Eisenwald Artist Woman is the earth Interview is up
1. For those of us new to Woman is the Earth tell us a bit how the band came to be?
The 3 of us grew up in the same town and had been involved in local music, playing in different projects, for several years. We originally started working together in 2007 in a black metal-influenced grindcore band. We were heavily influenced by bands like Fall of the Bastards and Oakhelm. After doing that for a year, we started moving towards longer songs with unique structures and developing more atmosphere in the music. Woman is the Earth has always been Jon Martin, Andy Martin, and Jarrod Hattervig.
2. Your from South Dakota not a place many Black metal bands emerge from. Is there something about the Isolation that helps with the Post Black metal vibe you create?
Yes, absolutely. Most of this state is pretty isolated and vast. The state has a very small population, with mostly rural communities. We live in the Black Hills, in the western-most part of South Dakota. The Black Hills is a dense, mountainous area in the middle of a huge grassland. It has been a major influence on all three of us since we were children, all growing up spending a lot of time in the forest, exploring our home. We now live in a small city called Rapid City, which has a population of about 80,000- it's the second biggest city in the state and there really is not much of a "city" or "metro" kind of vibe here. Fashions and trends don't hold too much weight here like they seem to in bigger cities. The isolation, freedom of so much wilderness, extreme climate, and a group of very eclectic and very real people have all greatly influenced the musical vibe that we create.
3. You have similar elements to bands like Fen, Early Krieg, Xasthur, Velvet Cacoon and Wolves in the throne room but you do add a bit more punk elements it to it all. How did your Chaos meets Controlled sound of Black metal come to be??
We all came from a background of playing very DIY music, playing punk shows, etc. I think elements of that remain in our music. I think we have begun to establish our own sound and controlling the chaos a little more, but we have always been interested and influenced by strange music.
4. Your re-issuing your last album on Eisenwald but seem to have just self released a new album is there a reason that Eisenwald didn't release Depths as well? Are you working with Eisenwald again or is this just a one off release.
Eisenwald approached us about re-releasing "This Place That Contains My Spirit" shortly after it was released in 2012. A U.S. label called Init Records released our newest album called "Depths". The decision to release it with Init was made before the album was even finished. This Place That Contains My Spirit is not necessarily a one off release with Eisenwald. Both labels have been great to work with. Eisenwald has provided an awesome opportunity to release our music in Europe and put a ton of time and energy into unique album packaging, which is important to us. At this point, our releases have all been pretty limited, we haven't chosen to do any sort of multi- album contract with anyone yet.
5. Is there a theme of Story behind This Place that contains my spirit. Or is it just a collection of Haunting Pagan/Folk themed songs?
There is a theme to the album. It is basically about rituals- about how humans connect with their surroundings. For us, it was an homage to how old cultures connect and celebrate life and death where we are from- The Black Hills. The album name and title track are referring to the Black Hills. Our home gives us strength and spirit.
6. What is a live show like for Woman is the Earth as I know you do so few?
Our live show has definitely evolved over the years and is one of our favorite things to do. We don't play live very often but we like it to be as well executed and memorable as possible. We do, however, still practice about twice a week and write constantly. We like to have an emotional connection with our audience, and share the intensity that we feel when we play. All three of us tend to escape into our own minds and emotions while we play. When we play live, Jon drums and does vocal chants and backing vocals, Andy plays guitar and controls a number of effects pedals and also fills in the low end of our sound with an organ-like bass synthesizer, Jarrod does vocals and normally plays lead lines and solos, etc. Our live sound is always evolving- we have never played with the exact same effects, equipment, or set list twice. Every show is very unique. We are still constantly searching for the right sounds and atmospheres for any given show. Sound is very important to us.
7. What are the members of the band listening to Currently ? Would there be any shocking things on the Play list ?
There are staples to what we all listen to and are influenced by- like Twilight, Gorgoroth, Grails, Wolves in the Throne Room, Weakling, Pink Floyd, Boards of Canada, Hell (US). Currently Andy has been listening to Castevet, Lycus, the Windhand/Cough split, and lots of Electric Wizard. Jon has been listening to lots of Boards of Canada, as usual. Jarrod has been listening to Thou, Primitive Man, Indian, Mutoid Man, Pallbearer, Red Hot Chili Peppers.
