After last years ground breaking success of the innovative electro-tech sounds of his last creation, Shadow Fax "Chemical Resort" LP, Jason Rivers returned to the studio to work on this year's new release with his breakout Rogue Sixx EP called, Solid State. This one-man band has it all with electrifying sounds that will have you begging for more. While his EP is still in production, we can expect to have a completed CD by late November, 2009.
Rivers began performing back in 2002 with the Modesto, Calif. alternative rock band, Transport. That project ended in 2005. For Rivers, the end of Transport was the birth of his genius musical talent which turned to new heights with the creation of Shadow Fax that started in 2007 and project Rogue Sixx that began in late 2008. Then the early part of 2009, Rivers joined with the live on-stage indie rock band sensation, Narcolepts.
Today, Rivers is working on the current release of Solid State and the new Shadow Fax production. Both will be released later this year with tour dates to be announced.
I spoke to Rivers at his home and I was fortunate enough to see his home-studio, which is like one giant recording studio with some everyday living space. I asked him a ton of questions and this was our conversation:
How long have you been into music? What inspired you?I originally become interested in music back at the age of thirteen in 1994. My brother Shane was in the military and he left his electric fender guitar at home. I picked it up and haven’t looked back since.
Do you write and produce your own music?
Yes. Everything you hear I produce and perform. Granted I like to bring in a few collective artists on certain songs in the studio. I am certainly not narrow minded and by letting other musicians hear and contribute to my music lets ideas flow.
How many instruments do you play, and what kind?I virtually can play every instrument other than live drums. However that is quickly changing as a just bought a live kit.
When you say you call Rogue Sixx your alter ego, what do you mean?My alter ego is a side that signifies a diffident, often darker, musical disposition that I carry out. However this side is sole and separate of Jason Rivers. I am a Gemini so this makes perfect sense.
What other alter egos do you posses?I posses two additional alter ego’s. Shadow Fax is my highly acclaimed self indulgent, abstract, electronic, endeavor. And Narcolepts, a more main strain alt rock band where I play guitar, keyboards, and back up vocals.
You recently had your first breakout CD "Chemical Resort" with Shadow Fax? Where did Rogue Sixx come from?Rogue Sixx came from a backlash on my material brought on by myself. I was caught in this local DJ world where I clearly wasn’t comfortable. Everything I spun I wrote and I don’t think some of the crowds understood this because their IQ was so low. Not only this, but I missed my guitar. I began ran writing a few songs on the acoustic guitar even experimenting with vocals. After nervously playing these songs in front of a few friends, I expected a reaction quite the same as mine…ok. But in fact I got quite the opposite..the loved ‘em. They encouraged and begged me to sing more and finally I did.
“Rogue” came from the rental SUV I had at the time…made by Nissan. I had this “Roguish” vehicle for some time because an old lady smashed my Hummer.
“Sixx” – I wanted a number in my title with a hint of “Nikki Sixx” – bassist and songwriter for Mötley Crüe.You mentioned that you’re on tour in Europe? Is this a Shadow Fax tour or Rogue Sixx or both? How many shows will you have before the U.S. can get a taste of your live music?Right now just Shadow Fax. I have a couple shows lined up in Berlin, Germany with a electro artist I met online. I really think my target market is in Europe, considering most of the artist I listen to originate there. I am focusing of Rogue Sixx right now trying to get the EP done. So not too many live shows for a couple months. After this I am hitting it hard with some tours, hopefully most in Europe.
Personally, I love your original sound. It’s fresh, it’s exciting…definitely new. But for the sake of the listeners, I have a hard time placing what genre you belong in. At first you sound, electro, then its tech, and then you start to sing, and your lyrics are and voice is Gothic or its experimental rock. Where do you place your music in the genre category?This is a tough one, but you basically nailed it…sometimes I like to call it “Neo-Contemporary Alternative Electronic Rock.” I don’t like to penguin hole my music so it becomes hard to find a crowd or bands to mesh with. This is a difficult obstacle when it comes to booking.
Is this part-time hobby or do you want to take it to the next level and go public with tours across the country?Well ultimately it comes down to finances. It is extremely difficult for any new band or artist to profit in this industry. Luckily I make a decent amount of money at my day job to accommodate my musical endeavors. Being in real estate has showed me some success. And you can tell when you walk into my home as all rooms have some musical device or noise maker. Virtually every extra dollar I made was spent on my studio or alter ego.
Being sell employed, I can make some small tours. But ultimately booking and coordinating all of the shows would be a job in itself. This where I need management. But even finding this could prove difficult.
With the way the music industry is today with so much pirating, record labels are singing fewer artists for mainstream radio. As a result, newer musicians are forced to constantly tour and perform live concerts in order to make a profit and make a name for themselves. Do you foresee this kind plan for Rogue Sixx?I touched briefly on this topic in last statement but indeed it is difficult for new emerging artist and even record labels to make a profit. I do not condone nor encourage “file sharing” of music. Meaning the internet is a great tool for getting your product out there to masses. But also too damaging to the pocket books of labels who could ultimately launch your career. Live shows is where the money is at and I like that. Some of my favorite artists sound “good” on the album, but the live show is where their “great” comes in. The audio visual multimedia stimulation and presentation of a band is huge to me.
Who are your top 5 favorite artists?Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, U.N.K.L.E., Gorillaz, Nirvana
What is your top 5 favorite songs?Idiotech – by Radiohead
Paranoid Android – by Radiohead
Lucky – by Radiohead
...you can tell where this is going. I love Radiohead and what’s funny is they are currently the biggest unsigned band in the world, yet probably one of the richest too.
What else do you do besides music?
Occasionally I sleep
Stop by the Official Rogue Sixx Website
Purchase Chemical Resort by Shadowfax
Listen to all four tracks on The Great Unknowns Podcast including an exclusive bonus preview from his newest production of Shadow Fax.
Interview by Michael J