|Interview with Matthew Knight of Eternal Winter|
|Questions by Nick Succorso|
|Greetings Matthew! First off, I would like to thank you for taking time to do this interview. How are you doing?|
Greetings to you my friend! No problem, we appreciate your interest in the band. I⭠doing great, thanks!
|So what kinds of things are currently going on with Eternal Winter? You guys just released a new demo. What have the reactions been like so far?|
Well, right now Eternal Winter is very busy. We are currently involved in the beginning stages of recording our first professional quality, full-length album. At the same time, I have been writing songs for our second album and the band has been learning them. The material so far sounds very cool! We are also busy practicing and getting ready for scheduled summer shows and festivals.
|The reactions to the new demo have all been mostly the same: music is awesome, production is a little weak... ItⳠjust how it is. We recorded and mixed the tracks ourselves. The main problem with the mix is that while our home-studio is great for recording guitars, bass, vocals and keyboards, we donⴠreally have the technology to record drums properly. This of course makes the mixing very difficult. We figured it would be ok for just a little free 2-song demo though, and it is. I can guarantee however that the production of our next release will be without a doubt, 100% awesome, professional quality!|
Aside from the weird mix, the band performed very well on the recording and the songs are really rockin! I am especially happy with how the vocals turned out. I encourage all Eternal Winter fans to contact us and get a copy!
|Please tell me a little about yourself. When did you first start playing music? What about heavy metal interested you as opposed to other music genres? And, how did you first get into power and epic metal?|
I became interested in music and art at a very young age. Younger I think, than most kids nowadays. Growing up in the 80Ⳡwith my parents being into music, I was exposed to lots of it all throughout my childhood and was very infatuated with it. ItⳠfunny because I remember getting in trouble when my teachers would catch me writing lyrics and drawing album covers for my imaginary rock band during class!
|Upon entering middle school, I persuaded my parents to buy me a guitar. I started a band immediately (with friends whom I convinced it would be cool if they played instruments too). It was at this time that I first began developing a knack for songwriting偮d of course, every band needs a vocalist, so that was when I started singing as well. It was all very hard at first. I sucked at guitar and had weak vocals. I loved playing music though and as the years went on, I progressed and improved drastically. I ended up playing in quite a few bands throughout my teens.|
As far as metal goes剠was introduced to heavy metal music at a young age by my older cousins. I have always loved it from the beginning. During my adolescent and teenage years, I went through phases of all different genres of metal; speed, thrash, black, death哯me of that stuff I would never find myself listening to now actually, but a lot of it I still love and it was all very inspirational and essential to my growth as a musician.
I have always had a love for 80Ⳡrock and metal, so I was very much inspired by power metal when I discovered it later on in high school. I loved the soaring vocals, melodic riffs and shredding solos of bands like Maiden, Priest, Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, Jag Panzer... Upon the creation of the band, Gordon and I became very influenced by this music. We knew that we wanted to play some kind of true power metal. We were also getting into more 㥰ic䠳tuff at this time as well which was very inspirational, especially since our songs were all going to based around a fantasy concept story.
|When did Eternal Winter form and how did you meet the rest of the band?|
I created Eternal Winter in 2002 with our bassist Gordon Burchell. I knew Gordon from school. He was a nice guy and we had talked about music a few times but that was it really. When I was trying to put a true metal band together, a mutual friend told me that Gordon would probably be interested in playing bass. After getting together to jam, he and I found we had a lot in common and became very good friends instantly. We found that we liked the same kind of stuff and together we created the whole vision of how we wanted the band to be.
|At this time, our drummer was a guy named Anthony Campbell. Anthony and I had played in a previous band together for about 4 years so we were already very tight. On rhythm guitar was our friend Brendan Callis. Brendan and I had jammed when we were younger as well. With this lineup we played numerous live shows and recorded two releases: 㗲ath of Leviathan䠨2002 demo) and 㗩nter Triumphant䠨2004 EP). In 2004 Anthony and Brendan left the band due to creative differences.|
To replace them the following year would be Josh Johnson and Ellis Whitson. Of all the members, Josh and I have probably the longest history of playing music together. We had played in bands together and had been practicing guitar with one another since middle school, so we were already very good friends. One big bonus was that Josh could play solos, so now we could have two lead guitarists.
