I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Grant MacKenzie of Toronto’s Jupiter Hollow. I have gone on at great length about my love of their latest EP, Odyssey, Io to spend some time with MacKenzie (and, eventually Kenny Parry) was a great chance to talk all things Jupiter Hollow and Canadian. Enjoy our totally cool Skype session!
Thanks for spending some time with SkullsnBones.
Our pleasure. Looking forward to chatting
Myself, as well. I have to tell you, I was literally a few minutes into Odyssey before I was emailing the powers that be begging to interview you guys. Holy shit. You prepared to be superstars?
Well thank you! We are definitely prepared to make music a career of ours! Been a goal since the beginning. Glad you’re liking it so far. And if superstars meaning travelling the world performing to thousands of prog fans … then we’re in!
Jeez, where to begin. OK. Congrats on Odyssey being released and the big intro show in Toronto. This must be a pretty exciting week for you.
Thanks, appreciate it! It’s been a lot of hard work finally getting to the big release date! We’re expecting a pretty good crowd in Toronto which is exciting. But little do people know we get t0 sleep all week preparing for it! Plus, just got news we’re performing on the National Post early February which is insane! Canada-wide exposure coming right up!
Nice. Flat out slumber until 8 p.m. Saturday, roll out of bed and hit the stage at 9 p.m. Already rock stars in the making.
Oh yeah, we’ll try to rest up the night before!
Canada … America’s attic. Full of cool stuff we forget is up there until we end up going in there every couple of years. Not America’s hat!
Hey, Kenny said it not me. I’m actually in LA next week! For the NAMM show. It’s great there, (and I’m) super stoked to be back to the hat. Out of the hat.
Yep, knew you were headed to NAMM, which must be a major boner for the techno geek that you are.
Oh, it certainly is! I went there last year as an Ernie Ball Music Man artist … left as also being a JH Audio artist last year, so who knows what this year will bring!
More free schwag and t-shirts?
I hope so!
No kidding. Why else would you travel all the way to Los Angeles but for free guitar strings and picks?
Ah, no other reasons at all! You meet everyone at NAMM. It’s so cool! Definitely the place to be
OK, let’s get some of the obvious things out of the way. For me, my personal favorite track off of Odyssey is “Deep In Space” for a couple of reasons. I love the bluesy slide guitar lick at the beginning which is so different from the rest of the song. And, in follow up, it may be the best Rush song Geddy Lee never wrote.
Glad you like it man! It’s usually the first song on our live set the kick things off with a punch. I was also sitting here with my acoustic warming up with that actually. Yeah, we’ve heard people say its got like a bluesy country twang to it gone metal which is a funny way to put it! And we’ve been getting that a lot! People really point out similar tonal qualities in Kenny’s voice to Geddy. Not a bad thing, I guess! We love Rush but never intended to sound like them, or anyone else for that matter
And, of course, that is the 800 pound gorilla in the room for any Canadian band. Rush. I don’t think any other group is so connected on a national level as Rush with Canada, besides the almighty Tragically Hip. Am I wrong in assuming that when it comes to being an up and coming Canadian musician it’s a love or hate relationship with Rush?
Oh, for sure! For Canada, first to mind is Rush always! Would’ve been great seeing them live, too bad they retired. And The Hip, Billy Talent, all them folks … too many to list off. Beiber. Just kidding
Dude. First time I saw them was 1977 opening for Thin Lizzy and Blue Oyster Cult.
Damn. Lucky you … I wish! That was their prime. Don’t have many bands like them around anymore. True originality and didn’t care what anyone thought they just did their own thing and broke the rules. That’s what prog is all about
Like the t-shirts say, “I’M OLD. I SAW ALL THE COOL BANDS.”
I need one saying “I’m young, I’ve seen like one of the cool bands!” I just saw Guns N’ Roses recently. They were rad. One of the bands that first got me into electric guitar. And U2 a few times. I love all the old rock. Lucky Kenny has seen Tool like twice I think. But they haven’t come back to Canada in years
Cripes. U2 played my college cafeteria their first US tours.
