Total Views: 2132Views Today: 0