Gordon and I knew Ellis Whitson from meeting him at our concerts. Ellis was very knowledgeable about heavy metal and it was always cool talking and hanging with him after shows. When the other guys left, I remembered how in the past Ellis helped Anthony with sound-check a few times and could rip it on the drums. He agreed to be the new drummer and our new lineup was now almost complete弢r>
Ever since the beginning of our band Gordon and I had wanted a keyboardist. We had always incorporated keyboard interludes in our live shows and I played keyboards on our CDs. My younger sister came to me one day and told me that she knew this guy named Keith Moye who was tearing it up on the piano at school. She said he liked our band and wanted to play. We were a bit skeptical at first because he was so much younger. I called Keith and had him come over and jam. Needless to say, it was awesome and having symphonic keys throughout all the songs brought a whole new sound to our band.
And that is the current Eternal Winter lineup.
|Where did you come up with the name ㅴernal Winter俼/font>|
The name Eternal Winter comes from our concept story. Eternal Winter is The Realm of Ereyth.
|Can you summarize the gist of the concept story that you are working on?|
The Eternal Winter Saga is an epic, heroic fantasy written by Gordon and I. It tells the tale of the knight, Gallius VarinorⳠepic adventures throughout The Realm of Ereyth and The Unknown Lands of Sarna. The story is far too in depth to summarize here in this interview, but it can be found in the Concept Story section of our website. All lovers of fantasy literature should check it out!
|Do you read fantasy? What fantasy writers do you admire?|
Yes, actually I read tons of fantasy; epic fantasy, heroic fantasy, high fantasy, sword and sorcery, weird tales卯st of the stuff I read was written in the 60ⳬ 70Ⳡand earlier during the lden Age of Fantasy䮠 Some of my favorite writers are: Michael Moorcock, Fritz Leiber, Robert E. Howard, Lin Carter, C.L. Moore, Lord Dunsany, Henry Kuttner, Tanith Lee and many others. I am also very fond of the original Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman.
|There are many different textures and interesting arrangements in Eternal WinterⳠmusic. How do you normally go about writing the songs?|
ThatⳠwhere planning and arranging comes in. I rarely just pick up a guitar and write a song on the spot. I always take time to think of what kind of main 㶩be䠉 want the song to have. Also, what the lyrical theme will be, how long the song should be, whether I want it to be rockin⠯r more epic and slow場here are many factors involved in how a song will turn out. I try to not get closed in to a box by writing a bunch of songs that sound exactly the same. While we do have somewhat of a signature sound, all of Eternal WinterⳠsongs have something different going. I try to do things to keep it interesting. Catchy choruses, narrations, epic vocal parts, interesting guitar melodies and keyboard arrangements堔he jazzy guitar solo in 㕮der the Spell䠷ith the slap-bass and funky percussion going on in the rhythm section for instance, is something quite unique and out of the ordinary for power metal. The new songs Iⶥ been working on vary greatly in sound and texture. One song is very thrashing and in your face while another is a mid-paced ballad with lots of keyboards and 㧯thic䠥lements. Then we have a new one that has sleazy 80Ⳡrock sounding verses reminiscent of Whitesnake or Dokken, but then the song gets very epic and bombastic as the chorus and bridge hits. If I sit down to work on a song and are feeling out of it or just donⴠfeel inspired, instead of forcing out some ideas, I will go away from the guitar or keyboard for a while and do something else. Then, if a cool idea or some brilliant lyric comes to me when I am relaxing in the evening, having a glass of wine or something, I will try to quickly write it down or record it. Inspiration can be an unpredictable bitch sometimes堙ou never know when it will hit!
|What different kinds of music do you listen to? Who are some of your favorite bands and what artists inspire you?|
I listen to a variety of music. In the metal genres, I enjoy: classic metal, true metal and epic power metal. Also, I like some elements of thrash and viking/folk metal. I⭠really big into 80s rock, glam, sleaze, etc. Actually, lately Iⶥ been listening to a lot of gothic rock, which is new for me but has been quite inspirational. I also like jazz, fusion, classical, opera, Celtic music and film-score compositions.
