The Seattle drawl of Dylan Carlson's voice is proof that if owners resemble their pets then musicians resemble their music. It's lathered with a healthy of dose of wry irony as he says that there are too many bands that are shit these days and then confesses that there were: "No allusions from the get go, Earth were never going to have a successful song or be big like pop music." He's laughing all the while and in between the thoughtful, lengthy, silences that riddle our conversation and the gentle nudge at the death of having a "deeper appreciation for music" (as he says) it's easy to get lost in the sniggering. Perhaps sniggering isn't the right word, it's closer to the throaty laugh of a smoker without the cough-your-lungs-out approach (I don't know if he smokes or not).
The stark reality is that Earth is a passion project. Carlson's voice is rough (like a screamer who never learnt to scream, but alas, Earth are instrumental) when he says that, "it barely pays the bills but I've done it for such a long time...At this point in my life I'm not sure there's anything else I can do."
It's a surprisingly serious admission from a man whose voice has suddenly slipped from jovial to back to slow and pensive. But it is the reality and after 10 studio albums it's a reality that Earth continues to contend with. That said, he's by no means woe, is me. We're not on an expedition to the land of self pity and the ever present wah, wah, the industry sucks argument, it just is what it is.
"[Money] becomes a consideration when you're asked to play somewhere different and you think, ‘is my rent going to be paid when I get back or am I going to be fucked?'." If Kayne West had a rock counterpart then Carlson's modesty, humbleness and slightly self deprecating sense of humour is the furthest thing from it.
We're not sure which category, paid or not, they'll be in after their NZ tour (which winds up in Auckland this Saturday) but after peeling back the crust (I couldn't resist, there had to be at least one bad pun) to get to the core (okay, I'm done) Carlson reckons that money's money and frankly the amount doesn't really matter because he's not about to apply for a job on The Voice or release a dubstep album.
"Well, I mean, I would have to say two things," he murmurs heading into what's going to be a short lived list, "A) [music] that comes through me isn't going to sound that different anyway. I play guitar a certain way and I think about music a certain way. I don't think it'll get too different because what I transmit comes through me."
He describes it as being part of the ether, "I'm a conduit, a vessel, the music comes through me, out of the ether." And by that logic, he says anything that comes out of Earth isn't going to be too far flung from their sound. Given that album number 10 was hailed as the completion of a cycle it begs the question: Can you really do the same thing over and over?
His response, after some humming and har-ing, "I mean, I think, to me, music is a continuum and man's being doing it since God knows when so I don't think that anyone invented it...But I think it pays to have a deeper appreciation of music and not just influences from one or two weeks ago." The throaty sniggering is back, it's all said in good humour, and it's a point he follows through (yes, we have come full circle).
"It's like [new] bands pick their micro-genre before they start the band," he continues, "and then go and listen to bands from a couple of years back. That probably sounds awfully ageist..."
He gets lost in his words for a moment and back tracks a little but the point is this: bands now don't listen to Black Sabbath, they listen to Electric Wizard (Carlson notes he has nothing against Electric Wizard) or to bands "from a couple of years back." Once, again, not disparaging bands from a couple of years back, he genuinely thinks the lack of appreciation is missing: "To me real music is when you listen to something like Hendrix and it's edgy and dangerous rock music and it connects you to something outside this world, to a sense of a better world. But music at the moment doesn't seem to have that. There's too much technology these days and there are too many bands that suck." He sniggers.
Carlson's future, whether Earth begin to suck or not, he says is in the hands of his fans: "...I learnt early on in music that the band has little or no say over what their best song or show is. That's up to the audience."
Earth's finances, the state of today's music and life beyond Earth are all unknown but, what we do know is they are touring, tickets are on sale, and while Carlson is a world away from his old job as a Lab tech in a cancer research facility, he's not about to end his orbit.
Earth NZ tour
Dunedin - Thursday June 12th,Chicks, Port Chalmers Dunedin Wellington - Friday June 13th, Bodega Wellington Auckland -Saturday June 14th, Kings Arms Auckland
Tickets on sale from www.undertheradar.co.nz/ Cosmic Dunedin / RPM & Slowboat / Real Groovy Records / All Shows R18
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are gracing our shores on the 28th of November at Galatos. After a 4-year hiatus, they have burst back onto the scene and headed straight for the spot they are most familiar with, number 1 on the Billboard Christian Rock Charts.
Breakups are never easy - whether it's a romantic tryst, a teenage crush, or with a young Mark and his favourite band Dream Theater, that dark moment when founding keyboardist Kevin Moore left the group in 1994.
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
Due to incredible demand, internationally renowned award-winning musician, comedian, actor, writer and composer TIM MINCHIN has today announced a third and final Auckland show as part of his Australasian tour of his live show BACK.
Legendary, GRAMMY-award winning band FLEETWOOD MAC today announced an Australian and New Zealand tour, set to kick off on August 9 with two shows in Auckland on September 16 and 19, along with a welcome return to Dunedin on September 21.
California’s radical sons, The Growlers arrive in the country this week for the start of the Australian leg of their mammoth worldwide ‘Beach Goth’ tour. In what is guaranteed to be a rollicking, majestic wave of movements all around our golden coast,
Timaru’s iconic Soundshell in Caroline Bay will host two of the most well-known bands in New Zealand in a one-day entertainment extravaganza this January. Katchafire and The Black Seeds will headline the R18+ event at the Soundshell on Saturday, January 26, 2019. They’ll be joined by The Butlers.
In true kiwi summer tour tradition Marlon Williams will now take The Tūrangawaewae Tour to a further six markets this February making it a total of 12 shows - Marlon’s most comprehensive New Zealand tour ever!
With sounds primed for a hot summer ahead, Christchurch four piece Mako Road have arrived with the perfect soundtrack for long nights, cold drinks and hazy days with the ‘Local Safari’ EP, which releases today.
“Music can bring us all together, it bonds us, it strengthens us...” this song “Your Guardian Angel” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has been dedicated to Toyah Cordingley.
Please spread the word to anyone who loves the song, or has lost someone too early also, feel free to leave any dedications in the comments of which we will share direct for Toyahs’ family and the band to see.
On the heels of releasing several collaborative hit tracks this year, five-time Grammy Award-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson returns with a brand new single of his own ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ featuring Miley Cyrus.
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire, composer Chris O’Connor.