The NAMM Show 2018 Interviews: Jacob Ortiz of Asylus
Asylus is a dynamic, up and coming post hardcore collective from the richly diverse Southern California music scene. With a brand new EP entitled Clarity now being unleashed as well as a recently concluded regional tour with Til Skies Fall, Asylus is definitely making themselves known above and beyond the confines of Orange County. At this years edition of the NAMM Show, Asylus drummer Mel Torres was working with the one and only Joey Sturgis Tones, while a few of the other members were checking out exciting new gear throughout the event. Highwire Daze caught up with Asylus guitarist Jacob Ortiz inside the Media Center at The NAMM Show to find out more about this captivating band on the rise, their latest Clarity EP endeavor, instruments of choice, and a whole lot more! Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Asylus, and how long the band has been together.
Hi, I’m Jacob, I play guitar and do backing vocals for Asylus. The band’s been together since 2013 but I’ve only been in the band for less than a year.
What did you do prior to Asylus?
Prior to Asylus I was just jumping from band to band. I played guitar in a band called Thoughts Betray and before that I was in a pop punk project called Castaways. I had been hopping around, but then they asked me to join Asylus in April of last year. And I’ve been with them ever since.
What are weapons of choice and why?
I use a Gibson Les Paul – it’s a studio model from 2008. It’s just something I picked up when I was at Guitar Center. Sat down and played it for a couple hours and I was like “I’ve got to take this home.” So I play on one of those. And I am going to be switching to a Schechter Custom Solo Series in a few weeks actually. And alongside that, running that through a 6505 Peavey through a Mesa cab. Pretty standard setup.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the title of the new Asylus EP Clarity? What does it mean to you?
For me, when we went into that EP, it was the idea of Clarity versus Distortion. The whole idea of this EP – as the title would suggest – is just finding Clarity in whatever you do. For example, the lyrics talk about being tied down by the thoughts inside your head – like overthinking or anxiety or depression. The whole idea of finding Clarity is being able to overcome these obstacles in your life – being able to overcome the obstacles in your head – and finding Clarity and finding meaning in the existence that you have.
How do you think Clarity compares to the other Asylus releases?
Musically, it’s along the same lines – at least for me because I wasn’t on the first EP. Lyrically it’s a lot more personal for everyone. You have tracks like Delirium –which kind of talks about the same things as Clarity – as just being trapped in your own headspace – like not really sure what you’re doing or what’s going on – feeling kind of isolated in your own head and trying to break out of that. And then you have a song like Barricade which talks about not wanting to let your life pass you by – not being tied down to the norms of life – the 9 to 5 – not wasting away –actually getting yourself out and doing something with your life. For me, I feel that’s what sets the first EP Dear Old Friend from this one Clarity – that it’s a lot more personal.
What could one expect from a live Asylus show?
Lots of energy. Lots of head banging. Lots of crowd surfing. All that good stuff!
You recently completed a tour with Til Skies Fall. How did that go and what were some of the highlights?
That was a really fun tour! As short as it was, it was a really fun experience just getting to be out of the state. For me, it was my first out of state tour, so it was really cool. We went from here to Vegas to Arizona – and it was really cool getting to see how the different local scenes operate in the different states. Here it’s a very different dynamic – as opposed to Vegas where everybody was super tight knit. Everybody was like, “Yeah come in! You’re part of the family now!” It was really cool! And same with Arizona. Arizona was a very small, DIY space, and it was the same vibe. Everybody was super accepting of us – everybody was super welcoming and that was just really nice to see.
What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming show with Secrets?
That’s a good show because one – it’s their EP release. They’re from here – from San Diego – and they’re like the hometown heroes – so it will be cool to have them play their EP release show here – where they started and be getting to open up for them. Some of the guys in Asylus are tight with some of the guys with Secrets. We all kind of came up together and it’s cool to see they took off and we’re starting to come up ourselves. And it will be nice to play a show together. For them, kind of back where they started – and for us, it’s a platform to keep going up.
If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
For me personally, I would really want to open for Rise Against – because they’ve always been my favorite band since I was 8 years old. They’ve gotten me through some pretty hard times – their music and what they stand for – their message. It would be really cool for us to open up for them one day.
If the music of Asylus was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Probably a chocolate twist. The chocolate because it’s like darker music and then the twist because it’s a lot of complicated stuff. It’s not a straight forward donut – it’s twists and turns all around!
What’s up next for Asylus?
Just the Secrets show for right now. And then we’ll be putting out a new music video sometime next month as well for a new song that will be coming out. A leftover from the Clarity sessions but also probably will be on the next Asylus EP. And then from there, just putting tours together. It’s just a work in progress…
Naz Munoz (Vocals)
Tyler Casanova (Vocals)
Erick Pastrana (Guitar)
Jacob Ortiz (Guitar/Vocals)
Davon Harper (Bass/Vocals)
Mel Torres (Drums)
(Interview and Candid Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photo by Jack Lue)
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