If you're a fan of bands like Leaves' Eyes and Elis, you might want to keep a watch out for a relatively new band. They're called Echoes of Eternity and their debut record The Forgotten Goddess hits the stores in late Feb. The band is different than a lot of the other bands in this category in that they're more metal thanks to the steroid-enhanced guitar of Brandon S. Patton. Juxtaposed against the carnage is the melodic and captivating female vocals of Francine Boucher which if taken in pill form would double as blood pressure medication --- such is the soothing effect. I spoke to Francine this week to find out more about the band.
antiMusic: It's a pleasure to speak with you. I'm a big Liv Kristine fan and I really think your voices are similar so I love your record.
Francine: Thank you very much.
antiMusic: For those of us that are new to the band, can you tell us who everybody is and how the band all came together?
Francine: I'm Francine the singer, Kirk Carrison on drums, Brandon Patton guitar and Duane Cowan on bass. I'm from Canada…Quebec originally but I went to school in Florida for audio engineering and I met Kirk and Brandon there and so we were studying audio engineering there and basically it's New York or L.A. if you want to work in a studio so we just kinda of ended up in l.a. and I was working on some solo stuff. I wanted to score music for films …Tangerine Dream ethereal stuff with my vocals. Brandon really liked it and he kinda came up with the idea of doing demos with my vocals and that's how it came about. And then he and, Kirk, Brandon and Duane know each other from South Carolina and they called up Duane who was living up in Japan at the time, and he moved to L.A. And that's kinda how Echoes of Eternity started.
antiMusic: Before we get to the record, can you outline what the past few years have been like? You always hear that bands sometimes struggle to get noticed by record companies and can sometimes get caught up in that gig after gig cycle just to survive. What was it like for you guys?
Francine: Well the music just kinda came together and we felt like we had our own sound. And we made a three song demo last year and kinda sent it out to everybody who would listen. Roy Z got a hold of it, he produced Through Thick and Thin and Rob Halford, and he's a big guy. He really liked it. He wanted to produce it. He couldn't because he had so many other things on his plate but he did tell Nuclear Blast about us and that's kinda how they heard about us. So they sent out an A&R to come watch one of our shows and the next thing you know we're signing a contract.
antiMusic: It seems funny that The Forgotten Goddess is your first record since it has a real mature sound to it. How long has this been in the works and did it turn out the way you had hoped?
Francine: As soon as we started writing stuff, we kinda had like a little home studio so we started laying down and playing around with the songs there. And we work in the studios as well so it was easy for us to record the album. We recorded it with Eric Ryan who is a good friend of ours, he engineered it, produced it. It came out pretty good.
antiMusic: What is the significance of the title?
Francine: You know at first, we were going to call it Burning With Life and we have this Gregorian artist named Wendell Pandeo who actually drew some artwork for each song. And we fell in love with what he did for The Forgotten Goddess so that's how it became the title track. And we also thought it was a strong song. The idea behind it is the sacred feminine. It's about when cultures used to worship the male and female deities. And it's about, to me, it kinda signifies the ying and yang. One needs the other to complete the whole. But also the cover art, we thought it matched our music the best, cuz it looks a little mysterious and it has the beauty of the statue and the aggression of the blood so it kinda, we thought it represented the album well.
antiMusic: How does the writing work in the band? Does everybody contribute to the mix or is one person responsible for music and another for lyrics?
Francine: Well we usually start with Brandon writing a guitar riff and then he and Kirk will jam on it for a while. Then all together we'll kinda structure the song and once the song structure is in place, then I'll lay down the vocal melodies. The lyrics are done by both me and Brandon. Sometimes the actual song title is done before anything so the music and lyrics kinda evolve around that, kinda fitting for the song.
antiMusic: Can you tell us about a couple of the tracks, either what they're about or maybe something of note that happened while recording.
Francine: Sure. "Expressions of Flesh" is our most progressive song. It talks about how our souls are immortal and so therefore all we are is our flesh. "Voices in A Dream" is about losing a loved one. "Towers of Silence" is about an ancient death ritual. Brandon's also a big fan of the Discovery Channel and the History Channel so sometimes he gets inspired from stuff like that. "The Kingdom Within" is the spiritual…it's basically saying, if you need anything it's all inside you, that's all. "Circles in Stone" is not specifically about Stonehenge but there have been a lot of stone circles found all over the world, which is also based on the Discovery Channel and stuff like that. "Garden of the Gods" is about shamans and the tools that they use to find their visions. "Lost Beneath the Silent Sky" is also a very spiritual song, that's saying, you know, to just kinda find within yourself, and that you are your world that you create. Whatever you think, you become. That's pretty much what it is saying.
antiMusic: So how does a girl from Val D'Or end up in LA with these guys?
