The members of Earshot have made sonic waves with such songs as "Get Away," "Not Afraid" and "Wait," while touring the United States with Kid Rock, Static-X, Stone Temple Pilots and Hoobastank.
Debuting on Warner Brothers Records in May 2002 with the David Kahne-produced "Letting Go" LP, the Los Angeles hard rock band released its second album - aptly titled "Two" - on June 29. Produced by Johnny K (Soil, Disturbed), the album includes the majority of the songs Earshot is playing on its latest tour with Saliva.
With the band set to play Aug. 13 at the Webster Theater in Hartford, I caught up with singer-guitarist Wil Martin for an Aug. 9 interview from Athens, Ga. Here are the highlights of the conversation:
For a band that's still gaining fans and making first impressions while opening for bands like Saliva, what do you do to try and capitalize on the opportunity so the same fans will come out to see you headline next time around?
Well, we try to always put on a big-stage show even though sometimes we have a very small, limited space. We encourage people to participate with us and we're just kind of an in-your-face band - and live.
You've been on tour with Alien Ant Farm, Fenix TX and bigger acts that have included Kid Rock and STP. As an opening band, do you try to give them their space or do you interact with them a lot?
You try and balance it so it's a little of both. You don't want to appear too cool to interact with them, but you don't want to suffocate them or bother them either. It's a little of both. It's interacting with them, as well as giving them their space and not feeling like we're a bunch of super-fan guys on the road with a band and just bugging them. So we try to be courteous and respectful of those bands.
Which acts have been the coolest to work with so far? Are there any that you stayed in touch with after the tour?
Kid Rock was cool, all the guys in Disturbed are awesome, the Hoobastank guys are awesome, the Alien Ant Farm guys have been awesome. The Stone Temple Pilots guys were really awesome to us. Just about everyone who we've ever gone out on the road with, we've hit it off with them and they're super-great guys.
When you say that all of these bands were awesome, can you give me an example? Are you saying these bands interacted with you a lot?
They're very welcoming, very supportive, as well as just being personable. They're just regular, down to earth people. And that's what's been refreshing about the whole experience. When you're away from home and you're traveling, you really learn to appreciate people who are going through the same things as you and are still able to be (good) people about it.
You're on your second album with Warner Brothers. How has the label treated you so far?
Are they in a rush to get a major hit or are they letting Earshot take time to develop?
Warner Brothers have been great. So far, they have been very patient with us. They've been really great about trying to develop the band. I think that everybody, at this point, is doing everything they can.
As a member of the band, do you feel like you're under pressure to sell a lot of units in order to keep your record deal? How do you deal with that?
I'm not trying to sell units to keep my deal, per se. Whether I have a record deal or not, I love music and that's what I do. That's always what I'm going to do. I would love for people to connect with the songs that I write and the things that I sing about. That's really why I wanted to get into this in the first place. You know, record deals in this industry, bands come and go all the time. It's not about that. And I understand that that's the way it is, so it doesn't really scare me, 'Well, if we don't do this, then we're gonna lose this.' It really is just a matter of feeling like we've accomplished something with what we love to do.
For fans who have heard your new single, "Wait," on the radio or otherwise, what can they expect from the "Two" LP when they pick it up?
Well, 'Two' is a lot more melodic. It's a lot more driven. I'd say it's actually a harder record versus the first one. The biggest difference that people are gonna hear between the two albums is that 'Two' sounds and represents a lot more of what we do and sound like live because that's the way it was recorded. It was recorded with five guys in the studio, kind of plugging through these songs time and time and time again until we felt good that we had gotten what we wanted to capture.
Let's say that fans came to Friday's show to see Saliva and caught your opening set and liked it. Would you recommend that they buy "Two" first? Or should they start with your first album, "Letting Go?"
You know, I think that since we're out playing songs mostly from the new album, 'Two,' they probably would want to pick up that one first. That is the bulk of what we play. I'd say 95 percent of what we play live is from our new album, just for the mere fact that we don't have a lot of time to play much more than a handful of songs. But for the completists, you pick up both. That's what I would say.
From what I've read, a lot of your lyrics are personal and some even touch on obstacles you faced in your youth. Still, you're not quick to discuss these specific experiences. Is there any reason for that?
Well, I just think that one of the cool things about music is you can listen to a song and put your own meaning into a song. I think when artists are too quick to explain what the song is about, it kind of voids out any other meaning that may have been created by someone listening to the song. Therefore, for now anyway, I would just like people to get it and live with it and soak it in and make this record and all of our records their own.
