“Agenda 21” by Zero Hour is a good comeback for the band after 14 years of silence, where their songwriting engine is intact and they pick up where they left off many years ago. There is the idea of continuing to improve and continue within that known and progressive journey that the band has had since the 90s. Where the music follows those rude and quite dynamic precepts of their mythical albums. For this reason, Metallerium interviewed Jasun Tipton, the band's guitarist since the beginning of the band.
Para leer la entrevista en español: Entrevista a Zero Hour
Metallerium: Starting with the history of the band. According to the information on the internet. I saw that Zero Hour was born in 1993. But you delayed your S/T album to 1999. For that, ¿What happened to delay the first album 6 years after the formation of the band? And why did you decide to change the name of the first album to “Metamorphosis” and include three songs in 2003?
Zero Hour: We did plenty of demos during that time but we didn’t quite have the Zero Hour sound we were looking for. 1997 is when we made big strides in having our sound. It’s a process and you just know when it’s right. We were very meticulous in the writing process.
Metallerium: From S/T album to “The Towers of Avarice” (2001). The growth of the band in two years was amazing. Then the next albums like “A Fragile Mind” (2005), “Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond” (2006), and “Dark Deceiver” (2008) continued growing the sound of the band to more technical staff and personal sound. Therefore, after 30 years of existence with Zero Hour. How did you manage the evolution of the band during those years? all process was thought? or was it a natural evolution of the band?
Zero Hour: At that time, we had an identity as a group and somewhat of formula you might say. We always wanted to branch out and bring new elements to further our sound. 2005 was a little unnatural because we were at a stall with the vocals and the business ended. The other albums had more of a natural feel and progression to the group. “Dark Deceiver” (2008). definitely had a lot going on with the material.
Metallerium: After the release of “Dark Deceiver” (2008). The band decided to split up Zero Hour for 12 years. But after your last announcements in 2020 and return with a new album this 2022. What happened at that time to split up the band? and was this pandemic have to do with the reborn of Zero Hour? And why are you the delay 14 years to release a new record?
Zero Hour: My brother Troy had ulnar nerve entrapment surgery. His bone popped while doing bicep curls and it crushed his ulnar nerve. Troy wasn’t getting any blood flow to his arm. The surgery required taking the nerve and moving it to his bicep muscle. The nerve itself regenerated but my brother was dealing with muscle atrophy in his bicep muscle. With the legato playing he did and motoring with the double kick segments were just too much for his arm to deal with. Which is a big part of the Zero Hour sound.
Metallerium: Relating to the last question. Is this new one “Agenda 21” was written during the pandemic? O was it before? Did you have trouble recording the album for the quarantines, blocked countries, etc?
Zero Hour: Some of it was written before and during the pandemic. Luckily the recording process for the guitars, drums, and bass came together quickly. We didn’t have any issues with studios or recording time. The vocals took a while and we had to work some issues out sonically. Once that was taken care of the process flow much better.
Metallerium: One of the aspects that caught my attention was the label change. Cuz your all-time period label was Sensory Records and now you signed with a classic one as Frontiers Music is it. Were Sensory Records cross for your mind to release this "Agenda 21"? Or was it directly with Frontiers Records since the beginning of the written process? How was the transition of the labels? Cuz Frontiers Music is bigger than Sensory Records. And they have great bands on their roster.
Zero Hour: I have a great relationship with Ken Golden and Sensory. We would chat from time to time and we had some discussions but My focus was all about getting the material dialed as opposed to the business side. My buddy Wayne Joyner (An amazing talent who did the Technocracy video) was instrumental in putting things together for Zero Hour and Frontiers. He introduced me to Elio of Frontiers is a great guy and shared much enthusiasm for the band. It came together like that and I look forward to a continued partnership with Frontiers.
Metallerium: Talking about this “Agenda 21”. The band returns with great stuff on it, great music, progressive metal in your veins. Therefore, why are you select the name “Agenda 21” as the name of the album? And can we relate each song name as items on the agenda of our world? Cuz one-name song like “Memento Mori” is very related to the metal world. ¿What is the meaning of the concept for you?
Zero Hour: From the United Nations: "Agenda 21 is one of the major documents that came out of United Nations’ Rio Summit on Environment and Development in 1992.
It is a comprehensive plan of action, recommended by UN summit to be taken globally, nationally, and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, governments, and major groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment." It was planned for execution in 2021 and there is also now an Agenda 30.
Essentially, it is a global government plan to rule all nations instead.
Memento Mori is Latin for "remember that you have to die". I discovered this saying when looking at Victorian Age photographs where people would actually take pictures with their recently dead relatives.
They would label these as Memento Mori.
Metallerium: Another aspect of the new album is the cover art of this “Agenda 21”. Cuz it reminds me of the movie Stargate from 1994 like a door to other worlds, to the starts and the future. What kind of context did you use for this new Stargate in "Agenda 21"?
Zero Hour: Henry Moreno was the artist for “Agenda 21” and he worked out some details from the lyrics to tell the story visually. He worked with Frontiers on a couple of concepts and they came together from that environment.
Metallerium: Usually when a band releases a new album. The band thinks that this new one is the best work for them as a cliche. But the counterproductive thing according to this is the feeling of these fans with the first album and usually many reviewers said that the first or second is the biggest stones and the incomparable jewels of the band. And I think as a fan of music as you are, you have these thoughts of your main influence bands metal, rock, jazz, etc. What is your opinion of this matter? Do you think the last album from Zero Hour is the best work until today? o perhaps you have one special album that no one thoughts.
Zero Hour: The material of “Agenda 21” is resonating proudly in our ears. There’s no doubt in our minds the sounds and vibes are coming across the way we envisioned them. Only over time, we’ll know how strong the album resonates. The material on “Agenda 21” is speaking strongly to our ears and we’re very proud of what we created together.
Metallerium: As experienced musicians. What has been your experience with the ways of promoting music by using digital platforms like YouTube, Spotify, etc?
Zero Hour: At the moment it’s definitely getting the word out. I’m A little out of it with regard to these platforms. I don’t go super deep in all that to really know.
Metallerium: If you use these digital platforms. Do you prefer to listen to classic bands that inspired you to make music? Or do you have time to listen to or discover new bands? How do you see the Progressive Rock / Metal scene nowadays?
Zero Hour: I still hear about bands' word of mouth. I have many friends that contact me and say “Have you checked this out”?… These days it’s not as easy for me to get on and stay up to date as in the past.
Metallerium: What are your plans after releasing the album? Latin Tour, European tour, North American tour, more videos upcoming ¿Who Knows?
Zero Hour: I’m in for doing it all. We’ve recently had things come our way for some possible events in Europe and The States. We’ll see where it takes as the band is chatting in regards to coordinating live entertainment in the future.
Metallerium: Well, ppl from Zero Hour. The sad time arrives at this interview. I hope you enjoyed this one like me. Congratulations on this amazing album. Anything you want to add to your Latin American fans and Metallerium readers?
Zero Hour: Thank you for the very kind words on Zero Hour and for spreading the word to your readers.