Just a few months after releasing the extraordinary album Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light Pt 1, Dylan Carlson’s Earth are back with Part 2. Nothing surprising, as these two albums were recorded during the same sessions. However, part 2 is slightly different as it exclusively contains improvised pieces of music and was recorded in “live” conditions. It’s always a pleasure discussing music with Dylan, because you can feel his passion and his entire devotion to the art. It’s also nice to see that such a talented musician, often referred to as being a genius and that has contributed to the evolution of Rock Music itlself, also has specific opinions about our world and our society. Although understanding that opinion is not necessarily as easy as feeling pleasure listening to his music…
Earth - From left to right: Adrienne, Dylan, Karl & Lauri
Dylan, how does it feel to be promoting a record that just came out, but that has been recorded almost one year ago?
I am excited to be doing it, I had hoped they would both come out the same year, but things happen, and we have been touring so much this year it is nice to have some time to reflect and present a new show for the next tour. Besides, it would have been prohibitively expensive to manufacture both records and for people to purchase them together in these dire economic circumstances.
Do you still “hear” that record the same way?
I haven't started listening to the second half again, although now it is time to get it ready for the road and add some new old material to the set. I still am quite into what we did and think it is our best work to date. I am very proud of the second part, since it is almost all improvised at the time of recording and came out quite well.
In general do you look back at your older recordings? Do you accept them fully or do you wish you could go back in time and change some things?
I would not change them for the world, I think that whole idea is weird and unnecessary.
So Angels…Pt 2 was record during the same sessions as the first part?
Yes it was. I was having a health crisis and didn't know if there would be any more Earth albums, so I wanted to get as much done as possible.
And you told me the last time that all of the songs were improvised?
Yes, from the title track of the first part through all of the second album we just rolled tape and went for it, them I added some off the cuff overdubs, no more than 2 per track.
So everything was recorded completely in live conditions.
Yes, we were all set up in the room with minimal or no baffling and a great room mic, and we all played together, kind of like an old blue note or miles session.
This is probably Earth's best line-ups ever: Lauri's Cello is more and more important in the band's sound And Adrienne's been playing with Dylan in Earth since '01
Please tell me more about the “process” of improvising and recording. How do you define the direction you want to follow, how do you transmit the feeling to the other musicians?
I work with musicians I know are going to step up and do cool things, that I don't have to worry about or write things for. I let people alone to contribute and they always do there best. I am not a dictatorial type person. Partnership values are more conducive than Dominator values.
And how is part 2 different from part 1 in your opinion?
The first part goes from the oldest most composed song 'old black' to the freest 'angels of darkness/demons of light' and part 1 has a darker feel, while the second one has more hope and is swinging hard by the last track.
Just like part 1, the artwork is unbelievably awesome. Did the same artist handle it?
Yes, the art is by Stacey Rozich again.
Now is this an outstanding artwork or is this an outstanding artwork??
These 2 records were influenced by oriental music. Do you have an idea about what you're planning to do next? Have you started to work on the next record?
No, and No idea yet, although things are always percolating. I have some solo projects scheduled to do between touring, one of them quite ambitious, so that and the upcoming tours next year (UK/EU already planned) are what's in front of me.
What kind of music do you listen to these days? I know you like many different things, do your musical tastes change with time or not at all?
I always go back to favorites, I have always loved music. Newer bands I am into right now (and for always after this) are the Smoke Fairies and the Unthanks. Older bands I am into right now are Mr.Fox. Jethro Tull, and UFO.
The world seems to be in a critical era right now, especially the “western” world, with all the social movements, the financial crisis… Do you think that artists and musicians in particular can make a difference?
Yes I think so, especially when the time comes to take to the barricades. I think that we are seeing the death's of many paradigm's right now and one of them is the way music is consumed and treated, I would like to see a return to the importance of live music and a new way for musicians to travel to cities and towns and play 3 or more shows at smaller venues per town, and not always be playing one night stands. The way bands have to tour ties them closely to the consumer economy and the economy of waste, fuel and mini-marts and fast-food and the alcohol industry and airlines etc... It also creates a kind of pillaging/military frame of mind if one is not careful, with concern for logistics and 'invading' cities and towns and vanishing the next day, one does not get to absorb the aura and feel of the community, that is why I always try to talk to people and interact with the audience, the band and the audience are both conjuring an event together.
Do you think they have to pick a side and sort of support this or that movement?
Musicians I am sure have varied agendas and I would not presume to speak for anyone else. I believe int the restoration of magic, and a magical world-view. I think we have been told/sold many lies- beginning with intensive agriculture/acquisition of wealth/the privileging of the written word over oral culture/the 'renaissance'/ the 'enlightenment'/ aristotelian logic and dualism/ capitalism and marxism/ etc. The whole idea of the world getting 'better' as we move 'forward'. The golden age probably never existed, but if it did it was in the distant past not the future, there was no mother nature 'red in tooth and claw' we have not ascended with history out of barbarism but 'advanced' into it as time has inexorably flowed 'forward'.
Thanks to Dylan Carlson of course & thanks also to Pascaline and Lauren !