Hi Antonio, since not too many readers will know the band Eternal Dream, let’s start at the very beginning. How and when did the band get formed?
Eternal Dream was born in Marbella in the summer of 2007 when Alejandro Rodríguez, Ana Moronta, Niko Hartmann and me, decided to create a power metal band. Our town has a little metal/rock scene, and we wanted to give it a different kind of band.
What was the original line-up and what was the musical background of the different band members?
The original line up was Alejandro Rodriguez and Niko Hartmann on guitars, Ana Moronta on vocals and me on the bass. Later on drummer Andy Montalbetti and keyboard player César Rodríguez joined. That's the first full line up and for all of us this was the first “serious” band. Alejandro was very influenced by the European power metal scene, while Andy was more influenced by the symphonic metal of bands as Rhapsody, Kamelot and Nightwish. César is a very influenced by 70's prog rock and Ana's musical background is influenced by the voices of Sarah Brightman, Mónica Naranjo and Roy Khan. Lastly Niko and me listen to all kind of metal (and other music) and we probably enjoy more extreme and heavy sounds like for instance Devin Townsend, Wintersun, Kataklysm and Behemoth to name just a few.
How did you come up with the band name Eternal Dream, any special story to it?
Our band name is inspired by the idea that there’s a dream that everyone has, that everyone wants more than anything, but not many get the chance to touch throughout their lives. You may be far from accomplishing it, you may even totally forget it but it will always be there and it’s the force that guides your steps.
What was the original intention that you had with Eternal Dream?
As stated earlier, the original intention was to create a different band to make our local scene a bit richer and also to be a different band inside of this scene. We love music, we enjoy listening to it, composing it and playing it on stage. We have always worked in the DIY (“Do It Yourself”) and always under Creative Commons license. We record our songs, produce them, get contacts... of course for taking it to a one hundred percent professional level you need some additional help, but knowing no-one or nothing about the business is not an excuse. You can really go ahead and have some success, but you have to work harder of course!
In 2008 a two-track demo was recorded. Was this demo intended to score a record deal or just to get the name Eternal Dream known in the music scene?
We didn't really look for a record deal then, but it was more like an introduction card for us, a way for getting known. Before that we recorded some cover songs to learn more about the recording and production process, so this demo was kind of an exam in the way of learning to produce our own music.
Why were there only two songs to be found on that demo? Were these the only two songs that you had back then?
We had some more songs, but at that moment we decided to record these two because we thought they were the most complete ones. Also, we must say that in the beginning the demo was nothing more than two songs recorded and released on different dates. One day we decided to upload them to Jamendo, one of the biggest CC platforms. Jamendo asked for an “album name”, so we simply called it ‘Demo’ and we made a cover for it, but it wasn't really a demo as such. But later on we just considered it as our first demo, hahaha!
What did this demo do for you as a band and how come you weren’t able to get record companies interested in your music at that time?
We were REALLY innocents as we didn't know nearly as good as today how it works. It was simply a hobby (and it's still a hobby nowadays!) and we didn't know what we had to do next. But we didn't really needed a record deal as we had an slow growth process and we didn't want to go any faster as we could really go.
How do you look back yourself to your first sign of life?
I think we were just six kids very exigent with ourselves and our music. Our rehearsals were in a very ugly and dirty room in a radio-phonic club in Mijas. The sound was just horrible and it was a small place with a broken air conditioner but it was perfect for us. César was just 15 years old when he entered in the band, he was just a child! So for name and song registrations, entering contests and other legal stuff we still needed authorization of his parents! From then we all have grown both as musicians as well as from a personal perspective. We have learned a lot through mistakes and looking back, sometimes I think “Oh, man! When we split-up we can write a book with all the experiences of being in a band!”.
One year later, in 2009, you released the seven track EP ‘The Seed Of Naryll’. What was the idea behind this EP and how successful was this first EP for the band?
Well, the demo wasn't really a demo as it was simply two songs with not the best sound and interpretation, but it was still the best we could do at that time. So somewhat later it came to the day when we said: “We want to have a REAL demo”. So we sat down, spoke and spoke about recording an EP. We had some more material back then, but decided to use just these songs as it was meant to become an EP. The concept of the lyrics was more advanced and we decided to make it as an real introduction of the band to the music community and we spread the EP through lot of sites, fanzines, radios, which resulted in good feedback. We had some good reviews and a lot of mails saying good things about the EP and thanks to that we began to get more gigs. We supported some Spanish top bands like Saurom, Arkania and Sibila, while we also played on some festivals in and out of Málaga. Furthermore we had good positions in some contests... all in all much more that we really expected!
On the EP you included the demo song ‘Frozen Salanthine’ but not the other demo song ‘Waters Of Reality’. Why?
Well, actually the ‘Waters Of Reality’ is actually present on ‘The Seed of Naryll’, but the composition changed a little from the original one.
After the release of the EP you had a line-up change as guitar player Álvaro Sabin joined the band. Why did you decide to get him into the band and what is his musical background?
