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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Jasen Moreno Drowning Pool - Interview
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JASEN MORENO

DROWNING POOL


Drowning Pool

Drowning Pool finally return to Australia after having last toured in the country in 2002 and the band bring a brand new record out called "Hellelujah". We talk to the super relaxed Jason Moreno about his second album with the band, what it's like to be in Drowning Pool as well as what we can expect on the tour. Check out our previous interview with C.J. Pierce HERE.

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Andrew: How you going?

Jasen: I'm good, aside from these hiccups! How are you doing?

Andrew: Yeah very well thanks! I was talking to C.J. (Pierce, guitarist) about a month ago and we were talking about (possibility) of an Australia tour at the time and fast forward a few weeks and here we are, you got a tour coming up so nice to see you coming back!

Jasen: Yeah the guys have been trying to get back since the last and I'm just being the first time for me.

Andrew: Yeah they came to Australia around 2002 so was before you joined the band but have you personally been to Australia before?

Jasen: I have not, this will be a first for me. Obviously it's a hotspot for people traveling but as an incentive, the guys rave about Australia so I can't wait to go.

Andrew: You are touring on the back of your latest album "Hellelujah", are you guys on tour at the moment?

Jasen: We just got off the first leg of our support tour "Hellelujah" so we're on a little break in between before we're about to do the U.S and on the tail end of that we have China and Jakarta. We got all kinds of stuff coming up this year, it's like an never ending tour.

Andrew: How much do you enjoy touring? Do you still have a lot of fun out there?

Jasen: I have fun doing the shows, there's no doubt about that. It's difficult man, it can be an extremely lonely existence, there's a lot of traveling involved that isn't on the brochure when you're trying to get into this game [laughs]. They don't warn you about that and that's not to say I'm ungrateful, I truly am grateful for the opportunity to use the gift that I have and I love singing, I love performing so I pretty much live for the couple of hours that we're on stage every night. I just try to make it through all the hurry up and wait to get there so it's kind of a bitter sweet ride, touring, for me at least.

Andrew: How are the new songs off "Hellelujah" playing out live? How are the crowds responding to the new songs?

Jasen: They're going over really well! I think the band is not alone in saying that the record that we've been trying to make as in this is the record that everyone's been wanting to hear for a while, especially since "Resilience" which was kind of received 'iffy' if you will and I'm proud of that record, it is what it is. I think ""Hellelujah" is a lot closer to what Drowning Pool fans are expecting and we're more than happy to provide that so the new songs are going over well. We're playing 5 new songs as well as the staples.

Andrew: It's your second album with the band so compared to the first one that you did, "Resilience", how did you approach it this time? Was it the same as last time?

Jasen: No I learned what I needed to learn from the process of making "Resilience", the main thing being how to speak up. I mean I was pretty green, first time being in with a big label and big time producer and I think I was overwhelmed and that's not to say I didn't get to do what I wanted but I think I listened to a lot of outside influence. And the freedom to make "Hellelujah" I think comes from signing with a new label we wanted and if you listen to the demos, it's strange as we've been trying to make this record. Obviously we had to submit demos to make "Resilience" and they were a lot heavier than how "Resilience" came out so I think if there's anything I learned is to be true to who I am regardless of who it is I'm talking to. I think we were fortunate with how we ended up with "Hellelujah", Jason Suecof is a great producer and speaks the same language. There wasn't any misunderstanding, he knew exactly what we were looking for and he helped to bring that out of us so we're really grateful to him. He was amazing, he didn't want to hear a single piece of music and just let us do what we do and then they got the record and got behind it so it was an amazing experience man. I think we benefited from that freedom and I think that's what is going over well with the fans and not a whole lot of outside influence going on, just pure Drowning Pool. So that's a good thing, it's a great thing!




Andrew: Yeah absolutely. With that being said, do you think about the next album and how you will approach it that time and continue to be true to yourself?

Jasen: Yeah hopefully. I mean showbiz being a business, there's always a chance you might get leaned on but I think we're getting it right. I've been in the band 4 years now and I think we know who we are and know what we want to do and we're going to do it. So yeah I think we're just going to continue to build upon what we've started, I think it can only get better from "Hellelujah". We have enough songs for another record already so we'll fine tune them and put them out there and it will continue to be a heavier version of Drowning Pool that we've been trying to get back to for a while.

Andrew: You mentioned before about playing 5 songs off the album for this tour, what are those 5 songs? And do you keep the setlist the same or do you change it up a bit here and there?

