In Conversation with Earthsea

Way back when, four young men met as students in Durham, England. Their aim was to form their first “serious” band. Initially, they began as a hard rock band but evolved into the Radiohead-inspired Earthsea. We spoke with Dom Main (vocals/keys), Jamie Wesley (guitar), James Kerr (bass) and Will Soutter (drums/samples/production) about their latest release ‘Four More Years’.

Why did you decide to enter the music industry?

We have all played in bands for a long time and it is a big part of who we are. We have played together in this project for about a decade (with a few name and style changes along the way), which is the main creative outlet for all of us. I am not sure we have ever made a conscious decision to enter the music industry. There has never been a grand masterplan beyond trying to connect our music with as many people as possible and seeing where that road takes us. We have generally always been an independent band which has shaped our attitude to aspects of the industry from PR and releases to live shows.

Can you tell us about the release ‘Four More Years’?

We wrote this song around 2016/2017 and it is about a deeply unserious fantasy meeting to consider the removal a deeply serious real-life idiot who, right now, is letting his ego trump the lives of his citizens.

The song has been become increasingly relevant in these fractured times – more so that we would ever have wished. Beyond that, it has some nice isorhythms and electronic drums for you to move your feet to.

What was the recording and writing process like?

It was a joy. We recorded this (along with our last single ‘Bad Head Bad Heart’) at a place called Narcissus Studios which is a fantastic boutique recording space in the north of London, UK. The studio has a great vibe and has a long history with the British indie scene. We worked with our good friends Ian Flynn and Jack Chown who handled all the engineering, mixing and production for the tracks. In the end, we captured a special moment for our music and for us a band.

Does the single have any significant meaning for you?

In addition to the above, ‘Four More Years’ represents a bit of a lightbulb moment for us in terms of our approach to writing. The single represents a definite kind of aesthetic that we have been aiming to achieve in our music for a while. We are using it to shape our newest material which will eventually become our first full-length album.

 

 

What do you hope people take from your music?

I guess the hope has always been that our music sparks a reaction in people in some way, whatever form that might take. ‘Four More Years’ is fairly invective about the post-truth Orwellian age we seem to live in, so if that starts a conversation or encourages a train of thought we’d consider that a victory. However, I also think that it is not really for us to say – people should make their own minds up. There is no right or wrong way to consume music – ours or anyone else’s.

What is more challenging for you – melody or lyrics?

Melodies tend to come easier as we write as a group. Lyrics tend to be the sole domain of our singer Dom. However, it varies song by song; there is no set rule.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

It can be difficult at times. Along with the pressures of our day jobs and real life, it is hard to stand out amongst the sea of very talented people producing work. The main things that keep us going are that we are old friends with a shared history and we know that our best work is yet to come. For us, that seems to be enough.

How would you describe your music?

At our core, we are an alternative band, but with plenty of rock, new wave, electronic and even world music influences. A lot of our music revolves around tight grooves, crafted guitars and careful use of space and texture.  Artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Elbow and Japan are definite reference points for us.

What do you think is the best way to discover new music?

The world is your oyster nowadays, but I think a combination of word-of-mouth recommendations and a deep dive into Spotify playlists probably are good places to start. Gigs too, which is where music lives and thrives. Blogs like yourselves too!

What does the future hold for you?

Like a lot of artists at all levels of the music industry, the COVID-19 pandemic has pretty much derailed our plans for 2020. We had planned some shows around our recent single releases and had been putting together material for an album. I think we are a long way off from being able to play a show again (and who knows what shape the live sector will be in after this) but we hope to restart work on our album soon.

Do you have a message for our readers?

Take care of yourself and each other in these difficult times. Check us out on Spotify or your social media channel of choice. Support independent music!

 

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