Monday, December 9, 2013
Woman Is the Earth Interview
JH: Yeah, we have been working on this music project called "Woman is the Earth" since 2007. There are three of us in the band, Jon Martin, Andy Martin, and Jarrod Hattervig. We started the band, based in the Black Hills of South Dakota while we were attending the same university. We had all been involved in other music projects at the time. We had similar interests and tastes musically and artistically and have kept the project going. We are all very close friends (Jon and Andy are brothers) and Woman is the Earth has started to become more than we ever anticipated, being an outlet for a lot of creative energy. It is exciting to be constantly developing the music and aesthetic of the band.
2.How would you describe the musical sound that is present on both recordings and also how do they differ from each other?
JH: On our fist demo "Of Dirt", we didn't necessarily have any great vision or high expectation. We simply had songs that we were happy with and wanted to take a crack at recording an album on our own. Haha, it was never our intention that anyone would even hear it besides us and people that bought one at a local show. It is still fun to listen to for us, because there are so many different ideas going on and trying to be conveyed with very novice production skills. I still thing there are some great ideas and sounds on that album, but I feel we have definitely developed a lot since then. As a young band, we were just happy to have a listenable recording showcasing a lot of hard work and songwriting as our first several months as a band. We were definitely still exploring different styles, interests, and really learning how to write songs together at that point.
"This Place That Contains My Spirit" was developed over a couple of years. To us, we feel that the strength of that album is in the songwriting and overall atmosphere. Once again, we recorded the album ourselves, which is evident in listening to it. That album was more of a complete work than the first demo, focusing on more of a central theme and emotion and written in a more cohesive musical style. I am very happy with the songs on that album, although going back and listening to it now it becomes difficult to focus and distinguish between different parts and instruments, specifically the drums. I think writing, recording, and producing that album was a huge step for us as musicians to figure out what our strengths and weaknesses are as a band and in production. It is kind of funny listening to that and talking about it now, since we have spent the last two years writing and producing all new material and art. We tend to move a little slow.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band has explored with the music?
JH: Early on, nature was a central theme. "Of Dirt" was basically written as an homage to the four seasons, as an observer would see it in wilderness. It highlights the beauty and ugliness of the cycles of life and death. "This Place That Contains My Spirit" was also strongly tied to nature and wildness, but focused more on the spiritual and human side of it. The main lyrical ideas on that album are based on old rituals, and the human mind and spirit being a part of the natural world. On our upcoming release "Depths", the lyrical themes are based more on internal, psychological aspects of nature and the universe rather than outside perspectives. It deals more with the internal, mental and spiritual feelings toward life, death, and the energies of the reality we live in and realities that we don't. It's basically a story of the struggle of man trying to find his place in a human world, understanding the natural world, and wanting to escape into something less tangible.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name Woman Is The Earth?
JH: The name was inspired by the idea of many ancient and some modern cultures that the earth has a powerful feminine energy and humans have a masculine energy. The earth provides and nurtures, and man utilizes the provided resources. Masculine and Feminine energies are both essential and powerful. The name isn't implying any kind of social or political movement, it is simply an interesting topic for us. It is also unique, we figured we would be safe in having an original name. We also chose the name because we didn't want to be lumped in with the infinite number of metal bands trying to be the most "brutal", "evil", or "heavy" or to become a novelty. We want to focus on writing whatever we want to write. We want our music to speak for itself.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band ha splayed over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
AM: Our most recent show was with Kylesa and Pinkish Black. It was in a little venue in the middle of no where. It was unbelievable how good they could make that small place sound. We've played with Shai Hulud a couple of times, they were super nice guys. Born of Osiris, North, Adai, were all really good shows- very talented musicians.
JH: We played a great show at a venue called Seventh Circle Music Collective in February of 2013. The bands we played with were phenomenally talented and humbling to watch and everyone involved with the venue were some of the nicest and most professional folks we have ever worked with.
AM: Anymore, we book our own shows here once or twice a year.
JH: Those shows are usually small, free shows at small local venues, record stores, etc. and they are always a blast to play. We played one at our local record store in July a few years back, and people were packed into the building while it was still over 100 degrees outside. It could have been so miserable for everyone but the energy at that show was so amazing. People sweating, packed into a dark room and loving it! We definitely look forward to doing a little more expansive touring and experiencing what more cities, venues, and people have to offer.
6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
AM: Unfortunately, with Jarrod's schedule, he is unavailable for about 6 months a year. We try to pack in as much writing, touring, recording, etc. as we can during the winter months. We will be doing a release show for "Depths" probably in Rapid City, South Dakota early 2014 and plan to do a series of small tours in the late winter/early spring in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and maybe some others.
7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
JH: Our next release "Depths" will be released by US label Init Records early 2014. "This Place That Contains My Spirit" will most likely be re-mastered and re-released by a European label in early 2014 as well. We are writing and will be recording a lot more material in the next several months as well, and will likely work with a label whenever that material is ready for release. Although that will likely be another year or so.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
AM: It's hard to tell who is listening to our music, really. Most of the CD's and tapes we've sent out have gone to Europe and Canada. But what genre those people identify with, or if they do identify with one, I don't know.
JH: We have had a lot of positive feedback though from all over the world, which we never expected. It is awesome. We have had some really negative feedback and reviews as well, and we are just amazed that people take the time to buy, listen, and write about our music. We think it is great.
9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
JH: We are experimenting a lot more these days. With different styles, sounds, instruments. As we have developed as musicians, we are able to execute sounds and styles that we have always been interested in. The emotion,notes, and progressions of black metal I think will always show up in whatever we write, but the execution and experimentation of different styles and feelings are very important in what we are writing now as well. We want to make something truly musical. I think our focus now is more on crafting truly emotional, interesting, musical pieces rather than focusing too much on one genre or one emotion.
10.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
JH: Some of our early influences were predominantly black metal bands. Most obvious influences being bands like Weakling, Wolves in the Throne Room, Gorgoroth and Burzum. We have also been hugely influenced by Nachtmystium, Deathspell Omega, Twilight, and a lot of progressive and experimental black metal projects. Outside of metal, we are hugely influenced by a number of styles… instrumental music, electronic music, folk, classic and psychedelic rock are greatly influential. Favorites being Boards of Canada, Skinny Puppy, SunnO))), Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Police. We all listen to a lot of different stuff. Lately though we have been listening to a lot of Grails, Hell, Torche, Nails, and Jarrod's been on a huge R&B kick.
11.How would you describe the metal scene in your home state of South Dakota?
AM: There are metal shows here. When someone is doing something experimental or new, people definitely take notice.
12.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
AM: We have a collected interest in the outdoors. Where we live offers a lot of opportunity to enjoy wilderness. Jarrod works and lives on the road working and living in forests all over the US, so that takes a lot of his time. We are beer enthusiasts! Art is an interest for all of us… painting, drawing, design, photography. Jon is a professional artist, with that taking up most of his time. He does most all the artwork/design/layouts for Woman is the Earth as well. Check out theMonolyth.com to check out some of his work. It is incredible! And of course, we enjoy the chances we get to correspond with bands, promoters, labels, and artists.We have made some great connections with some really talented people. And we all have great friends and family around that we enjoy spending time with.
JH: Just want to say thanks for the great questions, and for the support. We are really appreciative of all the people that have taken the time to explore our music that we are so passionate about.