Evolving Their Noise
CoC interviews earthtone9
by: Adrian Bromley
The great thing about earthtone9 (et9) is their ability to create music that is not only mesmerizing but also truly powerful in its onslaught on our senses and psyche. The experience is worth it.

To get more in depth about the material, I'd have to say the music of et9 is a rabid flailing of sonic realms and mystifying passages (nestled nicely between Tool and Neurosis, though more hardcore fuelled) that cradle within your mind. With power and might, the music ends up causing a temporary breakdown in all things real, thus taking you on a whirlwind experience of aggression and music wizardry.

"The music of et9 just comes together so well, the ideas and the sounds manage to bind as one when we are in the studio", starts guitarist Owen down the line from Nottingham, England about the new disc, _Off Kilter Enhancement_ [CoC #42]. "But to be honest with you, the last two records we have put out (_OKE_ and last year's _lo-def(inition) discord_ [CoC #35]) were kind of rushed. We had to go in the studio and come out with something. We're glad it all worked out, but to be honest, more time would have helped. We're hoping next time out we can spend a bit more time working out all the glitches in our music and make it much stronger than what it already is."

"We want to boost up all the things that excite us about our music", he quips. "When you go out on the road and tour and play all the songs live you really start to get a feeling of what you think needs to be added to your music. We started to hear and/or see some things that might have been neglected while it went through the studio process. These are things we will bring back with us when we work on record number three."

While the band has done some extensive touring over the last few years with their two releases, Owen states that the band (rounded out by vocalist Karl, guitarist Joe, bassist Gray and drummer Si) doesn't slack off in the song writing department when they are on the road. "That has never been the case. Writing comes very easy for us. It always has. We already have a big chunk of the third record set to go. It's just a matter of when we get off the road and when we find time to hit the studio."

"It seems like forever that we have been out on the road", he says. "God! It seems like forever. We play with anybody. Anybody that comes along we take. We just enjoy performing."

From start to finish, _OKE_ is ten times more vibrant than the music found on _ldd_, not to say it is much better, it just seems that the band has managed to find their groove. A feat that not many bands achieve this early in their careers, or, in some cases, never find at all.

"Like most bands and with us, as time goes along your musical identity becomes a lot clearer. What was weird for us was that the first album was completely financed and when it was released we were going to split up. We had all been doing this for years in other bands and had never gotten anywhere. But with this album things started looking very good for us and we got some great responses. That persuaded us to continue and it was funny, because we already had the second album almost done and we were almost going to call it quits. We stuck around, put out the second record and here we are. Sure both records had been assembled at about the same time, as we were waiting for things to happen, but there was a sense of progression there. I can see it."

He adds: "The thing with bands is that through natural progression of material you learn to really scope out what you are all about and if you can venture further from the first record then you are doing something right. We obviously were going in the right direction with _OKE_."

On the subject of today's music scene, he comments: "I don't really like to point figures at people, but it is definitely an interesting time for music at the moment. Extreme music has managed to somehow work its way into mainstream music these days and it has made it a bit more interesting than what it has been like in the past. That is also something very difficult to handle as well, because bands that really try to do something different aren't guaranteed to sell loads of records compared to those bands that stick to a popular style. I don't like many bands nowadays, to tell you the truth. I find it a very boring time. But if I had to pick a few bands out there that are keeping me interested, I'd have to say Tool, a great UK band called Floor and Korn."

Korn?, I ask.

"Yeah, not that they affect what we do at all -- they don't --, it's just that they brought a really unique sound and approach to music when they came onto the scene and it allowed a lot of bands to mix up their sound. But unfortunately the repercussions from that were tremendous. All these bands out there wanted to be like them. They didn't and still don't get it. It wasn't about following them, it was about exploring music like they did. Take a chance. Be creative. That's the way it has always been with us."

On defining just where they sit with their own sound, Owen responds: "I think we have been very lucky with what we do. I think we are a perennial, unfashionable type of band. We don't live in London or in the right music circles. We existed in a vacuum kind of existence, I think. And because we have done things on a smaller scale working with an indie label [Copro Records] and because we have no expectations of what we were doing, we really didn't have a reason to incorporate any popular styles into what we do."

"To be honest with you, I don't think we could ever be contrived about what we do", notes Owen. "It just always turns out the way we always meant it to come out. If we tried to insert something artificially, I think it would stand out quite noticeably."

He finishes: "There are a lot of things that come along with being in a band, a lot of problems and frustrations, but I get so much enjoyment from being in a band... it just feels like it has a real valid purpose above and beyond just work. I don't think we have some huge political or sociological message that we are trying to push across to anyone. We just play real heavy music. Being in a band has been very cathartic for the five of us and it has been a good way of maintaining a strong relationship with a great group of people. Most people don't ever experience that, and I'm glad I have it."

(article submitted 15/1/2000)


ALBUMS
8/12/2000 A Bromley 8 earthtone9 - hi-point
8/12/1999 A Bromley 9.5 earthtone9 - Off Kilter Enhancement
11/19/1998 A Bromley 9 Earthtone9 - lo-def(inition) discord
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