by Jason and Brent
How did Early Day Miners form?
EDM formed in 1997 in Bloomington, I was looking to do a project that was more song-based than Ativin. I started playing with Rory of Ativin and our mutual friend Joe Brumley and it really came together quickly. About a year later we started recording Placer Found in Joe’s woodshop on the most minimal amount of gear. There was sawdust everywhere. We didn’t tour much at that time. Occasionally we’d play a show locally, but our music didn’t really translate well in the bars so it wasn’t really encouraging. I think with EDM we’ve always pulled strength out of the confrontation that occurs when people are looking for a rock show and you don’t give them one. In my mind that’s so much more punk rock than getting up there and trying to play to the crowd. That’s such bullshit.
What are your thoughts on Ativin? What is the status of this group?
Ativin is Chris Carothers and myself. Chris lives in Portland, OR and I live here in Bloomington, so it’s difficult to get together. We’re currently writing a new record right now called Night Mute. Should be released next year on Secretly Canadian. We’re going to record it in a few weeks at Electrical in Chicago and play a show here in Bloomington directly afterwards.
Let us Garlands Bring was our favorite cd of 2002. Can you give us an inside view of what the recording process was like for this beautiful work?
Wow, thanks a lot. that’s probably the best compliment we’ve ever been paid. Thank you for that. Garlands took forever to record. It was literally a painful record to make because it ended up being so long and layered. I’m really insecure about that record because It took me forever to mix it. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I hate it. We were going for that Lanois, Beauty of Wynona era sound. All the way down to the way some of the record sounds unmixed. It’s a completely intentional album, nothing happens by chance. It was recorded over a period of 2 years here in my basement. We’d take months off and then come back and redo whole songs. Just exhausting. The luxury of time suddenly became too much of a good thing. I become more at peace with it as time goes by.
You have a lot of references to the Civil War, and other historical references, in your lyrics. How do you write lyrics? Is there a specific message you are trying to convey.
Usually the music comes first, then the lyrics. Most of the time the subjects that are on my mind at the time will work their way into the music. I’ve always had an affinity for civil war nostalgia. I don’t read about it and I’m not a collector, it’s just more of an appreciation for the past and the mysticism that surrounds that time in the south. I also have an appreciation for Faulkner and the way he wrote. Heavy on imagery and light on narrative which ends up telling twice the story in the end I think.
Thinking of lyrics again, give us the inside scoop to “Silvergate”.
Silvergate is a town in the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park. It’s a fascinating little mining town that gets snowed in over 6 months out of the year because it’s surrounded by incredibly high mountains. Silvergate is actually where we got the name for our band. Anyway, the lyrics tell a little story I made up about a miner trapped in a mine during the winter in Silvergate. It’s all fiction but who knows, maybe there’s a true story there somewhere.
What was it like to work with Unwed Sailor on Faithful Anchor?
Great, those guys are very detail oriented. Johnathon doesn’t let anything slip buy which in the end makes for a very good record. He’s a great producer and he only plays with excellent musicians, so it made the process very easy. That’s a very special record for me, mostly because they werethe first band I worked with who were very vocal about including me on the creative side. Johnathon really liked what I did on Placer Found so he encouraged me to contribute musically to the project. It was very flattering.
What other projects have you worked on?
Too many to name. I recently did some recording with Papa M which was very low key, really positive. Also I’m working on a Windsor for the Derby record, one of my favorite rock bands. I recorded a band in Hong Kong called Uncle Joe. the kindest people in the world. Kitchens and Bathrooms were a lot of fun, CRAZY Canadians. Cheree Jetton writes the sweetest, most damaged pop music. A beautiful record, hope it comes out soon.
Why did Early Day Miners change stylistically so much between “Let us Garlands Bring” and “Jefferson at Rest”? Describe for us the process led to the change.
With Jefferson we set out to record an album that was performed mostly live. I’ve always felt that really rough recordings that are done with an off-the-cuff approach seem to have a life to them that is often missing in a more produced record. So that’s what we were going for with Jefferson. It has a more positive, upbeat feel to it to me when compared to our previous recordings. Also, the songs are a little tighter, not as drawn out. Not that we’re heading in a particular direction, it just seemed like the right time to make a more song-based record.
How is “Jefferson at Rest” being received by music fans?
I guess it’s being received well. When we release our records we don’t really hear much feedback. I think fans of our records will find things they like about this new one. I certainly hope listeners like it. We worked pretty hard on it.
Give us a sneak preview of your upcoming one-sided record with Burnt Toast Vinyl. What can we expect stylisitcally?
Very atmospheric, somewhat electronic.
After the one-sided lp, what else is in the future for Early Day Miners?
Lot’s of touring, Europe, Canada, and the U.S. Will be doing some assorted releases on labels in the US and Europe. Also of course, always working on an upcoming full length record.