1) Hey guys thanks for taking the time to chat with us here … Tell us a bit on how you came up with the name of the band?
Mark: That was such a long time go now, but at the end of my previous band Cryptal Darkness I obviously need a new name! I wanted something grand and epic that suited the music, it came down to ‘The Fallen’ and ‘The Eternal’ for me ‘The Eternal was just grander and stuck.
2) The band was first formed back in 15 years ago give us a brief explanation on how the band was formed.
Mark: My band Cryptal Darkness had de-solved in 2002 I believe, so the guitarist at the time and myself decided to carry on with similar music and took the 4 songs I had written for the next album and started The Eternal. I believe the song ‘Down’ may have been written just before I ended the band. Also my best friend from childhood Chris Stevenson joined on Keyboards and the two of us drove the ship for a while until bass player James Hunt joined. The guitarist I mentioned earlier left the band before our first European tour in support of ’The Sombre Light of isolation'.
3) Your first albums received great reviews, how has the writing process evolved over the 5 full length previous albums and the newest release?
Mark: I have always been surprised that the amazing reviews we have received have never translated into us being bigger haha but such is life! But seriously... I am grateful for all the great industry support over the years. Songwriting has always been my focus over anything, well songwriting and production as through the career of this band I have become the engineer and producer also. What I love about the songwriting journey of The Eternal is we have tried many many things, for better or worse we have explored different things that interest us, in my opinion that has made some elements of earlier records not so consistent as we were exploring our sound on recording. But now working as producer I am able to be a bit more objective and analytical / critical of our music… I would say ‘Waiting For The Endless Dawn’ is our most cohesive sounding record, and we have managed to write really long songs and in my opinion take the listener on a journey. I think the ability to be objective when it comes to your own music and detach your ego from it can really take some time and maturity.
4) Your fourth album “Under A New Sun (2010) wwas produced by Jeff Martin of the Tea Party ..what was it like working with him?
Mark: It was difficult at times to be honest, he is extremely talented as a musician and a songwriter, one of the best, but as a Producer, I don’t think he brings the best out of a bands sound, I believe he just makes bands sound like what he likes… a good producer in my opinion is there to bring out the best in the artist to bring their musical vision to fruition and not necessary impart their own sound on the music or at least in a really obvious way. I think with Jeff being such a prolific musician it's hard for him to seperate that when he is trying to understand what other act's are about. I do like that album and I’m glad for the experience, if anything it made me a better sound engineer and producer. I don’t think that album sounds like ‘The Eternal’ as such and I think that little experience backfired on us in some ways. But then again its all part of journey.
5) During your 15 year career what would you say has kept the band going?
Mark: Friendship most likely, we have been through many member but the core of myself, Dave Langlands & Marty O’Shea have been together since Kartika. On a creative level the addition of guitarist Richie Poate is exciting, he is an extremely prolific guitarist and although he has almost been with us for 2 years now, this is his first album with us. He is very much the first musical collaborator I have had, so it feels like the band is about to enter a new chapter and hopefully many more albums to come!
6) This new album Waiting for The Endless Dawn is out Aug 17th 2018 when did the writing process begin for it?
Mark: I think about 3 years ago, there was a two year period after the last album where I felt a bit lost and did a solo album just to explore what I was all about. At some point finally the urge and understanding of what The Eternal needed to do washed over me. I spent time looking of my musical history and my influences and I had a fresh prospective on it all, in many ways I was embracing my childhood influences and some elements of my previous band Cryptal Darkness. So the album started with Myself, Dave, Marty & Martin Powell working on Keyboards in the UK. About 1 year into the process guitarist Richie Poate became involved and we Co-Produced the project together and really took the vision to completion as a team, which was just a great experience for both of us.
7) How did the recording of this new album differ from your previous albums?
Mark: This is the first album to be completely recorded at my studio Kelsonic Studios here in Melbourne. Without any external studios, this really allowed us to work at our own pace and not worry so much about budget restrictions, but of course when you have this freedom it can also take forever to get anything done, but I guess the benefit of Co-Producing with Richie is we could force each other to make choices and move on. But we are both very pedantic which once again means we could work on a keyboard part in a mix for 2 weeks haha
8) How did you come up with the album title “Waiting for the Endless Dawn” and artwork?
Mark: With lyrics and album titles I don’t seem to come up with them, they just exist it seems, so I don’t know where it came from it just seemed to be there, which seems to be the case with all the albums. The artwork was a piece called ‘Endless Dawn’ by Barnell Photography in America. I was googling for photographers and that came up, it just matched my concept immediately and knew we much have it!
9) What track is your favorite to play live ?
Mark: From the new album ‘Rise From Agony’ so far, as far as earlier material, ‘To Drown’ is always powerful and ‘Blood’ is always a journey and goes down well with the crowd. But as far as crowd energy ‘Down’ and ‘Everlasting’ seem to get a the audience going.
10) You have toured with bands such as Amorphis, Anathema, Opeth, Tarja, Katatonia…who would you like to tour with next?
Mark: We have been lucky to tour with so many of our influence over the years! I think what would be wonderful is if we can can tour with some of those bands again but on European Soil, I’d love a European tour with any of the above mentioned bands!
11) The new album sees the band experimenting with their more extreme side on tracks such as In The Lilac Dusk which features the enigmatic voice of Finnish doom legends Swallow The Sun Mikko Kotamäki. How did working with Mikko come to be?
Mark: Swallow The Sun & The Eternal both started our careers together of Firebox Records and release our first album at a very similar time, infact our first show in Finland was with Swallow The Sun, so we have been friends ever since, being that we have an ongoing relationship with Finland in our career, I just had Mikko in mind when I wrote that song, lucky for me he said yes and I'm really pleased with the result!
12) Do you think pineapple should go on pizza?
Mark: Growing up in Australia, Pineapple Pizza is part of my childhood, as an Adult I don’t really have it so much, but a sneaky piece every now and then is a good thing…. usually at kids parties! :)
13) Lastly if a zombie apocalypse hit the world ..who in the band would get bit? And why?
Mark: Probably me, because I’d stop and ask them what it feels like being a Zombie. Haha
Release date: August 17th 2018
Label: Inverse Records
Mark Kelson: Guitar, Vocals, Mandolin, Lap Steel
Richie Poate: Guitar
Martin Powell: Keyboards
Dave Langlands: Bass Guitar
Marty O’Shea: Drums
Mikko Kotamäki: Vocals on 'In The Lilac Dusk'
Emily Saaen: Additional Vocals
Erica Kennedy: Violin
All Lyrics: M. Kelson,
All Music: M.Kelson, M.Powell, R.Poate
Except ‘The Wound’, Music: M.Kelson, M.Powell, R.Poate, D.Langlands, M.O’Shea ‘Waiting For The Endless Dawn’, Music: M.Kelson, M.Powell & ‘Don’t Believe Anymore’, Music & Lyrics: Iva Davis.