Eduardo Yalán: Guitars
Pedro Zamalloa: Guitars, Bass, Drum programming
Giancarlo Melgar: Vocals
Interview by: Neil Langton
Nice to speak to you, how are you guys?
Likewise Neil, it is a pleasure for us to be able to talk with you and share a little more about our work with the Metal Rules community. We’re doing great actually. At the moment we’re working again on some plans we had left on standby due to the end of the year holidays and Omicron but thankfully we’re back at it and mainly focused on writing songs for our first album.
How are things in Peru at the moment, both COVID wise and in general?
The third wave of infections started a few weeks ago in our country mainly due to Omicron, so some restrictions have been reinforced. But there is a sort of tense calm despite the large number of infected people, largely due to the low mortality rate of the variant.
The pandemic and the endemic political chaos under which we have been living for some years now, keep us in a constant sequence of social crises. COVID allowed to expose in an explicit way the precariousness of our institutions and the health system, due to a political management alienated to the interests of the population and plagued by cases of corruption. There’s something that could sum pretty well this climate of instability and is that in the last 4 years we’ve had 5 presidents. So yeah, things should be better.
What’s the metal scene like in Lima and Peru in general?
The scene has new emerging styles, but also retains traditional aesthetics of metal and underground music. Within these aesthetics, the one that has had the most versatility has perhaps been death metal and all its variants. Many bands have followed the path of pioneering bands in Peru such as Mortem, Anal Vomit, Flagelum Dei or Goat Semen. On the black metal side, the proposals have preserved a musical texture that maintains canonical aesthetics but, on the other hand, innovates thematically by exploring the mystical, esoteric and dark substances of the Andean landscape. Currently there are very interesting proposals, one of them the band Arcada, who continues this direction of black metal that combines the best of canonical aesthetics with religious esotericism.
Has it been hard for the band to get together during these times of lockdowns etc?
The dimensions of this global pandemic have redefined the forms of musical creation and composition. Not only in the particular case of producing music in private spaces, but also at the level of concerts, musical circulation, music consumption, etc. In our particular case, we have had to resort to digital platforms to hold meetings that do not lose creative processes. It’s difficult and it produces another aesthetic of composition but we have overcome it in the final product.
Where did you get the name Earthwomb from?
The name is a neologism that unites the terms Earth and womb. The union of these two concepts is motivated by the metaphysics that guides our musical proposal. The Earth as infinite virtuality, matter, a dark background that sustains everything and the matrix as a concept that underlines the fundamental nature of this Earth. The entire theme of the band is based on this metaphysical support, each note and form of composition intends to hate the music, reject the sound to extol the material. We create to make music awaken this pact between the Earth as a matrix of expression, it is to return to the materiality and virtuality of the world.
Is Earthwomb yourself and your bandmates first band or have you been in other bands before?
We have shared projects before this one. Mainly focused on experimentation with death metal. A first project was Craneotomy, a death metal band that we started in 2007, we managed to publish a demo that circulated with great acceptance. After Craneotomy we managed to develop other projects, “The Fractal Phenomenon” as a virtual project and “Aliaga” a grindcore band that we are currently developing.
How would you describe Earthwombs music to someone who has never heard it before?
We would like to express three sensations or experiences: (i) the construction of an atmosphere that becomes unpredictable (ii) the immersion in an esoteric aesthetic that opens a door to a relationship with the absolute as destructive, excessive, exasperated energy. (iii) The need to prolong these experiences, seek continuity, the demand for a next level. I think that in most of the criticism and in most of the interactions with our project, these three characteristics have been highlighted so that we believe that we have achieved something.
Where do you draw your musical influences from?
For us it is important the communication between influences that arise from metal and different genres. We are very interested in exploring the wide spectrum of all stages of black metal, involving in this search the analysis of South American bands that have made great contributions to the genre and keep on doing it to this today. On the other hand, our sonic approach towards post-rock, post-metal, drone, noise or experimental music, has been of great help to expand the textures and atmospheric horizons in our sound.
Does anything in particular influence you when writing lyrics?
