It’s a dreary evening in Birmingham as I take a seat on a sofa backstage at the Asylum with Jason Keyser from Origin.
Thanks for taking the time to have a chat with me, for the people who read the magazine, can you just introduce yourself, the band and tell us what you’re all about?
Sure, I’m Jason Keyser, vocalist of Origin, Technical Death Metal band from Kansas. Were out here on the road with Graveslave, Hideous Divinity and Rings of Saturn, here in Birmingham on a beautiful Thursday, it’s as dreary as you can every expect it be in the UK and living all our dreams.
Thank you, how long have Origin been going as band?
The bands been around a while, this is actually the 20thyear anniversary, Paul Ryan’s the original member, our guitar player, there’ s been a couple of different line up changes throughout the years but with the most recent two albums this is the first time in the bands history that we’ve had two consecutive, exactly the same line ups on an album so, hopefully that’ll stick around.
And how long have you been with the band?
I joined in 2011, I want to say. I had been in another band for years called Skinless, and I left that band and their guy left at about the same time and it just coincided perfectly, I knew John (drummer for Origin) because we were in the same area so it just lined up perfectly, and they needed a dude and I was available.
How long have you been involved in music?
Around 15-20 odd years professionally and in local bands before that.
And what’s the biggest changes you’ve seen in that time?
There’s a different mentality, underground logic doesn’t really exist anymore, as far as bands, 15 years ago they couldn’t just go on tour and be successful by only word of mouth or the tape trade but nowadays the extreme stuff is much more commercialised, but it works. It’s as good as it is bad, it works for us and creates opportunities but it doesn’t have a feel like it used to do. You know the internet ruined everything! I’m being a cranky old man.
So what’s the challenges for bands and how do you overcome them?
I don’t know, I don’t know what the kids do these days. I get this question quite a lot and I always say extreme stuff ended when I found out Brujeria aren’t really Mexican drug dealers! It was all downhill from there. Once you actually learn that its just four British dudes and one Mexican guy, I was bummed. When I was 10, 13 years old I genuinely believed that they were Mexican drug dealers.
What advice would you give to people who are looking to get into extreme music?
It’s a double-edged sword the whole internet thing, you can be successful without putting in any leg work really and just become big through music. If you have something to offer you can immediately gain notoriety without leaving your house. You can learn how to play through YouTube videos, record in your own basement, put it out on the internet, it happens. But its as good as it is bad, but you don’t have to suffer. There’s this whole mutual understanding of suffering that bands that have been around for a long time have. Everybody puts in the leg work, everybody plays garbage shows to two people now and again and you had to work hard to get to where you are and if you do do that internet thing and just become overnight sensations, there’s a little bit of, you know, some bands might be a little grumpy about that.
So who inspired you to do what you do?
I don’t know, I guess the first couple of band I really got into were Black Metal. I got into that really young, before anything else, like Emperor. I heard these before I heard Slayer and more the typical bands. I guess as far as performing goes one of the first bands I really got into that really inspired me a lot was GWAR. I remember I stole my older brothers Hell-O LP in about 1992 and that was where it started for me, just because of the absurdity of it, it didn’t take itself very seriously but at the same time totally took itself seriously. As far as performers go that did it for me. Band wise you’d have to ask Paul, he’s an old school motherfucker, he was into a lot of Napalm Death and a lot of classics.
Tonight is the last show of the UK leg of the tour, how’s it been so far?
Manchester and London were great, Glasgow last night left something to be desired but we’ll see what happens tonight.
And after tonight, where are you heading to?
We got about a week and half more in mainland Europe and we head to Paris immediately after tonight. Then we go back to the States where we tour with Morbid Angel leaving the day after we get home. That’s for another month and then we come back to Europe in August with festivals, like Summerbreeze and Brutal Assault. Were going to Japan after that.
The current record, what’s it all about?
We put it out last year, in Europe its on Agonia records from Poland. It’s a return to before the previous album, which people thought was kinda weird for our style, it was more of a solid front to back solid piece, like a Technical, Death Metal Rock Opera and we just went back to more meat and potato brutal songs. Its been doing well for us, wel be playing a lot of it tonight.
And how do you set about writing the albums?
We wait on Paul Ryan. Paul makes the skeleton of all the songs and we just work on them after that. We wait until he’s ready. We follow his lead, sometimes he busts out a jam on tour but most of the time we all get together and pound it out. We write together pretty quickly, we have a couple of weeks before we go to the studio and we get a lot of work done in that. Its that under pressure gold type shit. We work better under pressure and we are brutal to ourselves, noting is ever good enough but it works for us.
Are there any time frames for the next album?
We usually have a 2 or 3 year cycle, we haven’t started to talk about the next one yet. We’ve done two tours in the U.S, we’re touring Europe with it and then maybe after that but honestly we haven’t thought about it. All we’ve thought about it is what vowel we’re going to start the album with. Like with every good album it starts with a vowel!
So,what can people expect from you tonight and the festival sets?
Tonight is a heavy hitter set, we’ve got about an hour. A good selection of the new stuff but something from every album. When we come back, we will change it up. We come in to a festival with a different mindset. We prepare to play to 10,000 people who are 20 feet away from you and it changes the game completely rather than having people right up in your face. I enjoy both, it’s nice to play to that many people but you don’t always get that energy of people being right on you, people sweating on you, I’m sweating on them, it can get pretty tense. It pretty high intensity when im on stage, we’ve never been a band that just play the songs, the show is always important to us. We always give out 200% of the energy that the crowd gives us so sometimes when they are at maximum we have to push it even further, i’m literally covered in sweat every single night.
So you released the new alum last year and are currently touring it. Do you have anything else going on at all?
John and I have a band called Crator, which is kind of like a more blackened version of Origin and that’s something that we did, me John, Colin Marston from Gorguts and Jeff Liefer who’s is a bunch upstate New York bands like Tentacles and its just like our side passion project. I love it. We put out a record by ourselves, no label whatsoever and its one of the finest things we’ve done but it’s just been picked up and we’re releasing it through Agonia records so look out for that. Iv helped out on a bunch of session vocals, toured with Ingested its just what we do. Its not a distraction or anything like that.
Thank you very much for your time.