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Into Eternity    
Into Eternity
BusinessWeek reports that Tricon, operator of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, is firmly committed to multi-branded restaurant formats that combine two or three of the banners under one roof. The theory is that families will choose the multi-branded restaurants over single brands because they offer more choices for finicky children. Tricon believes that its tepid growth rate in recent years can be invigorated with the new combination units, as well as by new menu items offered by each of the banners.

Metal Update reports that Into Eternity, purveyors of death, thrash and prog metal mayhem, is firmly committed to a hybrid format that combines three or more sub-genres within each album. The theory is that the metal scene will embrace the band's hybrid format over the focused approach of other acts because they offer more variety for the finicky metalhead. Into Eternity believes that metal's tepid growth rate in recent years can be invigorated with the new combination of traditional elements, as well as by fresh ideas delivered in a variety of styles.

Despite the fact that Into Eternity's hybrid theory is the result of artistic expression and not clever marketing, the band has effectively issued a wake-up call to the metal community in the form of 'Dead Or Dreaming'. In light of the magnitude of the band's latest effort, Metal Update got multi-talented vocalist / guitarist Tim Roth on the line to discuss why Into Eternity is fun for the whole family. . .

METAL UPDATE: You recently signed to Century Media. When did that happen?

TIM ROTH: Actually, just over these past four or five months.

MU: Did you record the album before you were signed?

TR: Yeah, we sure did. We put out two albums through this European label, DVS Records. And the whole time we were talking to Steve Joh, who is our A & R guy. At the time he worked for Noise Records - like two years ago. We were always like, "Come on, sign our band, sign our band." And he could never get us signed to Noise. Then after Noise and Century Media got together, he got a job with Century Media and he got us hooked up. After we got back from the tour they realized that we really want to do it. 'Cuz we payed for 'Dead Or Dreaming' ourselves and our first release [self-titled] ourselves. We spent so much money. (laughing)

MU: How the hell did you manage that?

TR: (laughing) We took out loans. The album cost us $20,000.00 Canadian. We all took out loans and we all work. We actually have almost the entire thing paid off. And we haven't even sold a lot yet. . .

MU: For how many albums?

TR: It's going to be for five albums.

MU: That's pretty big.

TR: It's pretty big, yeah. We just got the contracts now and we're actually looking them over.

MU: So, you licensed 'Dead Or Dreaming' and you are working out the contract now.

TR: Yeah, we licensed both our albums. They're going to be releasing the first one as well at a later date.

MU: Let's go back to the beginning. You guys are from Regina?

Into Eternity

TR: Yeah, in the middle of nowhere in Canada. (laughing)

MU: You know, I was in England and met these girls who were from Regina. I thought they were saying they were from vagina. I was like, "Well yeah. . . we all are kind of, but where do you live?" (laughing)

TR: (laughing) Well, we are originally from vagina!

MU: And now you're in Regina. It's in the middle of nowhere, huh?

TR: Yeah, pretty much. We're kind of in the western upper part of Canada.

MU: So, how did you get started?

TR: Well, it's a town of 200,000 people. It's prairie. There's nothing around here. There's not a ton of musicians. It took years and years. It took about 10 years to find the right lineup. Our first album cost us like five grand or six grand - it was nothing - and we sent it out to like 50 labels. Of course, nobody thought we were ready, which is probably right. (laughing) But DVS did and they released both albums in Europe and we did a tour of Europe. So, we've kind of done Europe and that's it.

MU: 'Dead Or Dreaming' has been released in Europe?

TR: Yeah.

MU: How is it doing?

TR: It's doing good, actually - if we can get all of our sales figures right. . . but, yeah, all the reviews have just been excellent. Really, really good. We finished it in August of last year and we had our first copy in hand around November first. So, it's been out for like 10 months in Europe.

MU: Who produced the album?

TR: We did everything ourselves.

MU: Who engineered it?

TR: Johny Gasparic. He's in town here. He works at the studio. The whole time, Scott, was learning how to do this stuff, so for the next album he'll be doing it. Three of us were there during mixing. We'd tell him what levels to put up and stuff. We did as much as humanly possible ourselves.

