Things of Earth

Things of Earth - December 2013

Things of Earth Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: March 24, 2013
Posting Date: December 10, 2013
Artist Hometown: Dallas, TX
Links: Facebook, Bandcamp
Recorded by: Michael Briggs @ Civil

Light and Writing
Glass Gallows
Shadows of Furniture and Ghosts
ONE: Tell us about how the band formed and how you guys met.
Matt: There is a ton of history between Sam and I. So much that you may not want to read it all. I can say that we’we’ve been playing music together longer than we haven’t.
Brandon and Ben have known each other since high school, and Brandon and I met as coworkers.
Brandon: We had similar music tastes, and Matt was in a band called Blitzer with Sam and a couple of the other guys currently in West Windows with me (Justin Ward, Michael Stoner) they needed a drummer. I was excited because Matt had shown me some previous recordings of their recently abandoned Monte Cassino project, and before that Elm Fooy. This was in 2007, a lot has happened between then and now. Over the years we tried several different projects together. (Wolf Rayet, Living With The Ghost). They’ve all been points of growth and we’ve come a long way. Musically and personally. Each project building or refining off the last.
Matt: Sam and I were approached by a college student asking to help him record some material. We’d both been out of the music scene for quite a while but we figured “why not”. We had nothing in mind when we agreed to help and with the exception of all the musical gear we had accumulated from previous bands, we didn’t even have a starting point. We didn’t even have a drum kit. We met a seller in a parking lot on the way to the studio the morning of recording. That day I played drums, and Sam played guitar and bass. That is where the idea for Things of Earth started. It was just going to be Sam and me. We were going to be a never-performing, sequenced drums, kind of band. We later realized this was going to take more than just the two of us to create what we had in mind for a final product. The song recorded that day became “This Old Haunt”, the first song on our first EP. We recruited Ben and Brandon and we all started practicing once a week. And here we are.
TWO: You recently finished recording a new EP. Tell us about that process and what your plans are for it.
We liked how well the first EP turned out, so we wanted to go with Alex Gerst again. This time around he has a new studio (Empire Sound Studio) and it’s super nice but what really counts is that he’s a badass behind the board. He’s a master at Pro-Tools, and he always has a resolution to anything that might come up. It helps that he’s been recording bands since he was a kid. Having someone as experienced has Alex really maximizes the time we can spend making sure we are putting out something we are really proud of. This release, like the last one, we plan on giving away entirely for free. Ideally we’d like to release 5 songs per year, if our schedules and wallets permit. We fund everything ourselves out-of-pocket so we can’t afford to do much more.

If we shoot for 5 songs per year, it seems more manageable. This is easier to swallow when we see almost nothing back on album sales/plays. Our last EP grossed $37, Sam lost all of that when he “made it rain” on windy summer day. But doing it this way enables us to reach a far greater audience from all over the world. In short, our goal is to make our music available in the highest quality possible, to as many people as possible and have a good time doing it. So far this ‘once a year, 5 song EP’ formula is working for us.

THREE: What are your thoughts on the Dallas music scene now compared to how it has been over the last several years?
Brandon: I’d say recently there has been a major uptick at the very least in the sheer number of new bands in the area. It is really encouraging to see bands that work, get national and even international attention. My personal favorite is True Widow. In Dallas it can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, but speaking from the Things of Earth perspective, (meaning us not being motivated by sales) everything else seems to fall into place. We have seen more success by just wanting to play shows and writing songs that are fun for us to play. I hope that Dallas can keep growing as a community. People helping people for the sake of having a positive thriving scene.
Matt: When Sam and I started playing the Dallas music scene, we started playing on Wednesday nights – and we were grateful for that. That is where bands had to start. You had to prove yourself and prove that your sound could bring a crowd old enough to drink. It was years before we were playing Friday / Saturday nights at the bigger clubs, and even longer to play those shows with well-known acts.
When the early 2000’s hit, everything just seemed to start falling apart. It was like a domino effect with clubs closing. It does seem like its coming back strong, but it has a different feel to it. Most people aren’t going to Deep Ellum to wander around and find something to do like they used to. It seems like they are there for a specific reason or act.

Luckily most of us have adopted some sort of social network, and this has made a huge difference in how we communicate. Things of Earth almost completely relies on social networking and digital album distribution. While trying to keep cost down, we’ve found that offering our music on sites like Spotify, iTunes, and BandCamp we can get it out faster at a lower cost for the listener. (usually zero) If someone wanted to pay for it, we wouldn’t mind that either. That might help with other costs we take on. Like making it rain on windy summer days.

– Email interview by Michael Briggs.