The funny thing is that Álvaro was a fan, one of those fans that go out to see you in every single concert you have. Alejandro, the former guitarist, left the band quite suddenly after having done two really important concerts (a festival and a contest final). Álvaro is a very good guitarist and he really liked the band, so we had a meeting with him, he learned three songs, we did an attitude test and a few days later we had a replacement. He is a musician that loves any kind of metal and he is (and has been) in a lot of bands of different styles. At the moment he plays besides in Eternal Dream, in Face off, which is a thrash metal band and in Trashtorn, which is more of an alternative/nu metal band.
It took quite some while before your first full-length ‘The Fall Of Salanthine’ saw the light of day. What have you been up to between the release of the EP and the release of ‘The Fall Of Salanthine’? Why did things take so long?
The album should have been released like one year earlier but, well, there were some things what delayed it. First of all there was of course Alejandro's departure. Despite of the fact that we found Álvaro quite quickly, we still needed to get him ready for gigs and after that for recording the album. When Álvaro was ready, Niko had to go to Madrid for several months. This delayed the album a lot, but we used this time for re-profiling the compositions and adding some orchestral arrangements.
When did you start with the actual preparation for ‘The Fall Of Salanthine’ and how did the song writing process look like?
The song writing process has always been the same: mostly Andy and César and me come up with an idea, which we discuss and create a complete song around it. After that we show it to the rest of the band and they give their opinion. As a result of this we make some changes, we argue, we fight... and we finish the song! The preparation started in the summer of 2010, just one or two months before Alejandro's departure. With the changes and the problems I told you about before, we used this time to work on the album as we not only had to work out the music, but also design the artwork and cover, our website and doing some photo shoots.
What’s the story line of ‘The Fall Of Salanthine’, can you elaborate a bit more on the lyrical side of things and who’s responsible for writing the lyrics?
Well, Andy created a fantasy story behind the lyrics, which we thought it was good and we decided to focus this album on it. At that time we didn't see it as a concept album, because we first created the compositions and lyrics after which the story was added to it. Andy and me are in most cases the responsible persons for the lyrics, which is basically an original fantasy and mythology story with a detailed cosmology, history and heroes/villains. The idea was Andy's own and when he left the band we decided to stop using it because it was made by him. Later on we realized that this was really a concept album, which is not a bad thing. It's the end of a cycle and now we are in a new era of Eternal Dream!
What was the game plan that you had for your first album? What did you want to accomplish with it?
We had to beat ‘The Seed of Naryll’, as he next step was to have an album, a REAL album. We wanted it in physical format. We needed to beat all that we had done before. We wanted to do an album that if someone who would not know us at all, after listening to it would categorize us as a serious and professional band. We wanted to offer good music of course, but also a good design, a good cover and a good booklet. You know, to create an album that gives us a serious image and a quality product.
After listening to the album I was totally blown away by the awesome song material and the musicianship of the band members, but how were the reactions from both the press as well as the music fans in general?
Well, there was a lot of expectations. It was a long process and we really wanted to know what people thought about it. The responses were very positive, we had of course some reviews in Spain but also in more countries in Europe, America, South America and Japan and all of them had nice things to say about our release. It was the first physical album we released, so we didn't know if we would sell them all or that we had to use them as Frisbees. We received a lot orders however and most of them from abroad! After a couple of months some Japanese distros (S.A. Music, Rock Avenue Records & Rock Stakk) bought a good amount of CDs to distribute them there and later a Mexican one (Gravis Records) did the same for that territory.
I was very surprised that you weren’t able to score a record deal with this fantastic album. Which record companies did you contact and what were the reasons they had for not offering you a contract?
We contacted a lot of companies and we received some answers, but not all of them had the courtesy of answering. Among the ones who answered, Massacre Records, made us an interesting offer that we're studying for the next album. When this offer came in, we had already advanced a lot into the following album. Furthermore, the label that we used to release the album, AE-Distro did the digital distribution and this might have caused a conflict of interest. So for the next album we will study everything and then we will decide what to do. The DIY way is not really a bad thing after all!
When did you decide to release the album as an independent record?
I think this was decided from the very beginning. We are a band that know how difficult it is to get a deal with a label and we just wanted to release our album.
All your releases can be downloaded freely from your website. What’s the reason that you’re willing to freely share you material?
One of the best ways to be known is offering our music for free. We don't have a label telling us what to do and we are not going to make money selling records, so it was an easy decision. Besides, sooner or later everything ends on the net anyway, so it is better to allow people to download our music directly from our website than from some torrent or other website.
The compositions on ‘The Fall Of Salanthine’ are very varied, but they all are great. How important is this variety aspect in your music and what is the song that in your opinion represents the band best and why? Any other personal favorites on the album?
The variety in our songs is not something we wanted, it just happened. Our influences are very different and that's something you can hear in our songs. The truth is that it’s very difficult to choose a song that can represent the band as ‘Last Battle Of A Hero’ is a pure power metal song, while ‘Elysian Era’ is the most progressive track and ‘Symphony Of Horizon’ and ‘The Beast And The Rose’ are the most catchy ones.