We believe that one of the most valuable moments for everyone in the band is the stage of conceptual construction, which is the result of a process of search and research, the synthesis of everyone’s contributions on a specific topic or themes. The references or stimuli we use to generate this creative synergy come from texts, audio-visual material, images or music. The lyrics emerge as a product of this collaborative process, a one that involves personal-subjective perspective and collaborative projection of course.
What is your favourite track / one your most proud of’?
Each has its own flare to be honest but if we had to pick just one that embodies the character and sonic identity of the EP we’d say Walkscapes for sure. It’s a journey in and of itself. It’s gentle and abrasive at the same time, it takes you through some different emotional states. We really love how the arrangement ended up finding us rather than us finding it.
What are your expectations/hopes for ‘Becoming immanence’?
We intend that this first step of the Earthwomb project reaches a circulation with people who identify with the project proposal, also seeking contact with new colleagues, bands that explore the same intentions as us both in the musical and thematic field. But also manage to mature our sound, prolong what we have done well and rethink what can be improved.
What have been the reactions to ‘Becoming immanence’ and are they what you hoped for?
Definitely our expectations around the release were positive, but we didn’t expect to reach so many countries and get reviewed by so many and diverse media outlets. It has been a great experience to see Becoming Immanence’s journey during this year. What we value the most are the connections we have established with fans of the genre and also with those who never had the opportunity to listen to black metal or metal in general.
Being based in Peru do you think the digital age in which we live makes its easier to get your music heard across the world?
Definitely. Nowadays we have access to a vast amount of platforms and tools that we didn’t have even 10 years ago. But it doesn’t come as easy as it may sound. It also requires commitment, responsibility and hard work. You need to put the hours into it otherwise nothing will happen. Any band or artist can put their music in Spotify but not all of them will be willing to work on the business side, not only to grow a community but to create relationships with potential business partners and media outlets as well.
What are your ambitions for Earthwomb initially?
We want to keep on making music. That’s probably our top priority right now. We’ve been already working on our new album and songs so far are sounding pretty great to us. Hopefully, if things go as planned, we’ll be hitting the studio by the second half of this year. Which takes us to the second priority: finding a strategic partner. We’d love to get to work with a label that can take our work to a new level. And last but not least, we want to play live shows as well. Not that easy to do it right now because of the pandemic (although shows and venues are starting to get things going again), but we’d love to play our songs live soon not only here in our city but in other cities of our country, and of course if the opportunity comes up go and play abroad as well.
Who did the artwork for ‘Becoming Immanence’?
Giancarlo, vocalist of our band created this piece, two handmade drawings on black cardboard that were later assembled digitally to complete the cover design. What we can see in it is the journey of an entity that crosses a sudden dark threshold in the middle of an imposing natural landscape. The body formed by light, apparently charged with a mass of energy that, indefinitely, flows spilling itself onto the earth. Nature in this piece is not reduced to an object of mere contemplation, in this case the wild scene wants to challenge and violently embrace everything that stands in its way. Our approach materialises in this relationship between natural spaces and the possibilities of existence that expand while entering them: in the fragility or temporality of the body destroyed within immanence, in the fragment of the ancient and infinite essence of the mountains, in the encryption of mystical wisdom living in the simplicity of the elements configuring infinite places and in the eradication of this vital geography by the action of industrialization and socio-political conflicts. We believe that nature invites us to unity, to the indivisible and complementary unity that springs from this immeasurable source of immanent energy.
You self-financed the release, how difficult was it to balance being in a band with ‘Normal’ life?
Order and having a schedule is key. We know and love the artistic side of it, but at some point we have to treat it as a job too. We’ve known each other for almost 15 years, we know which ways work better for each of us and although at the beginning of our musical journey things weren’t as tidy, now that’s not the case. We have working days through the week, sometimes on the weekends as well; not only to write or rehearse but to talk about plans, goals and tasks we want to fulfil to keep growing in all facets of the project.
Have you managed to play live yet? If not, what would an Earthwomb live show be like?
