Belgian prog metal band Jusska returned in January with their new EP. The 3-track release, titled Tsuki, features ex-Monuments drummer Mike Malyan. The band, currently comprised of guitarist Leander Verheyen and singer Iason Passaris, is looking for bassist and drummer to complete the line-up and transform in a live band.
The band talked with me about their new release.
Hey folks. How are you doing?
Hi! Doing great thanks! The sun is out, don’t have to work so I’m happy.
You released “Tsuki” last week. How do you feel about the release?
I’m really over the moon about how it turned out I must say! When you finish your songs in preproduction you can never tell 100% how they are going to come out when you record them for real, especially when you leave the mixing and mastering over to someone else. In this case Stef from Atmospheres. Who did and awesome job btw! Also super stoked that we had the pleasure of working with Mike Malyan this time around. His grooves really add life and depth to the songs, unlike the super simplistic drums we programmed on the 1st ep haha. This EP is a huge step up from the last one so couldn’t be more excited about it!
How much of a challenge was to work on the EP?
Working on music is never a challenge really, it’s always fun. The only thing we have to take into acount is that we can’t spend too long writing and re-writing stuff ‘cause we wanted to release en EP every 3 – 4 months. So we cut all the crap that doesn’t work fast haha. It also gets you in a good working flow. Straight to the point.
What other bands similar to your genre that are coming from Belgium are you friends with?
Hmm there aren’t a lot of bands doing what we do here in Belgium unfortunately. But those that are, are definitely worth checking out like my other band BEAR if you are into more extreme stuff. My former band Atmospheres and bands like Vermillion are in the same category as Jusska though.
What is your opinion about the new wave of prog metal bands?
I would say that it’s awesome that the genre has been constantly growing the last decade. When I started playing guitar 20 years ago no-one had even heard about Meshuggah. I didn’t even know how to pronounce it right haha. To see that they are now the summum of progressive grooves and an inspiration to all these new bands is awesome. Goes to show you just have to stick to what you believe in!
Can you tell me something about your influences?
Personally I like listening to music that taps into the deeper part of your emotions. I can’t stand happy music haha, which doesn’t mean I can’t get happy by listening to something btw.
But I like things that reach my emotional side, like flamenco. Music that sweps you away. I’m also really into dark synth stuff like Perturbator. Also movies, in particular sci fi influence me I guess. I’m a kind of a sci fi geek. All those things add up in my brain and come out through my fingers on the guitar.
What are you listening to these days?
Perturbator, love that stuff. Also, Vola is my go latest go-to-band for heavyness AND awesome melodies.
Your 5 favourite records of all the time?
Of all time? Ok some go back a while haha. I’ll try te koop it in the metal/rock/prog vibe.
Deloused in the comatorium by The Mars Volta
Chaosephere by Meshuggah
Relationship of command by At the drive in (yeah I’m a Omar Rodiguez-Lopez fan)
Aenema by Tool
Demanifacture by Fear Factory was the first album I played for weeks on end.
Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you use to record “Tsuki”?
As always I recorded all guitars with my axe fx 2. My guitar is a modded Ibanez RGA 8 with DiMarzio D-activator pick ups. I don’t exactly know what Mike used actually haha. But He did a hybrid technique of actual drumming on kickpads, keyboards and programming some other parts. The bass sound was a plug-in from protools.
Besides the release of the EP, are there any other plans for the future?
We are trying to expand into full band. So if anyone is interested, get In touch and let’s jam! We are eager to start playing live. In the springtime we will release another EP with 3 songs, so we are working on that as well now. After that it’s on to the full length I guess, and world domination of course. [laughs]
Any words for the potential new fans?
If you like heavy grooves and epic vocals, give our new EP TSUKI a spin, I’m sure you’ll dig it.
Follow Jusska on Facebook.