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“Black Heaven” is the latest release from Earthless to be released by Nuclear Blast Records. This trio is evolving in their sound and their newest material is outstanding and completely different from what we’re used to. Bassist Mike Eginton took some time to answer some questions and tell us all about the tour, the new album and tons more. Keep on reading…


M.I. - Your album “Black Heaven” was recently released. How are fans reacting to the new Earthless with shorter songs, vocals and all? 

People seem to be reacting favorably to the new album. I haven’t seen any horrible reviews or had any negative feedback so far.


M.I. - Rubalcaba said that “But I’m ready to deal with a little bit of disappointment from people who just want the freakout stuff. At the same time, I think people are gonna enjoy hearing a different side of us.” How are fans reacting so far? Are they disappointed or not?

No disappointment that I know of. People would often ask why we didn’t do more songs with vocals or say that they wish we did more songs with vocals. So h​ere you go!​


M.I. - In your previous albums most tracks were 20 minutes long except for “Cherry red” which is 4:36 and “Equus October” which is 5:42. The tracks in this release are all rather short. What changed in the writing or recording process that caused this “change” in the length of the tracks?

We wanted to write some songs with more structure. I think that contributed to the shorter lengths. Also, just to do something a little different. We’ve been playing long partly improvised songs for over 15 years. Time for a little change I guess.


M.I. - As tracks are shorter, do you think they will be easier to listen to? Will Earthless gain more fans with “Black Heaven”?

I think the shorter songs are more accessible. In that sense we might gain more fans. 


M.I. - According to the press sheet “On the older records, Mike was responsible for a lot of the riffs that would start these jams, but on this one Isaiah really brought his own pizazz and flavor to it. I’d say that’s one of the major differences on this album: It has more of Isaiah’s input.” Is this the cause for the change in the band’s “style”?

Isaiah came to the table with three pretty completed songs demoed. Three of the four vocal tracks. That probably lends to the change in sound since it’s the majority of the record. 


M.I. - The album has a playing time of 39:39… rather strange, right? Is it a coincidence?

That’s kind of weird. I wish there was some cool explanation for that, but it’s just coincidence. 


M.I. - How did the American leg of the tour go?

It went really well. It was great being on the road with Kikagaku Moyo and JJUUJJUU. It was awesome to hear and watch both of those bands play every night and I think that package drew good crowds. 


M.I. - You’re embarking on an European tour now… what are your expectations? Any venues you like playing in particular? Why? 

I don’t really have any expectations for tours. I just hope that they’re as good if not better than the last. I guess there are​ venues that we like better than others, which u​sually has to do with the sound on stage and i​f we can hear eachother or not up there.​


M.I. - Comparing audiences worldwide… any differences in Earthless’s fans from country to country or continent to continent that are worth mentioning?

Yeah, there are some places where people go wild during the shows and want photos and autographs when we’re done and some places where people are pretty subdued and just come for the show and then split. The shows we played in Mexico were pretty wild whereas the show we played in Oklahoma City was pretty laid back.


M.I. - How do you keep your sanity when you are on tour?

You just do. It’s a job in a sense, so I tend to look at it that way. Longer drives can be kind of brutal, being trapped in a van all day. We’re close friends and we keep each other entertained. 


M.I. - What’s the main purpose of the official trailers release before “Black Heaven” came out?

Just promotion, g​et a little hype going before the record was​ released. 


M.I. - In the trailers, it’s possible to see Isaiah in a very laid back and relaxed attitude and outfit… is that your usual outfit to practice?

Yeah, he’s a pretty relaxed person. We’re all pretty casual.


M.I. - Why are there so many eyes on the cover? What’s the meaning?

Eyes have been a theme in quite a bit of our artwork over the years. The cover art was done by Andy Sloan. He frequently uses eyeballs in his work but ​I don’t think there’s any real meaning behind it.  We just like eyeballs. 


