Interview with Jasun Tipton of A Dying Planet – songwriting, guitars, and keys
Interview by Kira Levine
Hello! Hope that you are keeping safe and well. Please state your name and position in A Dying Planet.
I’m Jasun Tipton the songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist of A Dying Planet.
Let’s start with your early days as a musician. What made you want to create music, and start a band?
Hearing bands like Rainbow, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden just resonated with me. I would grab a tennis racket like many do (young kids days) and air guitar to all the guitar solos I enjoyed. My brother and I wanted to form an original band that played heavy, melodic, dark and intricate music.
Where you given any words of wisdom by others in the field?
Just be true to yourself when it comes to the music. Create music from your mind, body and soul.
When did A Dying Planet form, and how did you all meet?
Paul was in the band Sun Caged and we did some show together (Zero Hour) in Europe and (both bands) supported Liquid Tension at BarFest in San Francisco. Paul has an amazing voice and he’s so great to work with. I send him all the sounds, lyrics and melodies and he sends it back to me better than I can imagine. He has an amazing ear as I haven’t had to change one thing he’s done vocally.
I met Marco at one of his performances and obviously he’s a very talented progressive metal drummer. Not only is he a fantastic drummer but such a great guy. Very, very easy-going. He told me he was a fan of Zero Hour and if I ever wanted to hit out some material to hit him up. He did an amazing job on this release as he really put his awesome style and stamp into the music.
I met Brian at one of the music stores I give lessons at. Super talented guy as he repairs instruments for a living. I love is playing on this release. His bass playing adds so much color to our music. Plus he does a good job making me laugh.
What is the progressive metal scene like in Northern California?
Unfortunately there’s not much of a scene this way for progressive metal. We’re a rare breed this way. However, we do have the support of the local prog heads this way.
The music of A Dying Planet is quite uplifting in nature, compared to the lyrical themes explored. What inspires the band’s songwriting?
Heavy, spacey, melodic tones that captures the feel of A Dying Planet. The lyrics are about what’s going on the world and the challenges we face as a society. A change is in need for the future. I’ll do my best to give you a somewhat short version of the lyrics.
“When The Skies Are Grey” is about the homeless problems we have around the world. “Honoring Your Name” is about how a loved one leaves the family for an uncertain amount of time and how the families try to cope with their absence. Honoring them everyday with hope of reuniting. “Hope For Tomorrow” is about holding it together through the difficult moments to endure the light of happiness. “Embrace” is about escaping genocide. Seeking new land to embrace new beginnings. “Far From Home” is on the sci-fi edge. A planet is invaded and only one escapes to find themselves waking up to a completely different world. Does he risk being seen in hope of acceptance? “A Father’s Love” is written especially for my brother and his little boy Jasun.
“Where The Skies Are Grey” will be released through Lifeforce Records on the 17th of September. Did you use a record label with your first release?
The first release was self financed by the band. Luckily we had vendors that wanted to help us distribute the material. So we have vendors in Europe and the States taking copies and reordering.
The upcoming release was mixed and mastered by Adair Daufembach. How was
working with him, and where was it recorded?
Adair was fantastic to work with. He brought his fantastic production to the final result. The guitars, keys and bass was recorded at my studio. Drums was recorded at Marco’s studio and the vocals were recorded at Paul’s studio.
When The Skies Are Grey track-listing:
1. When The Skies Are Grey
2. Honoring Your Name
3. Hope For Tomorrow
5. Far From Home
6. A Father’s Love
Do you have a favourite track from “Where The Skies Are Grey”?
I’m a big fan of all the tracks and my favorite track changes day by day. “Embrace” is the long artsy track that has many twists and turns. It also features Derek Sherinian on keyboards. “Far From Home” is another artsy track that paints a science fiction adventure. “Honoring Your Name” is an in-your-face riff with an addictive chorus. “Hope For Tomorrow” shows the amazing vocals and warmth of Paul Adrian Villarreal. “When The Skies Are Grey” and “A Father’s Love” shows off our very impressive rhythm section of Brian Hart and Marco Bicca. It’s a very, very complete release.
Who created the album cover artwork?
Henry Moreno did the artwork and illustrations for When The Skies Are Grey. He did a phenomenal job. We did get some help with approval images from Jim Campbell and Chris Tait.
Are a A Dying Planet planning to play live any time soon? Where would your dream tour be and why?
Once this pandemic is behind us the band is definitely into going out and performing. Dream tours would opening for Iron Maiden, Dream Theater and this list could go on and on. We’d love to perform all over the world. Europe, Japan, The States, etc.
Would you recommend being signed or having a distributor to bands just starting out?
The band is very pleased to be with Lifeforce Records. Stefan and everyone at Lifeforce Records have been very kind to us. I would say it depends on the label and situation of the group. If you have a good feel and relationship with a label it’s very positive then.
Are there any other bands or projects you are/were in that you would like to talk about?
The other band I’m involved with is Zero Hour. There will be some upcoming announcements made about the new release later this year. It’s a very exciting time.
What do you enjoy doing outside of music?
Spending time with family, going out to the gym and enjoying the beautiful weather with a nice iced tea.
If you could create your dream supergroup, which famous musicians would you choose and why?
That would be tough. I’ll make it easy on myself and say I want a Blue Murder reunion.
Which records would you choose if you could only listen to five for the rest of your life?
Pat Metheny – Travels
Journey – Frontiers
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
Dream Theater – Images and Words
Blue Murder – Blue Murder
How does the rest of the year look for A Dying Planet?
We’re writing for our next release and it’s coming together great. Most importantly we’re waiting for this virus to clear up as we’d like to get and perform for the people when everything is safe to do so.
Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview! Is there anything else that you want say to our readers?
You can pre-order the CD and limited vinyl through Lifeforce Records Bandcamp. Please stay up to date with us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
A Dying Planet are:
Jasun Tipton – guitars, keys
Paul Adrian Villarreal – vocals
Brian Hart – bass
Marco Bica – drums