Me (Z) and the bass player (I) started playing together a long time ago, but we haven't been a real band until we met F, back in 2013. From then on, we really started thinking about arranging ideas in the form of songs, rather than just playing riffs together. I've been composing material for (what was to become) Earth and Pillars since a long time, but until 2013 they were vague shapes of songs, they were more pieces of atmosphere, a soliloquy for myself.
2.In December you had released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
Well, I would say it is simply black metal. The focus is on the atmosphere and this is the reason why songs are "long" and somehow repetitive. Repetition and “fluency" are the basic ingredients which can really evoke atmospheres: the evolution of feelings and emotions is slow, and thus music needs to reflect this aspect. It’s a sort of ritualistic and spiritual side of music, capable of strengthening and clarifying the essence of experiences in life.
The sound comes naturally from the atmosphere: the massive wall of guitars you can hear in "Earth I" is connected to the overwhelming power of sensations and emotions to which nature gives rise. Instead of a classic “necro”/low quality-production, the use of huge reverbs on highly distorted (yet distinguishable) guitars creates the effect of resonant melodies in open areas.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
This answer is somehow connected to the previous answer. Earth and Pillars focuses on nature (earth) and our world (pillars), the world we built and in which we live in: the contrast, the apparent incompatibility of these two entities is one of the things that puzzles me most. I always had the feeling that there is something magical between humans and nature, something we are almost forgetting or even worse rejecting: the relationship between us and nature is something capable of unveiling a lot of our experiences, of our true essence.
So it is not a mere description of a landscape, of nature itself, but everything about Earth and Pillars is connected to the relationship between me and nature, it is a reflection of my feelings into music. The sound/atmosphere of "Earth I" itself represents the sense of smallness that I often feel when I'm in wild areas: this sense of smallness does not mean at all something negative, demeaning or depressing, rather a sense of reverence towards nature and existence. “Earth I” can be seen as a long ritual, a spiritual cycle in water, where a lot of topics are metaphorically explored through nature.
4.The album title was 'Earth I', do you have a concept planned out for the recordings?
Yes there is a concept which will be developed in the first three albums. I have already started working on the second, even before "Earth I" was finished, and hopefully it will be ready by the end of this year. If "Earth I" is mainly focused on nature, next album will be centered on my (human) experience: it will be related to a trail I often follow during winter times.
The other thing I'm willing to anticipate is that next album won't be "Earth II"..so, it's an easy guess.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Earth And Pillars'?
It is hard to recall exactly when the name came to my mind for the first time. In that period of my life (around 2012) I was reading a lot of Rilke, Holderlin and Montale’s works, and the words "Earth" and "Pillars" can be found often in their texts. I think these two images started to slowly grow inside me, building the final shape of what was the idea I already had in mind.
6.Has the band done any live shows or is this strictly a studio project?
We never did live shows, just some "live rehearsing" for friends. For the moment being, there is no opportunity to have a full live line-up, furthermore I'll live abroad for some months. Except this practical reasons, I'm not much interested in live shows, I prefere to focus on writing and composing new music, it is something that I really need to do, something I feel as a part of myself.
Playing live is something that requires a lot of dedication and work: you need to rehearse constantly and to be able to reproduce the same feeling of the album on a stage, something that is often really hard to do. In this moment of my life I prefer to use my energies on other aspects of life I find more "worthy".
But this doesn't mean a live show will never happen...
7.The album was released on Avantgarde Music, are you happy with the support they have given you so far?
Yes, we are really happy and honored to be part of Avantgarde Music: Roberto had been really positive from the very beginning. I sent him a rough "demo" of “Earth I", without vocals and synths, before mixing and mastering was done, and yet he was interested in the development of the album. So, when the work was almost done I sent him a better quality "demo" and the deal was done, immediately. We couldn't ask for anything better: he has been really supportive to us and he is still doing a lot to promote our music.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of atmospheric black metal?
I would say highly positive and a bit unexpected. We were not really aware of what we were doing, especially for me, it was impossible to judge those songs, they were/are part of me and, even now, I'm not able to say that I'm satisfied or disappointed.
The "third" person judgement is something I'm not used to: I've always composed music for myself and the "coming out" was something that I both "feared" and I was not searching for. But yes, it happened, somehow, and the response and interest has been far above our expectation.
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
It is unpredictable, I have two others albums in my mind, one finished and the other one still a work in progress. Everything I composed so far is atmospheric black metal, so the only thing I can say is that the next two albums will be in the same (yet different) direction of "Earth I". Earth and Pillars was born for this and black metal is its natural essence: I'm pretty sure that I will remain on this path until the “doors” on the Earth and Pillars world will close.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
My biggest musical influences are Paysage d’Hiver, Darkspace, Lunar Aurora and Blut Aus Nord: of course, I do not forget Burzum as the father of atmospheric black metal but, due to the "time distance” between me and “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss", I’m more bonded to bands who developed their sound when I was already into black metal.
Also doom and funeral (Thergothon, Skepticism, Evoken, Nortt for instance) can be considered an influence: the slow evolution of these music is something that is not so far from what I'm searching with Earth and Pillars.
Besides metal, I listen to atmospheric folk (Tenhi, Valì, Nest) and ambient: these two styles are, in different ways, connected to my passion for atmosphere and they play an important role too, in developing my sound.
In these months, I’m listening mostly to Paysage d'Hiver (of course, it’s winter), Darkspace, The Ruins of Beverast and the new album of Arstidir Lifsins (one of the greatest band of the last 4-5 years).
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
As I have already said, I love reading, especially poetry.
I also hike a lot, almost every weekend if possible, and this is for sure one of the biggest source of inspiration to create music for Earth and Pillars. Actually, the photos you find in the artwork of “Earth I” are all taken from my roamings in nature.
I’m not a “party guy”, I don’t like dancing or going to clubs and discos, so that’s it eheheh...
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you very much for your interest in Earth and Pillars. It has been a pleasure to answer to your questions.