Hi guys, first I want to say ‘thank you’ for ‘Renascentia’, your second album that was released a little while ago. I listen to it a lot and one of many things that makes the album stand out is its diversity. I hear some old death metal, some more recent stuff, but also a lot of black metal influences. Can you tell us something about Earth Rot’s specific sound?
Jared: We throw around a lot of different names for what we do because we don’t really fit in a single box. Speed doom, black death, black n death n roll, HM2 Filth. All pretty reasonable descriptors of what we do but no single term covers all the bases, really. Often we’ll just call it Heavy Metal and let the listener decide what they think we sound like without us telling them too much about what we try to achieve. Sometimes the combination of bands we’ve toured with paints enough of a picture for people new to Earth Rot. Gorgoroth/Melechesh, Vader, Marduk/Shining, Goatwhore/Psycroptic, Carcass, Dark Tranquillity, Thy Art Is Murder/Aversions Crown, Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Talking about diversity: you guys play black/death metal but that is not all: I notice heavy metal, doom and death ’n roll through the album. A Slayer kind of riff and rock ’n roll on ‘Condemned For The Grave’. And do I hear keys on the beautiful aggressive melodic ‘Unfurled, The Cover Of Darkness’? Who’s idea was it to do all these different things?
Colin: We all listen to a wide variety of non-metal music so there are quite a few influences flying around when we’re in writing mode, but relying on the old classic HM2 for the main guitar tone in this band has the neat effect of making everything sound unified. We’re able to play doom/death/black/grind riffs while remaining cohesive. I’m glad of this band’s pervasive attitude of “hey why not” when it comes to trying new or weird things, which has helped us to avoid becoming yet another retro Stockholm old school death metal band. We’re generally pretty free with the writing process; some songs are just one person, some are live collaborations between two of us, other times we send mp3s and Guitar Pro tabs back and forth until things are done. We’ve all got different styles that we like to write and so sometimes one of us will write something and leave spaces for a specific other member to write a riff or lead in that style. We don’t tend to write in the jam room much as our drummer lives on the other side of the country.
‘Condemned’ was probably the most democratically written song on the album, it was four of us in Jared’s studio just playing riffs at each other. I think the original idea for the song was a sleazy cock rock riff of Tom’s with a very Rammsteinish beat underneath, which we then fucked up with dumb slam riffs and some ridiculous Floyd Rose divebombs. We haven’t started playing it live yet but I think it’s going to be pretty fun. ‘Unfurled’ was Jared’s song which I added a few leads to - it’s all guitars with heavy reverb and delay. I’m really glad it sounds like keyboards as I was aiming for an early Emperor/Wolves In The Throne Room kind of atmosphere, particularly that huge cathedral sound from Nightside.
Something I want to know myself: which instrument do I hear in ‘Funeral Pyre’? I thought it was some kind of Spanish guitar but I really don’t have a clue.
Colin: That’s actually a rather nice nylon-stringed acoustic belonging to Jared’s dad. Our engineer Sam put some sort of ridiculously expensive preamp/tube condenser setup on it and it sounded mint.
I’m not a huge fan of the guitar tracking process and I’m a pretty rusty classical guitarist but since I had two years of classical lessons in primary school 20 years ago the solo was delegated to me.
’Renascentia’ is very well received all over the world. Have you been already contacted by some record labels? You released the album yourselves, but after hearing this masterpiece one should think everyone is eager to sign you?
Jared: Well the whole DIY thing is the way we’ve always worked in bands prior to Earth Rot and for our first handful of releases. Larger record labels don’t have the same presence in Australia that they do in Europe so we had always planned to release by ourselves in Australia and look at other regions like Japan and Europe separately. In the end we hurried things along and went down the self-release route so that our album could be released in time for tour with Gorgoroth and Melechesh last month. That being said, we’re halfway through writing our next album already and hopefully we can get some more serious dialog going with labels about the next release while we’re on the road touring ‘Renascentia’ this year.
On the album you made use of the services from Alan Douches who worked for Motörhead, Arsis, Cattle Decapitation, Sepultura etcetera and Eric Rutan, known for his guitar playing in Morbid Angel, Ripping Corpse and Hate Eternal(also vocals), but also as producer and engineer on albums from Cannibal Corpse, Krisiun, Vital Remains and Belphegor just to name a few. How did you get in touch with these men and can you tell something about that cooperation?
