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EVENTIDE INTERVIEW | Harm.us - Death, Black, Doom and Gothic Metal WebZine, bandlist, cd reviews, interviews, mp3 and forum

In a fun bit of useless knowledge, Eventide was the first band I ever interviewed, way back in 2000, after they had released their Promo2000 disc. After hearing of the band's reformation and the release of their first full-length disc, Diaries From the Gallows, I was eager to hear about what the band has been up to over the course of the last 6 years. Drummer Max Seppala was kind enough to spill the beans.

Wayfaerer - Just to start things off, congrats on getting your first full-length out into the world! I know I've had it on constant repeat for a few weeks now.

Max - Thanks! We're happy to hear that you liked it so much!

So what caused Eventide to disappear/resurface? Even considering the 2005 demo, there was quite a bit of downtime in that period.

There were a lot of reasons that eventually led to us taking a break. I'm not sure if I've remembered this correctly, but I think our bassist wanted to play guitar so he and our second guitarist switched instruments, but after a while Ake (former bassist) quit anyway. So now we had to find a new guitarist. We tried a few guys but eventually Niclas (former guitarist) went back to playing guitar as we had found a bass player. It is such a burden trying to find band members, especially when it comes to metal. Not only do they have to be skilful musicians with similar direction in music as the rest of the band, the personal chemistry must be there as well.

Anyway, with all this happening we also took in a keyboard player as the new songs we had written after the 'release' of Promo2000 were a lot more progressive and we had a lot more keyboards in them. All these new band members coming and going was tiring because we could never really rehearse enough to play live before someone quit or someone new that had to learn all the songs would come in. But I guess the biggest reason we took a break was because the new material we had written really didn't sound like anything you would expect from Eventide. There were no structure in the song writing; one song would sound like a bad dream theater copy, the next song like a pop/rock song, and the next song would sound like lounge-music to be played softly in the background of a sophisticated dinner. It was truly experimental, but it got to the point were we decided to take a break. There was no point in using the name Eventide if the songs differed that much from the previous release.

At this time me and Jacob had ourselves a side project where we played pop/rock with which we were about to record a demo, and Niclas Linde (second guitarist of Eventide) had another band that took up more and more of his time as well so the break came naturally. Me and Jacob continued to play together with yet another project in which we played rock, a project that became a band when Jacobs brother Thomas joined us to play bass. We did that for three years. I believe this to be three very important years for us as musicians and also for the future of Eventide. We learned a lot about song writing during this time which I think is one of Eventide's strong points. Anyway, in late 2004 me and Jacob had been discussing doing a new Eventide demo just for fun. To play metal again. So we took one week off in January 2005 to write new material and record most of it. Thomas decided to join us yet again. We thought it was really fun and the songs turned out to be a lot better than we had hoped, so we decided to send it out to a couple of record labels to see how far we could go and I think you know the rest.

Do you feel the time between releases has made you stronger as a band?

Well, not as a band considering that most of this time (2000-2005) Eventide consisted of me and Jacob. But as individual musicians and song writers yes.

You got signed to Cartel Media Records, who've released Diaries From the Gallows. The songs speak for themselves, but was it a challenge getting labels' attention after being 'out of the game' for a few years?

I don't think that anyone really knew that we had been in the game. But I do think that most record labels are 'afraid' or unwilling to sign a band like Eventide because of the 'melodic death'-thing. People seem to think that it's outdated, overpopulated or dead etc. But I think we have managed to create our own unique style. I'm not even sure that we should be described as a melodic death metal band, but I guess it's pretty close. And let me just say that a lot of people are like "if I want to listen to melodic death metal, I go with the originals In flames, ATG, Dark tranquillity etc." But they're not really originals if you reason like that, then you would have to go back to iron maiden, and from there back to whatever. It's stupid to think that one genre consists of what 3 bands did 10 or so years ago. If everyone reasoned like that nothing would ever progress or be developed. There are a lot more overpopulation and non-progress in other metal genres...

Diaries From the Gallows once more bears the art of Niklas Sundin. Care to explain the artwork a little bit? Tt seems pretty dark and bleak (though that's certainly not a bad thing).

When we discussed what the cover should look like we tried to find something that was common for all the songs. Since the songs were written during a period of two years it was pretty hard. But after a while we found that most of the songs were about inner battles, Good vs. Evil etc. And we presented the idea to Niklas Sundin about having some kind of struggle on the cover. The cover is symbolic: the two characters are actually the same person and the one holding the chain is the evil side dragging the good side to the gallows. And it should be mentioned that for every spread in the booklet there is an illustration which is meant to give some sort of individual image to some of the songs, into illusion for example: A person is sitting on a chair, his head a globe being formed and shaped by a mysterious character. The lyric is about how everyone is sort of brainwashed from the moment they're born to believe in whatever the people around them believe, and in general what your culture is like, religion etc. and of course about how we're raised to believe that the world was created in this or that way. Your mind is never really free to create its own opinion. We wanted to have a little symbolism here and there throughout the album.

Last time we talked, over 6 years ago(!), you had mentioned that the new material you were writing back then was all clean vocals. What made you choose to stay along the same path as your previous demos when it came time to record the disc?

I think it was the break we took. None of us back then really listened to this type of music at that moment. We were all a bit tired of the whole metal-thing. But I think that we really just needed some change of environment, a little perspective on things. When we finally decided to do another demo we were really into metal again so the growling was an essential ingredient.

