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Interview

Dan Mitchell Of Autumns Eyes Chats About Upcoming "Broken Leaves And Haunted Streets" EP

Photo of Autumns Eyes

Band Photo: Autumns Eyes (?)

Solo metal act Autumns Eyes, which consists of sole member Dan Mitchell, is gearing up to cap the summer with the release of new EP "Broken Leaves and Haunted Streets," which follows last year's full-length album "Please Deceive Me" (reviewed here).

The EP comes out August 6th and consists of instrumental re-imaginings of some of the project's earliest material, which has never before been officially released.

As we near the release date, Dan got in touch with Metalunderground to chat about "Broken Leaves and Haunted Streets," along with a nerdly talk about upcoming epic movies, anthology horror flicks, and movie scores.

Read the full interview below, and to get a dose of all things horror and metal, head over to the official Autumns Eyes website.

xFiruath: Hey Dan how’s it going?

Dan: I just got done watching the new Hobbit trailer so I’m kind of nerding out right now.

xFiruath: I haven’t seen it yet, it’s for the next one, “The Desolation of Smaug,” right?

Dan: Yeah, there’s a pretty cool shot at the end of the trailer. I don’t want to give away anything, but it’s pretty good.

xFiruath: On this new album you’re releasing, when were these tracks written and how did this come together?

Dan: The new album, which is called “Broken Leaves and Haunted Streets,” these songs were originally written a long time ago. I hate to actually recap it because it makes me feel old. They were written in ’99 or ’98 on a four track recorder. It was just basically me sitting in front of a four track recording keyboard, guitar, and bass playing out different parts and layering them together, not really having any idea of what the hell I was doing. I made these four or five songs and didn’t know what to do with them. I showed them to friends and everyone kind of liked them and word got out I was doing music on my own so that’s basically how Autumn’s Eyes was started. That was over a decade ago, since then I’ve never really had these tracks preserved. They’ve been deteriorating on audio tracks for so long. When I went back to listen to them the quality was so bad, you couldn’t hear anything, the audio was cutting in and out so I wanted to re-record them onto a better medium to do the songs justice. It’s five songs, instrumental, no vocals thankfully because I hate singing. Just really long instrumentals so you can hear the inception of Autumn’s Eyes and where it all began.

xFiruath: Were these tracks originally just instrumentals or did you drop the vocals for the re-recording?

Dan: No they were. For a couple of years I toyed with the ideas of doing vocals over them, but once you’ve listened to them over and over again over years they cement themselves in your head as instrumental, so they stayed that way.

xFiruath: You’ve got your Kickstarter campaign going now. Tell me about that and how it’s going so far.

Dan: It’s actually going great. I thought maybe I would get $5 in Monopoly money or something, but we’re on track, halfway funded now. The Kickstarter is trying to raise funds to put all the Autumns Eyes albums on all the major online retailers. It’s kind of tough because I’m doing this all on my own without a record company or any financial backing, so everything comes out of my pocket to support and market this stuff. I’ve never really marketed Autumns Eyes on a large scale. I have a couple of albums on iTunes and Amazon, but for the most part the whole entire discography hasn’t been distributed on a large scale. So the Kickstarter is raising money to fund that distribution so I can get all these nine albums out to the retailers, it’s 60+ stores worldwide and will also be registered for use in television and movies and video games. So if anybody making a movie or game wanted to use Autumns Eyes music they could do it legally and I can collect rights on it.

xFiruath: We are in the evil sunny summer, but fall isn’t too far away. Do you have any Halloween plans this year and are you going to do Rock N Shock again?

Dan: That’s the fun part about this, every year the Halloween theme gets bigger for Autumns Eyes. Obviously I’ll be doing the Halloween costume contest again. I was thinking about doing Rock N Shock, but I’m not sure if I’ll have the time. I did it two years ago and it was a blast. I was surprised to see how many fans came out to say hello. I have a crazy idea where I’ll build an interactive booth for people to come in and have this huge horror movie Halloween experience. I don’t know if this is the right year to do that with the album coming out and I’ve got videos I’m shooting. That might have to wait for next year.

xFiruath: Horror is definitely a big part of Autumns Eyes. Has anything come out in horror recently that’s inspired you?

Dan: I haven’t been seeing as many remakes lately, which is a good thing.

xFiruath: Evil Dead is probably the only one recently.

Dan: I haven’t seen that, but I was anxious to check it out because I heard there’s no CGI, it’s all practical effects, which I really respect. I just watched V/H/S on Netflix not too long ago, it’s a low-budget found footage thing. I’m not really crazy about the found footage thing because there are so many of them, but this was actually cool and has that whole ‘80s vibe like Creepshow or Tales From The Darkside with the anthology. There’s a sequel now too.

xFiruath: I actually just watched the sequel through video on demand, and it’s better than the first one, which I didn’t see coming.

Dan: That on demand thing is pretty cool, you can watch it before it’s in theatres.

xFiruath: On anthologies, have you seen The ABC’s of Death?

Dan: No, I’ve been meaning to check that out…

xFiruath: Don’t do it man. Do. Not. Do. It.

Dan: Oh really?

xFiruath: If you are really into camp and cheese you might get something out of it, but every segment is two minutes or less. It’s just juvenile poop and fart jokes the whole way through. That’s it.

Dan: Is it British?

xFiruath: A lot of it is actually Japanese.

Dan: That’s surprising, because Japanese horror scares the shit out of me. Like those old Ringu movies with the creepy little girls.

xFiruath: I wish I had not seen it. Back onto the album, anything else you wanted to mention?

Dan: I’m really anxious to get it out so people can hear where everything started. It’s been a long strange trip doing this Autumns Eyes things. There’s so many influences that come out in this music. Every album I write squeezes as much of these influences as I can out of myself. It was fun to go back and re-record these songs where it all began. Some of the parts are tweaked a bit, because originally they were kind of direct rip-offs of Cradle of Filth and In Flames. You could tell I was a new fan of black metal or Swedish melodic death metal because back then I was ripping off everything left and right and not even realizing it. I went back and went over those riffs so they have the Autumns Eyes stamp on it. I consider it to be the best sounding album I’ve done, but that’s what every band says.

xFiruath: Has any other music come out lately that you are really digging?

Dan: I just checked out the Man of Steel soundtrack yesterday by Hans Zimmer. He did something pretty crazy, there’s this new technology out called Headphone X and an app called Z Plus. He worked with DTS to mix the Man of Steel soundtrack in 11.1 surround sound, but it’s simulated through headphones. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s on Android and iPhone and all those. You can use any regular old headphones or ear buds. He starts out giving a demo of the speaker setup, and he says “left front” or “left rear” and it’s insane, it sounds like there’s speakers behind you or on the right or left. Then they give you a free track from the soundtrack that’s mixed in 11.1 and it sounds incredible. I’ve been a big fan of his work throughout the Dark Knight trilogy so I really wanted to hear this new score.

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Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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