Guitarist Jasun Tipton is a man of many talents, featuring in Zero Hour, Death Machine and also his self-titled side project - as well as making instructional DVDs - so he had plenty to tell me when I asked him about Zero Hour's latest release, "Specs Of Pictures Burnt Beyond", as well as his other projects.
So how's it feel to have released 'Specs Of Pictures Burnt Beyond', your fifth album?
Jasun: It's great to have "Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond" out to the listeners and we're very happy with the response thus far. We put a ton of hard work into this CD and I feel it's our best to date.
And what's the album about?
Jasun: Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond isn't a conceptual disc like "The Towers of Avarice". So every song has it's own story line. Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond" is about a man who can recognize an image but his memory of the image is distorted.
To give a couple examples of the songs "The Falcon's Cry" just has amazing dynamics musically and vocally start to finish. Musically the song really took shape on it's own from the crazy sequences of the bass, guitars and drums playing totally different repetitions came full circle joining at the end.
After the chaos, beautiful lush clean tones gives the song all new atmosphere. The vocals and lyrics are beautiful and is based off a man in the later stages of his life doing something he loved when he was young and strong. He takes the strenuous journey up in the mountain and fights his way to the top to see the beautiful view his eyes wanted to see one last time.
Evidence of the Unseen of is about wanting give those you love and care about most in the World. Always trying to reach those impossible dreams to make a better future for his loved ones. The music is heavy, in your face with an amazingly heavy, catchy guitar riff to bang your head to.
What's been different for you this time around? Is there anything you'd do differently next time?
Jasun: We took a more organic approach when writing the material. The last disc we brought parts we had worked out from home into the studio. This time Troy, Mikey and I just jammed out in the studio and by doing this we threw the kitchen sink at the listener. It's great because everyones voice shines in the instrumentation.
What made you take the unusual decision to use didgeridoos on 'Evidence Of The Unseen'?
Jasun: Our friend Sean had a few doos and we always wanted to collide that sound into one our songs. It really brings a vibe to Evidence of the Unseen and Sean did an amazing job in the studio.
How does the physical song-writing work? Is there one main song-writer and does it start with the guitars for example? Do you have an idea of what you're aiming for before you start jamming?
Jasun: Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond was a jam process and is a similar take on what we did with "The Towers of Avarice". It's good to do in the way that all the guy's have a say in what we feel is the right parts for the song and it always seems to come out better this way for us.
Troy, Mikey and I couldn't have done this years back but we've been playing music together for over 14 years so we have a great foundation and read on each other.
And what makes you decide to do, say, an instrumental or acoustic track?
Jasun: When the song is being built from the ground up you'll know when you've come to the end result and what the song has become. You just gather the vibe that this is more a vocal song or if it has has more of an instrumental vibe.
Chris Salinas joined you earlier this year and he's written some of the lyrics on this album - how's he settling in?
Jasun: Chris is a great fit to Zero Hour and we'll be doing many more CD's together and looking forward to the future with Mikey, Troy, Chris and myself.
How do the fans seem to be reacting to him?
Jasun: Chris has been very well received from the fans. He has an amazing voice and can do all our past material very, very well.
You co-produced with Dino Alden - if you had the time would you be interested in producing or mixing your next album?
Jasun: No because I love what Dino brings to the table sonically. Sonically we couldn't ask for more because Dino know exactly what the Zero Hour sound needs. He's an amazing engineer and producer.
How did things go for your US tour?
Jasun: The tour went amazing and we're looking forward to doing more touring. We did the Progpower USA and PowerProg West Festival. Soon after that we did dates in TX, MASS, MD, NY, NJ and VA. The fans were amazing and look forward to playing more shows in the East Coast and TX next year.
What does the future hold for Zero Hour? Any plans to tour more extensively in the near future?
Jasun: We'll be headlining the Groove or Die Festival in Portland Oregon. We have some other festivals in the States coming together and should be confirmed soon. I'm happy to say we'll be coming to Europe in April doing the Headway Festival in Holland
and it's a great event. We'll be doing additional dates right after Headway in Belgium, Germany, France, Holland and the UK with Into Eternity and To-Mera.
Please check out our website in the future for confirmed dates in Europe.
What's happening for Death Machine? It's been a while since the debut album came out hasn't it - anything new planned in the near future?
Jasun: Zero Hour is our priority and when we have some down time we'll get back to the Death Machine material.
And how about the Jasun Tipton side project?
Jasun: My instrumental CD "Seduction" came out last year and I'm very happy with everything on the disc. I do plan to do another disc down the line but it will be a couple years before doing so.
Please check out
www.myspace.com/seduction to get a listen of a couple tracks.
With all these different side-projects, plus making instructional DVDs, how do you manage to fit everything in?
Jasun: A friend of ours Bobby said have you and Troy ever thought about doing an instructional for Chops from Hell. Troy and I talked about it and found out Chris of Chops From Hell was interested. Troy and I really put our best effort into the instructional's and feel a lot of players can gain from the them.
Please check out
www.chopsfromhell.com on how to order the instructional's and here's clips to Troy's and my Instructional.
Anything you'd like to say to your fans?
Jasun: Thank you so much for all your support over the years and please be on the lookout for our European tour, we would love to see and meet you at a show.
Interview © December 2006 Amanda Hyne
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