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Earthless interview with Isaiah Mitchell


Earthless is an instrumental psychedelic rock band from San Diego, California consisting of guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton, and drummer Mario Rubalcaba. The band formed in 2001. I would like to thank you for agreeing to this interview. How did you guys get together to create Earthless?

Thanks Klemen! Earthless started in 2002 I think.... I was living up in the San Francisco bay area and I'd come back to my home town of San Diego to visit my folks for the holidays. Mike and Mario had been hanging out and Mike asked if I'd like to get together with him and Mario to jam. I was way down because Mario was one of my all time favorite drummers(still is). Mike and I had played in a band before I moved to S.F. so we already had a history. We just jammed for a few hours and we really enjoyed ourselves. The rest is KISStory.

The drummer Mario Rubalcaba was in few bands before forming Earthless. Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Snakes, Clikatat Ikatowi, Black Heart Procession...This bands was like miles away from music he is doing now with Eartless. How about Mike Eginton and you, were you in any bands before forming Earthless?

Mike played guitar in a local San Diego band called Boilermaker for a bit, just touring I think. They were an important part of my growing up(as well as many other's) in San Diego. He played in a band called Electric Nazerrene with drummer, Tim Semple of Boilermaker . Mike and Tim got in touch with me at the guitar shop I worked at, Moonlight Music(Scott Bartaloni from Clikatat Ikatowi/Heroin worked there as well, so I'd see Mario there from time to time), and we started a band called Lions of Judah. It was a power trio like Cream and Hendrix with Mike and myself singing. I've got to get some live footage on youtube because I think its great! I played with Drunk Horse from Oakland. One of my all time favorite bands!!! Also I played bass for Nebula during the release of Atomic Ritual. Recently I played with the stoner rock super group The Freeks. I also played guitar for the blues singer Candye Kane.

Why the name Earthless?

I think Mike came up with the name. "Earthless" is a song title from a band Druids of Stonehenge. The name sounded cool and it seemed to make sense for what we were doing.

You must be listening to a lot of late 60's and early 70's heavy psych records. What are some of the best, that had a big impact on the band? (I bet Flower Travellin Band is your favourite)

In all honesty I didn't know anything about the 60's and 70's psyche music minus Hendrix and Sabbath etc. Mike and Mario turned me onto Flower Traveling Band, Blues Creation, Parson Sound, Amon Duul.... all those crazy japanese and kraut rock bands that are so over the top! I'm forever grateful for them turning me on to these bands. I had been listening to the Allman Brothers, Ry Cooder, tons of old blues legends, Frank Zappa.... My dad got me into Blue Cheer, The Groundhogs, Terry Reid....

Your first album is called Sonic Prayer. It was released on Gravity Records in 2005. The album is superb Stoner Space-Rock. I would like to know how it was recorded?

Sonic Prayer was recorded by Matt Anderson(Gravity records owner) in a print shopped he worked at. We recorded live onto an 8 track reel to reel. "Flower Travelin' Man" was a jam we came up with on the spot to check the recording levels. It turned out good so we kept it. "Lost in the Cold Sun" was put together before we went in to record. We mixed and added minimal overdubs at Gar Wood's(Hot Snakes) studio.

In 2007 you released your first EP called Sonic Prayer Jam. What can you tell me about this release?

"Sonic Prayer Jam" was recorded live at our favorite San Diego club, The Casbah. The playing and the vibe of that show was amazing!!! Don't want to sound cocky but we were great that night!!! Very happy it was recorded and we were able to put it on wax. I think its my favorite thing we've put out.

Well, Rhythms From a Cosmic Sky is your next album which is absolutely amazing. Heavy, trippy, cosmic, jamming, towering, and you cover a Groundhogs tune. I would like to know what can you tell me about producing this album?

"Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky" was a blast to record! We recorded At Tim Green's(Vile Cherubs, Nation of Ulysees, Fucking Champs) "Louder Studios" starting on January 1st. We played a New Years Eve show with The Fucking Champs and Drunk Horse the night before to kick it all off. I think we took 5 days to record and mix. We stayed at Tim's house and listened to lots of music and watched ZZ Top videos. Wonderful time! "Godspeed" and "Sonic Payer" were songs we had already written. Again recorded live and added a few overdubs. Tim added an organ part on "Godspeed". We decided to do The Groundhogs' "Cherry Red" because we had been playing it live a little. That song helped us get some notoriety I guess because we're mainly an instrumental band. Lots of people including Tony McPhee(Groundhogs' guitarist/vocalist/head honcho) and Ken Pustelnick(Original Groundhogs' drummer) have given us praise for doing a good job on covering Cherry Red. I got both of them to sign my guitars. REALLY great guys!!! I think we wouldn't have met them if we didn't record their song.

In 2008 you released a live album called Live at Roadburn. I think it brings us atmosphere that is created on your concert. The album is a killer! How did you like the show and how did you like how the album when it was released ( I think it's amazing how you captured the sound you have on shows).

I was hesitant on putting out "Live at Roadburn". I was very jet lagged for that performance and I don't really remember playing. I listened back to the concert at home one day. What sealed the deal for me is when the music ended, the audience of at least 1,500 people let us know how they felt about it. One of the warmest, loudest, and longest applause's I had ever received. So I figured "if they like it, we should put it out". I'm glad we did because it seems like its a pretty special album for the community of artists and fans.

In same year you also released single called Jull, which was on Witch / Earthless split. This year you released another single called Demon Lady. I would like to hear some future plans for the band. (tour, album...)

"Jull" was recorded for Volcom's 7" series. We recorded that with the help of Kurt Midness from RTX. "Demon Lady" was written for Emerica's "Stay Gold" skate video. We had originally recorded Spencer Davis Group's "I'm a Man", but some legal issues weren't taken into consideration and we were unable to put that song to film. So we whipped up "Demon Lady" instead. You can hear a little bit of "I'm a Man" in it. I'm glad we did an original instead of "I'm a Man". I think it came out pretty good! We recorded that at Paal Jenkins'(Three Mile Pilot, Black Heart Procession, Mr. Tube) studio in San Diego. As for the future of songs, recording, touring, we've got stuff to record another album. We toured Australia at the beginning of this year which went really well. Everybody's kinda doing there own thing right now so we're kind of taking a little break. We do this because we want to, not because we have to. Almost been a band for 9 years now. When we're ready we'll get back to work on getting something out and talk about touring.

Share an interesting experience you had from concerts...

Hmmm..... nothing really crazy comes to mind.... our buddy J Mascis played onstage with us during a SXSW show in Austin. There was A LOT of guitar insanity between the both of us, maybe a little too much(he,he) but it was a good time playing with him. Crowds get a little out of hand sometimes but for the most part our shows are pretty mellow I guess. Girls don't flash their tits at us or anything.

What is your opinion about psychedelic/hard rock scene these days?

There are so many great bands around today!!! Some of my favorites are Astra, Hot Lunch, East Bay Grease, Carlton Melton, Danava, Red Fang....... an endless supply of really good bands making some really great music. I'm appearing on a killer band from Portugal's next album, Black Bombaim. Those guys tear it up!!! Its a great time for music!

Thank you very much for your time and effort. Do you have anything else to say about the band or yourself, that I didn't ask?

Thanks very much for asking me to do the interview and for you and everyone else who enjoys Earthless!!! We really appreciate everyone who comes out to the shows and enjoys the albums!!! More soon.......

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
© Copyright 2011


TheSilentAstronaut said...

wow, thanks for this.

Psychedelicsister said...

Oh man I LOVE this band so much!
I've only had the chance to see them perform once but hopefully I'll have another opportunity.


earthless said...

nice interview, thanks

earthless said...

btw I have blog dedicated to heavy psych(mostly) jam music and collected a lot of bands similar to Earthless