8. You have your own website http://www.womanistheearth.com/ as well as social media outlets do you feel bands today just need good pr and social media to get the word out or does it still take backing on a label to really push a band to that spotlight?
We started the website a few years ago, and that has been the only online outlet we have put much focus into. We started a bandcamp recently because we have gotten more and more requests for digital formats. We have put a few videos on youtube. Other than that, things like facebook, last.fm, other videos etc. have been started by other people. We don't have any involvement with those social media sites. We are very excited that people take the time to share our music online though. It is very humbling that blogs and other social media sites have allowed people to share our music and share opinions, good or bad. We don't feel that social media will make or break a band's success, I guess it depends on what you want out of it. We recorded TPCTMS in our basement with no intention of distributing it worldwide. Somehow people caught on and showed interest and it has evolved into more than a local project. Some of our favorite bands are very difficult to contact or learn about online... for example Hell (US), or the band False. We feel that a band's music and performances will speak for themselves. If its good enough- people will come to you.
9.If there was one track by any band you could cover ( either re arrange it or make it your own vibe). Who would it be and why?
Oh man, sorry if this answer is super boring and disappointing, but we have never really given any thought to doing a cover before. We have chosen to put our time and energy into writing our own stuff. We play and practice different music styles though. We play a lot of psychadelic rock and stoner/ sludge metal when we practice. Sometimes we play jazz stuff. We like staying well versed in those styles, its a lot of fun.
10. Your put under a genre call Cascadian black metal does it even mean anything or is it just a way to focus on a heathen/ nature based Black metal ethic??
To be honest, none of us are that familiar with the "Cascadian" black metal genre. I guess it seems to be an easier way to label atmospheric black metal stuff that may deal with nature and spirituality. We have always been huge fans of the band Wolves in the Throne Room, but we aren't very familiar with other bands in that genre that we are often compared to. Clearly our early sound was derivitive of WITTR, but I think most young bands have a starting point. To call something "Cascadian" seems like a regional term to me... And we are not from the Northwest. Weakling is a big influence, and those guys wrote such amazing stuff two decades ago, long before black metal was split into so many sub genres. They are in a league of their own. We really don't feel much connection with any 'scene' or 'genre'. We pretty much just focus on what we have going on.
11. Where did the Name Woman is the Earth Come from as its not a common name for a black metal band?
First of all, it is a name that as far as we know, is unique and hasn't been used before. The name refers to an idea that many old cultures have that the earth is a kind of female energy- providing and nurturing as a more masculine energy uses its resources. We think focusing on both feminine and masculine energies is important. They both exist in the universe. The name is not supporting any sort of social or political movement. Another big reason we chose it is because we wanted something unique to a genre of music that often times seems wrapped up in being the most 'brutal', or 'evil. We think a band's music speaks for itself. We hope ours does.
12. Do the members of Woman is the Earth create music in other genre or style under other project if so tell us about them?
We all have different music interests, and as mentioned before, like playing different musical styles. None of us play in any other projects though. Woman is the Earth is our main focus, musically.
13. Where do you see Extreme music heading as the digital age grows and more one man and Basement bands come to be. Will it be about going back to the demo days and word of month or is this the next wave of Major labels trying to cash in on the next fringe sound??
Thats a pretty difficult question to answer. First off, we feel that the magic and energy of live performance will never be lost. It seems strange though, that bands can exist only digitally and that fliers, show promotion, etc. can exist solely on social media websites. Physical fliers and word of mouth seem to be a thing of the past in a lot of places. There are some great bands that are only studio projects or one man bands, but I think that a band that plays live and tours will remain important, especially in an age where it seems everyone has a band online somewhere. Extreme music is becoming more accessible as well, and seems to be therefore less extreme all the time. I think there may be potential for major labels to cash in on that sound, but I guess we really don't take big issue with that if in the end it is about making good music. To us, music is important, not image or fashion. I doubt that black metal, or doom, or grind would remain popular for very long. In the end, we think that bands that write good music will remain important in the music world, regardless of what is in fashion right now.
14. Thank you for the time and answers any closing thoughts here
We really appreciate the interest and for clearly putting a lot of thought into the interview questions. Thanks for the support!