For Authority Zero, 2013 has already been packed: They've accommodated new band members, new record producers, a lengthy international tour, and a brand new album, to top it off. The Mesa natives have spent a great deal of their time making all those pieces fall into place, but they've never lost focus of one of their central goals: To always bring high energy music to their ever-growing, devoted fan-base and, while they're at it, give something back to the community they call home.
Now summer's setting in and Authority Zero is gearing up to make it a little bit hotter with the Summer Sickness Tour, which rolls through Tempe on Friday, May 31st. We caught up with Authority Zero singer Jason DeVore the day after the band returned from Europe to ask him about their new album, their upcoming tour, his acoustic solo act, and the influences Phoenix can offer an aspiring musician.
Up on the Sun:How are you doing?
Jason DeVore: I'm good, man. A little jet-lagged, but I'm good.
I heard you just returned from Russia and Europe. How was playing overseas?
We had a really good time. We were there for six weeks. We had never played Russia before or Ukraine, so it was a fun new experience, and the people over there are good people. We didn't know what to expect as far as attendance or people knowing the band and our first show in Moscow was pretty rad. We had a good turnout, and the kids were going ape-shit.
Your new album, The Tipping Point, came out almost two months ago. Tell me about the new album and how you feel it's being received so far.
I'm really excited about it, to be honest with you. I'm excited with the way it came out production-wise. We've been playing a lot overseas as a kickoff tour for the album release, and it was really cool as far as the response goes, and seeing kids singing the new stuff already in such a short amount of time.
Speaking of production value, you worked with producer Cameron Webb on the new album, who's worked with some big names in punk and heavy metal. Can you tell me about that experience and the different level of professionalism?
He's a great guy. I didn't know what to expect with him, but I'd talked to Fletcher from Pennywise and they'd just done their last album with him. He said it was one of the best records they'd done production-wise in their career.
He was really cool and laid back. You didn't really see what he was doing at the time and you'd get frustrated and pissed off, like, "Why aren't you telling me what to do?" Then at the end it was like, "Oh, you were, but you just have a really crazy way of doing it." [Laughs]
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Since Authority Zero is originally from Mesa, I wanted to get your opinion on the local music scene as a whole here in Phoenix. What have you seen, living here for so long and making music?
I've seen ups and downs with it; it's been a long time that we've been playing here. It's hard to give a complete 100 percent view of it, because we've been gone a lot with touring. What I have noticed--back when we were first starting out, bands were really working together and helping each other out and trying to create a scene, and not be every band for themselves. I feel like that kind of went away for a little bit.
With us taking off, we missed a little transitional stuff, but what I've seen as of late is bands starting to work together a lot more again and just being there for each other. Some bands in town, like Weird Is the New Cool and really good bands like that, start collaborating with each other and pulling it all together to create a scene again. It's had its ups and downs and I think people are really trying to work together, which I think is great. [Phoenix] is just a melting pot of different styles of music.
Where is your favorite place to perform here in Phoenix?
It's really hard to say. We've played so many places here. We've done a lot of stuff at Club Red. We have a lot of friends and family that work there and we've had a lot of good times there. Then there's the Marquee.
Read More: - Authority Zero Brings A Little Bit of Mesa to Moscow - Authority Zero is Stronger with The Tipping Point.
After the jump: "When we're not on tour we always try to go out and support something local."
I know you guys are on the road a lot, but when you aren't, do you participate in any local events?
Yeah, we really try. A lot of it is a matter of going out and trying to support local bands and the scene in general of music. We support this thing called Local Lily, and it's just about local shops and buying local. When we're not on tour we always try to go out and support something local.
When Authority Zero is not on tour you play some acoustic sets on your own. What do you find fulfilling from doing that compared to playing with Authority Zero?
It's a really different monster than the Authority machine. It's personal and it's really face to face and interactive with the audience, moreso than a live punk show. When you're playing with Authority it's 120 miles per hour. Maybe a little bit of communication between songs, but really just trying to hammer out songs as fast as you can.
I've had a lot of friends who are fans of Authority and will come out to the acoustic gigs and we'll just hang out and have beers together and have a genuinely good night. There's no separation of the band and the audience, and I have the chance to really sing. With Authority, I sing a lot, obviously, but this way I get the chance to really open up, kick back and enjoy being a vocalist.
I've personally been to quite a few Authority Zero shows here in Phoenix, and the level of energy and intensity is always extremely high--everybody is moving and moshing. Do you get that same level of intensity anywhere else that you play?
We definitely do. If the kids are into the band they're pretty intense. It's been cool to see that same kind of energy and charisma abroad, whether overseas or in different cities. Here in Phoenix is definitely one of the higher intensity shows. Arizona always brings it home pretty hard. [Laughs]
Tell me about the Summer Sickness Tour. Are you prepared for it? Do you guys have anything new planned for the set list and show?
Yeah, we've incorporated a good deal of new songs into the list. We're trying to make sure we give people a taste of all the tracks, but we're trying to push a lot of the new album as well and get people excited about it, because we're extremely excited about it. We're hoping to see that at the shows.
We're doing something off of every record, that's for sure. We're trying to make it a collection from all the albums with some of the new stuff as well. As far as being prepared for it, we're working on that. [Laughs] We still need a few more days to work on the rewiring.
BALLYHOO! Seems like a good fit for you guys to tour with. How do you think their style complements yours?
We're good buddies with them. We met years ago on the east coast. We think it'll be a fun collaboration as far as the west coast with the east coast because they have their fan base and we have ours. It's just really good helping each other out as far as getting more kids out there.
Same with the guys in Versus the World--we're label-mates and good friends. We've toured with them abroad as well as in the states.
Authority Zero has seen several lineup changes in its career. How do you continue to adapt with the new musicians?
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Well, like you said, it's happened often. I won't want to say you've gotten used to it, but I look at everything--people grow up and other things coming into play in life, and [you] have to make some decisions for your family and your loved ones. The people who come in are typically extremely excited about music as well, and a lot of times you'll know people before they join the group, so you already kind of have that connection. This has been a wild transition year with people coming and going, but we have some good people who came in to play, so it's made it easy to adapt.
Authority Zero is scheduled to perform at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe Friday, May 31.