Into Eternity’s Tim Roth
If you attended one of the many Metal shows that came through the area across the year 2005 then there is a good chance that you know very well who Into Eternity is. The band is a Metal force that mixes up accepted norms and shows a unique variety of influences in their music. Taking a healthy dose of Death Metal growls and speed the band mixes in Progressive Elements with the result being a technically adept and musically pleasing album. “Buried By Oblivion” is an album that is high on the recommendation list since it portrays this dynamic very well, recently after their opening slot for Gamma Ray I was able to run a few questions by founder/guitarist/growler Tim Roth. Here’s what he had to say about some of the bands origins and the present state of affairs of this amazing group.
KP: Here’s a question that I am sure never gets tiring to answer. How did the band start and what made you settle on the style and musical content that you ended up doing.
Tim Roth: I started the band in late 1996. The band at the time played 3 shows around town, but in 1997 the real lineup got involved. That was JIm ( drums ), Scott ( bass ), Chris ( keyboards ) and myself on guitar and lead vocals. Into Eternity’s style was always a mix of death metal and progressive metal. I always wondered why you couldn’t have both styles in one band. Death metal has a lot of power and energy to it, but it can get a bit monotonous. I like that the clean vocals and interludes break up the mix a little. It’s also a good thing to have melody in music, so people can sing along. Our style has always remained intact even though our songwriting has improved.
KP: Did your personal influences as a musician guide this bands creation and what are some of those influences.
Tim Roth: That is the reason for starting the band. I was inspired from many different musicians. It all started with the Bay Area thrash scene and the Shrapnel shredders of the late 80’s. Bands like Testament, Forbidden, Fates Warning, Annihilator and Megadeth were an inspiration. Just getting to that level of skill was always a goal I had. Players I dug were: Yngwie Malmsteen, Vinnie Moore, Chris Impelliteri, Paul Gilbert and Joe Satriani. When death metal came to be I was blown away by Pestilence, Obituary, Deicide and above all the group Death. Death really inspired the Into Eternity sound. I thought they were so progressive, but they also had all the cool trade off solos as well.
KP: Was the band together long before the record deal was secured and how has Century Media Records treated you on the whole.
Tim Roth: The band first got signed to a Dutch label in 2000. Our first 2 albums were released only in Europe originally. We quickly toured 4 countries in Europe in 2001. When we got back home, we heard that Century Media was interested in us. Steve Joh was the main man in trying to get Into Eternity signed. He doesn’t work at the label anymore, but we still run into him from time to time. Basically we were a band for 4 years before we got signed to DVS Records. Now we have been signed with Century Media for 5 years already. Century Media has been good lately about getting us tour support and trying to get us on different tours. Things are going well for us now and we have been getting more cash for things.
KP: You got dealt a snag by needing to get some new personnel after the release of “Buried By Oblivion”; was it quick to be able to do so and did you manage to jump right back into things without losing too much steam.
Tim Roth: If we never had to tour, then we would still have that lineup. It ended up down to me and Rob in his basement. We just started trying guys out and it took quite a few months. We ended up losing stream in the USA. There was a small Canadian tour we did with the original guys, but besides the USA tour in 2003, they couldn’t tour. Later in 2005 we regained ourselves in the States.
What kept us going was playing Progpower UUSA 2004 and doing a 15 country tour of Europe. We knew we needed new members quickly. There was no way that we were going to cancel shows. I think that’s what keeps us going. Everyone loves to play live and play for the people. That is the way we jump back into things. The show must go on.
KP: I first caught the band in 2004 when you played with Amorphis. It seemed that across all of 2005 that Into Eternity was to be the opener for every major Metal show that was happening (Stratovarius, Opeth and so on). How did you manage to make that happen and of these shows did any stand out as your favorites and why was this the case.
Tim Roth: After we did so well on the Amorphis tour, our agent at First Row Talent started to push us for every tour. Everybody basically quit their jobs and we ended up doing 150 shows and touring for 10 months. It totally broke our band in the USA because we were on every tour it seemed. We ended up meeting so many friends and fans along the way and then our album sales started going way up.
Doing the Opeth/Nevermore eastern USA dates really helped our band. That was a perfect match for us. It was my favorite tour, even though we were dying in van that was breaking down…ha. All the tours helped us. We went from Hate Eternal to Hammerfall/Edguy. Our band was all over the place.
KP: Did you notice any amount of overkill to this consistency, or were you worried about the audience getting a little tired of seeing you perform. I ask this since you often faced the same crowds especially in the larger cities like New York. Given a limited time allowed for an opening slot you often got stuck playing a lot of the same songs at each show.
Tim Roth: Overplaying was one of the downsides to doing so many of the same venues. It was a risk we had to take at the time. Normally our band had no chance of getting on tours, so we didn’t know when/if it could have been our last. Lucky for us the good tours just kept coming in and we had to take the chance. Most of the time slots we had were 30 minutes or even 20 minutes sometimes. All we could do was play our best songs that people might know and go from there. There is always going to be someone who maybe hasn’t seen the band. It’s still good to play for those fans as well.
KP: I was able to watch as your fan base seemed to grow incrementally at each appearance. It made me wonder how come you never tried to do any one-off shows as a headliner or perhaps get into the “Ozzfest” or “Sounds Of the Underground” tours.
