There once was a band from Regina, who liked girls who shaved their… Ahem. Like the promiscuous pronunciation of their southern Saskatchewan hometown, there’s something aboot Canada’s Into Eternity that you eagerly embrace like the snickering kid who thinks he’s found a new cuss word he can get away with using in front of adults. Perhaps too innovative for their own immediate good, Into Eternity toiled and labored away in the underground for years, honing their craft and waiting for the metal scene to embrace and encourage the broad incorporations of style that they fashioned. At last that day has arrived, and music in general is all the better for it. Determination, focus, talent, and innovation are all refined, molded and cast to create a beast strong and confident enough to appease all the fickle fans scattered across the varying landscape of metal… and the prowess and dexterity with which they achieve this is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
KNAC.COM: What got you started playing?
ROTH: Bay Area Thrash was the big thing, like in ‘88/’89 when I started playing guitar that was the big music then -- Testament, Megadeth, Forbidden -- and then after that like Pestilence and Death and stuff around ‘90. That stuff had a HUGE influence on me.
KNAC.COM: Two-part question here: With the first album you were the primary singer, then on Dead or Dreaming you were doing lead but you also had a second vocalist, and then with Buried in Oblivion there’s more emphasis on a third vocalist. First of all, was that a conscious effort to lessen your personal role on vocals?
ROTH: Yeah, definitely it was, because I was stuck to a mic and I always thought it would be cool just to have a frontman for the band; but in my hometown there wasn’t really anyone who could do it. And that’s why I started singing to begin with -- I never wanted to be a singer, but there was nobody in my home town who could do the clean [vocals], so I just did it out of necessity and then got “not bad” at it. We brought Chris [Krall] into the band, but he really wasn’t a person cut out for the road, so now we got a new singer Stu Block and try to keep the tradition of having just a vocalist, because the stuff’s getting a bit more technical now. It’s a bit easier not having to do as much, although I’m still stuck to a mic half the time.
KNAC.COM: And what inspired you to have such a varied range of vocals?
ROTH: We always did that in my older bands, too. It’s probably because I’m a stupid Canadian and didn’t realize that you weren’t allowed to do different styles in one; when bands start out you’re either Power Metal or Death Metal or any one type of Metal, but no one ever told me I couldn’t play clean Metal and Death so it’s something we always did, like even back in ‘93-‘94. Like when Cynic came out, I heard it and thought they were one of the originators of that, and even Amorphis -- in like ‘94/’95 they were doing it. So those are the originators I’d say.
KNAC.COM: Personal loss is a big theme in the lyrics…
KNAC.COM: How well do you think you’d be dealing with these things without music as an outlet?
ROTH: Other things would probably take that -- alcohol or drugs or whatever; however else people deal with it. But for me it’s always been music. We’re not a drug or alcohol band anyway, so when we deal with death or other things it all goes into the music.
KNAC.COM: I read somewhere that you’re going to re-release your first album?
ROTH: Yeah, the label’s going to put it out, maybe even this year. They don’t quite have a game plan, but they’re gonna put it out, yeah.
KNAC.COM: Is there gonna be any re-mastering, re-recording, etc?
ROTH: Yeah, we wanna clean it up a bit, like it would be cool to edit all the guitars and edit all the stuff. It’d even be cool to redo some vocals and guitar stuff, because it was just mainly a demo, but then the label said on the other hand it’s cool just to leave it like, “That’s the way we were.”
KNAC.COM: Any plans for a DVD down the road?
ROTH: Uh… yeah, we have got a bunch of stuff compiled. Like I’ve got 10 videotapes of stuff, and we also -- even on this tour -- we got a couple DVD performances from different clubs we were in. We wanna put something together, but they’re quite expensive to do, so… we will put one out, it’ll just be a matter of time.
KNAC.COM: Chris [Krall] and Jim [Austin] reportedly left the band for financial reasons, not wanting to commit to touring. Ironically, now you’re becoming one of Century Media’s bigger bands. Did you have that same apprehension of not being able to afford to tour?
ROTH: Yeah, we kinda knew that was gonna happen and we tried talking them out of it, but… I saw Jim -- he came to a show we played in Regina before we left, kind of a send off show -- and he came and said the band sounds great. But he’s got a government job, so you can’t really compete with that. When the band gets to a certain level, and now which it is because we’re gonna be touring all the time, you have to make a choice. You’re at the crossroads: are you gonna go for the family and the job, or the starving metal musician? [Laughs] Of course, we choose starving. [Laughs]
KNAC.COM: Adam Sagan replaced Jim, Stu took over for Chris, and Scott [Krall] left also, correct?
