Jupiter Hollow (Interview)
Today we speak to Jupiter Hollow.
Let’s start with this: What’s the history of your band?
Jupiter Hollow consists of two young, passionate and driven Canadian artists, Grant MacKenzie (21) and Kenny Parry (18). Grant, who plays guitar, bass and synth for the band started his music career 8 ½ years ago at the age of 12, sitting in his basement watching the movie Rock Prophecies. This movie was about legendary rock photographer Robert M. Knight, finding and transforming a young, unknown guitarist from a small town into a worldwide success. Inspired and motivated, Grant spent the next few years honing his guitar skills, writing music, and later learning the business side by attending college for business marketing. At age 20, Grant was invited into the Brotherhood of the Guitar, by founder Robert M. Knight, leading to endorsements with Ernie Ball Music Man and JH Audio.
While Grant was performing with another group at a local battle of the bands, he came across a mesmerizing singer by the name of Kenny Parry (vocalist, drummer and synth for Jupiter Hollow), who was almost performing as if he was possessed on stage, hitting notes that seemed impossible by any guy. Kenny Parry started music at the young age of 2 years old, setting up pots and pans like a drum set and banging away. This led to an obsession with music, and a discovery of his unique talent. In his teenage years, Kenny won himself the title “Best Drummer in Ontario” 3 years in a row. Around this time, Kenny started learning how to sing after being inspired by singers such as Maynard James Keenan, Mike Lessard, Dan Tompkins and Ian Kenny to name a few. Through years of strengthening his vocal abilities in choirs, bands and hours of dedication, Kenny has acquired an articulate vocal range, relentless endurance, and almost shocking performance through his uncontrollable stage presence.
Shortly after meeting, Grant and Kenny knew that their talents combined would create something truly unique, and Jupiter Hollow was born. Since then, the duo effortlessly created music in Kenny’s basement for months on end. The concept grew to be a two-man band, since Grant and Kenny wrote all of the music and wanted to keep it that way. The two musicians used technology to their advantage, allowing them to perform with a dominating stage presence, while captivated their audiences with their unique sonic journey.
So what can you tell us about your latest album? (Inspiration. Sound. Style.)
We are very happy with how the EP turned out. We feel it definitely takes the listener on a journey since there are lots of up’s and down’s, heavy songs, light songs, and complete prog songs. Best way to descrive the sound is… very progressive! But influence wise you could say it has a touch of Tool, Rush, Karnivool, The contortions and Tesseract. These are all bands we love, so I guess it translates through our music!
The EP ‘Odyssey’ is a trailer to our upcoming concept record called AHDOMN. ‘Odyssey’ happened because we didn’t want to keep people waiting for music, so in it way, it was never meant to happen! ‘AHDOMN’ is album, featuring these songs in this order: ‘Ascending’, ‘Hades Heart’, ‘Deep In Space’, ‘Over 50 Years’, ‘Mandating Our Existence’, ‘Null Without Praise…’ followed by the continuation of the story in album 2, with ‘Odyssey’ opening the second record. When listening to the ‘Odyssey’ EP, you’re hearing a small chunk of the story heard in the wrong order. But to give you a rough idea of the overall concept, it’s about two characters fighting one another in order to save their civilizations, but they just can’t do it. They’re in control of their civilization’s future, but then you find out that there’s only one person, who’s actually fighting with themselves. They’re unhappy with who they are when they look in the mirror and realize they can’t grow past their indifference, and that they actually aren’t a good person and the people from their civilization will die.
How did you go about making it?
The EP was written very naturally and relatively quickly. A number of songs such as ‘Over 50 Years’ was literally written by just jamming together. We would be improvising random things, then we would stop once we came up with something cool, and keep building upon ideas until the song was complete. There really was no solid process in play for writing these songs, but normally I would demo the guitars and bass at my house, then go work on it with Kenny as he did the drums. Then, we would add drums and synth over my guitar demos. Once that was done, Kenny would do the vocals. Then once we firmed up all of the demos, we recorded, mixed and mastered the record at Lake Effect Studio in Brechin, ON.
Anything you’ve learnt as you’ve gone along? Or have you simply tried a bit of everything to see how it works?
We’ve learned that its much quicker to write an album with only 2 people than it is a group. Bouncing musical ideas off each other amps us both up and gets the creative juices flowing. Recording wise, it’s great to get in the studio and have Kenny do the drums, Grant do the guitars & bass, then do Vocals and synth. It’s very effective on time.
What sort of technology and instruments do you work with?
For guitars Grant used my Ernie Ball Music Man Armada with Dimarzio Crunch Lab/Liquifire pickups running through a 1996 Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier 2 channel head. The guitar was doubled it with had Seymour Duncan SH-5 Custom and SH-2 Jazz pickups running through a Mesa Boogie F-100 Head. The speakers were Celestion Vintage 30’s. The pedal board consisted of a tone buffer, tuner, wah, noise suppressor, phaser, flanger, Tube Screamer Overdrive, Octave pedal, reverb, compression and delay! For bass we used an Ernie Ball music man Sterling running through a Traynor amp. All of our synth was used with the program Omnisphere, and I believe the drums were on a Pearl Studio kit. We also use live projections to fill out the space on stage with only have 2 members.
Anything you’re keen to use on your next album?
We’ve already written a big part of Album 2 and it’s a different vibe then the first record; more positive sounding. The studio we recorded our EP Odyssey at is now gone unfortunately, so I’d say we’re pretty keen to find another studio that is just as good or better!
Any future plans for your solo work, or do you have other projects on the horizon?
We really want to keep touring Canada with our debut EP Odyssey, then follow that up with our full length album AHDOMN. For other projects, we’re both in another band called Colony, so we’ve started preparing for our first record as well.
Let’s have a few general questions now. What do you see as a musicians role in society?
Music is such a big part of society. It impacts so many people in many ways. I think its our roles in society to stay true to what our music is, and not let society control our art. We feel many bands might cave to what society says its acceptable music, and therefore bands will write music that is “safe” and popular sounding. Some of this is great, but it may not be reaching the artists full potential. It’s our roles musicians to move people and impact their lives with our music, and people are moved by music when they can feel it. And the best way to have people feel your music and have it hit a spot deep in their souls. The only way to do that is by writing music that is true to the artist. So, it’s our roles to break the musical boundaries created by society, to really move society. Art saves lives.
Any last words for our readers?
If you like spacey, experimental bands, we’re hopefully your cup of tea! We should have some videos out with National Post very soon, and were just printed in the latest issue of PROG magazine!
Any advice for new bands?
Network, make lots of friends with other bands and industry people… but most importantly, write music that truly makes YOU happy, not what you think will make other people happy. If your music can move you, then it will move other people as well. Its a long path to get ahead in a music career, but if its something you truly want and are willing to put the time and effort in, it will pay off and be the most rewarding experience!