Tim Roth: To get on the Ozzfest would be great because it draws such amazing numbers. It all comes down to cash. If our label fronted us that kind of money , then we could play. It is a gamble though because then we would be in huge debt. That is a pay to play type of tour for the side stage bands. I don’t think we are ready to headline yet. I think doing direct support slots is still the way to go. We aren’t opposed to doing a few headlining one off gigs. The band did some of that in 2005 and it turned out ok for us.
KP: “Buried by Oblivion” is an incredible album, Do you have any particular favorites on the album, if so which ones are the recordings and which do you enjoy most in the live situation.
Tim Roth: I’m still proud of the work we did on that album. That is where we were at that point in time. The songs still work out very well for us in a live situation. My favorite song is Splintered Visions, but Beginning of the End is a close second place. In a live situation we play those 2 songs and 5 other ones from that album. That is of course if time permits. I would like to play the entire album and we can work towards that now in rehearsals. The record still holds up well today.
KP: What’s the plans for the new release and when does it look like we shall see it.
Tim Roth: On May 15/06 we entered the studio. The plan is to record for the next month. The label will need 3 months to promote it as well, so we’re looking at a Fall release. Everything is going good so far and we are real excited for people to hear the new material.
KP: What can you disclose about the new album content wise or title; will it be heavier than the last one or is it continuing along the same lines.
Tim Roth: I can’t talk too much about the album because everything is just starting up. Content wise the new record will be along the same lines of Buried In Oblivion. That is our sound, so there will still be a mixture of clean and death vocals. That is our signature sound. I don’t think that this album will be any heavier. I guess that will be for the public to decide. What I can say is that every song will have a big, clean sung chorus.
KP: How does it sound with Stu Block in place as the singer, I mean he sounds great live but the recording process is often different on a player.
Tim Roth: We have been working on the drums and guitars now, so I can’t comment on the difference. I know Stu has the goods to bring it live and now he just has to transfer that to the recording studio. I know he’ll do a good job. So far the rehearsals for the album went very well. Stu is singing his balls off!
KP: Regarding lineups once again, losing Adam Sagan on drums just as recording was set to begin could not have been fun. Has your original drummer been able to fit right back into it all?
Tim Roth: I was really amazed at how easy it was to play with JIm again. He was in the band for 7 years, so he knows exactly what to create behind my riffs. It was like no time had passed at all. He also remembered all the old stuff, so it was cool jamming out the new and old tunes.
KP: I understand he is not staying, any ideas who will tour and hopefully join the group on a more permanent basis.
Tim Roth: Jim has a great Gov’t job here in our hometown, so he can’t tour. He has some holiday time though, so if we have a 2 week tour or smaller shows, then Jim can do those. Right now we haven’t auditioned anyone yet. We do need to get a touring drummer. Offers for later in the year are starting to come in now, so we’ll have to get a road dog.
KP: Who was that playing guitar in place of Rob when you performed with Gamma Ray; I did not catch his name and was surprised to not see Rob there. Is he leaving the group – I hope not since I enjoy the dynamics between you and him as guitar players.
Tim Roth: That is a private matter. We sort of lost contact with Rob and he is getting his life all in order. He works in another city now and has moved there to make some money. The guitar player we had was a friend of ours we hired on sort notice. His name is Collin Craig and he is a local jazz/r&b player. He had the chops to learn the material and he just wanted a chance to get out and play some music. We were real happy that he could learn the tunes so fast.
KP: The band has a good sense of camaraderie as everyone seems to get along well. How do you manage this under the rigors of touring and the musical life.
Tim Roth: We all get along perfectly right now. Everyone has the drive to give it our all and to try and make the best album we can. It is a rough business, but we also want to be friends with each other and have a good time. I think that’s what it is all about. You have to be having fun or there is no point in doing it. There is a strong sense of camaraderie now for certain.
KP: You often catch the band walking around in the crowd after a set, what are your thoughts on that part of the evening and has it been largely positive experiences. Given this is Metal music, I am sure even you get to deal with some crazies.
Tim Roth: I think it’s important to mingle with the fans because they are the reason we are touring and doing albums. So far we haven’t dealt with many crazy fans. Everyone has been really cool to us and we enjoy meeting everyone. It’s good to remain grounded and we try to be cool to everyone.
KP: In today’s Metal scene I wonder where you find that Into Eternity fits the best.
Tim Roth: Our band is Heavy Metal…period. We combine different elements, but our hearts lie in Heavy Metal, no matter what anyone wants to call us. I think we can fit in everywhere and we have proved it by doing all the different sorts of tours, from Amorphis to Stratovarius to Opeth and Hate Eternal, we have played them all.
KP: Any closing comments or things you want to bring up to the readers?
Tim Roth: Thanks for the chance to explain what’s going on in the Into Eternity camp. We are thankful for all the support from the fans out there. Hopefully everyone will check out the new album coming in the fall. Head to www.intoeternity.net for all the latest happenings of the band. There is also a link to our myspace page. Keep it metal!!
KP: Thanks Tim
The group is set to release a follow-up to “Buried By Oblivion” but as you see no title or further information is available at this press time.
Official Website: http://www.intoeternity.net