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The NAMM Show 2017 Interviews – Jupiter Hollow

The NAMM Show 2017 Interviews – Jupiter Hollow

From this year’s edition of The NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center, we caught up with Jupiter Hollow – a progressive rock band whose music takes you above and beyond the confines of this Planet Earth and into a whole other dimension of auditory intrigue.  Featuring just two members – Grant MacKenzie (guitar, bass, synth) and Kenny Parry (drums, vocals, synth) – the sonic adventure these resourceful musicians unveil upon the world at large is nothing short of mesmerizing.  Highwire Daze Online caught up with Grant MacKenzie from Jupiter Hollow at The NAMM Show press area to find out more about this dynamic duo ready to transport their listeners into the stratosphere.  Read on…

Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Jupiter Hollow.
I’m Grant MacKenzie, the bassist / guitarist and kind of producer / synth for Jupiter Hollow – progressive rock from Canada. We’re here at NAMM right now.

Where are you based out of and what is your music scene there?
It’s pretty good.  Montreal, Quebec seems to be bigger for prog – but I think it’s growing in Toronto and coming back. We just had our EP release and we played in a place called The Smiling Buddha, which I think is 150 cap. It’s not the biggest venue, but we ended up packing the place. So that was nice. We’re still a relatively newer band, so it’s nice. Put out a CD and we can fill a venue already. It’s a good scene.

What were you looking forward to the most about NAMM?
I think all of the brotherhood of the guitar. And to get the name of Jupiter Hollow out there.

What is your weapons of choice and why?
I use an Ernie Ball Music Man Armada. It’s the funkiest guitar Ernie Ball makes. I got DiMarzio Pickups in it, which don’t come stock in it, but it’s kind of like a Les Paul but way different looking. Jupiter Hollow is a really out there, so I wanted to something different with my instrument as well. Using Mesa Boogie amps and Eddie Van Halen cabinets and a variety of pedals.  My pedal board, I’ve got some BOSS pedals. Delay, reverb, Ibanez tube screamer. I use some Digitech, a drop pedal which is important because we use a lot of different tunings live – so it’s click a button and it drops your tuning down to whatever. A lot of stuff like that, flange and fazer, pretty standard setup.

Is there any story behind the CD title, Odyssey?
Pretty much, Odyssey wasn’t even supposed to happen because we’re writing a full length album. But we did a showcase for some industry guys and we got Canada’s leading publicist for metal music and rock. So he wanted to do this big campaign with us, like Canada wide and the UK . So he said we need music, so at this point we had I think we had Ascending, Haiti’s Heart, Deep In Space, and  Over 50 Years done. And we didn’t want to put out a 4 song EP, so I literally – I was going to be collaborating with a guy in France and I had this track Odyssey and in a pinch, we were like, let’s just use that song. Kenny did the drums, vocals and it ended up being on the EP. We thought because it wasn’t the album we might as well just name it after that song. It kind of represents the overall feel of the songs anyway, space. Space journey, [laughs].

How close are you to putting together a full length?
We have all the songs done and we’re actually pretty close to finishing writing our second record too, so we’re ahead of the game. It’s just getting the funding and supporting this EP . The album actually has some songs from this plus – that’s only half the album. It’s weird we would be putting the same songs there, but it’s a concept record so we kind of want it in the order. In a way, people might view it as “oh it’s a special edition because it’s got some of the same song, but” hopefully that’ll be out at the end of 2017 or early 2018.

Has Jupiter Hollow played out here in The States?
No, we’ve only been playing shows around Toronto, Montreal and surrounding areas. It’d be awesome to get to The States eventually. We’re still growing the fanbase enough where we can come out and have shows that can make it realistic. I think we’ll get there soon. Hopefully.

What can one expect from a live show?
We have a really interesting breaking the rules in what we do. We’re actually in another band called Colony, which is a five piece. Two guitarists, bass, drums, vocals. But Jupiter Hollow is just Kenny and I. We do all the music ourselves, and we kind of wanted to keep it that way. So what we decided to do was, we do guitar and vocals live and then we’d have a drum kit set up there as well for drum solos, but everything is pretty much on tracks but to fill in the set we have a live projector. We have full on live projections and the lights and the fog and everything. So it’s an interesting show, I don’t think it’s something most people would see on a regular basis. You got two guys on stage making this huge sound and production. It’s interesting.

If Jupiter Hollow could play with any band from now or the past, who would it be and why?
We love TOOL. That’d be pretty amazing to open for TOOL or A Perfect Circle, or Rush. We really want to play with TesseracT. We think TesseracT would suit us really well. I think if we could set up a lineup for a tour right now, that’d be realistic, it’d be TesseracT headlining, The Contortionist and then us opening. That’d be a cool lineup. Throw in Karnivool and we’d be good.

If your band was invited to appear on a RUSH tribute album, what song?
We’re actually performing a RUSH song on The National Post in Canada. It’s this news outlet that’s pretty good and we’re doing Closer to the Heart, acoustically. It’s a song we’ve always really loved, I feel like most RUSH songs – you don’t really want to mess with them because it’s a RUSH song. But, Closer To The Heart, because it’s acoustic we can have a little more flexibility, so we can do our own little rendition of it. We feel like that’s the safest one to do, and people love it.

What do you think makes you and Kenny work so well together?
When we get into a room together, our minds, we’re like thinking the same thing. We’ll be working on new songs that we’ve never played together before. There might be a weird time change or something, and we already know what’s going to happen without even talking about it. Our chemistry together is really well, we’re kind of on the same mindwaves. We think the same way with writing, and we are both hardworking and want to make music our living. Plus, it’s a lot easier when it’s just two guys compared to five – just bouncing ideas off of each other and it’s a lot of fun just getting in a room and working on an entire song together. I think the passion we both have – and the drive. It takes a lot of drive and hard work. We’re both all about that.

(Interview and NAMM Photo by Ken Morton)

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