M.I. - Post apocalyptical theme why? Why do you have the tendency to write about it? Are you negative persons? Is it easier to work the way with do with the lyrics… trying to fit words into the cadence you created?

That’s a question for Isaiah. I don’t think we’re negative people. Maybe the apocalypse is something on the mind due to our current social and political climate. 


M.I. - Rancho de la Luna Studios has a quite homey and cozy feel… do you feel better if you are recording in a comfortable setting? Do you get up during the night to record some riff if you have an awesome idea? How was the experience of recording there?

I think recording in a comfortable setting is much easier. Like you said, Rancho has a cozy feel which was super nice. We had a set schedule where we would work from noon to about ten pm. We didn’t go to the studio in the middle of the night if something came up, but we were staying on the property all together so if an idea came up we could play around with it. The overall experience was great. 


M.I. - Is it easier to tour with this album when compared to the others with the longer songs?

It was actually the opposite when we first started playing these songs live. We wanted to still keep the feel of an Earthless show where there are no pauses in between songs. So it was a little strange trying to sort of merge these songs into one peice in the beginning. We’ve got it down now. 


M.I. - What is the most perfect song ever produced? Why?

Haha! That’s an incredibly hard question to answer. I don’t think I can. 


M.I. - Having been around for over 15 years now, how’s your relationship with the fans changed? Have Isaiah’s online guitar lessons helped straighten the bond?

Well, we’ve certainly made more friends who are fans over the years just touring and we've definitely met new people thanks to Isaiah’s guitar lessons. 


M.I. - Ever since you signed to Nuclear Blast, have you checked out more of the bands on their roster? Which one surprised you the most and why?

I haven’t really checked out too many of the bands on Nuclear Blast unfortunately. 


M.I. - How have the changes of time affected you as a person and as a musician? Do you fear for the future of your children?

I don’t know. I guess i’ve become more tolerant as i’ve gotten older. Haha! As a musician I would like to think that i’ve become more proficient at my instrument and become more interested in different types of music over time. I’m not too concerned for my kids. The past has been riddled with horrible events and the world has always been plagued with stupidity. People have figured out how to survive. I’m sure my kids’ generation will figure it out. 


M.I. - The music industry has “suffered” some deaths in the past year, all by suicide. Why do you think so many musicians opt for that way out?

Yes it has. I think that artists in general are a little more sensitive to the world around them than most people. Maybe things are a little more intense for us. We might use music or art as an emotional release rather than talking. I can’t speak for the people who have committed suicide, but I would imagine it might be difficult to carry on if one can’t get past​ a feeling of impending doom or the thought that their world is a horrible place to be in. 


M.I. - Which psychedelic bands are you a fan of?

Oh, there are so many. Some of my favorites from the past would be November, Los Dug Dugs, The 13th Floor Elevators, Trad Gras Och Stenar, Sand, and Ash Ra Tempel to name a few. Some current bands i’m a huge fan of are Crypt Trip, Monarch, Kikagaku Moyo and Sacri Monti. 


M.I. - You love food… who cooked while you were at the ranch recording? Who is the best cook? What’s the best dish you’ve eaten while you were there? Recording with your stomach filled with great food is completely different from recording with an empty stomach, huh?

Dave (Catching) ​actually cooked the most while we were at the Ranch. He’s an excellent cook. One night he​ grilled some peppers that were incredible. Yeah, there’s less urgency and aggression when you’re recoding on a full stomach. At least for me anyway. 


M.I. - What other interests apart from music?

Hanging out with my wife and kids. Listening to records, but I guess that’s music.


M.I. - If it weren’t for Cream, there would be no Earthless… have you ever imagined where you might be if you weren’t in Earthless? What would you be? Still a musician?

I don’t know. I guess I could be in another band or maybe have a desk job. I guess i’ve never really thought about it too much, but i’m glad that i’m in Earthless and get to make music with two of my best friends and celebrate it with other people who enjoy it. 


For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca