10 questions for Dylan Carlson

Earth innovator on first guitars and onstage nightmares

10 questions for Dylan Carlson

Aside from his work with Washington drone pioneers Earth, Dylan Carlson has a considerable solo canon, too, from soundtracks to sonic explorations outside of the ambient metal framework that he created.

The latest of Carlson's releases, Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders From The House of Albion, interprets Scotch-English folk ballads about human/supernatural interaction in the guitarist's own inimitable style.

Although Carlson's guitar is the lone instrument throughout, Falling with a Thousand Stars… is as menacing and hypnotic as any of his past full-band work, thanks to the nuanced, driven delivery of the trad-folk melodic themes, not to mention the sonic innovator's trademark haunting sustain.

With that in mind, we quizzed Dylan on his first guitar, desert island gear and live disasters - and this is what he had to say…

1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?

"A 1968 Gretsch Streamliner with Super'tron pickups. It was $300 - before the 'vintage' madness - from West Seattle Guitars, which is no longer with us. I got it in 1985 or '86."

2. The building's burning down – what one guitar do you save?

"It would have to be my Les Paul 'Gary Moore' model."

3. Is there a guitar, or piece of gear, that you regret letting go?

"My first guitar!"

4. And what's the next piece of gear you'd like to acquire?

"I'm kind of over getting gear, but I'd love to get a Burman power amp and preamp or an H&H combo."

5. Is there an aspect of guitar playing that you'd like to be better at?

"All of them, haha!"

6. When did you last practise and what did you play?

"Today, and I ended up writing a song."

7. If you could have a guitar lesson from one guitarist, dead or alive, who would it be?

"[Fusion great] Pat Martino."

8. What item of gear would you take with you to a desert island?

"Assuming this is in addition to a guitar and amp, it would be an MXR Dyna Comp."

9. What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you onstage?

"I guess people throwing things when I opened up for the Lemonheads in San Diego in 1995, or the bass player stepping on the trigger pedal for the drum machine and restarting the song halfway through a 15 to 20-minute song back in 1992."

10. What advice would you give your younger self about playing the guitar?

"Practise smarter and more often - and play live more often."

Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders From The House of Albion is available now via Hello Merch in the US, Sargent House in the UK and Bandcamp worldwide.