|Some of my favorite bands are: Virgin Steele, Edguy, Iron Fire, Winger, Stormwitch, Queensryche, Domine, TNT, Ratt, Slaughter, the list goes on堠I would say that my #1 musical influence is probably David DeFeis of Virgin Steele. DavidⳠcompositions and arrangements are just out of this world. He is one of my favorite vocalists as well. I actually had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with David at the Sundance in New York back in January. He is a very pleasant and down to earth person. When we released our demo, I sent him a copy to check out. A few days later, I got an email from him complimenting me on my music and vocals. That was very cool and really meant a lot to me! Two other guys I really admire are Tobias Sammet from Edguy and Martin Steene from Iron Fire. They both have superb songwriting skills and unique, charismatic vocal styles that influence me quite a bit. EdguyⳠ㈥llfire Club䠡nd Tobias⠦irst two Avantasia albums are power metal masterpieces! Another fantastic songwriter I like is Kip Winger. The arrangements on KipⳠsolo albums are just awesome. Actually, he just composed an orchestral piece entitled osts䠦or ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. It was just performed by the Tuscan Symphony and is absolutely amazing! He is by far, one of the most underrated musicians out there. Some guitarists that influence me are Reb Beach, Steve Vai, Harry Cody, Reggie Wu, Warren DeMartini, Al Di Meola堁 few non-metal vocalists I enjoy are Bryan Ferry, Peter Gabriel and Peter Murphy. Also, I dig some female singers like Fiona Flanagan, Chrissy Steele and Lee Aaron.
|In your Discography section, it says that your previous releases are out of print. Is there any chance they will be reissued in the future?|
|Yes, sometime in the future I want to do a re-release of our 2004 㗩nter Triumphant䠅P. The re-release will have the songs re-recorded by the current lineup with some new arrangemants and will also include the original recordings as bonus tracks. Also, on the release will be a really cool narrative piece I am working on. I want to re-record the EP because there are many things I would like to add to the songs. Plus my vocals and guitar skills are far superior to what they were back when we recorded it in 2004. However, I want to include the original tracks because there is a certain kind of magic and vibe on that album that could never be reproduced due to a variety of reasons. The 2006 ㊯urney Through Unknown Lands䠅P was released in an extremely limited quantity because we were not at all happy with the results. This recording will never see the light of day again, but a few of the songs will be featured on our upcoming album.|
|What is the purpose of the new Eternal Winter website?|
Its purpose is so that fans can keep up with what is going on with the band. We can have a lot more information on the new site than what we can have on Myspace, and we can have a section where fans can read our concept story. Our good friend Daniel Siceloff created the website and did a fantastic job. Daniel also does the editing for our concept story別 is true metal to the bone!!
|Have you done any collaborating with any other songwriters or bands? Any side-projects?|
In Eternal Winter I write all the songs, with the exception of one which I collaborated with our keyboardist Keith Moye. Right now actually he and I are working on a dark, epic piece that will appear on our second album, but it is not finished yet. We had Bill Hudson do an insane guest solo on our demo and we will have some guest musicians appear on the new album. I have been involved in some other stuff outside of Eternal Winter. I sang on the new Poseidons Anger 㗡r of the Gods䠡lbum. I did lead vocals on two tracks which are pretty cool. I actually just did some writing for them that will appear on their upcoming album, which I⬬ be singing on as well剠did some session demos for a pretty popular band which I am not aloud to talk about宇ordon and I have started a little glam-rock project that one day will be finished....Our guitarist Josh plays drums for a local black/death metal band called Athropos. Side projects are cool but our main focus is always Eternal Winter.
|Are there many shows booked in the upcoming months for the band?|
Yes, actually we have a few really cool shows coming up. In August we will travel to Everett MA to do a True Metal America show with our friends from Ravage, Faith Factor and Armory. They are all really great bands so it should be a fun night. Then we will play Park Rock Fest which is a small annual festival that takes place in our home town each year. We usually headline the 㭥tal䠳tage. On September 11th, we are going to open for Edguy at Jaxx in Springfield VA. I am very excited about that show! Then, in October we play at the True Metal America Iron And Steel Fest in Barrington NJ. There are quite a few killer bands playing and Ross The Boss is headlining so it should be really awesome. I⭠sure there will be more shows announced soon as well.
|What are your long-term goals for the band?|
Well, I think my long-term goals are really just to keep doing what I love which is writing and performing in Eternal Winter. Certainly no one expects to get rich and famous playing this kind of music. Of course in the future we want to put out as many quality albums and gain as many fans as possible. Touring Europe is something weⶥ always wanted to do and hopefully will be able to do many times in the future. We are actually confirmed to play a festival in Germany next year so that will be great for us. Getting signed to an honest label would be nice. Although, I do think being signed can be pretty overrated in this day and age. Weⶥ had a few offers from labels but havenⴠgone with anything yet. We⬬ see... There are many options and opportunities. We are all young with a bright future ahead of us so it is a very exciting time!
|I think thatⳠabout it. Thank you and all the best to you and your band!|
My pleasure! Thanks for your interest and support! May the Valorous Light shine upon you!!