DATE OF INTERVIEW:
15th July 2011
METAL DISCOVERY: Firstly, I have to say that ‘DeEvolution’ is a rather awesome album, and quite a musical departure in one sense from what we’ve become used to with Zero Hour, particularly surprising with three members of Zero Hour past and present in the band! Being a renowned progressive musician, did you feel it was time to progress and exercise your art in different musical contexts?
JASUN: Yeah, I wanted to step into a more spacey, melodic vibe. Once I knew Troy was going to have the ulnar nerve submuscular transposition surgery, I knew the writing and recording process would be very different. This pushed me in the direction of building my own home recording studio. I was now going to be the person who writes all the music and creating it while tracking it at my house. ZH would be Troy and I coming up with material in the rehearsal room. So this was a very different process which creates a different sound and a new band.
(Jasun Tipton on progressing beyond the Zero Hour aesthetic)
"I felt very free to experiment with Cynthesis. Cynthesis is a tall glass of water for me... very refreshing."
Interview by Mark Holmes
Official Cynthesis MySpace:
Thanks to Karl Demata for arranging the interview.
With widely respected American prog-metallers Zero Hour seeming to disappear off the radar the past couple of years, it's transpired that much has been happening behind the scenes. Summer 2011 saw the release of Cynthesis' debut album, 'DeEvolution', a new project masterminded by ZH's virtuoso axeman Jasun Tipton who composed all of the music for the release. Alongside Jasun, the recording lineup of this musically innovative venture features his twin brother and ZH bassist Troy, original ZH frontman Erik Rosvold on vocals and sticksman Sean Flanegan from neo-prog rockers Enchant, with Rosvold also assuming the role of lyricist. Metal Discovery sought to find out more about this exciting new project and what is, effectively, a stylistic departure from what one might expect from a Tipton-related project...
Cynthesis - promo shot
Photograph copyright © 2011 [uncredited]
JASUN TIPTON; ERIK ROSVOLD
Review of DeEvolution:
MD: Did you feel more “free” to experiment stylistically by not working under the Zero Hour banner?
JASUN: Yeah, I felt very free to experiment with Cynthesis. Cynthesis is a tall glass of water for me... very refreshing.
MD: The song structures are generally more geared towards invoking emotion through some truly sublime melodies and giving the music enough breathing space to achieve that, but there are occasional bursts of musical virtuosity from Troy and yourself which you’re quite famed for, of course. Were the more virtuosic passages a case of living up to listener expectations by putting a trademark Tipton stamp on some of the songs or would you say the technical widdling evolved more naturally in the songwriting process?
JASUN: What's nice about Cynthesis is we're not limited to anything. Troy, Sean and Erik are amazing musicians. With those cats I can texture whatever I want in the material. The writing process flowed so easily for me as at times it felt like it was writing itself. The process felt very natural.
MD: From reading the press info, ‘DeEvolution’ is said to be a centred around a story of a ruling elite who set out to dominate the masses through various manipulative ideologies – is this supposed to be just a story as played out in the lyrics or, by extension, more metaphorically reflective/critical of any aspect/s of our contemporary society?
ERIK: Contemporary or not, unfortunately, this game is being played out over and over again. It is definitely rooted within a society gone wrong.
MD: It feels like the music’s actually telling a story throughout each of the tracks – was it your aim to try and marry words with sound to convey all the lyrical themes rather than a series of random compositions?
ERIK: Yes, that was the idea to try to fit the story line within the given tracks. Some songs just lend themselves to certain lyrical themes.
MD: It’s been said that ‘DeEvolution’ is just the first in a planned series of albums under the Cynthesis moniker – will the same story be developed on future Cynthesis releases, or is it intended for these to be based around entirely different concepts?
ERIK: Our second disc 'ReEvolution' is an extension of the first, 'DeEvolution'. The third will most likely not be a concept album.
MD: Reuniting with Zero Hour’s original vocalist Erik Rosvold for Cynthesis, albeit the music’s distinctly different, was there the same sort of vibe working together again as when you played with him in Zero Hour originally?