Your guitar player Niko Hartmann was responsible for the production of the album. Why did you decide to let him do the production? Wasn’t there a need for an “independent ear” or was it just a matter of budget?
Niko already had some experience making recordings, so when we considered to begin recording our first songs we decided to record it by our own. After the demo and our first EP we had enough experience to try recording our album ourselves, trying to have a professional sound and with the quality we expected. Of course, the money was also a matter. An album like this, with so many arrangements, orchestrations, etcetera would have requested a lot of time in the studio and a big budget. So one of the advantages of recording yourself is that there is no pressure to finish the songs, so you can experiment, change, undo and change again without any problem!
Were the fourteen songs on the album the only ones that you wrote/recorded or have you more songs that didn’t make it to the album? If so, which ones and what’s going to happen with them?
There were two songs more at the moment we began to record the album: ‘Shattered Passion’ was deleted from the planning because it was supposed to be “the ballad” of the album even though it was not really a ballad. Later on came the final version of ‘Farewell’ and we all thought it was a better song and better option. We weren’t very convinced about the first song potential, so we decided not to include it in the final tracklist. The second song had a lot of potential, but wasn’t fully completed, so it will be included on the new album.
The very nice artwork was done by Paul Schlensog. In what way is the cover artwork related to the lyrics and why did you choose Paul for the job?
We had worked with Paul before and we knew he would do a perfect job. The cover was done with a real model, Karol Martínez, dressed by our friend Rubén Rodríguez, who is a great costume designer. The make-up artist, Celia Bobis, also did an awesome job, so it was easier for Paul to finish the design. It represent one of Andy’s mythology's characters, Salanthine, and her fall. Therefore the name ‘The Fall of Salanthine’ and with the album we close the cycle of this concept of lyrics, so ‘The Fall Of Salanthine’ also means the end of an era!
How does the band feel about the actual end result of ‘The Fall Of Salanthine’? Would you have done something differently if you had the opportunity to redo things?
We were and we still are still very excited about the final result, the success and the reactions of people and media. We suppose our style will have more followers abroad, it’s something you face once you choose to sing in a different language than your mother language or you choose an style that is not the most popular in your country. But the reactions of people ordering the album from Japan (there we were distributed by three companies and all of them has sold-out!), Germany, Netherlands, South America have been very positive. We always try to keep our feet on the floor, but it has been much more that we expected. About changing something, perhaps if we would produce the album today, the orchestration would be much lighter and “the metal part” would sound louder.
The album is already out for quite a while. What did the album do for Eternal Dream?
This album has taught us a lot of things. First of all, humility. We can have an album, a professional album, but simply because of this you’re not a better band. You’re the same shit you were before and you have to work much harder, because this album will not be sold on its own. On the other hand, an album makes it easier to be known. People can listen to your material, getting it… an album is an investment.
Have your already written new songs after the release of the ‘The Fall Of Salanthine’? If so, which ones and what can we expect of them?
Yes, we have almost a whole album already done. In fact, I have begun recording some bass lines for the songs. Having a little home studio makes life much easier. We have about eight or nine songs ready to be recorded and one or two more songs that only need some arrangements.
How experienced is Eternal Dream on stage? Have you been able to do some gigging as a result of the release of ‘The Fall Of Salanthine’?
Yes, we have had some gigging as a presentation of the album. We have been part of some fests, like Málaga MetalFest, where the album was officially released. We have shared the stage with great bands like Dünedain, the gig at Feria de Málaga was recorded and we have it uploaded in our YouTube channel. This is one of the reasons I told you we would change the orchestrations. We’re a live band, we feel best on stage.
What are the band’s plans for the next say three to six months?
César and Miguel Ángel, our keyboard player and our drummer, have decided to leave the band because of the incompatibility of the band with their professional and academic obligations. So we will look for new musicians to replace them. However, we will have two very special gigs in Valencia and Murcia as a farewell to them. After that we will look for replacements, get them ready, and we will start recording the second album.
What is the ambition level that you and the other band members have with Eternal Dream? To what level to you think you can grow in the music scene?
We want to follow the same growth process, something stable, and go farther every time. We want to become a bigger band, being more known in Europe, break that frontier of being a Spanish band known just in Spain.
What are some of the personal dreams that you as a musician still want to accomplish in the remainder of your musical career?
Every musician has the same dream, to be well-known. You want people listening to your music and being able to present your music on stage. Of course I’d like to jump over the Pirineos and to be able to play all over Europe.
Okay Antonio, thanks for your willingness to answer my questions. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you would still like to mention to our readers?
I can only thank all the media and all the people that has made it possible. Also thank you for the opportunity of showing our work through Lords of Metal. And for all LoM readers: if you want to hear something epic with melodies, fast and varied, Eternal Dream is your band! Check out our material on our official website, and remember, you don’t have to look for hours to get it. Everything is there to download with a simple click!