Is word getting out about Diaries? I've been trying to find other reviews but only have stumbled upon a couple. How has the response been so far?

Well, we've gotten a couple of reviews giving us 5/5, 4/5, 9/10 and 8.5/10 (go to www.cartelmedia.de for more info on those) so the response we've been given is really good! Germany's "Rock Hard" gave us 8.5/10 and we did an interview with them so hopefully we'll get some more attention after that considering it's a pretty big magazine. Of course we would like the whole world to know about us, but we never expected any more 'buzz' than this. Unless you have a huge record label with a huge wallet to promote your ass it's gonna take some time and a lot of live shows to get your name out and we've only just begun.

Just for fun, describe Diaries From the Gallows in 5 words or less.

Melancholic, intelligent, melodic, diverse, thorough

Going into the songs themselves, "Into Illusion" begins on a decidedly brutal scream that seems to constant pretty heavily with the 'elegance' of the rest of the songs, any reason you decided to start the cd in that manner?

It's actually a scream that Jacob recorded on 'Indifferent', that we thought would be really cool to use solo somewhere else. It ended up as a start-off signal for the whole album not just because we thought it was cool but also because it works well with the cover. We thought that first you get the cd in your hands, you study the cover for a bit and when you press play the first thing you hear is the painful screaming of the character being dragged through the woods. So as I said earlier there are bits and pieces of symbolism throughout the album.

One song that always seems to stick out when I hear the disc is "Standards of Rebellion", partially due to the unique keyboard and violin use. Is this an avenue you'd like to pursue in the future?

The main reason that that song has so much keys and violins is because I wrote most of it in the beginning, and since I suck on guitar I always write on piano or keyboard. Jacob wrote the chorus and then we wrote a few things together, like the passage after the first chorus. Sometimes I write a melody that is intended to be played by a guitar, but most of the melodies on this song worked better as they were, on a piano or keyboard. It was intended to be a bit epic from the first note. We thought it would be cool to have a different song structure than the usual verse, bridge, chorus concept, so we wrote these different passages between the different verses and choruses. Plus having our friend Magnus play some real violins gave it a great feeling. It was meant to be a bit more experimental than the rest of the album. People seem to like this song but I think the use of violins etc will come naturally in the future, and I don't think we'll ever sit down and try to write a new Standards of rebellion, but I think we may continue to have one or two songs that differs a bit from the rest.

If you were to do a "single" or video from Diaries, what song do you think you'd choose?

No place darker. It's without a doubt one of the best songs we've ever written and it's catchy and shows a little of everything you can expect from the album.

Good lyrics are often hard to come by in metal. Where does Eventide get their lyrical inspirations?

Thanks for letting us know what you think about the lyrics! Most people don't seem to care about them, but I think that a lot of people can write music, but the hard part is to write good music with good lyrics. I can't speak for Jacob, but when I write lyrics (or when I feel inspired to write lyrics) I usually get an image in my head. I can take Standards of rebellion as an example: I started off having just an image in my head of this character, exhausted, sitting down in a corner in his fortress wearing a crown that seemed to weigh down his head. Then I just describe what I see to start with, and then you have to have a little fantasy and try to write some sort of story around that. As you may have noticed the intro is supposed to sound like the tyrant taking deep breaths while you can hear his heart pounding. Other times I have an image in my head and I describe that image and the feeling I get from that image, as I did on Confinement, where I got this image of a place somewhere between what we call heaven and hell, like a no mans land after death, and described the claustrophobic feeling I got from that. But 98% of the time it's hard work that requires discipline. If we were to just sit around and wait until we felt inspired this album would forever be in the making. Most times you just have to sit your self down, grab a pencil and start writing with or without inspiration.

Now that the disc is out, what's next for Eventide? Gigs? New material?

Both actually. But the priority is playing live. We have one gig booked on home ground just to get started. It's also meant to be sort of a release party since we haven't had one yet. Hopefully we'll get to a few festivals this summer, and maybe go outside the borders of Sweden. But as for now we only have one gig. The date is still to be announced so I recommend anyone who is interested to check our website later for more info.

Being one of the few bands out there now that still play towards that 'classic' Gothenburg sound, what's your opinion of the current Swedish melodic death scene?

You would be surprised to see how little we know about metal or metal bands. We listen to Opeth, Dark tranquillity, Hypocrisy, Katatonia, the Haunted, Iron Maiden and I think Sebbe is into Arch Enemy and a bunch of other bands, but other than those really big names in Sweden we have no clue of what's going on.

I asked this question last time, but thought it'd be interesting to do again; where do you see Eventide in 5 years?

I hope we will be 3 or 4 records in to our career, we've made it as one of the biggest metal bands ever to come out of Sweden, we're on a medium-large record label, and we've won the Americans over, touring the states once or twice a year. But what I really hope is that we make enough money that we can do this full time.

Your disc was #3 of 2006 for me, what were some of your favorites from last year?

We've been so busy writing and recording our own Cd that when we finally had some time over our ears required silence. I'm still into Opeths 2005 release 'ghost reveries', and the only Cd's I remember buying this year was Iron Maiden 'a matter of life and death' and Deftones 'Saturday night wrist', but I haven't really listened to them yet.

Thanks for your time! Anything else you'd like to mention about yourselves?

We're definitely worth checking out if you're into melodic metal! Our debut album "Diaries from the gallows" is available from www.cartelmedia.de or www.eventideweb.com. Thanks for a great review and a good interview Kyle!

January 3, 2007
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