MU: That's hard to do. It sounds a lot different in the recording studio than it does in a car stereo.

TR: (laughing) Exactly. A car stereo sounds totally different. That's the problem. You have to run it out to a disk man and then run out to your car. Take it to your friend's stereo. And, of course, on every stereo, it sounds totally different. So, you just try to do the best you can. I mean, I'm not a professional mixer. I just did it how I would want it to sound. It's not perfect, but it is pretty good.

MU: Who did you tour with in Europe?

TR: Wolverine.

MU: Another DVS band.

TR: Yeah, they're a great band. We did Holland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden with Wolverine.

MU: It seems like you are kind of hanging out with prog crowd.

TR: Yeah we are. (laughing) I don't know why, though.

MU: Is that what you were going for when you started the band?

TR: I don't know what we were going for. Like, originally, for the first album, we just recorded it and shopped it. I had no idea that people would actually be reviewing it and looking deep into the album. We would have done a much better job. (laughing) I didn't expect much was gonna happen and now it all has. I mean, it took five years, but. . .

MU: Well, what were you going for when you started this thing?

TR: What I always wanted and what I always did in my other bands was the clean singing and the death singing. I was doing that since '93. All my bands have always done that. I always liked Fates Warning and those kind of bands, but I also like Death and thrash - Forbidden and Sanctuary. So, I kind of wanted all those styles in one band. It's exactly how I write. It's totally natural. This is just how I've always done it and in the back of my mind, I just always new that people would eventually. . . I don't know, I hope that people will eventually catch on and like it. It seems to be right at the exact right time now.

MU: Indeed.

TR: Every band that starts out, they do just one style. I always wondered why bands do one style because I want to do everything. I have a low attention span. (laughing) That's another problem. I need the songs to always be moving and doing something. Like, even vocally, if it was all clean singing all the way through, you're dying to hear some heavy vocals after a whole album. So, this way, we kind of do it all at once.

MU: Sometimes all in one song.

TR: Yeah, sometimes all in one song. I'd say 85% have been good reviews, but a lot of the reviewers are going, "Into Eternity can't find their style. They're doing prog, they're doing death. . ." That is the style though!

MU: You're hitting your mark on that.

TR: That's what we want to do, but everyone's brainwashed that you can only be one thing. You can be a power metal band and that's it. . .

MU: Either everybody's gonna like it because they can all find elements in your sound that they dig, or everybody's gonna hate it because they only like one style. I believe it will be the former.

TR: It can kind of backfire, too, yeah. Like, some prog guys might not like it because of the death vocals. So, that could hurt us - having death vocals - but I like it.

MU: Better to do something different.

TR: Yeah, I think so.

MU: It is a pretty small scene and a lot of metalheads are pretty open-minded.

TR: Actually, I find that they are - really open-minded.

MU: Plenty of people like both Nevermore and Death. Why can't you put them together?

TR: I think that's the perfect combination: Nevermore and Death.

MU: They toured together.

TR: Yeah they did. (laughing)

MU: So, you guys are doing it all in one song.

TR: Yeah. (laughing) Exactly! We got to do three dates with Nevermore last September when they came through Canada. Man, those are the nicest guys you'll ever meet, that's for sure. They were to us anyways. They let us use all their gear. (laughing) All their drums, guitar amps - they said, "Come out with us." - so, we did. Before we went to Europe we got to do three shows. As soon as we finished our last show with them up in Calgary - we finished at two in the morning - we drove back into Regina and made it by 12 noon. Then we hopped on a plane and went to Europe which was 10 hours. Then we got to Europe and went straight to the Prog Power. So, we were up for like 50 hours. We did it because we wanted to play with Nevermore. They are such a great band.

MU: How did Prog Power go?

TR: Prog Power was awesome.

MU: Those European festivals are something else.

TR: I had no idea. We'd stop a song and they'd do those soccer chants in between the songs. I had goosebumps on stage. It was ridiculous. I'd never seen crowds like that.

MU: You've had some lineup changes.

TR: Yeah we have.

MU: What's up with that?

TR: Every band usually goes through it eventually. Danny Nargang played on 'Dead Or Dreaming'. The first album, he didn't though. For the first album, I did everything myself.

