Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Etherius.
Jay Tarantino: Etherius was formed in January 2017. When I came home from the “Operation Domination” tour with Angel Vivaldi and Gus G. in the fall of 2016, I wanted to make a solo album, so I started putting the songs together. Fast forward to January 2017 when I ran into Zaki at the NAMM show in Anaheim, we discussed working on a project together. I sent him the demos I had of the songs which eventually became Thread of Life and he and I immediately started jamming on the songs and working on arrangements.
Chris came into the band soon after. I had played in a previous band with him for 5 or 6 years and I knew his style would fit the music perfectly. I had known John, our second guitarist for a few years and knew he was one of the better guitarists in the NJ music scene. We asked him to contribute a guest solo to the song “Thread of Life” and started jamming with him. We recorded Thread of Life last Summer and started working on brand new material as well.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for Thread Of Life.
When we started jamming as a band, I had already written the music for Thread of Life, with the exception of the song “March and Defy.” There was a riff that I came up with during a rehearsal one day and we finished writing it in a few hours. The songs came from riffs that I had accumulated over a period of several years. Some even go back as far as 2009/2010. A few sections even started off as etudes(melodic exercises)that I would come up with to work on certain techniques on the guitar. I would put riffs together and program drum ideas that I heard in my head.
I presented the demos I made to everyone and gave Zaki and Chris the freedom to interpret the music in their own way. Recording was a breeze because we spent so much time in pre-production. The only things that changed when we started recording were a lot of my lead ideas. Angel Vivaldi co-produced along with Zaki and I, and he made great suggestions for a lot of my original leads. So as a result, a lot of them changed. I think it was all for the better.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
I would say its a mix of thrash and power metal mixed with progressive metal and old school neoclassical guitar. It’s something that non-musicians can get into as well because there are plenty of catchy melodies and riffs. The songs are shorter in length, and we get our point across.
What led you to go the independent route for the EP release?
I’ve seen a lot of independent musicians have great success without the need for a record label. We like being able to make decisions without any outside interference. I wouldn’t rule out a label contract in the future, but right now we need to establish ourselves by our own merit first.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Honestly, I have no expectations because I know it will be a letdown if they aren’t met. My goal is to reach as many people as possible with this release and establish ourselves within the music industry as a serious band with the chops and the songs to be successful. I want the music to connect with people in a way that my favorite music connects with me.
What has been your most memorable Etherius live show?
We just played a show recently with Angel Vivaldi that was incredible. It was the last show of his recent tour and the response we received was beyond what I ever expected. Having people tell you it was one of the best shows they’ve ever seen is a beautiful feeling.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
No touring plans at the moment, although I would like to do some touring in 2019. Our next show is in NYC on September 2nd at a club called the Mercury Lounge with two amazing bands: The Astral Cadence and Book of Harmony.
How did you get started in music?
When I was 13, I had a friend who started playing guitar. That made me want to learn the drums so that we could form a band. My parents wouldn’t let me have a drum set because they didn’t want me practicing during the day when my father was trying to sleep. So they gave me an acoustic guitar instead. They paid for my guitar lessons on the condition that I would practice every day. It was around this time that I started getting into bands like Pantera and Metallica.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Randy Rhoads was a major influence early on. His playing on the Tribute album lit a fire that made me start taking the guitar seriously. Dimebag Darrell was another early influence. And of course Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax. This then led me to discovering Dream Theater, Symphony X, and Yngwie Malmsteen. I was hooked!
What was the first metal concert you attended?
February 5, 1999: Black Sabbath and Pantera at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ. I was 14 and a half and that concert left such an impression on me. It was loud, but the heaviness of the music resonated with me in a way that is still with me to this day. Watching Tony Iommi and Dimebag, two of metal’s greatest players, inspired me to start looking for other musicians to play with.
Seen any good movies/DVDs lately?
I just watched the Iron Maiden: Early Years DVD in it’s entirety. It’s fascinating to see how many lineup changes there were in the very beginning, but how committed Steve Harris was to his vision of what he wanted the band to eventually become. Very inspiring if you’re looking to be a serious musician.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
There’s a band from the Boston area called Seven Spires. They released a record last year called Solveig that I listen to frequently. The production and songwriting are top notch.
(interview published August 25, 2018)
Watch Etherius – “The Inevitable End” Video