Interview by EvilG
Things have been a little quiet from the Into Eternity camp since the departure of vocalist Stu Block for Iced Earth. However, things are about to change in a big way. As revealed below, the touring vocalist, Amanda Kiernan, is now officially a full member of the band and has recorded the next Into Eternity album. More details on the band’s curent situation and what’s coming next is detailed below.
Lets just jump right in with this…As a long time fan, I am dying to hear about when you’ll have a new album done and released!!! Are you still signed with Century Media as they don’t have you listed in their artists page any longer….if that’s the case, is there anything you can share regarding what label the band might end up on?
Nice to talk to Metal-Rules! Thanks for the interview. We really appreciate the chance to chit chat. Yes, you are right, we are no longer with Century Media, but we are still in contact with them. Last year, CM contacted me about releasing our back catalogue in Vinyl. Having our albums out on Record was a dream come true for me and they are selling very well at our gigs as well! I just started collecting Vinyl now and I just love it.
The band is rolling full steam ahead these days with the help of RockTheNationUSA and our Management, Label interest is looking promising. We want to work with the strongest team possible but we are still waiting to choose. A decision hasn’t been made yet and were still open to offers. The new album is done and it’s going to feature our best playing yet.
Is the only reason why it’s been 5years since the last album (2008′s The Incurable Tragedy) the departure of vocalist Stu Block, or have other factors caused delays? I know you’ve had Amanda doing live vocals for a while now…as in, long enough that you could of recorded an album with her…so for those on the outside, can you please explain the situation?
It’s hard to believe 5 years have past already. We started recording The Incurable album at the beginning of 2008, but we also toured that whole year. The Summer Slaughter Tour with Necrophagist was a highlight package,going to Japan for the first time and touring with Iced Earth was amazing opportunity for us.
In April 2008 I found out I was going to be a Father. This was amazing news but we were releasing an album in September, so for the band, we had no choice but to be put on hold for a while. I was in the operating room on November 28, 2008 and my son Lucca Jacob Yngwie Roth was born.
2009 we went to Japan for the second year in a row and toured with At The Gates and Mayhem at the Extreme The Dojo Festival. During 2009, I started to write the 6th album, which is now complete. I started a very long process of compiling riff after riff on my computer.
2010 went into planning a wedding. I got married in October 2010 but sadly it only lasted a few years. I’m currently going through a divorce and I’m happy to have split custody with Lucca.
2011 we got our new drummer Bryan Newbury,who has turned into a real powerhouse drummer. Then we got news, Stu had joined Iced Earth,so we went through a year of auditions. Stu deserves to be known all over this plant and we’re so happy he’s out there living his dream singing for Iced Earth!
The Sandstorm single released digitally on iTunes and Bandcamp.com
2012, we toured Western Canada and the Eastern USA/Canada with our new singer Amanda Kiernan. We’ve played a good 50 gigs with her and Amanda is doing great. Fukushima single released digitally on iTunes and Bandcamp.com
2013 marked finishing recording the 6th album and now its the return of Into Eternity. We’re back!
I assume Amanda is “officially” a full-fledged member of Into Eternity, or is she only a “fill-in” for live stuff?
It’s a bit confusing as your official facebook page currently lists the following:
Stu Block – Vocals
Tim Roth – Guitar, Vocals
Justin Bender – Guitar
Troy Bleich – Bass, Vocals
Bryan Newbury – Drums
Amanda Kiernan – Touring Vocalist
So, is Stu in or out of the band??
Amanda Kiernan is officially a band member now but we haven’t released a press release about it yet. I suppose this is “breaking news” for Metal-Rules? Haha! Amanda is a perfect fit for us. She is easy on the eyes, but more importantly, she can sing any note that we need her to. Her range has really improved these past few years working with her. Amanda is also a natural onstage and very very comfortable performing and touring. This girl is the total package. Amanda has recorded on the entire new album and she did an amazing job with so much emotion put into her vocals. I think our fans will fall in love with her.
Stu is full time with Iced Earth now and just finished recording his second album with them. When he is in town, we always pull him onstage to sing some songs. Stu is a member of this band for life, but Amanda is our new lead singer. Fans will still hear Stu guest singing on our 6th album. Stu is one of my best friends in the world, so he’s always welcome onstage or in the studio.