MU: All the guitars and all the vocals?

TR: Yeah, all the guitars and all the vocals. But then we decided we had to up the ante and we got Danny. He was really the only guy around town who was really into metal. He's an older guy. He's like 30, so he had a lot of experience. He was really good for 'Dead Or Dreaming'. He helped out a lot. He wrote like 30% of it. He was a big part and then he realized that he doesn't want to do this. After the tour he just. . . I don't know, people get scared, I find, when things start happening. He was more content to stay at home and do the local club scene. He's more into acoustic guitar and stuff. So, we had to get two people to replace him because when we got Danny in the band we started to have three-part vocal harmonies. I would sing, the bass player, Scott, would sing and Danny would sing. It would sound so nice and full and big. Like a country band kind of thing. (laughing)

MU: Or Blind Guardian.

TR: Exactly. Except the only difference is we did it live because we had three vocalists. A lot of bands don't do that. It tends to be a lot emptier live. So, we needed someone to fill it up in the live situation because I don't want it to be empty. We got Scott's twin brother, Chris, singing for us, and we got another guitar player, Jeff Storry. We got two new members for one.

MU: And is Chris Krall just singing?

TR: Yeah, he's just singing.

MU: What does he sing? Clean or death?

TR: That's another thing, Danny couldn't sing death at all, he could only do clean. I would always be switching off back and forth. But our new singer, Chris, can do both death and clean, so now we have dual death vocals and our three-part vocal harmonies. It's perfect live.

MU: So, at this point you are ready to go. You are sitting with a Century Media contract in hand - looking that over. You've got a new album being pushed in North America. What are your goals at this point?

TR: Well, we're about 80% done our next album. We've been writing constantly since we had some down time waiting for the contracts. We're going to go on a U.S. tour in December. We're going to finish the album before December and then we are going to put out another album and then we are going to tour tour tour as much as possible.

Into Eternity

MU: So, you are going to tour, then put out another album and then tour again?

TR: Yup. That's what we're gonna do.

MU: Who are you touring with in December?

TR: It should be 90% sure, but I guess I can't really say 'cuz it'll probably blow up in my face. [it has since been announced that Into Eternity will be opening for the reunited Dark Angel]

MU: What kind of fans do you want to play for on tour? Who is your target audience?

TR: That's a good question. I guess we could play with a death metal band, but I don't think that would go over perfectly. I think we should stay with more. . . like the Nevermore kind of fans. . . I don't know. . . that's a tough one. . .

MU: I dare say that you could play with almost anyone.

TR: I would hope so. I would think, like, an In Flames audience would probably like us. Sweden was probably one of our best shows. We were supposed to play with In Flames in Europe and they cancelled right at the very last minute and that was one of the best shows we've ever played. The Swedish audience just loved it. They were freakin'. I guess we could play with anyone - pretty much - with the exception of, like, Cryptopsy - even though Cryptopsy is one of my favorite bands. . .

MU: I think you could do it.

TR: We'd get crushed. (laughing)

MU: Have you started recording for the new album?

TR: Just pre-production stuff. Our bass player, Scott, works at a studio in town, so he's got a Pro Tools set up at his house - all computer - so, we've just been doing some pre-production. We're almost done writing, just a few more songs. . .

MU: Who does the website?

TR: That's Scott and Chris' cousin, Jeff Beer.

MU: So, it's all in the family.

TR: Well, nowadays, I think you've got to do it yourself. Like, I knew no record label was ever gonna just come to Regina and offer us a recording contract. It just doesn't happen. So, if you believe in the music. . . like, we knew we were going to go into debt like $25,000.00, but, I believed in the band.

MU: It's a small price to pay.

TR: It is. 25 grand, for sure.

MU: Is it fair to say that you guys are a metal fan's metal band?

TR: Yeah. What I've always wanted to hear was a band that does all these things in one. So, for me, it is my kind of dream band.

MU: There's some people out there who just like death metal and there's people out there who just like power metal, but there's a lot of people out there who like everything.

