Given a certain embarrassment of riches, the current doomscape is a difficult environment in which to make your mark. Thus, the vibrant energy of Denver's own earthdiver immediately caught this particular Villager's (generally flighty) attention. Their debut EP, entitled Leave Something Witchy, remains a favorite 2019 discovery, and received a review here during our 4/20 deluge of reviews. At risk of self-plagerism, here's an excerpt of said review:
"The entire 3-track is delightfully raw, rough-edged, and nearly feral in its execution--like if Pan, the God of the wild things, decided to throw away the pan pipes and start a garage band...This thing grinds and bounces around with a deliciously organic bent, keeping the low end moving forward with an egregiously thunderous confidence."
There's no question: these guys are the real deal. And so, needless to say, this inksplattered scribe was quite honored that Eric of earthdiver was willing to provide such in-depth answers to prying questions. Read on! And when you've completed this opus, head over to earthdiver's bandcamp and give 'em a well-deserved listen.
Right out of the gate: describe earthdiver!
The short answer: We’re a 3-piece stoner/doom band from the high desert of Denver, Colorado.
That said, I always hate to use genre tags for anything more than a basic description because I believe it’s super limiting and pigeonholes us into one set thing, and I refuse to let that be who we are, because we simply are not just one set thing. The three of us bring a lifetime of different experiences and influences to the table in an attempt to create something truly different and unique; something that, in the end, should be able to stand alone and speak for itself. Yeah, it’s heavy. Yeah, it’s doomy at times. Yeah, some of it has that stoner vibe… but… it’s a lot more than that too, which is a fact that will be a little easier to convey once people can hear more than just the 3 song EP we currently have out.
One of the most intriguing elements of your sound--and the bombastic "Warrior's Plight" in particular--is that loose n' groovy bass. Are you influenced by any particular bands in regards to your liberal use of bass...or is this an earthdiver original?
Matt, our bass player, says that some of that comes simply from a big ego and a little bit of insecurity, as if he needs to be heard to justify his existence on the plane where the music lives. There is that, but bass is also somewhat underrated in the genre(s) we generally get listed with. In most cases it simply holds down the low end and makes the guitars seem fatter and heavier. There is definitely an element of that with us, for example, listen to “Genesis/Lament of the Elder Gods” particularly the latter half of the song. You’ll hear the guitar and the bass syncing up to create that big heavy doomy feel, so, we definitely have that on lock… but Matt is an incredible bassist and we give him free reign to run that frequency. I play the big chords and he makes the bass dance around them. I think it gives our music a little more forward momentum than a lot of other examples of the genre(s) we might fall into. Obviously, we’re not the first to create that sort of feel, but it’s not really something we set out to do either; it’s all very organic.
From what I gather, you guys have been playing a decent number of shows lately. Has playing live affected your band as a cohesive whole? In a similar vein, what are your favorite aspects of playing live?
We’ve definitely been playing a lot. Part of that is by design. I don’t think a band can be great just by hitting the practice space. Sure, you can nail the songs in the garage, but being on stage in front of people, whether it is a dive bar or a theater, comes with its own unique challenges that have to be overcome. We’ve been playing almost everything that comes our way in an attempt to be the tightest live band we can be. We want to be consistent and play the best music possible whether we’re playing on the floor at Bar Bar with nothing but the most basic of PAs, or up on the stage at a place like Hi-Dive with mic’d instruments and monitors. Think about the bands of the past, most of them had regular gigs that pushed them to the limit and honed their playing, their songwriting, and their overall stage show. What we’ve been doing is our version of that, or at least as close as we can get with day jobs. It’s very deliberate… and if you talk to people who have seen us live, particularly lately, I’d think they’d say it’s paying off. In fact, just the other night the bartender at Hi-Dive said we sounded “tour tight,” like a band that had been playing in front of people for a few weeks straight. That was a HUGE compliment for us, as that’s exactly what we strive for.
Playing live is the payoff to all the hard work writing the songs, perfecting them, and bringing them to life, you know? I can’t imagine not having that release. It’s like a drug really. There is the anticipation as you load in and wait for your turn to hit the stage, the buildup as you setup and sound check, the climax as you play your songs, and the long comedown afterwards. In every stage there is a feeling that runs through you that can’t be replicated with drugs, legal or otherwise. I personally have always wanted to play music in front of people, so every time that I do it’s a fulfilling of that desire I had the very first time I picked up a guitar and made a sound. It never gets old.
