PROG METAL is not DEAD
South Carolina’s Jupiter Down release a strong new instrumental progressive metal album.
11/13/2017 – Any aspiring guitarist who lived through 1980’s wanted to be Joe Satriani. Don’t deny it. ‘Satch’ virtually created the entire new genre of instrumental rock guitar. I can vividly remembering the very first time that one of the upperclassmen in my usual band of idiots brought a cassette tape in with an image of Marvel’s Silver Surfer on the cover. It was Satriani’s shot heard round the round. It was ‘Surfing With The Alien‘, and my life would be forever changed.
Then this thing from Seattle happened.
What goes up must, must come down, said one famous physicist. The excess of 80’s metal, and it’s commercial success opened the door for many less talented musicians to sprint for a cash grab. The public rebelled, and soon flannel shirts and ‘grunge’ was the next best thing. Olympic sized guitar solos and chops were shunned. Metal, and instrumental rock guitar, went back underground for awhile. You can never kill it, but as MTV began airing more ‘REAL WORLD: NEW YORK‘, and less Metallica videos, it started to go away. (Yes, heavy metal videos in primetime TV was a thing.)
Well, here we are at the end of 2017 and this internet era is firmly rooted in our world. Napster won minor battles in ‘file sharing’ but lost the war. They didn’t just lose, they got Waterloo’ed. Young musicians, perhaps digging through their father’s cassette tapes and CD’s have found a different sound than Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift. They have discovered THE ROCK. It speaks truth to them and they follow. You can’t auto-tune Randy Rhodes epic guitar solo on Mr. Crowley, and despite CRAZYTRAIN becoming common place in every major sporting event now, it wasn’t always that way. You had to earn to your stripes son.
Which brings us to Jupiter Down. They proudly carry the torch of instrumental prog rock and metal boldly forth into the next generation of rockers. Fans of Vai, Satriani and Metal Blade Records will love this album. We caught up with Austin Livingston to get the low down on the new album and the music scene in his native South Carolina.
Slickster Magazine – What does the name Jupiter Down mean, and how did you (collectively) come up with the band name?
Austin Livingston – Jupiter Down came about from my fascination with space and astrology. I’m a Pisces, and Neptune is my ruling planet. Jupiter is also the old ruler of pisces. I create a list of about 20 band names. I had a dream that I should go with Jupiter Down. I woke up the next day and showed the band name list to about 20 people and they all picked Jupiter Down as their favorite off the list lol.
Jupiter Down is a trio, which gives a tremendous amount of sonic space for each member to create within. Yet, some musicians are terrified of this format. For example, when playing shows live, if there is no backing guitar or keyboard, without the meaty chords underneath the solo can sound thin and weak. Dimebag Darrell and Pantera proved once and for all this wasn’t the case. How do you approach the trio format and what are it’s strengths and limitations?
Jupiter Down actually started as my solo project. I originally had the debut record written, and planned to hire out a backing band to record and perform my music. I really valued the creativity the other musicians brought to the record that I decided to chose a band name (Jupiter Down) and make this project a full band effort. The band has grown organically over time piece by piece. We are now a 4 piece with 2 guitars, bass, and drums. We use keyboards on backing tracks to further fill out the sound and create the ambient vibes greatly needed to properly perform some of our songs.
Why has Jupiter Down opted to be an instrumental band? Are there any plans to add vocals in the future?
Ever since I began playing guitar, I wanted to have a band I could write and perform guitar heavy instrumental music. I’ve always wanted to try and follow in the mighty footsteps of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. I’m so thankful that after years of practice and growing Ive found the perfect band of pro players that want the exact same thing! There are future plans to have a special song here and there where we include a guest vocalist. For the time being though, we enjoy saying what we need to say without words 🙂
How is the live music scene in your native South Carolina? Are fans still coming out to support live music?
The live music scene in Charleston, South Carolina has a little bit of everything. There’s tons of indie and Americana artist here with rock and blues sprinkled in. Jupiter Down, to the best of my knowledge is the only progressive instrumental band in Charleston. On one hand thats really good because we stand out, but on the other hand its sometimes difficult to book shows because its hard to find similar bands to fill out a bill.
Follow up question; What are a few of your favorite venues to play live at?
Ok, now that we’ve gotten the typical candy-ass questions out of the way, let’s get to the hard stuff. Why, in your opinion, do women hate prog metal and will this ever change? I mean, come on, if you’ve ever been to a prog metal show and looked around it is one GIGANTIC sausage fest. Maybe one exectption would be a Dream Theater concert. You’ll see some ladies at those concerts. Girlfriends and wives who got drug along to The Astonishing by their metal men. But seriously, is instrumental prog metal by it’s design a turnoff to females and that can’t be changed… or what?
I don’t think women hate prog metal. I just think most of the female population hasn’t been exposed to it. We have several female friends who dig our music and other artist in our genre. Some of our influences like, Angel Vivaldi, Intervals, Plini, etc are currently very successful. However, if you think about it though, the genre is still underground somewhat and not quite mainstream.
Great answer! I can tell you thought about that long and hard. Poor choice of words. How can fans best support Jupiter Down?
Fans can best support us by following us on spotify and adding us to your proggy playlists lol. If you enjoy our music than please purchase our record as we are donating a portion of sales to further create awareness about anxiety and depression. You can find us on facebook, instagram, bandcamp, itunes, and itunes by typing Jupiter Down. You can also visit jupiterdown.com and sign up for our mailing list.
Thanks again for talking to Slickster Magazine. We appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to share your music on the site.
More music here.