Songs like "Rotten Inside" and "Someone" seem like they could be about you. Are most of your lyrics personal? And either way, how do you feel knowing that fans who hear you sing a given song will think it's about you whether it is or not?
Right. I mean, a lot of them are about me; some of them aren't. But regardless, if someone's listening to the song and watching us perform it and they think that it's about me, I'm OK with that. I go through the same things everybody else in this world does. For someone to listen to what I'm saying and go, 'Wow, this person is a human being too and he goes through the same things I do' - I mean, I'm not afraid to say, 'Yes, I do go through these things too.' It's OK and, again, it allows me to relate and connect with someone. That's the wonderful thing about music.
As I looked at the lyrics to "Tongue-Tied" and some of your other songs from "Two," I found that they read like poetry. As I read through the lyrics, I'd think I knew where you were going message-wise, but then the next line would change the whole direction. Did you ever write poetry at all?
I think that's what started getting me into lyrics - being younger when me and my friends used to sit around and jack around and try and write poems or just things that rhymed. I do try to be as creative as I can trying not to sway from the spirit and the meaning of the song. And sometimes I try and create two different scenarios of the same thing that I'm trying to convey in a song as well. It's always a little bit different with the way that I go about it.
You're still promoting the lead single from your new album, "Wait." Could you tell me what inspired the song?
Basically, 'Wait' was written out of frustration and being impatient. We'd been writing and writing and writing for months. And we just weren't coming up with stuff that we loved. 'Wait' was actually the first song - after I had got the vocals done - that really gave us that feeling again of, 'Wow, we have something special here.' After we wrote that song, it really started to inspire the rest of the record. The rest of the record started to come very easily to us after that. That's the special thing about 'Wait.' I think it flipped the switch inside of all of us and it's just ironic that that song is about being frustrated.
On "Wait" you talk about being alone. Further into the album, on songs like "Goodbye" and "Should've Been There," there's a hopeful side. What stage are you at in your life now? Are you in a good relationship or are you feeling alone?
I'm all over the place! Sometimes I feel that way, sometimes I don't. Being on the road, for people who have never been on the road, it can be a series of ups and downs. Some days you feel great, some days you don't feel so great. Sometimes you feel like a piece of shit, sometimes you don't. So it really just depends on how tired we are and if we're frustrated or if we're sick. There's a bunch of different factors that go into it. For the most part, we love what we do and we're happy that we're getting to go out and do what it is that we want to be doing, which is playing shows and playing music for people. We certainly have nothing to complain about.
Are your lyrics based on your own relationships at times?
Some of them are based on relationships I was in and some of them are based on relationships that other people I know have been in.
What are some of the worst experiences that you've seen a girl put a guy through - whether it happened to you or to someone else?
Well, I've got lots of those stories. I think the biggest tragedy that people can do to each other is just not being real with each other. I see that time and time again. Especially in Los Angeles, where I live, I see it all the time. There's a lot of people out there who are like that. Not being real with people is kind of almost a slap in the face - the biggest one that I've seen.
Is Metallica's "Master Of Puppets" still your favorite album of all time?
I love 'Master Of Puppets.' In fact, we were just listening to it last night. I hadn't heard it in a long time. I just love the spirit of it, the energy of it. It's one of those records where there's a certain liveliness about it that I love. The attitude and the sincerity and the genuineness of that record are what I love about it most.
What are some albums that you've been listening to recently that you might recommend to others?
I haven't been listening to much new stuff. So it's kind of hard for me to answer that question. I think the Shinedown record is great. I've only heard one song from the band Crossfade, that I thought was really cool. Gosh, what else is out there that is cool?
How about "Two" and "Letting Go?"
Yeah, 'Two' and 'Letting Go' - there you go!
Earshot's lead guitarist, Scott Kohler, is from France. You're originally from Atchison, Kan. And one of your former drummers was from Austria. How did you all come together to form the band?
It's just from living in L.A. As you know and most people probably have an idea, it's kind of a melting pot where everybody goes to do whatever they want to do with their lives. It was just like anything else - just by chance - that we met there. It's the kind of thing that happens every day in L.A., actually, without sounding too cliche.
What type of experience to you hope to provide for fans who come out to see you in concert?
What they experience and what they get after going home from the show is that we're a real band. And I think it's very apparent and evident just from the feedback from the many people who come up to us when we do meet and greets - which we always do after we play. They say how exact that we sound to our records. And that just comes from us practicing and playing and being able to do what we do genuinely. We're about having a good time when we play and we want everyone else to be entertained and have a good time along with us. So that's what I hope people take away from seeing us.
Originally posted @ http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Earshot-aims-to-put-on-a-big-stage-show-64583.php