Sun Devoured Earth is the genre colliding one man project of Vadim Vasilyev From Latvia. His music is a mixture of the Wall Of Sound earmark of Shoegaze with the wanton lack of fucking giving of Black Metal with just about every other version of your favorite music thrown in somewhere. I recently sat down to have a talk with the ghost of sky.
What’s up Sun Devoured Earth, how’s the world treating you
Hello there. It’s treating me fine.
What was the catalyst that pushed you into making Shoegaze/Black Metal?
Listening to too much shoegaze/black metal bands before starting to make music, probably. Shoegaze and black metal appeal to me for similar reasons. They usually have a really strong atmosphere. Not even in the “lets max out our reverb pedals” sense. Just generates a strong mood which draws me in. Though my music isn’t as heavy on the black metal influences as people tend to think. I did about 4-5 songs that were really heavily influenced by black metal. Screamo bands made me discover my…well…screaming. The guitar sound during the loud/distorted parts was influenced more by Sunn O))), Nadja and The Angelic Process than any black metal band.
How do you feel about the Shoegaze/Black Metal scene as a whole?
Shoegaze and black metal scenes or the “blackgaze” scene? The more “traditional” shoegaze and black metal bands right now are pretty boring because they just immitate the sounds of the bands that came before. The bands that mix things up and bring new elements into the genres are a lot more interesting. For example I enjoy a lot of the stuff from the “blackgaze” scene. Even though the genre/scene is still new there are a lot of great artists and bands in it. I also love bands like Have A Nice Life, Jesu and The Angelic Process. They use their influences to create something really unique and beautiful.
What made you decide to start Sun Devoured Earth?
I just needed a name to categorize the music I was making. My early albums were very noisy and massive. I wanted the name to capture the feeling of the music (and sound cool) so I went with Sun Devoured Earth. It makes less sense now that my music is more mellow and quiet, I guess.
Are there any set-backs being a one man band? Is there a lack of sexual harassment?
No sexual harassement at all. Being a one man band doesn’t allow me to have any basement orgies either. But seriously, I think the good outweights the bad in my case. I love it because it allows complete creative freedom. No need to discuss anything with anyone and all. No need to meet in a studio or someone’s house to record a song. Working with other people can be a real pain in the ass. Maybe I just haven’t found the right people yet. It’s just great how I can do whatever I feel like doing and no one will bitch about it. At least no one involved in the project. Sometimes I wish I had more instruments, though. Drum machines can sometimes hold me back from doing what I plan on doing with certain songs.
Most of your songs have a strong early 1980s Goth Rock/ Positive Punk vibe, especially on the Untitled EP and on songs like “Life Is Poison”, would you say that era was influential to you?
YES!!! “Untitled” is extremely influenced by the 80′s. I absolutely love bands like Joy Division, Sad Lovers and Giants, The Cure, The Birthday Party, Bauhaus, Asylum Party, New Order, Cocteau Twins and all that jazz. I also love 80′s synthpop a lot, that’s what inspired me to make songs like “All The Mistakes” and use more synths. I see a lot of newer bands that try to recreate the post-punk/goth/new wave sound, but they mostly lack the lo-fi/raw sound that makes those styles so special to me. So in “Untitled” I’ve tried a more modern take on post-punk/goth/new wave while trying to leave out the rawness of the older bands. The vocal style on songs like “Street Lights” pay homage to Ian Curtis’ vocals in Joy Division.
I love how the vocals shift between straightforward singing and screams, such as on “Where’s The Reset Button“, what would you say is the reasoning behind this?
It depends on the song really. Sometimes I just like the peacefulness/aggression contrast in songs. It also gives a closure of sorts, haha. At times while singing I do “small” screams when I feel overwhelmed. At other times I just wait for when I’m feeling depressed to do the chorus/loud part and just let out some negative energy by screaming. It’s funny because I live in a pretty small appartement and have neighbours who can probably hear me really well when I scream. I’m sure they think I’m a psychopath.
Who would your dream show be with?
Have A Nice Life or Slowdive. Two of my favourite bands.
Who would you like to drop an axe on?
Oh I don’t know. Probably no one. Would give you a list if I was feeling really depressed, though, haha.
I notice you more or less change your entire sound from album to album, its the same ghostly shoegaze metal mix, but one seems to explore Goth, one explores drone, etc, what’s your reasoning behind this?
I guess it has something to do with the fact that I started releasing stuff pretty early. I’m still learning new songwriting techniques and experimenting a lot with each new release. And I also have pretty long periods of listening to a certain band or style of music. The bands I listen to while making albums also influence the sound a lot.
What’s up next for Sun Devoured Earth
I’m planning to do a split with either Hana Sumai or Wounder. I’m not sure when it’ll be done but it shouldn’t take too long. Another thing I’m working on is a full-length album. It’s going to be quite lengthy and will feature re-makes of my favourite songs from the EP’s along with new material. I’m planning it to be the final album for Sun Devoured Earth before I take a break from the project. I’m not sure how long the break will be and if there will be one at all. What I’m planning to do is just experiment with songwriting techniques, other music styles, etc. and maybe start a new project if those experiments will result in something. And after that just see if I’ll feel like making SDE-like material again or not.
Any last thoughts?
Thank you so much for the interview!
CVLTNATION SALUTES SUN DEVOURED EARTH!