Jasen: We are playing "Push", "Drop", "We Are the Devil", "Another Name" and we're playing "Hell to Pay", those are the 5 that we've been playing. Depending on how the record progresses and if it continues to be well received, we may change those songs up but those are pretty much solid. We have faithfuls as well, obviously you're gonna hear "Step Up" and "Sinner" and "Feel Like I Do". You'll get the singles and hits if you will, the songs off the back catalogue but then we do have the ability to change it up depending on the crowds reaction and the vibe of the show, people are hollering out songs they want to hear. It's loose enough to where we can [change] and not miss a beat, it's not so strict where we have a setlist and we stick to it and that's it. You can definitely expect to get Drowning Pool from all the records, from "Sinner" all the way to "Hellelujah".

Andrew: The song "Drop" is one of my favorites so it's cool to hear you say you are playing that one live because it does remind me a little of some of the older Drowning Pool stuff.

Jasen: Thank you, that's the first song we play coming out of the gates!

Andrew: I'm guessing people are responding to that one more than the other new songs maybe?

Jasen: I haven't heard anyone boo it yet so that's a good thing right?

Andrew: [laughs] Do you pay much attention to the crowd while you are performing up on stage?

Jasen: Oh yeah! To me that's what it's all about, it kind of sounds like a stereotype but I really don't mean it that way. In my opinion it's not all about us up on stage, I hate to think it's 2 separate worlds where it's us on stage and people watching. I like to think that it's just a bunch of friends partying, we're playing our music and people are watching and it's entertaining and I get down in the crowd and have people sing on the mic. I look for the people who are really into it and are passionate and singing and I let them sing on the mic with me, it's not 'Look at me, look what I'm doing', it's more about enjoying this music together. I was a fan before I got the gig so it's not about me, it's about the music.

Andrew: I was going to ask if you were a fan of the band before you joined, how much of the material were you familiar with when you first joined?

Jasen: I was very familiar with "Sinner" and "Desensitized", "Sinner" obviously because I'm from Dallas and I was local and the guys were local. We played shows together often so you couldn't have been in the local scene back then and not be familiar with those songs. And then "Desensitized" and "Drowning Pool" the self titled record I was familiar with those.




Andrew: Going back in your career when you first started singing, who did you view as some of your biggest influences on vocals?

Jasen: Freddie Mercury without a doubt, Bruce Dickinson. Queen for sure, I remember vividly walking to a local department store with my allowance and buying Queen's Greatest Hits and walking home. I was so excited to get to hear "We Will Rock You". And then I saw Iron Maiden in concert and Bruce blew me away with all the things he could do and the way he did it. The showmanship obviously Freddie was a great showman if not the best showman ever. As I got older you couldn't not be influenced by Pantera if you were in that style in the metal genre so definitely Phil Anselmo, just so prolific in Texas. So I had to say that who shaped me was Freddie, Bruce and Phil.

Andrew: Yeah Freddie Mercury was certainly an interesting person and a very influential singer. What was it about him exactly that hooked you?

Jasen: Just the passion in his voice. All the things that he did, all the harmonies and the ability to be full and throaty and just the command and control he had over his voice to go from these soaring operatic highs to these lows to beautiful falsettos. To do that all while being visually engaging is just awesome, I mean how do you put that into words? He's just commanding and I think that Bruce is the same way, just different. He's very soaring with his vocals and commanding live and I gravitate towards that with his passion, it doesn't look pre-conceived, it's just true. At least in my opinion when I witnessed it, it was just real and authentic and you could tell that the guy up there truly enjoys what he's doing. It's undeniable.

Andrew: Yeah two awesome singers in their own right. Anyway it's great to see you guys coming to Australia, we are looking forward to it and to hear these new songs as well. Congratulations on the new album and thanks for your time today, it's really appreciated and we will see you in July.

Jasen: Yeah without a doubt man, thank you bud!

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DROWNING POOL AUSTRALIAN & NEW ZEALAND TOUR 2016:

Sunday 24th July - Auckland Kings Arms
Tuesday 26th July - Adelaide The Gov
Thursday 28th July - Brisbane Max Watt's
Friday 29th July - Sydney Manning Bar
Saturday 30th July - Melbourne Max Watt's
Sunday 31st July - Perth Capitol

Tickets and tour details can be found at Metropolis Touring.

Check out our previous interview with C.J. Pierce HERE.


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Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on April 1st 2016