JASUN: What I like about Erik is his love for the music. When he's into the music he's passionate about it. He puts his heart and soul into the writing process and his singing just pulls you in. He's there excited to create music. That's big in my book because it is all about the music. He's not egotistical.
MD: I gather that when you were writing the music you had Erik in mind as vocalist. Did you have a “Plan B” if Erik turned down your invitation?
JASUN: Erik was the only person I was thinking of and the only person I wanted to have sing on this. That's the honest truth. No plan B.
MD: If Erik had stayed in Zero Hour all those years ago, do you think the band would have evolved, or you would’ve wanted it to evolve, more in the direction of what you’re now doing with Cynthesis?
JASUN: I don't even know what would have happened. 'Towers' and 'Metamorphosis' are amazing CDs we put together and were successful in the genre. The thing is now we wouldn't be doing CDs like that. Our vibe for what we want to create is different now. So much has gone on since that time and we're just focused on the present.
MD: I gather you built your own recording studio in Zero Hour downtime, which is where you recorded the majority of the album, apart from drums – was it generally a much more laidback experience in not having the pressure of time/cost restraints of booking studio time elsewhere?
JASUN: It's a laid back experience now that I've got some hours under my belt. When I was first getting the studio up and running it was stressful for me. I really didn't have any experience recording and so I traded guitar lessons with my buddy Matt for recording lessons. That was a big, big help. Having Dino in my corner helping me out with tones and the many questions I asked. With my brother down I knew in order for this train to keep moving I had to put together a recording studio. I'm so happy for doing it now but I took some bumps and bruises a long the way.
MD: I seem to recall that when I last saw Zero Hour at ProgPower 2008 (a totally fantastic show, by the way!) Troy was playing in a lot of pain and was due to undergo surgery a short while after that gig for some sort of tendonitis related condition. How is he now?
JASUN: Yeah, Troy had the ulnar nerve submuscular transposition surgery. He's been working hard to get back into playing shape. He's doing much better, playing about 40 minutes a day now.
MD: I gather Troy recorded all bass for ‘DeEvolution’, rather impressively, in more or less one take – is it currently still painful for him to play for prolonged periods of time?
JASUN: Yeah, Troy was very weak when recording the material. He had a major set-back after recording Cynthesis.
MD: The guy who mixed and co-produced the album, Dino Alden, performed bass on one track, ‘The Edifice Grin’ – is this one Troy didn’t have time to play on during his recording session?
JASUN: Dino did an amazing job and Troy was thrilled Dino could help us with his talents. Troy had a major set back doing the other Cynthesis songs. He reagrivated the nerve and muscle and basically had nothing left. Dino did us a big favor by doing the track. Troy didn't play bass for 7 months after the tracking incident.
MD: I’ve read that Cynthesis has now become your main focus and priority over Zero Hour - has Zero Hour been put on hold indefinitely or do you have any plans to record new material any time soon under the Zero Hour name?
JASUN: We don't have any plans for Zero Hour at this time.
MD: Troy and yourself have another new project on the go with Mike Guy called Abnormal Thought Patterns, an instrumental band I gather – I took a listen to the first part of ‘Velocity and Acceleration’ on your MySpace which sounds amazing. Is an album release imminent?
JASUN: Yes we're very excited about Abnormal Thought Patterns. This is going to be an insane CD. You can check our FB page at... [link below]... and we have a sample up on... [link below]. We'll have news to share soon with a release.
MD: Okay, my final question – what do you want to say to people who will be reading this to encourage them to check out Cynthesis… why should they run out and buy the album?
JASUN: Check out our track 'Incision' at this link. If you dig this track you're going to dig the whole CD. Please visit our FB page... [link below]... and hit the like button so we can keep you updated on the band.
MD: A big cheers for taking time out to do this interview, and massive good luck with the album!
JASUN: Thanks so much man and appreciate your help spreading the word about Cynthesis.
Official Cynthesis Facebook:
Official Abnormal Thought Patterns Facebook:
Official Abnormal Thought Patterns sample: