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Interview: Earthtone 9

Earthtone 9
Questions answered by:
Oz (Guitars)
03/16/01
Interviewed by Brian Webb

Related Links:
Official Website

PRP: How much has life changed since the release of "arc' tan' gent"?
Oz: Its changed very little, there's definitely been a perception that we have noticeably stepped up with this record but that's only a public overview, life is no different for us. Last year we did 170 gigs which is pretty heavy going and this year is shaping up to be worse than that.

PRP: How was the Soulfly and more recently, the Pitchshifter tour?
Oz: They were great, for us it is fantastic. I think I enjoy doing support slots more than headline shows. Its a little more open and the expectation is not on you especially in Europe where they don't know who the fuck you are, they come to it very open minded. Both those tours were very good fun. Pitchshifter, there was a lot more interaction with the headline band. But the Soulfly shows were immense, they were huge. We released "arc' tan' gent" in autumn of last year, but because we have supported Soulfly and bands like Disturbed all of a sudden people are thinking "wow you guys are really rocketing" and its like we aren't doing anything different to what we were. We leave for the Fear Factory tour next week for a month in Europe, come back and do the U.K with them, go straight out on tour with One Minute Silence, go back to Italy and then do festivals in Germany. If you had told us last summer that we would be doing that, we wouldn't have believed you.

PRP: On the message board you've said "unless et9 achieves a significantly higher level of success, we will be gone within 12-18 months...", is this an exaggeration or do you feel that the uphill struggle is too much?
Oz: That was in reaction to the Pitchshifter scenario. I was trying to highlight an issue at that point. Without further success we will die as do all bands anyway. It's a much bigger picture, I find it really hard to talk about this stuff. When I got the news of Pitchshifter being dropped It infuriated me. The popularity of nu metal at the moment, it has definitely infiltrated the mainstream and become accepted. People say that has a knock on effect for U.K bands but I'm not convinced it does I think its detrimental. It always appears to be really petulant to moan about this stuff because it looks like sour grapes "we are British and nobody cares" kind of thing. Bands should be judged on being bands. There's a lot of shit American bands but then theres a lot of very good American bands. We live on the very cusp of oblivion. I find it frustrating when people describe us as very heavy and intense and metalcore and hardcore and nu-metal with "arc'tan'gent", half the songs on that record have no aggressive singing. We are writing for the new album now and the stuff is even further down that road. We hardly play anything off the first two albums anymore.
PRP: Does it annoy you somewhat that one of your most popular live songs "Withered" comes from such an old recording and fans almost expect you to play it?
Oz: Four years ago we wrote that! Not that I'm equating in any way "Withered" with "Seek and Destroy'" but Metallica always say that people ask them to play that and I think they understand that is part of their legacy. For us we don't have a legacy. We don't have a massive fan base so we don't have anyone in particular to please. if they want to hear it they can listen to it at home.

PRP: With 3 albums under your belt, whats next for Earthtone9?
Oz: It's no secret that we are talking to American labels. That's what we are hoping to do in letting the band carry on progressing. Whether it happens or not I don't know. We are half way through writing the fourth album and I don't think Corpro Records would want to put it out for us as we would kill them. The support they have given us is unbelievable. They need to nurture the new bands they are signing and we simply take up to much of their resources. We would find it really exciting to be able to start again basically and because we are so unknown outside Europe to go to America with "arc' tan' gent" or our next record being our first record, I think that would change peoples perception.

PRP: How did the popular Evolution Fest that you guys seem to head come about?
Oz: It was just an idea that we had. We got sick of playing the U.K second fiddle to American bands and they would be selling 4 or 5 times as many tickets so we thought we would get all the British bands together and it worked. It was amazingly successful.

PRP: With Evolution Fest and also your website (www.earthtone9.com) you seem quite intent on turning fans onto fresh new U.K talent, bands such as Hundred Reasons, Lostprophets and Forever Until October have all received heavy praise by you guys. Do you feel part of a close knit community of bands all helping each other out?
Oz: I'd be just as excited if there was a really exciting band from somewhere else. The Evolution Fest was never supposed to be so anglo-centric, it was meant to be a really strong bill. Evolution Fest 3 had Guano Apes and for Evolution Fest 4 we are trying to get an American band and if we get the one we want, that would be wicked. The bands I mention on the website is just me. It really does take a lot for me to get excited about bands. my background is music and when I had a record label I couldn't find anyone to sign. The only bands I'd ever seen that I thought I would sign are Liberty 37, Hundred Reasons, Forever Until October and Lostprophets. Lostprophets have surpassed everyone now. They are so perfect for now, that sounds nasty but they are so talented and deserve it. I think they will be the biggest rock band in this country in 6 months.

PRP: How did the side project Standing Dead Centre (featuring Ishmael Lewis (Liberty 37) on vocals and Richie Mills (Sunna) on drums) come about?
Oz: The frustration of not having to write an album for a deadline is just boring.  Finding the mental  impetus to start writing for the new Earthtone9 stuff without actually having to do it is quite hard so yeah I've started doing that with Standing Dead Centre and I find it really refreshing and its perked me up mentally because its so different.

PRP: You recently finished up a video for 'Tat twam asi'. Can you tell us a bit about it and when we are likely to see it?
Oz: Given the resources and the budget, we would love to do something really left field but we had neither the resources or budget so its slightly arty. I'm really proud of it. A friend of ours made it for 500 and its a good video. For 5000 it would have been really good.
PRP: Can the video be requested on MTV2 in the U.K?
Oz: We have been officially denied clearance by MTV, we contravened some rule about strobe affects and fast cutting. Its kind of odd because we know they have played it but legally they are not supposed to. mMybe some pre-pubescent teenage girl will have an epileptic fit because of our video and we will get loads publicity.

PRP: Is anyone in the band madder than a bag of badgers?
Oz: Fundamentally we are a extremely dull as a band. Everyone has their moments and if you catch us on the right day we might appear a spanner short of a tool kit. We are long passed the days of being crazy teenage hoodlums.

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