I know you wish Stu well, and that you are happy for his success (he did a fantastic job on the last Iced Earth album!) – was it at all a shock or a bit of a sting when you learned you were losing your lead vocalist?
Yes I think it was a shock at the beginning, but the world needs to hear Stu sing and Iced Earth is the perfect band for him. We were set back a year, but in the long run we ended up with Amanda and she is the perfect fit. The new Iced Earth album will be out soon. I can’t wait to hear it.
As you mentioned, and as I’ve read, Amanda will be on the next IE album…will you be doing some vocals as well? Will Stu be on the new album (you mention on your website that Stu did some recording with you in Nov. 2012?), or anyone else that you can divulge yet?
Amanda sang on the whole 6th album. She did such a great job and she sang with so much emotion. I’m excited for our fans to hear the entire record. Ill be singing on the album as well. Usually my voice is used for the chorus’ of the songs or if my Death voice is needed. We have been playing Shallow live now, so in that case, I’ll trade off lead vocals with Amanda and then team up on the chorus together. The whole band sings [as] a team, but Amanda is the true lead vocalist. She came up with so many cool harmonies on the new album and a lot of her takes were on the spot. Her pitch is really spot on in the studio and she is easy to work with.
Will the awesome songs “Fukushima” and “Sandstorm” be on the album? If so, is it the single versions that were released or is it re-recorded for the album?
Sandstorm and Fukushima will both appear on the new album. Amanda had already been singing these songs live, but when she hit the studio, she created some amazing harmony lines. A lot of it was just done on the spot and she sounded killer. Our guitar player Justin Bender is the producer of the band and even he was surprised. Amanda really made Sandstorm into an even better song. Stu still has a part on Sandstorm at the end of the song, so he still makes an appearance. We also will still have Rob Doherty R.I.P. appear on the 6th album versions.
Can you give us some info on where the album was/is being recorded, who you’re working with?
The 6th album was recorded in our hometown Regina, Saskatchewan at Touchwood Studios, but some of the recording was also done at Justin Bender’s home studio. Bryan recorded all of his drums at Touchwood and that started the layering process for the instruments and vocals. It’s been a long process but its going to be worth it in he end. Justin Bender has been doing all of our Producing. The mixing may come from a few different sources that we are looking into.
Is it too early to let us know about some possible song titles, an album name etc? I’ve heard the album might be called “Sandstorm Phoenix”?
A album title has been chosen but we haven’t announced it yet. Sandstorm will be on the album. Fukushima will also be there but another cool song that we have been playing live is, This Frozen Hell. That one is a neck breaker haha. Devoured By Sarcopenia is another new song we’ve been playing live and it went over really well. I hope we play every new song live from this new album.
You’ve had a lot of time to write new songs for the next album – did you write like 30 and you’ll pick the best 10 songs or is that not the way you work? Do you throw things out before they are fleshed out if you don’t think it’s up to scratch?
I wish we could write 30 songs per album! Our songs take a long time to write generally so it just wouldn’t be possible. We did have way more riffs, interludes, music and lyrics that we didn’t use. Some of it was lost on a computer hard drive. We ended up with more songs than we recorded, but I’m not sure what will happen with that other music. It will turn up at some point I’m sure. The band also has quite a few unreleased acoustic tracks floating around, so I’m sure at some point we’ll get to it all. The new album will be around 50 minutes and I think that’s enough for this release.
You are well known for being a great lead guitarist. Do you ever feel like you need to top what you’ve done or do you look at playing from that standpoint?
Thanks for calling me a great lead guitarist! I appreciate the compliment. It hasn’t been easy to be honest. I’m always working at new techniques to better myself. A lot of my time goes into songwriting both on my acoustics and electrics, so I can’t 100% focus only on lead guitar, but it is a passion of mine. I sit for hours and just noodle round and play round with different patterns, phrasing or techniques. There is just so much for me to learn, at times it just seems too much haha. Learning everything is just endless, so I just chip away at things everyday. I think it’s a good idea to practice everyday. I’m always trying to better myself and top myself, it’s never ending.
If you had to describe the upcoming album or what it might compare to from your discography, what would you say or would you rather wait for it to come out and have fans decide?
This album has an aggressive feel to it with lots of fast tempos and fast playing. It’s a combination of The Scattering and Buried In Oblivion, but at the same time it’s a step forward for us. We got the chance to write quite a few new epic tunes on this record. It’s going to sound different of course with Amanda, so it has a fresh sound to it all. Lots of singing, but still lots of technical playing and longer songs. I would describe it all as sounding more mature. A lot of practicing has been done in these past 5 years.