Francine: I moved around a lot as a kid—I was an army brat—so I was used to that. I met somebody in Florida years back, and we were together for a while, so that's how I got there in the first place. Then I decided to go to school in Orlando and that's where I met Kirk and Brandon.
antiMusic: Quebec has always been into metal big-time. There was that three day festival with Twisted Sister and the Scorpions this past summer that drew over 80,000 people. Have you always been a metalhead and what about is it about that province that loves metal?
Francine: I don't know, I guess it's just kind of a European thing because Quebec is kinda European-ish, and they like metal as well. I don't know what it is about it, but I've been into it since high school with Metallica, and it went from there.
antiMusic: What other sort of stuff did you listen to growing up?
Francine: When I first started listening to it, it was kinda like the thrash era so it was like Metallica, Anthrax, Suicidal Tendencies. Then I really got into Pantera, White Zombie and later on aggressive stuff like Slayer, Morbid Angel and Death. So it kinda progressed. Nowadays I pretty much love it all. I love hair metal, Viking metal, black metal.
antiMusic: Do you come from a musical family?
Francine: Everyone on my dad's side family all plays an instrument. We all used to get together and drink beer and play songs. So I guess it comes from my dad's side.
antiMusic: What do you do when you're not around Echoes of Eternity?
Francine: Well for now we all have full time jobs so we're pretty busy. When we're not working full days, then we're constantly working on the band nights and weekends, so that's pretty much what it is. Until we go on tour. We don't know when specifically we'll be on tour but it will be, it's pretty extensive for 07. We're going to try to go everywhere we can.
antiMusic: OK, we've talked about you. Let's dig up the dirt on the others. Tell us a bit about the guys. What are they like and what would you find them doing when they're not involved with the band?
Francine: I guess they're pretty much all like me, working their day jobs and doing as much as they can. All the guys are from South Carolina and they went to high school together. Kirk and Brandon were in various death metal projects back in the day. Duane was actually in a grindcore band in Japan for a while before he moved here. So they're all pretty laid back, easy going guys. Just good people.
antiMusic: So you did a couple of shows with Type O Negative. Are you on the road right now? What were the shows with Type O like?
Francine: It was really, really awesome. The Type O show was a lot of fun. It was completely sold out. It was a good crowd. Peter Steele was a very nice guy. It was very nice of him to let us open up for him. We had a blast.
antiMusic: Peter was a really nice guy?
Francine: Yeah. He's really a nice guy. I don't know, I guess he had a reputation back in the day but he's a sincerely nice guy. He made sure we were all good, shook our hands, met everybody, so yeah, nice guy.
antiMusic: Who else have you played with?
Francine: At Christmas we got to play with Dream Evil, who were also pretty awesome. That's about it for the big name people.
antiMusic: Who will you be touring with for the foreseeable future?
Francine: We really don't know yet. It's all up in the air right now. We know it's going to happen. We just don't know when or with whom or which country yet.
antiMusic: Looking ahead, what do you think your next record will sound like? Can you envision doing something else or are there other elements that you might like to incorporate into other music that you didn't get a chance on this record?
Francine: Well Brandon and I are starting to write a couple of riffs for album no. 2. I think it's going to be pretty much the same sound and the same style as album no. 1. Of course without being a carbon copy of…I'm sure we're going to change, our moods and stuff will develop over a year. You're never the same person year after year, but I think it will still keep that sound that we have right now.
antiMusic: I think that's all the questions I have Francine. Is there anything else you would like to mention that I didn't ask you?
Francine: Well, you are based in Canada right?
antiMusic: Yeah, just outside Ottawa.
Francine: Awesome, well I'm so looking forward to playing in my home country. I'm just stoked about it. I can't wait. You know, the album comes out Feb. 20 and be sure to come see us at our show. We always hang out after our shows, you know to talk to the fans, so come and see us play.
antiMusic: I'll be there for sure. All the best with the record and I hope to see you soon!
Francine: Great. Thanks for the interview and we'll see you on tour! Bye!
Morley Seaver and antiMUSIC thank Francine for speaking with us.