What? Jeez, you’ve lived quite the life then! That would’ve been something else. Playing the colleges would be a great idea for a tour!
Was about to bring up the Tool/A Perfect Circle comparisons. Love your acoustic version of “Three Libras” and definitely get the Maynard influence in your live performances. How difficult is to do your stuff live with just the two of you switching off between vocals and instruments?
As you know, Kenny does drums, vocals and synth, and I do guitar, bass and synth, but for live we do vocals and guitar (live), and the other instruments are on tracks. We also have this synced up with live projections now to bring in a new element. At first people don’t know what to expect, but once people see our show they get it and walk away seeing something totally new. I always joke around saying we’re like progressive rock DJ’s … except we actually record all the music ourselves and perform our key parts live. We just started as a side project and didn’t want to rely on other members, so we started doing this and people have really gravitated towards it and accepted it! Oh, and we do live piano. So in a way, we’re kinda like Twenty One Pilots with the live setup.
Trust me, Boss, you guys are more badasse than Twenty One Pilots. What you guys can pull off with just two guys is pretty impressive.
Thanks a lot dude, it’s really fun to play our stuff live. And we love technology. But, I can’t stand Axe-FX. I will use computers for tracks and projections, but gotta keep the old school amp and pedals setup for my guitar rig.
Good point. For as much as a techno-geek as I can tell you are, equipment-wise, you definitely maintain an incredibly organic feel in your playing, which I think is what is so amazing about you guys. Ridiculous scientific equipment geeks but majorly in tune with the roots of the music you love.
Definitely! Thank you. We try to do things as live as possible in studio. And there are no triggers or samples on the drums. It’s all a mic’d up acoustic kit! So everything you hear is actually being produced by real raw instruments. And a lot of bands now use a program that aligns everything up perfectly so nothing is off a beat at all. I forget what its called, but we don’t do that. We just make sure to record it as best we can so we don’t sound like robots, which a lot of bands do in a way.
That’s what I thought was interesting in some of the live performances, Kenny doing vocals and not playing drums. Which is why I thought the logistics of you playing live must be an incredibly well-balanced act.
Yes, definitely. We definitely gotta keep on cues. Have to be as tight as the tracks. But Kenny will be doing a live drum solo this Saturday! First time live drums will be heard at a Jupiter Hollow show, so that’ll be cool!
Get the fuck out!
Yeah. It’s going to be nuts. He is an insane drummer.
Well, let’s be honest. He’s a bit insane regardless of being a drummer.
Yes, he is a very insane dude, in a good way!
Yet, he had marvelous dancing rhythm for being a caucasian Canadian.
Yes he does, he actually just showed up here at the house finally!
Yes he just arrived. If you want to call us on here after that would be cool too. Could give you a little acoustic song live.
Holy fuck. Who is better than you guys? I will put off my first date with the hot redhead laying in my bed waiting for a dinner out at a great Mexican restaurant later just for that. And, that shows you how much I dig you guys that you take a precedence over margaritas and enchiladas.
No! Don’t sacrifice the ginger! Kenny said he loves gingers and she probably looks a lot better than us. But we’ll still do a quick song for ya if you want!
Bro, gingers are a temporary thing. Jupiter Hollow are forever!
Well played man. That’s awesome.
What can I say. You guys are destined to be fucking monsters.
That’s quite the destiny!!
Good looking talented bastards like you? Get ready to have more money than you can buy toys to spend it on.
We wish! Music costs a lot of money up front, so a return on investment would be nice eventually!
Where can I buy a Jupiter Hollow t-shirt?
On our website http://www.jupiterhollow.ca !
Fuck. I am pretty convinced to get a Jupiter Hollow tattoo. So, you guys will be stuck together.
Well that’s pretty hardcore. I got one! Ready for a call?? Kenny is antsy to sing.
Totally! Kenny is such an artiste.
King Rhino was then treated to a live acoustic performance just for myself. Now, that, ladies and gentlemen? Is a cool and classy thing to do. Kudos and a big future to Jupiter Hollow! Buy Odyssey here!