Steve Fallows recently caught up with Karl Middleton and Owen Packard of Earthtone9 for a quick chat. They talked about reforming, pledgemusic.com and other bands they would like to see reform one day…
It’s really good to see Earthtone9 back, how did this reunion come about?
Karl: Very gradually – Over the last few years we had got back in touch with each other, but making music had never been a point of discussion. A bit later down the line promoters started contacting us to see if we were interested in playing shows again. We said no at the time but it planted the seed in our minds. The 10th anniversary of the release of Arc Tan Gent felt like a really good time to reconvene in a musical sense and remind rock and metal fans of what we were and still are about.
After such a long break, did you expect the high billings at Sonisphere and Damnation and the reactions your performances received?
Karl: We were surprised, honoured and humbled by the response that we got at both shows. We always believed in what we were doing and that we were making great music. It was amazing to see that people still cared and were passionate about us after such a long time
You have linked up with pledgemusic.com recently. Can you explain how this works and what it means for the band and the fans?
Owen: Pledge was a system that other bands we know had tried out. It basically allows bands to contact fans and supporters and ask them to ‘pledge’ money to allow the artist to make a record. So instead of buying the CD AFTER it’s out, the Pledgers commit to buying it upfront. This provides the money for the band to hit the studio and record the material.
It is a genius, genius idea and demonstrates a completely new mechanism to build the music industry around. We absolutely loved the concept and jumped straight on it. It’s such a direct connection between band and fans. It has meant that we didn’t need to tread that same old tired route of making demos, approaching record companies, negotiating budgets etc. etc.
This could very easily be the future of the music industry. Check it out at www.pledgemusic.com/projects/earthtone9
How does it feel writing and recording with everyone again?
Karl: It feels pretty damn good, all of the problems that we had before just aren’t there anymore, in part because there isn’t the same pressure that there once was. It’s just us enjoying being creative together writing the best material that we can.
To me if feels similar to when the band first started in 1996, the focus is on being the best musicians and songwriters that we can be rather than taking an overtly careerist approach and being distracted by promotional and business concerns.
With your previous experience, is there anything you, as a band will do differently this time?
Karl: Et9 is a part of our lives now rather than our entire lives revolving around it. We have a completely different perspective now. The band is still very important to us all in terms of the quality of the music that we make and our connection to the people that like but we aren’t going to grind ourselves into the ground with constant touring and writing this time.
We are doing what we want to do, not what we feel we should do out of obligation to the people working with us.
With the likes of One Minute Silence also coming back, are there any more of your peers you would like to see reform?
Karl: I always had a soft spot for Labrat and Medulla Nocte. It would be great to see those guys scaring the crap out of audiences again.
The current trend is for bands to perform classic albums in their entirety. Is there an album you would consider performing?
Karl: Not sure, could be fun – Arc Tan Gent contains the strongest songs so that would have to be the one. There are a couple of songs that don’t come across well live though so we’d probably have to ignore those.
So where do Earthtone9 go from here, are you back for the long haul?
Karl: Truthfully we aren’t sure yet. It would be awesome to write, record and release new material regularly, and play headline shows to our people + get some support slots so we can reach out to new people every year. However, we are all scattered around the UK so the logistics are challenging …..but where there’s a will there’s a way 🙂 As it stands we are committed to making our current set up work for as long as possible.