Seattle drone pioneers Earth have just announced a new album, Primitive and Deadly, to be released in September. Before then their Australian tour brings them to the Rosemount Hotel Wednesday, June 18, with support from Rachael Dease and Craig McElhinney/Chris Cobilis. ROD WHITFIELD reports.
A quarter of a century into their career, Washington-based heavy/drone band Earth are visiting Australia for the second time ever.
Main man Dylan Carlson’s first thought when asked if he had any standout memories of their first trip back in late 2012 was that of our fair city’s changeable climate. However, a few other memorable and important things did happen on that first jaunt.
“It was really hard to dress for, I think everyone thinks that Australia is always going to be sunny and warm!” he laughs. “And then there were lots of airports because you have to fly everywhere. But then we saw some old Australian cars which were good to see. And one of the new songs on the latest record was written in Perth,” he recalls. “So that was important. We had a really good time on that tour.”
Carlson and the band get to experience Perth again next week, and he promises a show that emphasises the doomy dredginess of the band’s sound even more that their records do.
“I think, unlike a lot of bands, where they play faster live, sometimes our songs slow down a bit live,” he explains, laughing again. “And they’re usually a little longer than the album version. We’re touring as a trio again – a power trio. It gives us a little more room to step outside the album versions of the songs.
“The new album is definitely more of a hard-rock record than the previous albums have been,” he continues. “It’s somewhat of a return to form, in a lot of ways. It had some vocals, which will not be with us live unfortunately, so it’ll be all instrumental versions.”
He also tells us that, despite having a very extensive back catalogue now, focusing strongly on the latest album on this upcoming Aussie tour.
“The bulk of the live set will be the new record,” Carlson reveals. “We only do a couple of older songs – we’ll just pull out a few jams from the past,” he adds. “You have to, I guess, play some of the older songs.”
Carlson actually seems a little in denial about how long the band has been around. “Yeah, I guess it is 25 years now,” he states hesitantly. “Yeah, I don’t really think about that too much. It’s kinda funny, because back in the old days if a band had been around for that long it seemed… like the only bands that lasted that long were Zeppelin, and even they only lasted 10 or 12 years, so it’s kinda funny now.”
Carlson prefers to look forward than back, and likes to stay busy on creating the next Earth record.
“It kinda comes in waves, depending on what I’m doing at the time. If I have a lot of downtime I write a lot more, although we always seem to come up with stuff during soundchecks too, and practice. There’s always something going on, there’s a number of different ways that we write songs. I’m working on a few at the moment.”
He also likes to stay very busy in the live scene, both with the band and without, and the rest of 2014 is looking very hectic, with a Japanese tour happening prior to the Aussie visit, then the UK and Europe afterwards. And possibly more.
“Yeah, we have a short break in July,” Carlson says, “although it looks like I might be doing a solo thing, opening for Wolves in the States. We’ll see if that happens, if not I’ll have July off. I need it!”