1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
Mark: The new album ‘Waiting For The Endless Dawn’ is out in a few weeks on Inverse Records, we have had a lot of preparation over the last months for the release and have been working on putting a new show together, but unfortunately for us the last months have been more business than playing music as we have not released an album for several years and have spent time re-developing our web site and store etc as well as preparing all the videos to accompany the album... but its nearly time for us to actually play music again!
2.Recently you have released a new album, what are some of the things you feel you have done differently with the newer music that you where not able to do with your previous releases?
Mark: Well we produce all our music at my studio here in Melbourne so we have a lot of freedom as to how much time we have spent on the album, but for me the addition of guitarist Richie Poate, who almost joined two years ago, has been a huge creative push for me. He is a really great musician and its been great to have someone to work on the songs and production with as over the years I have handled a lot of this myself. I think with a few years away, I was able to refocus what the band is about and also explore some of our past work and really come to find the core of what the band is about. I think this time has allowed us to create quite freely and the result, I think, produce a very focused album that really captures what The Eternal is about; Dark, heavy, emotive music...
3.This is your first full length in 5 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
Mark: Yes, our last album was 2013, but we did release an EP and live album between then and 2015. ‘Waiting For The Endless Dawn’ has in total taken 3 years to put together, from concept to completion. I also did a solo album in 2014, which was good to get out of my system. So there has been plenty of music in this time, I just think we needed sometime to explore what it is what wanted to accomplish after 5 albums, it's very easy to just continue on and do the same album again, but I always like to take some time between albums to find a theme or a focus to move forward and try new things.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
Mark: Being that I am the lyricist, I have always tried to write from an introspective place, and our lyrics have always been like therapy for me, a place I can purge my feeling in a very open way. I think I still write from a very honest place and lyrically I think I still address the heartache and struggles we all seem to face in life, for me life has not always been an easy journey and I have had some dark times in the last 5 years. I only hope that those who read them can relate and find some solitude in the fact we are all trying to navigate all the things that day to day life throws at us.
5.Originally the band was called 'Cryptal Darkness', what was the cause of the name change and also the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'The Eternal'?
Mark: I do consider Cryptal Darkness a different band, I think initially it was easy to see it as a continuation as I started with one of the guitarists from that band but he departed not long after the first The Eternal album and I was left to drive the ship creatively for the most part. As far as the name, I just wanted something that represented the epic sound I was trying to create, it came down to ‘The Eternal’ or ‘The Fallen’ and ‘The Eternal’ just seemed to stick, that being said, some people have commented that our new album does share some musical elements of the last Cryptal Darkness records which I’m cool with. The break up of that band was not a pleasant experience after 7 years I always held that band at a distance, but with some retrospect I'm able to embrace some of the things I did like about it.
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
Mark: I love the new album art work, it's by Barnel Photography in America. I was googling photographers for the artwork as I like real images and I came across his image ‘New Dawn’ which obviously seems fitting considering the title of our album, so I sent an e-mail, made a deal, and purchased the art. It was actually a really simple process this time and I’d have to say and it's one of my favourite covers of ours.
7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Mark: We have been lucky enough to play some fantastic shows around the world over the years, which is really amazing for us considering we are just a small band from Australia. Our first time in Japan was amazing, we played this club show in Tokyo and the crowd was nuts, touring with HIM and Opeth a week apart after our second album was a blast as they were our first major shows in front of massive crowds, our USA tour with Tarja was great and shows in Finland & Hungary always hold a warm place. Our last show was with Paradise Lost, which was a band I always wanted to play with.. oh and a full Australian Tour with Amorphis was amazing as they are one of my favourite bands from way back.
8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
Mark: We have no firm plans as of yet, I'm sure we will do an Australia tour, but seeing as we haven’t been to Europe and Japan as The Eternal for 9 years we really hope we can make this happen, even if only for a few weeks, let's see how things progress over the next few months!
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of dark, doom and goth metal?
Mark: Currently its hard to saying being out of the game for several years, I feel it's a bit of a slow burn at the moment but I feel a positive response starting to come for the new album, and I understand why its taking time, it's a 7 track - 75 minute album, so it's not easy listening, its an album that takes times to grow on you I think. But as far as over the years I just feel so lucky to have met so many amazing friends and fans around the world, it's really humbling to think some songs I wrote in my bedroom in my 20s have lead to us having a 15 year career making records that touch people in some way, I’m very grateful for that. The fans that have stuck with us over the years, have been with us through all kinds of changes, I hope he new album can generate some new interest in the band however.
10.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
Mark: Richie is Guitarist for well known Australian band Dreadnaught and has been with them for 25 years. I have a project called Akariya which I’m still working on, it's instrumental with cinematic and post rock elements, I have half an album roughly demo’ed at this point.
11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Mark: We have been talking about this over the last few weeks, as I said earlier Richie joining the band has been a really creative experience and our next album will be the first we write completely together, so I’m very excited about that. We want to take the sound further, we are very into all kinds of music, one minute we are listening to ‘Rush' and then onto 'Russian Circles' for example. We want to stay slow and heavy, with long arrangements, but I see more progressive an ambient elements coming into the sound, I would also like to attempt a stripped back more raw production, I think we are known for big layered productions with lots of vocal harmonies etc… but I'd like to break this habit and strip things back a bit, let's see, still early days!
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Mark: It’s interesting when I started writing this album, I really felt like looking back at my past, which lead me to the sounds of the late 90’s like Cryptal Darkness, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost etc… I would say I was listening to a lot of things like Celtic Frost, Swallow The Sun, Alcest and things like that also… For me at the moment, I’m really listening to loads of instrumental music, I mentioned Russian Circles earlier who I think are amazing, another recent discovery for me is ‘If These Trees Could Talk’, I also have an ongoing obsession with Italian band klimt1918, believe it or not I only recently got a Spotify account and I love putting on a shuffle and finding new music, it's so easy at my age to be stuck in what you liked when you were 20, but I feel so hungry for new music, which is great!
13.What are some of your non musical interests?
Mark: I’m all music! haha I'm a Sound Engineer & Producer, so if I’m not working on my music, I’m working on other peoples. I am currently Producing the debut album for amazing Australian band ‘Suldusk'. I’m just about to start mixing in the coming weeks, it's Folk with Black Metal and Black Gaze influences, it's a stunning piece of work. I’m looking forward to people hearing that one. I also teach Audio Production at some Universities here in Melbourne, which I love! I’m very passionate about education and being involved in the next generation of musicians and sound engineers! Our bass player David Langlands works for a growing craft beer company here in Australia called 'Moon Dog', and he is extremely passionate about his beer and is wonderful at what he does!
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Mark: I hope your readers take a moment to check out ‘Waiting For The Endless Dawn’ and I thank you very much for the interview, hopefully we will see you on the road soon! Cheers!