Do you plan to record a video from the next album and if so, would you be releasing that before the album comes out to help promote it?
Sandstorm has been chosen as the first video/single. We have a good friend that has been helping with with finances and we have been planning to shoot the video in September 2013. The location and producer has already been found so we’re excited to get rolling. Amanda added a lot to this new version with her vocals.
Similarly, might there be a single or iTunes single release ahead of the album release coming any time soon?
There have been talks of a 3rd single being released, but right now I can’t confirm that. It’s something that has been discussed though.
Tell us about the tour you just did. Did you guys set this tour up yourselves or is there label support to help you out?
The tour was a success. We played a hometown show with Holy Grail and then Denver USA was the first gig, all the way down to San Diego, Hollywood and all the way up the West coast into Canada. Our friends Abnormal Thought Patterns were direct support for the West Coast dates and our buddies Untimely Demise were with us for the Canadian dates. The whole tour was so much fun and it was great to see and play for all of our friends/fans.
Our agents at Rock The Nation USA set up this tour with the help our our management as well. It was a team effort involved. Thanks to all the cool promoters that booked us. We had a great time. The band is set up as a business under Roth Records so we financed the tour ourselves and we made money,
Was this a tour from a van, or are you able to travel in a bit of style with a tour bus or whatever…or does that kind of stuff even phase on you? I know seeing and playing for your fans is paramount, but wanting some level of comfort while away from home for like a month is understandable too! hah!
The band owns our own trailer and a 2001 30ft RV. We basically play shows and then we go and camp across Canada/USA. It’s a good time actually! Campgrounds are actually much cheaper than hotels and we had bunks built in the RV, so every member has a bed. The stove works and we have a fridge/cooler for food,water,beer etc. It’s a good set up for a traveling band.
Last year, and this year, you did some touring that was pretty much exclusively in western Canada/US. Is there less demand to get the band back out to eastern Canada (Toronto? Montreal?), eastern USA, or to Europe?
Last year we did a full Western Canadian tour, but after that was over, we went right in the USA and toured Eastern Canada for 2 gigs, Toronto/Montreal and 2 weeks in the USA, hitting the Eastern side. That’s why this year, we thought the West coast would be a good idea. We had a full tour of Europe lined up for October but we just got pulled off of the bill. Management is still looking at getting us back to Europe but its looking like that will happen in 2014.
With not a LOT of touring, and no new album since 2008, I ASSUME you guys must all be working “regular” jobs as you have lives, families, and responsibilities outside of playing in a band. Do you hope to make the band full time, or do you foresee the activity level to be more low-key 1-2 month tours when you take time off work and the rest of the year you can work on new material and work “normal” jobs?
Right now we are looking at any opportunities that can come our way. Our dream is actually to take Into Eternity around the world. We want to play everywhere and we are wanting to make that a reality. Now we have a great team behind us and the future is wide open. I’m excited for our fans to see/hear Amanda and to check out our new album. Everybody has to work to earn a living but we are all committed to making the band full time, if the Gods allow this to happen.
In recent pics, I’ve seen you rocking a kick ass Yngwie Malmsteen shirt (where’d you order that from, I want one too!! hah). Also have you been reading, or have you read, his new book “Relentless”? What did you think?
Yngwie is my favourite guitar player and a big inspiration to me personally. He changed how people approach the guitar and he is indeed Relentless. Yngwie has released insane album after album, it’s amazing and inspiring to me. I ordered his new book online and read it right away. In May 2013, I flew from Canada to Chicago and my buddy Joel and I went to 2 Yngwie shows, that’s where I got the Yngwie t-shirts. The 2 gigs were just amazing to witness. I ended up getting a pic, plus pictures with Antonio Malmsteen and April Malmsteen. It was an amazing weekend.
Is there’s anything else going on with Into Eternity that you’d like to share? And thanks again for your time Tim! Can’t wait to hear the new material, and see Into Eternity live again!!
We’d like to say thank you to all of our friends and fans around the world for the continued support. Our 6th album is done and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it. Please give us a Like on our Facebook Into Eternity page and go to www.intoeternity.net for tour dates. Thanks to Metal-Rules for the interview!
Other links: Into Eternity on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/intoeternityweb