What are some bands you've shared a lineup with that the Sleeping Village People should be checking out?
Oh god, yes! We’ve been lucky enough to share the stage with a lot of really great bands in such a short time as a band. I mean, we had the pleasure of opening for Year of the Cobra recently, which was amazing, and who everyone should be checking out if they haven’t heard them already. But, I would also recommend Sun of Grey from Colorado Springs, who do Denver Doom right, and who we’ve been lucky enough to share a bill with several times. Green Druid is another. Also DRUNE. Denver has no shortage of amazing metal bands, some we’ve shared a stage with… others we will eventually.
How would you characterize the Denver metal scene?
Extremely rich and varied. There is something for everyone. I don’t know if it’s the access to legal weed or what… but the stoner doom scene in Colorado, and around Denver in particular, is huge. As the genre as whole continues to grow I think you’re going to see a lot of these bands get really big. I mean it already kind of is in some ways, but I think Denver is going to be a true hub of heavy music in the not-so-distant future.
A particularly refreshing aspect of earthdiver is how unique and original your sound is, especially in a sea of bands that, frankly, sound the same. Do you ever find yourselves deliberately altering your songwriting so as to not sound like another band under the stoner rock/doom umbrella?
We are what we are and that’s all we’ve ever tried to be. I mean, obviously we have our influences and all those bands that shaped us over the years, but we have never really intentionally drawn on them in our writing, or really ever found ourselves deliberately changing something because it sounds too much like something else. From the beginning everything has been very organic and has fallen into place on its own. We really only write to please ourselves and to push ourselves to do better things. One thing we have focused on, though, is to not be so “samey,” as we call it. Without naming names or intentionally trashing anyone, there are a lot of bands out there that could have put out one album and called it quits because everything else in their catalog sounds exactly the same, i.e., same tempo, same structure, etc. We work really hard to NOT do that. We incorporate doom, groove, psychedelia, rock, thrash, and more so that we aren’t so one-dimensional. We strive to make our records and live performances varied and attention grabbing. We don’t want anyone getting bored or being able to predict where we’re going next. We want you to be on your toes!
Given that you're such a new band, your social media presence is pretty damn impressive. Any advice for bands who are hesitant to dive headfirst into the world of social media?
Just do it. Make it a routine or a habit. Decide ahead of time when and what you want to post. Post often, at least once a day. People these days have a very short attention span. If there is any kind of real lapse, they’ll forget about you. It’s a lot of work, but if you want to be seen or heard, it’s definitely an important aspect of getting the exposure you need as a band to grow.
Alright, time for the important question: we only have three tracks from earthdiver, and I, for one, yearn for more. Are you at liberty to speak on what you're cooking up next?
We’re writing. I’d say we have roughly 3/4 of the material for our full length written and studio ready. Outside of that I’ve got 20 or 30 riffs just waiting to be fleshed out and turned into fully realized pieces. We’re looking at hopefully getting into the studio before or by early fall, with a potential release date of early 2020. These things just take time, and for the sake of making a truly great record, we’re not trying to rush it at all. Hopefully a label will pick it up and help us with distribution, as there have been some talks here and there, but nothing is set in stone. In the meantime, if you want to hear the material we’ve been working up for the full length, you’ll have to come out and see us play as we’re honing it all in our live shows right now!
Thanks for taking the time to stop by our humble Village. I'll leave the last word to you--anything you care to add?
Our meteoric rise was foretold in the prophecies of the elder gods. Keep your eyes open, as things with earthdiver are moving very, very fast. We’re no fly-by-night doom band. We’re very serious about what we do, and about being the best at it. We’re definitely it for the long haul and we will either boom or… boom… because there is no other option. As I said, it has been foretold.
Also, for those that dig physical media, our debut EP Leave Something Witchy will see a cassette release in the very near future on Coffin Up Blood Records. We’ve had a few people ask, so we’re making it happen!
Thanks for the time and platform to tell folks about our band and what we do. It means a lot!