Dylan Carlson is bringing Earth back to Australia for the first time since 2012. Playing at Hobart’s Dark Mofo Festival along with a series of headline dates presented by life is noise, the man spent a few minutes with us to chat broadly about Australia and his career in music.
OzProg: Hey Dylan, really excited to see you back in Australia.
Dylan Carlson (DC): Thanks! Really excited to come back, we had good time when we were there.
OzProg: So this time you’re coming out for Dark Mofo Festival, during our winter, last time you were here in summer, did you have a chance to see much of the place?
DC: We didn’t have a whole lot of time, since it’s flying between cities every time – we did see lots of airports – they’re nice – a lot nicer than in the states!
OzProg: So something I’ve been wanting to ask for a while – how do you keep control playing such minimalistic music? Is it a form of meditation or do you find the nuances as captivating as busier music? Do you ever get restless?
DC: Um… I don’t know if I get restless – my restlessness is channeled into wanting to do different takes on what we do with each album…I was joking with friends the other day, that I only ever had one good idea – I’ve been running with it for a while! Within what we do there’s a lot of rom to do different stuff with it.
The solo thing I do there’s sort of plenty of room to experiment. Everything I do ultimately sounds similar because it’s me doing it.
One thing I’d like to do – I solo on records, usually live there’s not as much chance, but with the new 3 piece I have there’s a lot more space.
OzProg: So playing with different combinations is one way of keeping it engaging?
DC: Definitely when I work with other musicians – I’m not one of those people who needs to control everything. I like working with people who I trust what they do is going to be really good and let them do their thing.
In the past I’ve thought more about the song or whatever and had less room for people to do things, but now touring as a 3 piece there’s more room for me. You know, before, we had keys, trombones, cellos. Now it’s a more stripped down, rock, heavy kinda thing – haha it’s come full circle!
OzProg: I’m curious to know – and it’s totally cool if you’re not – but is talking about Kurt something you’re comfortable doing? Did you have any involvement with the recent Nirvana events going on?
DC: No I didn’t.
OzProg: OK – is there much community amongst musicians from that group you hung out with? Do you keep up to date with what people are up to?
DC: Not so much, I’m not really in touch any more, I live in LA. Though I do sometimes see people when flying – I bumped into Buzz at the airport – it was like the first time I’d run into him in 10 years. It’s still like I see some people in Seattle more often at a show or something, but I don’t go out much!
OzProg: You’ve been associated with two pretty legendary labels, Sub Pop and Southern Lord. Can you tell us a bit about the experiences with each?
DC: I mean they both have been good, both being on Sup Pop at that time was definitely a good thing – we were always the weird band out in many ways, being on Sup Pop helped, finding people who would have liked us was ultimately not a bad thing.
Ummm…I learned a lot about contracts! Haha.
But yeah, Sup Pop, Southern Lord, I don’t have any huge complaints.
Both are run differently, Sup Pop was modeled off the majors, later part owned by one and a more traditonial label in a lot of ways. Southern Lord is an artist run label, more artist –friendly, but there’s always give and take when people hand you money to do stuff, it’s never a free ride.
OzProg: You have achieved a lot during your career, made records, toured the world – so what are your ambitions now for Earth? What keeps you going?
DC: I love playing live, that’s my favourite part of it. The touring part is the part I’ve liked the most. I guess it’d be nice on a personal level do some more sound track stuff and not have to travel so much.
OzProg: Is the money in the touring too?
DC: Yeah it’d definitely be nice to sell a few more records! Touring, as I get older it’s a little harder each time.
OzProg: I’m aware time is limited so just a few fan questions.
Jochen from Hinterlandt was wondering if the soundtrack for the film GOLD is available anywhere?
DC: Yes it’s going be available, should be bringing some with us I believe. It’ll be available of out our store. You know I did that in December of 2012 and recorded it. I was approached by the director, a german guy Thomas Ersland. The movie showed at Berlin Film Festival in Feb 2013 and came out on DVD in February – not sure how available it is in Australia. But the soundtrack will be available in both digital and vinyl from the Earth merch site & we’ll be bringing some with us.
OzProg: Nick from Dumbsaint (who played with you in Sydney last time) says – Hex & Bees are beautiful records and he’ll see you in Tasmania.
DC: Ah, thanks man.
OzProg: Any Aussie bands you’re listening to?
DC: Not at the moment, I’ve not spent time on a lot of new stuff – bands I’ve been with most recently though are Gran Magus from Sweden and Behemoth – it’s fantastic I like that record a lot.
OzProg: Alrighty, thanks Dylan, take care and look forward to having you back here soon!
DC: Thank you man.
Earth kick off their Australian tour next week:
Tuesday June 17 – Crowbar – Brisbane
With Dreamtime and A Savage God
Wednesday June 18 – Rosemount Hotel – Perth
With Rachael Dease with her new band and Craig McElhinney/Chris Cobilis
Thursday June 19 – Manning Bar – Sydney
With We Lost The Sea and Dead China Doll
Friday June 20 – Dark Mofo – Hobart
Saturday June 21 – The Hi-Fi – Melbourne
With Magic Mountain Band and Bonnie Mercer
Tickets from www.lifeisnoise.com