Jared: Short answer: We asked politely if he would be interested. Erik is an absolute professional along with being a world renowned producer and engineer. We essentially worded up a very polite email introducing ourselves, we told him who we are, what we do and why we’d like him to mix our album. That, and a folder of demos of the songs we planned on recording. Fortunately Erik was both interested and available at a time that suited our timeline for completing the album. There really isn’t any special hook up or connection or secret. If you approach professional engineers politely and respectfully, they’re likely to read your email and have a listen. If they have time in their schedule and like your tunes, that’s all there really is to it. As with Alan Douches, we’d previously used Alan to master our debut album ‘Follow The Black Smoke’ so we had always intended to go though Alan again with ‘Renascentia’. When in talks about what we wanted to do with the mix, Erik recommended Alan to us for mastering
You also have a special guest on the album: Jørgen Munkeby: he did a very nice job with his saxophone on ‘The Bones That Lay Beneath the Earth’. (Besides, the beginning could have been something from Type O Negative.) That’s not seen often on a blackened death metal album, but it worked out very well. Did you call Jørgen to ask him if he could write a saxophone interlude and record it or how did that go?
Jared: We were searching for a local session musician to put down a sax solo on the new album for a while when a friend of ours said “Why not ask Jorgen from Shining?” and linked me on facebook. A few of us are fans of Shining and thought the chance to get a nice black jazz solo on our album would be perfect. We got in touch, sent him the demo track and told him to go to town. Jorgen has an awesome recording setup and the experience and equipment to pull a killer sound out of his instrument, put together two different solos. One a little smoother and more time and the other option the more… intense solo that we ended up using on the album. I think the busier solo had more of his signature Shining flavour and we wanted the guest appearance to really sound like him.
The artwork for ‘Renascentia’ is another highlight. What is the meaning of ‘Renascentia’ and how does it reflect on the artwork and who is responsible for that magnificent piece of work?
Jared: The artwork was done by a super talented guy by the name of Sam Nelson. You can find him online and on Facebook under “Stigma: The Art of Samuel Nelson”. Sam’s got a particular knack for fantastic colour palettes and really deep almost smokey or fluid landscapes (among others!). We had actually gotten in touch with Sam to buy a piece of art he had already created and ended up making the decision to commission him to do a nice wide front and back landscape. The original piece that interested us features internally on the CD itself.
As for the lyrical meaning, when I wrote lyrics for this it was pretty shortly after I had knee surgery and was on some heavy medication. I honestly didn’t understand what I had written about until we started learning the songs to play live. Essentially ‘Renascentia’ is the destruction of civilization and its cities, totally and systematically wiping the planet clean and starting over. “Renascentia” means Rebirth. Visually that became a dense, boiling almost scabrous progress shot of both destruction and rebuilding. The front cover being more natural and earthy with the internal displaying the last structure left to observe, witness and endure the process. A catholic church. No further explanation needed on that one!
Earth Rot were recently on tour in Europe with Gorgoroth, Melechesh and Incite for sixteen concerts. How did that go? Was this your first trip to Europe? Any special things happened to you or with you during this tour and what will you remember the most?
Colin: This wasn’t our first rodeo in Europe; the opportunity came up for us to join the tour so we were pretty stoked to be on board. With it being a black metal tour we were playing to the right crowd, and we had a really good time and got a great response. All the other bands and the crew were just the coolest, friendliest people so it was a really great atmosphere. Highlights included some really great shows in Germany, Poland and Hungary. It was pretty great to discover that Gorgoroth and Melechesh love 80s party music as much as we do, we spent a lot of time hitting the beers with both bands every night in the bus. I’ve also been listening to Melechesh for years but never really knew anything about them, so being able to tour and hang out with them was great.
You live in Perth, Australia: most people over here have never been so far away from home and therefor they don’t know your country very well. Tell us something we certainly need to know about your country and your city.
Jared: Australia is really, really vast. What this means for touring metal bands is that the closest city to us in Perth, is a 3.5 hour flight (or three days straight driving, which costs more in petrol one way than return flights) and the east coast of Australia is 10-14 hours’ drive between cities on tour over there. This vast distance also means that our internet is really unbelievably shit. It also means that by being so vast, most people grow up in reasonable sized houses (as opposed to apartments) and I think more space = more room to grow up making noise, which probably explains why there are so many killer drummers from Australia (Dave Haley - Psycroptic, Ruins, Blood Duster. Matt Sanders (Skitz) - Sadistik Execution, Blood Duster, Damaged, Jayden Mason - Aversions Crown, Lee Stanton - Thy Art Is Murder, Rob Brens - Hadal Maw. Many MANY more)
Thanks a lot for your time and hopefully we see Earth Rot back soon on the European stages. Some of the bands we as extreme metal listeners know that hail from Australia are Deströyer 666, Abominator, Portal, Denouncement Pyre, Ur Draugr, Impetuous Ritual and Gospel Of The Horns…That’s not that much for such a big area. Maybe you can give us some tips about unknown gems in Australia?
Jared: There are so very many talented Australian bands, just off the top of my head, here are a couple of bands we really like that are putting our killer releases and touring hard! Departe, Blackhelm, Hadal Maw, Be’lakor, Darker Half, Whoretopsy, No Haven, Disentomb. From our home town of Perth: The Furor, Drowning Horse, Wardaemonic, Grotesque, Claim The Throne, Sanzu!