Firstly, congratulations for the top notch, trippy and amazing “Black Heaven”. A must to all fans of the genre. Welcome aboard!
– Thank you so much. We appreciate the kind words.
You have been around for 18 years, yet you have only released five official studio albums, apart from live ones and splits. I guess, this is a quality over quantity thing?
– I’d say partly quality over quantity. It’s also a geographic thing. We don’t all live in the same city so we don’t see each other regularly outside of tours. There really isn’t a lot of time spent jamming. Quite a bit of material gets worked out while doing soundcheck or in improvised portions of our live set during tours.
The band’s lineup has been steady since the very beginning. What’s the secret recipe?
– I think the first thing is that we enjoy making music together. We’ve been playing together for so long that we’ve developed our own musical language with one another. It’s almost like telepathy which makes for a special bond. We get along socially as well.
Being an instrumental band is your thing; what led you to this and how many times you have received offers for vocalists without even asking for one? Haha!
– Like I mentioned before, we don’t all live in the same city which is basically how the instrumental, partially improvised sound came to be. We didn’t really have a lot of time to write songs, so we would just write parts and then improvise within and in between those parts. A sort of jazz approach. We enjoyed it so we stuck with it. We’ve received quite a few offers from people who have wanted to sing. Haha! There’s been a few times where guys have said that they put our records on and write and sing their own lyrics over our music. Pretty funny.
“Sonic Prayer” won the Best Hard Rock Album award in 2007 at the San Diego Music Awards. How important was that you were honored in that way in your own hometown?
– It was cool. There’s such a broad spectrum of music in San Diego that it was nice to be recognized. Especially since we’re not a really conventional band. The majority of the music listening public probably wouldn’t be in to it.
I presume that after all these years there have been ups and downs to the band, as well as mistakes and bad decisions. Did you ever think of quiting?
– Yeah, there have been ups and downs. Moments of self doubt, musically and personally. There have been times where i’ve thought of quitting. But we’ve been going for so long it’s seems like there would be a serious void in my life if I were to give up. There have been a lot of times where I didn’t feel like showing up though. Just burnt out.
Are the good or the bad things that keep you motivated to dedicate yourselves to Earthless?
– Both. The good obviously. Positive reinforcement is a great motivator. But also bad things can be motivating as well. Serious writing slumps where I won’t be able to come up with anything that I feel is any good for long periods of time. There’s a motivation to get over those slumps. If we play a show that wasn’t too hot, there’s a drive to play better.
After your 4 live albums, there were comments such as whoever did not like them, won’t enjoy your live performances as well. So, what should someone expect from an Earthless show?
– The live records are a good representation of what our shows sound like. We rarely take time to stop in between songs. If we do stop, to tune, take a drink, etc., we will feedback. There isn’t really any part of the show that’s not completely saturated with sound. Some people can find it to be exhausting or overwhelming. But what we like to present is a celebration of music. Music is a spiritual thing. It brings people together. Sonically it’s loud, constantly climbing and free of the restraints of a conventional musical structure.
You are due to appear in Athens this May! What are your expectations?
– We hope that the show will be as good as the last few times. Athens is such a great place to play. Wonderful people and wonderful food. Really looking forward to it.
Any plans for the future?
– We’re planning on recording a new record this winter. Until then, most likely working on new material.
Would you mind sharing some last words with our readers?
– Thank you for your interest. It’s been a pleasure to do this interview. We’re looking forward to the show in Athens and we’d like to thank you all for the support you’ve given us over the years. We’ll see you soon.