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A Dirty Dozen with JAY TARANTINO from ETHERIUS – March 2020

| 12 March 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Progressive metal quartet ETHERIUS are set to return with their first full-length album, Chaos. Order. Renewal., on April 17 and a spring tour with Allegaeon, Fallujah and Entheos. Whet your appetite for Chaos. Order. Renewal. with the album’s first single, “The Rivers of Sand and Blood.” During the writing of Chaos. Order. Renewal., the members of ETHERIUS found the music was taking on a heavier, darker, Middle Eastern vibe. While the band’s first album, Thread of Life, musically told a story of the “three sisters of fate” in ancient Greece, Chaos. Order. Renewal. simply borrows from the imagery of that time period, such as ancient Egyptian gods.” We get guitarist Jay to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

On our new album Chaos. Order. Renewal. we wanted to make the songs sound huge by using a lot of layers in the background. Every song has a bunch of synth and keyboard tracks going on underneath, along with some more industrial type of sounds. So there are things that the listener might not pick up on the first few times hearing it. We were just trying to take what we did with our first release Thread of Life and bring it to the next level.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My parents used to drag me to country concerts all the time when I was younger and I HATED it, haha. But it must have planted a seed in my head because when I was 13, I had a friend who started playing guitar and that kind of pushed me to want to learn an instrument so that we could play together. Some of my other friends had older siblings who were into heavy music, and that’s how I got into metal. There were two moments that made me realize I wanted to be a serious musician- one was hearing Randy Rhoads for the first time. Ozzy Osbourne’s first solo album Blizzard of Ozz blew me away because it was metal, but it had class. The second was seeing Black Sabbath and Pantera together in 1999. I had been playing for a year at that point. Dimebag and Tony Iommi seemed larger than life, and their riffs and solos inspired me so much that I decided from that moment on that I would practice any chance I had.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I always cite Iced Earth as a major influence. My style of riffing is probably more influenced by Jon Schaffer, their guitarist and chief songwriter, than anybody else. He took what guys like James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine were doing, combined it with the melody and epic song structure of Iron Maiden, and took it to another level.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Iced Earth, Al Di Meola, Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy Rhoads, and Death.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would love to collaborate with Ice-T. The last couple of Body Count records have been incredible. Despite his fame and popularity as an actor, he hasn’t lost his edge musically. You can tell he’s a true fan of metal just by how much knowledge of its history he has. And he gets so much respect from guys like Randy Blythe and Max Cavalera that they make appearances on his records. It would be interesting to hear what he would sound like over my riffs.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I would tell someone that our music is all of the best elements of metal that even people who don’t like the genre can get into. And if you like metal, we have everything: prog, death metal, thrash, power metal, etc. There’s something for everyone. Someone called us djent one time, which really makes no sense.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Chris our bass player would probably be the one to cook. And he’d probably put his homemade ghost pepper jelly on everything. I’d be the one getting the drinks in because I can’t cook. And Zaki our drummer, and Jon our second guitarist would probably bring out the acoustic guitars, but since we’re an instrumental band there would be absolutely no singing, haha.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I wouldn’t say I was starstruck, but doing the Angel Vivaldi tour with Gus G. in 2016 was a great experience. At the time Gus was still playing with Ozzy, and here he is playing small clubs with us and there was no ego with that guy. Not to mention he blew everyone away with his playing every single night.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part to me is having the first copy of whatever new album we just finished at the time. Seeing it and actually holding it is the culmination of the hard work and creative struggle we went through to make it a reality. There isn’t a more satisfying feeling. If I could no longer be a musician my dream job would be in the music industry in some capacity. Whether it’s starting a record label, consulting artists, or working as a tech/stage hand.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’ve always wanted an interviewer to ask what drives me to make the kind of music I do. And the answer is that it’s my way of communicating with people. I’m not the most talkative person, or one to talk about emotions very much. I’m very much in my head, so to speak. The music I create does the communicating for me. And it’s great because music crosses over into any culture. You don’t have to speak someone’s language to share a bond over music. Honestly, there are no questions I’m tired of answering. I’m just happy that people are interested in what I have to say.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I would say that I should’ve started putting the wheels in motion for Etherius years earlier. A lot of it was fear, thinking that I couldn’t start a new project and be successful with it on my own. But at the same time, looking back, I probably wasn’t ready. Etherius might not be doing as well as it has if I had started it 5 years earlier. My playing and songwriting improved so much over that time, so I think it worked out for the best.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I would’ve loved to have been involved in the recording sessions for Metallica’s Ride The Lightning. That is my favorite Metallica record, and it was a major influence on my guitar playing early on. At that point, in early ’84, they were one step from being homeless and were still considered too extreme to make any kind of significant step into the mainstream. So it was a make or break record for them. It would’ve been amazing to hear those classic songs being put together, and seeing how ambitious they were to conquer the world.



Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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