This is the first time I interview a Heavy Metal band, and contrary to what many believe, Images of Eden‘s music isn’t too dark. Surprisingly, their art is just the opposite as there is always a positive message through lyrical content. In this interview, we chat with band members Gordon Tittsworth (GT) and Steve Dorssom (SD) who clarified everything. If interested, watch below their video clip for “Shield Me”, which has already won several awards in national film festivals due to its production.
1 — How do you describe your genre?
GT- The best way to describe it is a mix between modern hard rock with classic metal/progressive elements, but with a very unique sound. Musically – A lower end/ heavy sound but lyrically – Very positive, uplifting, inspirational and hopeful.
2 —How did you get the name ‘Images of Eden’?
GT- “Images of Eden” was actually the working title for the first release. There was no band name at the time but since the concept of the first album worked with what we are about and trying to say, it was a no-brainer to use it as the band name, so voila.
3 — What makes you unique from other bands?
GT- Many things- first, our sound is very unique and cannot really compare to anything specific, and even though our sound is heavy, you will hear a very positive tone/ arrangement/ delivery which in many cases, seems to offset (or “contradict”) the heaviness. The lyrics are very “divinely inspired” and also very much contradict the heaviness as well, which lends to the uniqueness. All of the IOE releases have been “concepts” in their own way. The first 3 albums were a concept trilogy about the ongoing journey of life and how we persevere. But, when we completely reformed the lineup in 2016, the content shifted a bit as well. “Soulrise” is actually a narrative/ “conversation” (so to speak) from the very beginning to the very end. I won’t say anything beyond that because I want the listener/reader to interpret it their own way. But… The lyrical content is 100% about bringing hope, strength and inspiration to the world in a very dark time. We cover all of the trials we face on a daily basis but there is a very real common denominator that brings us through everything and strengthens us. I encourage everyone to read the lyrics because writing this album was completely life-changing for me. I hope it cascades to each listener.
4 — What was the inspiration behind your new song “Shield Me”?
GT- Being haunted by a “demon” (addiction, fear, frustration, hopelessness, etc) and fighting hard to unsuccessfully escape it. However, when turning to faith, we find that we gain all of the strength to win the war and defeat what is trying to destroy us.
SD – The inspiration to this video storyline was the fact that we are all tired of seeing young people, or at any age for that matter, get hooked on drugs, then it’s, over they die. We’ve witnessed friends, family, and parents go through this and it’s horrible! We thought this was a good way to give back and put a message in metal music that actually means something and could be life saving.
So, the storyline in the video was a little visually metaphorical in the sense that the dark figured demon just would not leave the girl alone until he got his way. It was also a setting for a kid who feels alone, no parent involvement or understanding, the things this girl faces on her walk home is just tremendous pressure for a young person to deal with. This video brings a view from the outside in so maybe someone who has a similar situation can say, “Yeah! That’s me”… and know they are not alone, there is hope and things can be good with the right choices in life.
5 — Who wrote its lyrics? What’s probably the best line?
GT- I write all of the music and lyrics. Everything I write comes from faith-based inspiration, but very specifically, drawing strength, hope and inspiration from personal struggles that we all face every day. “Shield Me” is specifically based on personal experiences with addiction/ loss, and warnings against (or trying to deter) death due to addiction. But most importantly, a) gaining strength to conquer our demons, b) convey the message that addicts are not alone and should not feel alone, so they should all be encouraged to reach out to someone, and c) that life beyond addiction is far superior than life during (and prior to) addiction. I even say “prior to” because once you have won a war on substance abuse/ addiction, you feel stronger and have a much greater appreciation for life than you did beforehand. At least I do.
6 — How good was the experience of filming together the visuals for this single?
SD – This was a two-part film shoot. I produced and directed the video so it was a wild experience to say the least. The first shoot we did was strictly the storyline, what we call “B-Roll”. This is where we filmed all the actor scenes at various locations, the emergency scene etc. We had about 90 days of pre-production just for this 3-day shoot, due to the fact we had to finish scripting the story for film, cast actors, find the right locations and so on. We needed every day of it. Then we took another 90 days of pre-production just for the live band performance 2-day shoot. This is when the band came together for the very first time to meet and perform in the same room. It was a pretty special moment for this band!
GT- Right now, we have been playing high-profile concerts in support of national acts (Geoff Tate- 30 yr Operation: Mindcrime, Stryper, The Iron Maidens, etc) but are also playing 2-3 dates at the 2019 Exodo Fest in Mexico and will be coordinating a tour there as well. Beyond that, there are some irons in the fire for a possible 2019 North American tour.
8 — Do you have a ritual before going on stage?
GT- Nothing crazy… get ourselves pumped up, fight off the nerves and have a group huddle/ prayer before the show.
SD – Yeah our group huddle that we do before we go on is our thing! We started this when we first got together to film the music video and now we do it every time before we perform. Someone steps up in the huddle and states a short motivational speech. then we GO!
9 — What gets you excited when you think about the future of music?
GT- We have all been writing, recording and playing music for decades but with “Soulrise”, it was as if we reached a new level in every way. It was also very clear that everything we have all been working so hard for so many years for has all been in preparation for this, and that everything we need has been miraculously placed in our paths. So, we are extremely excited to see where things are going.
SD – The only thing you can do as a musician in a saturated musical world is be YOU and do your thing the best you can do it! That’s what you have control of….the rest you hope takes care of itself. With that being said, this is the most amazing band I have ever been a part of. When Gordon and I found each other it was like from that point on everything came together in an awesome but unorthodox way. This is the best album I have ever recorded, hands down! I am putting all my cards in on this one and really hope the fans feel what we feel.
10 — Any advice on starting a band?
GT- A LOT of advice:
1) NEVER give up no matter how much discouragement you get. Those first pieces of negative feedback make you question your abilities and whether or not this is something you should be doing. Do NOT let it discourage you. Learn from the feedback and use the info to improve your skills. I got a ton of negative feedback over the years and I would never have improved without it. Be grateful for the feedback.
2) HANG IN THERE! Most bands fail because they throw in the towel. They think that if they are not rock stars after 1 or 2 releases that they did not make it. Longevity is the key. This is a marathon and not a sprint.
3) LOVE THE JOURNEY and have no expectations of reaching a “destination” because you may never see that port that you hope and expect to reach. I would not trade ANY part of my journey for the world. I have grown, matured, lived life and become even more than I thought I would be by taking this journey.
4) Cliché but stay true to yourself and who you are. Trust your gut and do not let someone else dictate what you do/ how you do things. Everyone thinks they know what you should be doing better than you do. News flash… they don’t!
5) Be careful who you take advice from. I would only recommend taking advice from those who have proven success, not from the yo-yo who is still at the same place they were at 20 years ago.
• You will hear NO a lot. Let that motivate you to keep going.
• Put a notepad and pen at your bedside. The best solutions and thoughts come at night when your relaxed.
• Do it for the love of your instrument and the camaraderie of your band. If your in it for fame and money your hearts in the wrong place.
• Believe everyone but trust nobody
• Be a dreamer! That’s where it all starts. It’s the people who act on those dreams are the ones that prosper.
• Work on your craft everyday
• Remember always put your best foot forward
• Invest in your vision. It takes money to make money. Invest in your gear, recording and presentation. These are foundations to being a pro!