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Echoes of Eternity Interview

Present - Jason Levine, Francine Boucher, Brandon Patton
Interview took place in New York City
September 16, 2007
Echoes of Eternity

Jason:  You're a new upstart band which signed quickly to a label. How did your band form?


Brandon:  We got together in 2005. I had an idea to start a female-fronted metal band and I'd known Kirk for a long time. I presented him with the idea and I heard Francine singing a long time ago. Several years ago. I always kept her in mind to work with her musically one day. So I pitched the idea to Kirk and he got in touch with Francine and we started working on some music. We moved out to LA in March of '05 and we became a proper band around June of '05 after Duane our bass player moved out there. The current lineup has been together since about January of this year when Sam joined the band. We've been around for about two and a half years now.


Jason:  How did you get involved?


Francine:  Well I went to college in Florida and that's where I met Kirk and Brandon. I was composing my own music. I wanted to score music for movies and Brandon heard me sing. So that's how he heard it and he really enjoyed it. So that's how I got here.


Echoes of Eternity


Jason:  You worked in production for while?


Francine:  Yeah. Well we all went to school for audio. So we all ended up moving to LA and getting jobs in studios. So I worked in a post production facility where we did television commercial audio.


Jason:  You play a different style of music than most of the melodic female bands. You add more thrash into your sound. Where did you get those influences?


Brandon:  Definitely a lot of thrash and death metal influences from the early 90s. Of course old Metallica and the underground death metal stuff from the early 90s. That all filtered into the music. But we wanted to be heavier than the European bands. We didn't want to have keyboards. So we wanted to do something a little different by having an aggressive American sound with a clean vocal with no growls and see what happened. That's basically how it turned out. It's heavy. It's aggressive. But the vocals always have good hooks and they are always melodic and clean. So we found our own sound kind of and we are working on developing it even further on the next album. We'll see what happens. We're looking forward to album number two.


Jason:  Did you always want to sing in a metal band?


Francine:  I've always loved singing ever since I was a little kid. I never really thought about singing in a metal band. I love metal but I never really thought of my vocals as being metal. So this was nice that everything. That my vocals actually fit really well with the music. It's great. I love this. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.


Jason:  You come from Canada and added some French vocals in the song The Forgotten Goddess. Would you like to add more of your roots into other songs in the future?


Echoes of Eternity


Francine:  I don't know...maybe.


Brandon:  It's hard to answer that question because it was more of a thing that fit better with the content and lyrics of that particular song and what that song was about. It was more of an opportunity to take advantage of the fact that she speaks French. But it had to do also with the content of the lyrics of the song more than just "hey let's have a French song". You know. On the next album who knows if there's going to be anything in French. If it's called for and it fits for the song. But that wasn't something where we were like we need it. It is cool that we have something in French but it also ties into the lyrics of the song. So it made more sense but on the next album who knows. It's not something we feel obligated to do like we're trying to expand on our French audience or anything. It was just something that was different and it made sense for that song and it sounds really cool. It's actually one of the coolest things on the album. For me one of the most memorable things. Even though I don't speak French I know the words to it. So it's pretty cool.


Jason:  What were some of the other thematic elements you were going for on the album?


Brandon:  Thematically you know. A lot of the songs have to do with the big question of why am I here. A lot of it has to do with the afterlife and how different cultures deal with death. How different people deal with death. But it wasn't something intentional. It was just kind of the way the lyrics ended up heading in that direction. You know. But like Towers Of Silence is about the Zoroastrian religion and their death rituals. They put their corpses out on the towers of silence and let the vultures eat them instead of burying them. Which is also something to write about. It's something nobody has written about. And it's a cool song title too. Expressions Of Flesh is all about I guess a kind of existentialist idea asking why you are here. The themes on the album just turned out kind of running together unintentionally. There are definitely philosophical lyrics and something to think about. We took a lot of time on the lyrics so hopefully people read them and actually pay attention to what is going on with them.


Francine:  They are also somewhat vague enough for you to interpret them as you wish. To make them fit for whatever you are going through in your life and help you relate.


Brandon:  Yeah. They are just ambiguous enough to have your own interpretation about what they mean.


Echoes of Eternity


Jason:  You signed a deal pretty quickly with Nuclear Blast. How was your reaction to the signing?


Brandon:  We were really stoked. We had only played a few shows as Echoes Of Eternity and we signed with Nuclear Blast. We grew up listening to a lot of bands on Nuclear Blast and we were absolutely excited. It was really a dream come true. We ended up on a label that we were really proud to be on. So it was really cool.


Jason:  You mentioned a second album. Are you working on material for a follow up album?


Brandon:  Absolutely. Yeah we have. It's a little bit more aggressive. A little bit more technical. A little darker but still very melodic. It's definitely going to surprise a lot of people I think. It's going to be more intense. More epic. More beautiful and darker. So it's going to be all the elements from this album.