ROTH: Yeah, Scott’s out and we have bass player Troy Bligh; he’s been with us like a year and a half now. He’s done two tours [with us] in Europe and a couple shows in the US.
KNAC.COM: Those are all pretty big shoes to fill -- I take it they’re all adding up?
ROTH: Oh definitely, but they all have the talent. They have to be 100%. And also, the criteria before they even joined the band -- before we even talked about ability -- was, “Can you go on the road?” because when we formed the band that was never a discussion; we didn’t know how far the band was gonna go. So then when push came to shove, of course they couldn’t go, and the fans got all mad at me: “Well, how come you’re losing members?” and it’s like, “I wish everyone could stay,” you know? But you gotta live, I guess.
KNAC.COM: Will these new guys… will their styles influence any kind of change in the sound on the next album?
ROTH: Yeah, yeah, I think so, because everyone kind of adds their own element. Like Troy’s more into Hardcore music and stuff -- not that we’d go that direction! [Laughs] and Stu’s the Halford kind of vocalist, so I think it’s going to give us a bit more range with Stu as the singer.
KNAC.COM: What’s the status on a new album?
ROTH: The label would like one this year, but now they just hooked us up with these tours, so they said that we’ll wait ‘til next year now because we’re not gonna have time since we’ll be on the road 100%.
KNAC.COM: That’s good, I’d hate to see you… I mean I wanna see a new album, but I’d hate to see Buried in Oblivion get passed over.
ROTH: Yeah, exactly -- that’s what I thought was gonna happen because we never wound up getting a US tour after the album was out. So I told the label, “Why did we write this type of album if you weren’t gonna push it?” I was pretty mad, actually. But they’re going to bat 100% for us now that we have album sales. I think they were waiting to see how the album was gonna sell.
KNAC.COM: Have there been any experiences or occurrences that have changed or influenced the way you’re going to write and record the next album?
ROTH: Yeah, it will be different because our bass player did a lot of the work on Buried in Oblivion as far as the production goes and editing, because everything’s done on computers. So we’ll be working with a producer for this next album, and I think things will definitely sound different. But the songwriting and everything -- me and Rob [Doherty] will write everything again, which is… we’ve got half the album written already. It’s faster and has lots of little arpeggios and the usual stuff, so it’ll be killer.
KNAC.COM: Okay, a couple kinda cheese questions here: Your least favorite Into Eternity song?
ROTH: [Laughs] Least favorite? Uh… some of ‘em are tough to pull off live so I don’t wanna do them, but least favorite would probably have to be some of the songs off the first album -- there’s quite a few that I hope we never have to ever play live. But… I guess they’re all stepping stones of the band anyway so it’s not like I can really disregard any of the songs. I’d hate to pick out a song that somebody happens to really like, because that’s how I am with bands I really like.
KNAC.COM: Do you have a favorite?
ROTH: Yeah, “Splintered Visions” is probably my favorite because you get to do all the noodling at the beginning of the song.
KNAC.COM: Favorite band to tour with?
ROTH: We wanna go out with Nevermore. Yeah, that’s 100% -- that’s my main concern. Nevermore and maybe Symphony X, Children of Bodom and Killswith Engage -- like four bands and us would be killer. But Nevermore is my favorite band.
KNAC.COM: Care to give a “State of the Industry Address”?
ROTH: Phhsssh. The industry is basically what it is: record labels make the majority of the money and the musicians have to come out here and slug it out, but you do it because you believe in the band. The music industry is not gonna change -- I mean, our band will be long gone and everything will be exactly the way it is, so… keep downloading that music! [Laughs]
KNAC.COM: And what “musicians” would you say are festering boils on the ass of music?
ROTH: [Laughs] Musicians? What pissed me off was that I was a huge fan of the Thrash-era Sacrifice and Canadian bands like that -- and when Grunge came in it wiped out Thrash Metal. Testament and bands like that-- I worshipped those bands and that’s the reason why I’m playing, and when Grunge came in it wiped out everything. Seattle of course has Nevermore and Queensryche -- two incredible bands -- but then it also spawned Kurt Cobain, which killed everything… but hell, I guess there’s room for everyone. But yeah, I was mad when Thrash went down. (Shakes his fist in the air) Damn you, Seattle, damn you! [Laughs]