Earth's Dylan Carlson shines a light on Angels of Darkness

Defying life-threatening circumstances and a personnel crisis to bring <b>Earth</b>'s impending seventh studio album to life, who better to give an insight than guitarist and principal member <b>Dylan Carlson</b>?

Feature by David Bowes | 05 Jan 2011

On the title, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1: I’ve been on this British folk rock trip with Pentangle and Fairport Convention and then I’ve been reading a lot of fairy stories, like, Scottish, Welsh, Irish fairy stories so that’s my obsession right now. That’s where the album title Angels of Darkness Demons of Light comes from; the angels of darkness would be the angels and demons from monotheism whereas the demons of light would be the fairy folk.

On Stacey Rozich’s artwork: I met Stacey through Karl [Blau, bass], she’d done a poster for one of his shows and I really liked it. All of her stuff has this obsessive quality to it; it’s all demonic, weird figures. Then there’s the colour and elements such as African folk masks and Lapland folk elements. It has a folk art element to it, in a way; I thought it fit quite well with the title and the theme. She’s an amazing artist. I hope she goes on to be very successful!

On the new line-up: I met Lori [Goldston, cello, formerly of Nirvana] through Steve Moore, the keyboardist and trombone player from the Bees album and Hex. We invited her to some shows that Steve couldn’t do and I liked what she did, we hit it off. Then Steve and [now former bassist] Don [McGreevy] had other stuff they wanted to pursue, so they went to do their thing. Karl I met through our manager Clyde and we played with him a few times at this thing called ‘Heck Fest’ – I liked his solo stuff. Unfortunately he can’t come on tour with us so we have another bass player called Angelina Baldoz.

On new instruments: I like the sound of the cello and the guitar; they seem to work well together. I especially like the way Lori plays. A lot of people, when they have cello, well, it’s very classically oriented but she does a lot of improvisation, plays through an amp; so it doesn’t sound like some cod orchestra.

On new sounds: The new album is more melodic and riff oriented than before with Bees, becoming very dense with chords and piano. I liked it, but listening to it now it seems a little cluttered. Again, the less is more approach seems to be working. The key to my whole existence, it seems, is less is more.

On recording setbacks: Before we did this record I was very sick and found out I had a bad liver from my previous lifestyle. I should have been in hospital during recording but I was like, “Well I have to get this record done. This might be my last so it’s gotta be good!” Towards the end of the recording I was put on medication and that seems to be working. It was like there was that darkness and then it became more uplifting so I realised, “OK, I’m gonna get to create a few more of these.”

On working with Stuart Hallerman: Stuart ran the studio where we did Bees but he hasn’t been doing a lot of production or engineering. I’ve known him for a long time, even before we worked on Earth 2 back in Olympia so it was nice to work with him again since we’ve both come a long way since the early days. Stuart was willing to just let us play as a band, he was a lot more concerned with getting that through the tape as unfiltered as possible.

On Angels of Darkness Demons of Light II: The first part has more songs except for the title track, which we just created in the studio. The second part is more spontaneous; I wrote most of the songs over a two week period before we hit the studio. As with part one there’s improvisation, but two was more of an on-the-spot creation. There are similarities between the style, feel and the energy; they’re the same but different. Originally the plan was to release both records in 2011 but there might be a slight delay on the second part. The label has its priorities and production schedules to adhere to so we’ll see what happens.

Angels Of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 is released via Southern Lord on 7 Feb.

Earth play Stereo, Glasgow on 5 April.