Francine:  Intensified. (laughs)


Brandon:  Yeah. Much more road experience and life experience behind it and the hindsight. We're really looking forward to doing another album because we are going to surprise a lot of people pleasantly. I think the album we are going to put out people aren't going to be expecting us to put out. I think that people that like all the bands on Sonic Cathedral are going to still appreciate it and embrace it. It's going to be different than The Forgotten Goddess but it is going to sound like us for sure.


Jason:  You've gotten a lot of experience touring this year. How has life on the road been?


Francine:  Well this is our second tour but the first one went really, really well. The fans are. The crowd response has been awesome. I mean every night a lot of people have been coming up to us saying they had never heard of us before and saying how they liked the show. We're winning over the crowds and I think it's going very well. The second tour. This is day four or five and it's going awesome as well. Everybody. All the bands have been really great. We've made a lot of new friends. So it's just a really great experience.


Echoes of Eternity


Jason:  You have another tour in January coming up.


Francine:  Yes. With Trail Of Tears, Cellador and Unexpect.


Jason:  How long is that trek?


Francine:  It's going to be a longer one. We've got a lot of headlining shows as well for that one. So it's going to be a little tougher too as well because it's the winter time. So we're not quite used to driving in the snow. It's been a while for me. (laughs)


Jason:  You still drive yourself around and handle your own touring.


Brandon:  We're handling everything.


Jason:  How much work is that?


Francine:  Taking care of everything.


Brandon:  It's pretty intense.


Francine:  It's a lot of work. (laughs)


Brandon:  It's a lot more work.


Francine:  Than you think it is.


Brandon:  Than anyone could anticipate. But it's a lot of fun. It's better than not touring.


Francine:  Yeah. For sure.


Brandon:  Especially at this stage of the game. It's critical for us to get out in front of people and get new fans. We've won a lot. A ton of fans on these last two tours. I urge anybody who has heard our album to come check us out live and see how different it is live. It's way heavier.


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Francine:  Yeah.


Brandon:  Way more energetic. Way more intense.


Francine:  It is a lot heavier live.


Brandon:  I think the album doesn't do our live show justice. I think live it really comes across that this is a real band and it's really fucking heavy. Where that doesn't come across as much on the album. There's a lot more production on the album. The album sounds great and we're definitely proud of it but live is where it's at for any metal band. If you can't prove it live then you're done.


Francine:  Forget about it. (laughs)


Brandon:  So we definitely want people to come see us live and make that call for themselves. It's definitely a different animal live.


Jason:  How hard has it been traveling without much assistance?


Francine:  I'm used to it. I was an army brat growing up so I am used to going from place to place and always being in different cities. I love travel and adventure. Life on the road gives me a chance to see the world. This lifestyle doesn't bother me at all and I wake up each day thankful that I can travel and see so many new and wonderful places. No matter how crazy things get on the road I know I want to do this for the rest of my life.


Jason:  What is it like to be a female band from North America as opposed to the typical European band in this genre?


Brandon:  It's a little different. A lot of people don't realize that we're based out of Los Angeles. I think when people think of bands from Los Angeles they don't think of a band that sounds like us. It has more of a European sound but at the same time it sounds very America as far as the band is concerned. The vocals have a European flair but the band is definitely rooted in America. A lot of people are surprised to hear we are from the United States but I think it's really cool. I don't think we sound like a band that you would typically imagine being from California or from America for that matter.


Echoes of Eternity


Francine:  I think he summed it up fairly well.


Jason:  And as a Canadian?


Francine:  Well I think Canada has a great metal scene actually.


Brandon:  Yeah. Quebec and Montreal.


Francine:  Montreal. There's a lot of great bands. Of course I'm very proud of where I'm from and I'm happy to be representing Canada. I'm proud to be a Canadian making it in the industry of course.


Brandon:  But at the same time she's totally an LA chick. (laughs)


Francine:  No I'm not. (laughs) I've only been there five years. (laughs)


Brandon:  She slid right in. Fit in really well.


Francine:  You know I have to say. I love Canada. I love Quebec. But I don't miss the winters. (laughs)


Brandon:  But the people are great.


Francine:  The people are very nice.


Brandon:  And the bands. There are some awesome bands in Quebec. The metal scene there is incredible.


Francine:  It is. It's very good. There's so many good bands that deserve to be out there. Like Augury. Quo Vadis. I think they should...


Brandon:  ...Negativa.


Francine:  Negativa's great. I think it's very hard to make it over there. There's not as many companies. It's a little more secluded. But yeah. I'm very proud.


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Jason:  Can we go back to talking about your influences? Where did you come up with the idea to mix American thrash metal with European melodic female sound?


Brandon:  Well a couple of years ago I got into Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation. Probably about five years ago I went out and got the Mother Earth album and also got into Lacuna Coil really heavily. I loved them. I loved their music. I wanted to blend that with my influences from growing up playing death metal and thrash. All the influences of being a guitar oriented and riff oriented band. I grew up listening to Queensryche, Metallica, Def Leppard, Suffocation, Morbid Angel and Testament. All that stuff. I wanted to bring those elements into the European sound of the vocals. We don't have keyboards. It's a two guitar very guitar oriented band. So it's different than those other bands. Not to take away anything from those other bands because they are awesome. I love Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil and Evanescence. All those bands.


