Heavy rock veterans Jupiter Zeus give us an in-depth behind-the-scenes tour of their studio, providing all the nitty-gritty details on how their latest album came to be.
Heavy rock outfit Jupiter Zeus are veterans of the Aussie heavy music scene. From the release of their debut EP back in 2011 to their third and latest album this year, they have a wealth of knowledge and expertise under their belt. They are known for pushing the boundaries of psychedelic doom with massive riffs and ethereal vocals.
Today we get a behind-the-scenes look at the studio gear that they used to record their latest album Frequency Prison. Each member allowed us a personal insight into all the nitty-gritty details of creating the record, including of course details on the gear they used to get their unique Jupiter Zeus sound.
Studio drum kit and album process with Aaron
The drum kit I played for the recording is a Pearl Masters custom kit that was built in 2001. I had it re-skinned because I liked the sound of it. It’s a seven-piece kit with a 24″ x 18″ kick drum and a Joey Jordison signature snare with 10″, 12″, 14″, 16″, and 18″ toms. The cymbals I used are a mix of Sabian and Rech cymbals. The reason for the mix of cymbals is that Sabian cymbals have a thick sound and Rech cymbals have a thinner sound. At the time of the album’s preproduction, I was listening to Tomahawk, Tool, and Lamb of God, and I think Tomahawk had the most influence on me at the time. I start by listening to Simon play the guitar as well as the vocals, then Jeremy would play his bass parts, and I would try and blend different sections of them all together. I would mainly follow Simon’s guitars but would follow Jeremy’s bass for other parts. Overall, I am happy with what we produced.
When we recorded the album, we did it at our own studio, the VHS Rehearsal Rooms here in Perth. It was just four rooms for bands to rehearse in and had been like that for 25 years. We had purchased it two years ago and turned two of the rooms into a studio so we could record ourselves to create our own style and not feel under pressure to get in and out of the recording, especially in the pre-recording phase. It’s now called VHS Rehearsal Studio, where we could take our time and experiment with the songs we had; we could add or take out what we thought worked and what didn’t. We asked Rex Hancock to engineer the album, as we had worked with him on the previous album (Central Ave) and were very happy with the outcome. The biggest lesson we learned in writing and producing this album was to not be afraid to try new things but also to keep it simple. Rex had said to the band: “Don’t be afraid to experiment.” Whatever you’re thinking, just go with it.
Guitars with Simon
The amps I used for the recording of Frequency Prison were Laney VH100R heads. My all-time favourite valve amplifier heavy and very loud. I’ve been recording and playing gigs with this amp for nearly 30 years. It has served me well.
Orange Tiny Terror mashup is a little beast with a great valve tone This amp is only used in the studio.
Katana Artist Mark combination which is a surprisingly good amp considering that I have never been a huge fan of modelling amps. All of the amps were played through a Marshall JCM 900 quad box.
Guitars used were 2 electric Maton Mastersound guitars, which are my favourite Australian-made guitars, so highly regarded, that I own three of them; but have only used the two modern versions; the other is a vintage model.
Maton electric/acoustic EM325C This was used in the songs Silent Screams and Chaos Reigns Supreme. I am also a big fan of Maton acoustic guitars!
Bass with Jeremy
A sound that Simon’s song requires sits with my sound. During the recording process, I would play a verse or two with an Eden bass amplifier and Eden quad box microphone to the system, then record the refined sound. Extra tracks would be recorded with my Boss GT 18 for my ears, in general, to fatten and excite some moments along the way. I am a Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd bass man. The Beatles came first; Paul McCartney, after listening for a while, just seemed to stand out and draw my ears. KISS also came to my ears; they blew me away; everything was to the senses; they are gods. Of course, this was yesterday.
I play an Epiphone Thunderbird bass guitar on all the tracks, with effects on and off. If I was given the ok, I would overdub lines with my Fender Jazz. It has a soft, thick tone, and I then turn the tone knob off. Experimentally, I will always do too much and then simplify. The next album that is in the works will be more layered and have more moments of experimenting with bass riffing and using synthesiser waveforms.
After the recording process was completed, I could have done more and listened and played something different with this album.
To me, it’s the song that brings the muse. Simon plays the song live with myself and Aaron during rehearsal, and I find the riff, then the demo, and then the experimenting of riffs and sounds is jammed out.
You can stream Jupiter Zeus’ album Frequency Prison via Spotify below.