XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Simon: We have recently released our new EP titled Eyes On The Prize and currently promoting it online via social media etc…We are also demoing new material for a future release which will probably be a single or another EP.
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Simon: We originally formed way back in 1993 under the name Nebula. So that makes us almost 25 years old! Bit hard to believe sometimes…The Jupiter Zeus era started in 2008 following a very brief Nebula reformation with the original lineup in 2007.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Simon: Purely for the love and passion for heavy rock/metal music. I also had a strong drive to write my own songs which began when i was a child. In the early days we were quite serious and driven and aimed to make a career out of music. These days the focus is more to have fun and to keep writing new songs, and also to evolve musically.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Simon: I started playing guitar in my early teens and then began singing as a young adult. I still regard myself as an average musician but a half decent song writer which kind of makes up for it. It was never about trying to be a virtuoso. It was more about creating well crafted songs, and to this day I am still not ashamed to admit that I can’t read music and my music theory knowledge is quite limited.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Simon: A tough question. Ultimately I hope our music can evoke an emotional response from a music lover whether it be happiness, anger or melancholia. If our fans can feel our passion for music through listening to our songs then that is a real positive for myself and the band.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
Simon: We want keep writing new songs and also revisit/revive songs from the very early days (Nebula era). We are also keen to do some more touring and perform at music festivals. This is not easy for us because touring can be so expensive and we all have day jobs and own families to juggle with.
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Simon: Basically to keep doing what we are doing. Record and release new material and to perform live. When it stops being fun then we can call it quits.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Simon: Ultimately the thrill and buzz that we experience performing live to an enthusiastic and receptive audience cannot be beaten. The energy that we can feed off the crowd is amazing and it enhances the fun factor immensely. That being said, I do enjoy some aspects of recording, that is the production ideas that can be inspired when listening back to the recordings.
XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Simon: These days a lot of my lyrics and themes reflect upon today’s world, that is the mayhem and upheaval that the media likes to promote. I sing about conspiracies, dystopian potentialities of humanity and try to wake up the masses about how much we are conditioned and even mind controlled. So you could say that I am a little bit pessimistic. I also try to convey positive messages such as spiritual themes without trying to be too preachy. I am also transitioning to veganism. I will definitely start writing lyrics on this topic.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Simon: Not really. We recently toured New Zealand and it was a lot of fun. Consuming alcoholic beverages was in full swing after each show which resulted in some silliness and hilarity. This resulted in us going to many karaoke bars. Need I say more. Things got quite messy.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Simon: Probably getting some odd cover song requests from random people in the audience during a show. For example, for us to play a Slim Dusty song. Slim Dusty was and still is a famous and much loved Australian country artist!
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Simon: Yes and no. My father was not happy with my desire to be a working musician. This was purely from the perspective of whether I could generate a good income. Only after I started having children that I started to realise where he “was coming from”. My mother was more supportive because she had a love of music and singing and so she could see those traits being passed on to me.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Simon: This is hard to answer. Generally speaking, it is the songs that have most recently been written. They have a sense of freshness and an enthusiasm. The song “Arise” from our new EP is probably my favourite to play live. From the Nebula era, I still love playing the song “Funeral”, originally released on our debut demo tape in 1994. This song has aged well and we will definitely be recording it again in the very near future.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Simon: Going to high school with my then very good friend and the original drummer of Nebula/Jupiter Zeus (Aidrian Vudrag), we both shared a love of 70s heavy rock/metal for example Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. But after watching The Cult’s “Love Removal Machine” video clip on TV, this classic song exemplified my love for heavy rock. Pure inspiration from hearing this band and many others led to my desire to form a band.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Simon: It would probably be being transported back in time, performing alongside our biggest musical influence, Black Sabbath at their peak in the early/mid 1970s.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Simon: Back in the Nebula days, getting the local support spot for Paradise Lost whom were another big influence for us at the time and still is, was a highlight. But in actual fact, I would regard our longevity as something that I personally celebrate, taking into account that the vast majority of bands inevitably breakup or fade away within a few years after forming.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Simon: One of my other passions is horticulture/gardening. I grew up on a citrus orchard and these days I enjoy growing my own vegetables. I think it is healthy to have other interests, hobbies et cetera, rather than just music. It helps keep you grounded and so there is less chance of becoming burnt out and jaded.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Simon: I can only speak for myself, I play VH 100R Laney Head and a Marshall quad box when performing in my home town (Perth Western Australia). I also play a Maton Mastersound electric guitar which I love immensely. Maton is a much loved Australian guitar brand. However when we tour, I will play through any half decent amp that I can get my hands on, whether I have to borrow or hire. Travelling light is a must when on the road to keep costs down and so we are forced to play through unfamiliar amps. It is not ideal but a harsh reality.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Simon: A very thought provoking question. Generally speaking, I find it heartening that heavy music, whether it be heavy rock, hard rock, heavy metal, punk and numerous sub genres still thriving in various underground scenes. This is despite the commonly heard catch phrase that “Rock is Dead” that gets bandied about from time to time. However, the current commercial pop scene is truly dreadful despite myself liking pop music. Even more disturbing is the imagery and themes that often get promoted in video clips, especially over sexualised overtones eg Nicky Minaj. Enough said… The challenge for up and coming bands is to some how create your own sound which is easier said then done and not wearing your influences on your sleeve too much. Again not easy to do.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Simon: As I said before, I am embracing the veganism movement, primarily from an animal rights perspective but also from a health perspective. It is a new passion. The world would truly be a better place if humans stopped consuming and exploiting animals.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Simon: I would describe Jupiter Zeus to be a metal/rock hybrid band, with elements of doom and stoner rock.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Simon: Thanks for your support and positive vibes and unashamedly I ask all (those who haven’t) to like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jupiterzeusrock/. The power of social media amazes me, especially as a platform for bands to get their music out there. Even despite the many negatives, but I digress.