Francine:  We just don't want to repeat what's already done.


Brandon:  They're doing it better than we can do it so we had to something different that comes from our influences. We can only create from our influences and our experiences. So growing up in South Carolina listening the thrash is way different than growing up in Holland. So that's our experience playing in death metal and kind of a really aggressive guitar oriented background. But at the same time we wanted to have a real singer. We were tired of the growling vocal thing. Having grown up listening and playing that kind of music I was just tired of the growling vocals. I wanted to have real singing so that's what we set out to do. Have real singing and a female voice. Have the band be the beast and the voice be the beauty.


Jason:  Speaking of the voice. You get comparisons to heavy metal singers as well as pop singers like Madonna. What were your influences?


Francine:  You know I'm pretty much influenced by everything I've ever heard in my life. I have a very vast. I love all sorts of things. I love old 50's. Rock and roll. Classic rock. Probably one of my favorite female vocalists is Ann Wilson from Heart. I also like a lot of power metal vocalists. Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Dio and Geoff Tate. I just like very strong passionate singers. I'm trying. I'm still discovering myself. I'm still new at this. I've been singing since I was a kid. I was never really trained or anything. But as you do it more you learn. You kind of progress and you kin of learn your own sound. As long as you sing with your heart. That's where I am coming from.


Echoes of Eternity


Jason:  You also use your image to help sell the albums. How do you feel about that?


Francine:  Well in this day and age it's the internet. It's all about video and image. It doesn't matter. Even bands that don't really go for the looks they still have the artwork and that's image too. It's fine. It's done in a classy way. It's not done in a degrading or insulting way. I have no problem with it. It doesn't hurt and it's not just the female fronted people. It's also the males. Back in the 80's there was a lot of hot hair metal frontmen like Sebastian Bach. So it's been done for ages.


Jason:  You had a nice spread in Revolver where you got to spend time with Cristina.


Francine:  And Maria.


Jason:  And Maria.


Francine:  Yeah. They were great. They're just awesome people. It was a lot of fun.


Jason:  So you got to meet some of the people who were your influences and influences for the band?


Francine:  Yeah. I didn't really get into Lacuna Coil until really recently. I think they're great though. Both of them are very talented women.


Jason:  Has Nuclear Blast been supportive of your band thus far?


Brandon:  Yeah absolutely. It's a good label to be on. It's given us a lot of exposure just being on the label. It's a big name in metal so we get a lot exposure just being on the label. So we don't have anything negative to say about Nuclear Blast. It's been great so far. So we're looking forward to helping them grow as they help us grow.


Jason:  What kind of future goals do you have?


Brandon:  Hopefully just to take it as far as it can possibly go. It's the same as any other band. Just to be able to make a comfortable living off doing what you love. Have the band be as popular as it can be while maintaining the integrity of what we started out to do. That's always the goal of any band I think. So we want to be up there with all the big guns in the female fronted metal world and metal in general.


Jason:  Which other bands would you like to tour with?


Brandon:  Within Temptation. Lacuna Coil. Dream Theater. Any huge band that can expand our audience would be cool. Anything that made sense that could expand our audience would be incredible. Of course it would be awesome to tour with bands that you love like Symphony X. We love Symphony X so it was awesome to tour with those guys. I've been listening to Into Eternity for a long time. They've been around forever. So it's incredible to tour with those guys. Any tour where we can build our audience and we get new people into the band and bring people to the show. There is a huge list of bands that we would love to tour with. Those are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head that make sense.


Echoes of Eternity


Jason:  For people who haven't heard your music. What would you tell them to give them a good idea about Echoes Of Eternity?


Brandon:  We play heavy thrashy metal with clean female vocals. It's something that's a little bit different. If you love metal and if you have an open mind whatsoever you will like it. You just have to give it a chance. At first people are a little apprehensive. They are just not used to the mix of the two. But if you give it a chance you will like it.


Brandon:  Sure. I guess go into it with an open mind and not with a pre-conception of what it is going to sound like. It's not going to sound as bombastic as the European bands. It's going to be heavier. But it's melodic and it has a definite thrash influence and it's very guitar oriented. If they like power metal or any female fronted metal or prog or thrash they'd probably be into it. There's a lot of elements of all that stuff. Give it a chance and don't be put off by the term female-fronted. I think sometimes people hear that term and they just shut down. I want people to be open to it and realize it's not what they think. It's different than what they expect.


Jason:  So you're looking forward to a good future?


Brandon:  Absolutely. Certainly. It's only upward from here. Onward and upward.


Echoes of Eternity 


Sonic Cathedral would like to thank Francine and Brandon for taking the time to perform this interview.  Check out the band's websites here:  www.echoesofeternity.net or www.myspace.com/echoesofeternity and www.nuclearblastusa.com