Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jesse Smith {ex- Zao, Gods, My Own Halo} interview. February. 2010.

Vista: Could you please introduce yourself? Also, could you let us know what bands you have performed & recorded with, and if you could...What time era's {years} were those?

Jesse: My name is Jesse Smith. I was the drummer for Zao {1994 - 2004}. I did everything in Gods {2004 - 2006}. I played drums on & off for the Underwater {2002 - 2004}. I recorded drums on the Demon Hunter demos. My Own Halo {2007 - current}.

Vista: I want to ask you about your most recent project, My Own Halo. How long have you been involved with this project? Also, is this something that you plan on releasing onto CD or is it just music that you are posting on your site? Is this project just you or is it with other band members?

Jesse: My Own Halo is a solo effort, like Gods was. When I play out, I have a couple of go-to bro's that play with me. I had a developmental deal in 2007, and I just took a break from music...I've just started playing again. I'm writing and recording, as we speak.


Vista: Besides playing drums and singing, what other instruments do you play?

Jesse: I play drums, guitar, piano, voice, etc.

Vista: Thinking back to your youth, what was your first introduction to music? What bands were you into, growing up? Also, what was your first show/concert that you ever attended?

Jesse: Growing up, we listened to a lot of classic rock in my house. Journey, Toto, Led Zeppelin, Kansas...Then it was Michael Jackson...Def Leppard...Joy Division...The Cure...Depeche Mode...Snapcase...Earth Crisis...And so on. Journey was my first concert. I was four years old, I think?

Vista: Who are your influences, drummer-wise? Also, did you ever take any formal training?

Jesse: No formal training. I like simple drummers. The ones that don't need a click...Like the guy from AC/DC...He is a click track.

Vista: I want to ask you about one of your former bands, Gods. How did that project come about? Can you give us a brief history of the band? Also, was the full-length you did with Gods suppose to originally be on a major label?

Jesse: I started writing songs for a new project, when I knew it was time to leave Zao. I got a deal, by myself...And then Rob Horner and I formed a live band. Yes, Gods had a lot of major label interest...But, it just never happened. We toured for about a year, and I called it a day.

Vista: I thought that Gods had a really diverse sound, both musically & vocally. What were some of your main influences during this tie period?

Jesse: I listen to everything. So, I guess it would be hard to say that I had a certain influence...Manson, 60 Eyes, metal, NIN. I guess that's what I was gunning for.

Vista: Did Gods really break up on the date, 06-06-06...Or is that just a myth?

Jesse: 6-6-6.

Vista: When I heard the Gods album {"I See You Through Glass"}, it really was only then that I realized how much influence that you had in the over-all sound of Zao. As far as the melodic parts & the synthesizers. To me, the Gods album sounds like an extension to a Zao album, yet much different in retrospect. My question is, do you ever feel after many years of not being in Zao, that not enough credit is given to you...As far as your over-all contributions to Zao's sound?

Jesse: I wrote a lot of Zao songs, but we all did soooooo? I wish they would have credited my songs on, "The Funeral Of God", but it's o.k...But yeah...I wrote some Zao songs.

Vista: What is your opinion on the direction Zao has gone in & any thoughts on their drummer?

Jesse: Jeff Gretz is a great drummer.

Vista: What is your fondest memory from your time in Zao?

Jesse: That we were original...We paved the way for more bands than you know...But we really loved it for awhile...And during those times, it was special.

Vista: I'm not sure what your relationship is, as far as you & anyone from Zao...But would you ever consider rejoining them?

Jesse: I will not be joining Zao again.

Vista: I had heard that at one point, when you were in Zao, that you guys were gonna sign to Century Media Records or Sanctuary Records. Is there any truth to that?

Jesse: Century Media, yes...Sanctuary, yes...Several majors told us, if we would get a singer, they would sign us.

Vista: Did you ever tour Europe while you were in Zao or Gods?

Jesse: Yes, I've toured Europe. It was great...I want to go back. I broke three of my ribs, partying with Dillinger! Hahaha.

Vista: In your opinion, what's your favorite metal, hardcore, or metalcore album of all-time?

Jesse: Carcass, "Heartwork" is my favorite metal record.

Vista: After all these years of writing and recording, can you pick one song that you are the most proud of...That makes you say, "wow, that kicks ass"!? Is there one song, in your mind that sticks out?

Jesse: I wrote a song called, "Diamond" for a movie soundtrack. I really like the lyrics to that song. Nothing I've ever written has made me go, "Wow"...Just a copy of a copy. But, I like that song.

Vista: Outside of music, what are some of your hobbies & interests? I know that you have two kids & I'm more than sure that is more time consuming than people realize, but what are your interests & hobbies outside of music?

Jesse: I have two beautiful kids...I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend...I paint...Work on my mini's...I dunno...Try to be happy. I work in the energy business, so it takes up a lot of my time. My hobby is staying out of trouble...Listening more.

Vista: What is your take on the current hardcore/metalcore scene? Is it even something that you give a shit about?

Jesse: I'm sorry to say that, no...I don't really give a shit about it...But that doesn't mean it's still not rad...When I was younger, nothing meant more to me, than the bands I loved...Waiting for new records. Driving way too far to see them play...It was different before. You couldn't steal shit four months before it came out {on the internet}...I do really like that one band, Protest The Hero...August Burns Red is good.

Vista: Assuming that you have an Ipod, what are the last couple of bands that you've put into it?

Jesse: The new...Him...Hot Chip...Drake...Royksopp.

Vista: One last question. On your Myspace site, it lists that you are signed to, "Shitbag Records"!? What is their distribution like? Where the hell did that name come from?

Jesse: I'm a shitbag...Hahaha.

Vista: Thanks for the interview. Final words?

Jesse: Thanks man. Take care.

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