TR: Yeah, that's the thing, I like death metal albums, but after 10 songs it begins to wear on me. That's why I like the clean vocals to give it some breathing room. One thing I noticed about the Milwaukee Metalfest is that there were like five bands out of like 125 that actually had clean vocals. How could that be possible? It's funny 'cuz we played at Prog Power and we fit in - we were probably the heaviest band there. And then we played at the Milwaukee Metalfest and were probably the lightest band, but we still fit in.

MU: What kind of reaction did you get at Milwaukee?

TR: It was pretty good for the people that were there. We were going up against Exodus.

MU: That's tough.

TR: Of course, we are new band and that was our first States show. We were just happy to be there and it was cool meeting all the bands.

MU: Some of the press material I have read on Into Eternity indicates that you guys might be a bunch of musicians with different metal tastes. Is that the case? Do you have the death metal guy and the power metal guy, etc.? Or are you just lovers of all that is metal?

TR: All that is metal. No doubt about it. Like, our drummer, Jim, his favorite band is Dream Theater, but it's also Cryptopsy. Our guitar player, Jeff, he likes pretty much strictly death metal. Our bass player likes pretty much everything, but Rush is his big thing. And me, I love death and thrash and prog. I love everything.

MU: So, basically, if someone comes up with a riff, there's not going to be someone there saying, "That's too gay for Into Eternity." "That's too heavy for Into Eternity." You guys can do whatever you want.

TR: We can do whatever we want. Ballads, though, are kind of tough. Bringing in acoustic stuff gets kind of touchy sometimes because we want to keep it fairly heavy. We kind of ease off on the lighter songs.

MU: It is so diverse that it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for something like that to show up on one of your albums.

TR: Exactly. Like on 'Dead Or Dreaming' we've got a lot of little acoustic interludes.

MU: Your stuff is very diverse. We shouldn't let this interview come to an end without discussing the fact that you do have all sorts of different riffs from various styles. It is not just the vocals that are varied. It is not like you have varied vocals over the same song over and over again.

TR: Yeah. (laughing) Good point. I am a big fan of European bands, too. The thing I like about European bands is that they've got such strong vocal melodies and then the guitars come in ripping solos and stuff. But, then, the good thing about death metal is the power and the driving riffs and then the solos just kill it. But that's why we want to have both.

MU: And you do incorporate some ripping leads.

TR: Thanks. I am trying. I sit at home and practice every single day.

MU: The solo is lost on a lot of bands.

TR: The thing is, I started off as a rhythm player. I could never play leads - that was like 13 years ago. I developed my right hand first and I couldn't play solos. Then I strictly went for leads for like the last 10 years. I wanted to have good riffs, but sometimes bands that have good riffs don't have good leads over it. The key is to have both.

MU: You've got one song on the album that is real catchy and has all clean vocals.

TR: "Unholy (fields of the dead)" - all clean vocals. It's a pretty easy song. The chorus is real catchy. It was such a catchy chorus we decided to keep driving it into peoples' heads. We probably put the chorus too many times in that song.

MU: Are there any songs that are all death metal?

TR: Well, 'Identify' is like 90% death metal. There's a little bit of clean singing in the chorus. And a song called 'Selling God' is about 95% - besides a tiny little bridge part that has clean vocals. The next album that we are doing now, every song is going to be hybrid. Even though some people say we don't have a style, that is our style. So, that's what we're going to do. We're going to focus on that.

MU: Any additional thoughts for the Metal Update readers?

TR: We've just got to spread the word on Into Eternity. It took 10 years to get signed to a real label. This band has been around for about five years and we're just starting to get known because of Century Media. This is all meant to be, I think. I've been wanting to do this since I was 16 and everyone told me I was crazy. I mean, everyone. Then when you turn 26, people are like, "Well, shouldn't you have done it by now?" Now finally, boom, this year. But how do you explain to family and friends that it is going to take ten years?

MU: If you're doing what you love, it's not a hardship.

TR: No. It pays off.


review of Into Eternity 'Dead Or Dreaming'

"Dead Or Dreaming" from 'Dead Or Dreaming'







Interview: Brant Wintersteen [ ]
Webmaster: WAR [ ]
Photo: Darrol Hofmeister

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