Ibanez: What originally inspired you to pick up the guitar?
Tim: It was thrash metal back in '88 or '89. That's when I started. My first concert was Megadeth in 1990, and Testament was opening. It was an off date and there were like 300 people packed into this small club. Skolnick was playing that red Ibanez Saber, and to this day I play Ibanez from seeing him play at that show. That show totally blew me away.
Ibanez: Did you take any formal lessons?
Tim: Yeah, my parents bought me a guitar right away, and Ibanez was actually my first guitar. So it's the only guitar I've played my whole life. They got me lessons with this country guitar player. Cowboys From Hell had just come out, and I wanted to learn that stuff. He didn¡Çt know how to show that stuff to me though. He just showed me basic chords and stuff, so I realized I was going to have to learn that stuff on my own. I wanted to learn riffs like Dimebag, and you can't get there only playing a half hour a week. So I practiced on my own and bought all the guitar magazines I could get my hands on. I had all the Yngwie and Paul Gilbert videos. I would just study those guys and then rip them off [laughs].
Ibanez: How did you and the guys in Into Eternity come together?
Tim: I was in a death metal band in 1995, so I formed Into Eternity in 1996 to go a more melodic route. I wanted to do ballads at times, and that wasn't really available in death metal at the time. Now, it's a different line-up than at the beginning. I'm the only remaining original member. Our original drummer, Jim Austin, still lives in town and helps us out from time to time. He helped us with a lot of demos for the new album. He's like the 6th member [laughs]. The rest of the guys were local, except we have a US drummer now. We're like 4/5 Canadian now [laughs]. All the good drummers are in the US I guess. There's no brutal Canadian drummers.
Ibanez: Into Eternity's music is all over the place in terms of styles and influences. Was this something you guys set out to achieve?
Tim: Yeah, right from the beginning. The 90s death metal was really big with Cynic, and then Dream Theater in '92. The prog stuff blew me away with Petrucci and stuff. Petrucci was also using an Ibanez back then, which I thought was cool. So that's how I was molded. I loved death metal and thrash metal, but then there was this new prog music I liked too. So I knew when I formed the band that I wanted to have all the elements. Of course we couldn't get signed, because every label was like, "You have to be either death metal, progressive metal, or power metal. You can't be both." They told me that flat out. It wasn't just one label either, it was many labels. Nowadays it's accepted and it's no problem, but it was a problem for us back then [laughs]. It's funny how that would be a ridiculous statement these days, but I wasn't laughing then. Now every band seems to be doing hybrid stuff.
Ibanez: I know you said Alex Skolnick influenced you to play Ibanez guitars. Was there anything else in particular that drew you to the S series guitars?
Tim: Yeah, I used to watch him on instructional videos, and you could see how thin the guitar was. So the body style really got me, and then I found out about the Wizard I necks. I still have those on some of my guitars, and their super fast. So you've got this super fast thin neck with a really thin body. I was hooked right away. I was never into all the crazy guitar shapes that were in at the time. That Ibanez blew me away.
Ibanez: Your upcoming album, The Incurable Tragedy, is the first concept album you guys have done. What was the writing process like for that album?
Tim: It was kind of the same, but I got this little Pro Tools Mbox thing at home. So I could record, and we did demos for the first time ever. So it was the same process as far as writing riffs and getting interludes together and figuring out what the chorus was going to be. The big difference was lyrically we had to have a storyline going through the entire album. Musically, we could take certain parts and themes and bring them back later, maybe acoustic the first time and electric later on. Lyrically, it's a full concept though.
Ibanez: Did you demo out the entire album before you went to record it?
Tim: Yeah, we'd never done that before. It was minus the vocals. We kind of just ran out of time. We had all the melodies and stuff, but we never got to actually hit the record button. All the guitars, solos, and drum beats we had all done. It was all done on a drum machine. So we were ready to go when we got into the studio.
Ibanez: What's the recording process like usually for you guys? Is there anything that you usually do first?
Tim: We usually do drums first, and we like to do bass next. For this album, we did bass after the guitars. The studio is never fun [laughs]. It's tough because any little mistake or string noise comes right out on the recording. It's not like live playing, where you see people swinging their guitar around their neck and stuff. So it's a lot of pressure I find. I'm not really happy doing studio stuff, but it has to be done. We're more about playing live and touring.
Ibanez: What do you guys have coming up in terms of touring?
Tim: We have this full Canadian Summer Slaughter tour with Necrophagist, and then we go into the US for some headlining shows. Then, we have a couple of weeks off before starting the Iced Earth American tour. Then, we're going to do a bit more headlining on the way home. I think we're done November 1st or 2nd.
Ibanez: What are you currently listening to?
Tim: I'm really enjoying the new Opeth album. The new Testament I still like, "The Formation of Damnation". I was listening to that new Priest album, "Nostradamus". I also got that new Warrell Dane solo album and thought that was pretty good.
Ibanez: Anything you'd like to add?
Tim: People can say hello at our MySpace page or head to our website www.intoeternity.net. Keep playing those Ibanez guitars [laughs]!