While 2020 put a hard stop on a lot of bands plans, for Earth Groans there was the added complication of losing both their bassist and guitarist.
Undeterred, the band kept with their “EP every year” release schedule that’s been the plan for the band since day one, with new EP “The Body” released early September on Solid State Records.
We caught up with singer/Earth Groans mastermind Jeremy Schaeffer to get his take on the new EP, modelling amps, and getting back on the road.
Your new EP The Body came out September 3rd – what should fans expect from the EP?
This Ep is very aggressive and upbeat. Has a little more straight hardcore influence. But still carries the same dissonant elements fans would expect from E.G.
What is it about the EP format that the band likes so much over albums? Could you see the band doing a full album at some point?
From day one we have kind of said we wanted to be an EP band. We can release more often, and release better content.
It seems with play listing and such its more about relevance. So constantly showing up has kept peoples attention. Attention spans are shorter now also.
I’m not opposed to doing a full length, but it seems the Ep thing every year is working well as a business stand point.
Earth Groans are known from spending a lot of time on tour. How did spending a whole year off the road feel? Do you think the time away from touring had an effect on The Body (and Waste)?
That was longest break from the road E.G. has ever had and it was incredibly hard.
However I’m responding to this interview from the back of our van right now and I gotta say its great to be back on the road. The road is just where we belong. That’s always been the goal and the plan for this band.
It was nice having that “extra” time on the records to really hone in on tones and writing. But I gotta say it’s pretty hard to find inspiration when you never know if you will be back on tour again. So I would say it was bitter sweet.
The band lost two members at the start of the pandemic – how has that affected the writing and recording process for The Body and Waste? Who’s playing with you on the forthcoming tour dates?
Earth Groans has always been my brain child. So it didn’t really change up a ton. I’ve always written most everything.
I will say i miss having those guys talent and personalities on the record. Especially Zach’s voice.
For these tours I just have some hired guns playing for me. It will most likely stay like that until I find the right players to join.
So guitars! What did you guys use on the new record in terms of guitars/amps/pedals?
I love talking gear! I can go on a long time about this! Ill try to keep it short and to the point though lol.
I played through an LTD ESP EC1000 Evertune guitar with a Seymour Duncan pickup. I played through a Maxon 808 tube screamer into an EVH 515III into a Mesa oversized straight cab. I keep things pretty simple.
For bass i played a Fender Jazz into a Sansamp RBI into an Ampeg SVT Classic head, through an Ampeg 8/10 cab.
But then for heavier/grittier parts I added a layer of Ratt Pro Co over the bass. That was just done by reamping the DI bass signal through an MW1.
Did you have any reference records going into the studio in terms of how you wanted the finished product to sound?
Yes. I wanted this to sound like new Every Time I Die and Stick To Your Guns “Disobedient” had an album baby.
Are you a gear head at all? Any pieces of gear you’ve played recently that were a pleasant surprise? Anything you got to play that was disappointing?
Total gear head. I own and operate a recording studio for the last 12 years so i’m always talking and trying gear.
I recently got a pair of Neve 1073LB that are freaking sick. Awesome on overheads and some vocals.
I bought one of those Darkglass X Ultras recently and I wasn’t as stoked as I thought I would be. Its still a cool pedal but doesn’t have as much definition as I hoped.
Is there any one piece of gear that you couldn’t do without? Anything that’s integral to your sound?
I have quite a bit invested into microphone pre amps. I couldn’t imagine doing vocals without a killer pre amp.
A lot of guitarists are embracing modelling and profiling amps these days, especially due to making fly in gigs much easier. What’s your take on digital amps and effects?
I do own a Kemper but it’s basically a $2000 tuner LOL. Kempers are truly incredible but i can still hear a bit of the digital sound.
In the studio I will always use a real head if possible. I have used the Kemper on records with positive results though. One place Kempers really bother me is the low end response. They sound a bit woofy and overbearing at times. Especially when palm muted (of course this depends on the profile.)
We do use a Kemper live because it’s seriously so much easier, and lighter. I’m really thankful that i don’t have to carry two tube heads up a flight of stairs for load in. Having the DI function makes for a really clean consistent sound every night also!
For someone who’s just discovering your band and wants to hear more music that sounds like you, what bands would you suggest they start with?
A: Every Time I Die, Stick To Your Guns, Gideon, The Chariot, Kublai Khan, Oh Sleeper
If someone maybe wasn’t familiar with you guys but wanted to learn to play one of your songs, where would you suggest they start? Any riffs/licks/passages in particular that are fun to play, or maybe challenging but rewarding for more advanced players?
Our song Heathen Heart has a nice bob to it and is a relatively easy song. Its a real ripper though!
You guys are headed out on tour in the next few days – what should fans expect from these shows? Any setlist surprises?
We are playing a totally new set due to the fact that we released two EPs during the pandemic and never played a single show. We will also be playing a few new songs off the brand new album! So all kinds of new stuff!