Into Eternity - Interview
Into Eternity - remember that name. If they stay together there's a huge chance that you'll hear about them many times in the future. Due to their record deal with DVS Records those Canadians are already known in Europe and finally thanks to Century Media their original mix of progressive and death metal was brought to the North American shores. With basically no musical boundaries, lots of talent and determination, their second album "Dead or Dreaming" feels like a breeze of fresh air in a death gas chamber. Intelligent, original, and thorough compositions are not something you can say about most of the music you listen to these days, so without further overdue I'll let bassist, Scott Krall to explain this unusual blend of genres and everything behind Into Eternity.
Congratulations on really amazing piece of work that "Dead or Dreaming" is. Are you surprised with most of the very positive and enthusiastic reactions of the press?
Thank you. It is kind of a shock to us. Honestly we didn't expect anything like this. We were expecting to get a little more bad reviews or mixed reviews because it's kind of newer style. I was expecting prog metal fans to be mad about death vocals and death metal fans to be upset about melodic vocals but it seems to be going quite well actually.
Since "Dead or Dreaming" is your first album released in North America, please tell our readers more about the members and the band. Maybe some details not included in your biography?
Actually since the release of "Dead or Dreaming", I guess I should say the European release because it was released on DVS Records first we've had two new members joined the band. One being my brother Chris Krall and he's going to be doing vocals and new guitar player Jeff Storry. Daniel Nargang who was on "Dead or Dreaming" is no longer in the band.
How did it all start? In Regina there is a very small sort of circle of musicians and we've all jammed with each other at one point in another bands. We all new each other from the start, we were 14 when we started playing in bands, so we were sort of introduced to each other but as far as writing together we've only been writing together since 97-98.
How did you end up on DVS Records? Wasn't anyone interested in you from North America that you had to go to Europe to get a record deal?
We've had about four other offers at that time but DVS Records just seemed to be the most realistic and they offered us a pretty good deal percentages of sales and stuff too. We'd have liked to sign to a North American label but pretty much everybody that said they were interested wasn't that big to begin with, and with some other labels we didn't quite fit their band roster but now we'll be signing the deal with Century Media for probably next 5 albums, I believe.
You're getting ahead of my questions... this album and your debut are going to be released on Century Media Records. How did you land this deal, why with CM and were there other labels interest?
Actually, I was talking to Steve Joh, he's an A&R guy there and I was talking to him when he was working for Noise Records and he was trying to get us on at Noise Records but it just didn't happened, that was even before DVS Records. Than he landed a job with Century Media and right before we went on tour in Europe last October I sent him a press kit and when I got back he said "since this album is already released by DVS Records we can license it for North America". Of course we jumped at that opportunity and now they've said that they're interested in releasing 5 albums with us and I think for our style of music Century Media would probably be one of the best choices for us. They have a really good, diverse roster of bands and I think it would probably work out really well with them.
That's great news... maybe we'll finally be able to see Into Eternity on a full tour?
Yeah, actually I think we have something happening in the States but just a West coast for the month of December but I don't have any dates confirmed yet.
At the beginning you've mention new line up changes, Into Eternity seems to have a lot of those in young band's career, is it caused by member's different personalities or is it just a part of band's progression?
Well, the 3 members of the band that have been right from the day one have been me, Tim and Jim and most of the songs have been written with us three. Regarding why people have left... For example Daniel Nargang who was on "Dead or Dreaming", he always wanted to do his own thing like a solo project and it was kind of a more of a mutual decision with that. I guess he just wasn't getting where he wanted with Into Eternity and he wanted to do his own thing. We're still on good terms but maybe it was a little bit a clash of personalities because we all wanted to be a group where as he wanted to be a sort of a one man show so, we just sat down and said if you want to do it do it just let us know so we can find a replacement for him. Regarding the Chris McDougall, our keyboard player... when we were writing "Dead or Dreaming" the songs just started to have lesser and lesser amounts of keyboards in them as compared to our first album and he was basically saying "you guys don't even need a keyboard player anymore" [laughs]. He had plans on going to school and he's going to school in Japan right now and doing some stuff over there so I guess him leaving was probably kind of unavoidable too but we're all on talking terms too.
Judging by very high instrumental skills it would be safe to assume that you all have long and impressive resumes, what are the musical backgrounds of band's members?
Myself I've taken some classical guitar training but regarding my bass playing I've been self-thought and I actually started out playing sax for 6 years which of course I don't use in a band [laughs]. My brother had taken about 4 years of vocal lessons and Tim Roth is more of a self-thought guitar player but I think he did take about a year of lessons when he was about 14 or 15 years old. The one area where we probably get the most experience is just a fact that we've all been in bands since age 14 and 15 and always tried to write songs.
Another very impressive sides of Into Eternity are the vocals. With all those harmonies and styles it's hard to imagine that none of you doesn't have professional musical education.
Usually there're no more than 3 harmonies and anything above and beyond that is just an octave of the root note. When we figure out our harmonies, it's of course always a main melody line, Tim will play a harmony on the guitar and than we have to try to find a note that we are singing. Basically when we do the harmonies we just think of chords, major, minor or diminished stuff like that.
With such diverse music your influences must range from classical music to extreme metal, can you tell us what bands had the greatest effect on Into Eternity music?
There's a lot of different influences. Of course being from Canada we have seen bands like Rush... bands that I'm influenced by are Saga and Yes. I think everybody that listens to progressive music can always say that they're influenced by Dream Theater. Tim has always been into heavier stuff like Death, Slayer, Cynic... the list could go on and on.