Unfortunately we haven’t had the chance yet, but we’re certain that the right opportunity will come up soon. As to how an Earthwomb show would be like? A journey, something to carry away. We’ve talked before about details and characteristics our shows should have. It shouldn’t be just us playing the music; it should have more because a live show will allow us to extend the feel to our audience. It should have extra elements we give to them but it also should be something that both sides will consolidate as a whole. We feel like the experience must be special for the people in front of us and for ourselves.
Have you plans to tour in 2022?
At the moment we have not had the opportunity to plan a tour for the upcoming months of the year, but as we said before we’d love to play live shows in other countries. Hopefully some offers will arise and we’ll be able to set some dates, of course as long as the pandemic is kept under control, especially to avoid possible cancellations or complications when organising something so important to us.
What are the pro’s/cons of being in a band? Any advice you would give to anyone wanting to start a band?
Let’s start with the second question and let us quote maestro Christopher Doyle (cinematographer) on this: “You have to spent time with people you care about, otherwise you’ll be frustrated, it will just be a job.” That is the most important thing to have in mind because if you are making music and creating any form of art collectively there has to be chemistry, tolerance, assistance, caring and love towards the art and yourselves. This does not mean that things will always be smooth, not at all. There’s gonna be confrontation and chaos but because it will happen among people that care within the same level, things will always be able to get sorted out. About pros and cons. The latter are quite a few and they will never go away. It will start with perhaps not having the right piece of gear and will “escalate” to not having enough spare time or a lack of space for rehearsals. Life will get in the way, people with bad intentions will get in the way, hopelessness will get in the way but this is where the best Pro comes up: you’ll never stop getting a reason to improve. You’ll get better at your instrument, you’ll get better at organising yourself, better as a bandmate/friend/partner, better at dealing with people, likeminded or not. And then there are the other pros that yeah they are cool as well like having your music in different platforms, the satisfaction of reading great and bad comments (if you don’t have bad comments you’re not doing it well enough), you’ll meet new awesome people along the way in gigs, you’ll get to know some new places. There are a lot of amazing things that will happen if you do things with care and love.
What genres of music do you listen to personally? Any new bands grabbed your attention recently?
Giancarlo: Over the past few years I’ve become hooked on various post-punk, darkwave, trip-hop, dark ambient and experimental music albums. Some new (or relatively new) metal bands that I listen to constantly are Primitive Man, Gnaw Their Tongues, Succumb, Stormkeep and Spectral Wound.
Pedro: Within the metal scope I’ve been really enjoying the work of bands like Vildjharta, Zeal & Ardor, The Ocean, NNLL and Noctule. Besides that I like bands and artists like The Blaze, Otzeki, The Shoes, Tshegue, and also film and video game scores.
Eduardo: For my part, lately I’m redounding in the aesthetics of Latin American ultrametal, going back through the steps of the old school texture of black metal while exploring other musical styles such as grindcore, bands like Plebeian Grandstand are stimulating.
What do yourself and your bandmates like to do away from music? Any hobbies etc?
Giancarlo: I had the opportunity to study visual arts, so I keep myself busy working on personal interdisciplinary projects related to drawing or experimental painting.
Pedro: Besides my day job as a filmmaker, I really love playing video games. Just as music, video games were my escape when I was young and they’ll help me go through some bad periods. And also I love stories, I love being told a good story and sometimes video games do that as good as films and tv shows (sometimes even better).
Eduardo: I am a philosopher, professor. My interests are academic and I try to reconcile those motivations with musical production, the construction of aesthetics, etc. The band is a space for metaphysical exploration that converges with my activities outside of it.
Thank you for your time, is there anything else you’d like to say to Metal-Rules readers?
Thank you very much Neil for your support and interest in our work. We wanted to tell the readers of Metal-Rules that we are working at full speed on our album, we already have some songs almost finished, and the writing in this new stage has a much darker direction but retains the essence of what you could hear with our debut EP “Becoming Immanence”. Once again we hope to start the recording and production process towards the second half of 2022 to be able to release it by the end of this year or the beginning of the next, for that reason we invite you to follow us on our socials and be part of the creative process of this release.