With so many varied members' influences how did you form the current style you're playing? Did you start as a death metal band and later on added a progressive side or was it the other way around?
When we formulated our style it wasn't really a conscious effort. Every member that contributes to the writing process has its own input and our idea of writing has always been if it sounds good then use it and not really worry about constraining the genre or the sub genre or your influences in the music just because you want to sound one way. So, it's pretty much a compilation of all our influences. When we first started writing the songs and sending CDs out and actually getting some feedback we were all very surprised about the response for it. It just seemed like people really admire the fact that there is a band that is combining heavy, speed riffs and death metal with more progressive passages and harmonies. Now, that we sort of realize that this sound is our identity I guess for future albums and future songs that we write we are definitely making a more conscious effort to make the two styles or all the influences more distinct but more seamless so they don't seem like it just went from one area to another, just make them sort of mesh together a little better.
Is there a main songwriter in a band or is it a collective effort?
Regarding guitar riffs, of course Tim Roth would be the one that comes up with all the riffs but there've been situations that even Jim Austin, our drummer has come up with guitar riffs. I know for a fact he sits at home 5 days a week playing guitar of course when he should be playing drums but I guess that's how the most of the drummers are. They want to play guitar, guitarist want to play drums... I don't know, just to kill time I guess [laughs]. There are a lot of instances where there would be me and Jim coming up with sort of like a technical bridge and then we would use that in the middle and then add the guitar to accent it or double it or whatever. As far as structuring the songs that's done by everyone. Everybody has their own idea of how the song should be structured and what sounds good we stick with that. As far as lyrics are concern Tim Roth writes all the lyrics. For melody lines I guess that would be a split between, well... at least now, it would be my brother and Tim Roth.
How do you decide who vocally does what on the album? Do band members switch styles from song to song or each member is a specialist in one particular area?
That's a tough question but I would say that whoever comes up with the idea first and if it sounds good we'll use it. As far as sticking with only one style of vocals Jim Austin; he sings only death vocals, Tom Roth sings clean and death vocals, actually a lot of higher end death vocals were done by Tim which is kind of funny where people see that. They don't really picture the person who's singing the lead vocals to sing a lot of death vocals but that's how we do it live too. I really can't sing death vocals I just do the harmonies and my brother who just joined the band is doing mostly clean vocals but he's doing a lot of death vocals now too.
Do you adapt the vocals to the lyrics?
I would say that vocals or actually the melody lines are written for the music and same with the lyrics as well. We usually come up with the music first and from there we will establish the melody lines and Tim will write the lyrics. I know a lot of bands write lyrics and melody lines first but with sort of more technical metal is a little bit tougher to do that cause the music is a lot more busier than the vocals most of the time. For us lyrics and vocals are written to fit the music rather than the other way around.
Speaking of lyrics, MetalBite being a metal webzine (at least for now), I have to ask about 'Cyber Messiah', is that song about being addicted to the Internet? If so, why is that a bad thing?
I don't know. Tim said that he wrote those lyrics about me [laughs] because I'm always on the computer and my whole day consists of computers. I use them at work, to record bands, play video games, send e-mails or press kits so, I think more or less he was influenced by me but I guess ultimately if I haven't been on the computer we wouldn't have this interview right now [laughs].
'Shallow's' lyrics is about greed and two-faced people. Did you actually have someone in mind writing it?
Yeah, that was written about the keyboard player we had. He had played with us for a month, not even that and he have got really twofaced for some reason. He played one show with us and it was really bad experience I guess. He was complaining about the venue and complaining about having to drive for 8 hours to go play a show... I guess his heart wasn't in it and after he left the band he was saying Into Eternity is not organized blah blah blah... so, that song was influenced by him.
I bet you are already writing your third release. Can you give us some detail about it?
Let's see... I think I have some track titles here on my computer [laughs]... The songs are definitely sounding heavier and there're more technical parts to it. The riffs are sounding heavier, not necessarily faster or thrashier but they're sounding a little bit more staccato-ish; that's the word I like to use. We're having a lot more clean vocal over the top of that now too but there's still element of death vocals in it and I don't think there's one song without death vocals. I guess I can say that it's getting a little bit heavier but a little bit more melodic too.
You've already mentioned some show in States on the West coast but is there anything else planned for the rest of the world, any festivals?
There's nothing scheduled yet but we were talking to a booking agent and I pretty much can guarantee that we'll be touring a lot more in next coming months now that we have Century Media to help us out. As far as festivals, basically if we can get on any festival we'll play it. We totally want to tour but it's been kind of tough cause we haven't had anybody to book the shows for us. If there's ever an opportunity for us to tour we'll definitely jump on it.
Before we end, can you tell us why Daniel used to put on a kilt before he played live? Was it s some kind of tradition?
Since he already left us there's no more tradition [laughs]... I don't know, he's definitely a Scottish descendent; he did it just for 3 or 4 shows and after that he just kind of got bored with that so, it wasn't something that he did continually.
It just sparked my interest cause it's kind of unusual for Canada...
[Laughs] I know... maybe he was having an identity crisis [laughs].
Once again, congratulation on really refreshing and original album that in my opinion was really due to countless metal releases that don't seem to differ much nowadays.
Awesome I'm really glad you feel that way. That really does mean a lot to us. The more people that we have like you that are saying, "yes, this stuff does sound good" then of course more we're going to focus on making it all that more original too. That's awesome; actually thanks for letting me do this interview with you.
Not a problem, I'm a fan first; I'm here for bands and not the other way around.
That's our pleasure. We love doing interviews and it's great finally getting a chance to talk about the band.
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