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Jason Ashcraft (Dire Peril)

Interview with Jason Ashcraft from Dire Peril
by Angela "The Hunter" at 20 January 2013, 4:05 PM

DIRE PERIL is an up and coming band hailing from California, USA that really deserves a closer look. Their new independent EP, “Astronomical Minds”, is definitely a work of Metal goodness that is worth giving a listen to. Angela “The Hunter” is a big supporter of the local bands, so was excited to do this interview with guitarist and band founder, Jason Ashcraft.

Thanks for doing the interview brother! Tell our readers who you are, and give us a brief history of how Dire Peril came to be.

First off thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I’m Jason Ashcraft and I play guitars for the band I founded “Dire Peril”. The name Dire Peril was not new to me and I actually got it from an old video game I use to play in high school. It appeared in a loading screen sentence and I always liked it and knew someday I would want to use it. It wasn’t until October 2009 that I finally tried to get Dire Peril going but I had no luck. It hasn’t been until these last 6 months or so that things really started to pick up and I’m very excited about it and what’s to come. I was a one man band for the first two and a half years.

Who are the other members in the band?

The other members in Dire Peril are Norman Skinner, on vocals, who is no stranger to the metal scene (especially out this way) you can hear him in such bands as Imagika, Skinner, Machine Called Man, Hellscream, Tramontane, and The Consequence of Chaos. So you can see Norman is a pretty busy guy and I’m not entirely sure how he does it but I’m stoked to have him on board! Then there is Jeremiah Bear on bass. You can also hear him in his other band “The Battle of Midway” and finally the new full time member is Justin Dudra on Drums. My good friend Jacob Grant is also like a “full time live” member. He will be doing all shows with us but not appearing on any recordings. Check out his band “Brumal” which I play Rhythm guitar for.

Your first EP, Astronomical Minds, was just released for digital download for free. Is a full album in the works?

A full length release is definitely in the works. We are just waiting on the final vocals for the ending track which is the same title as the album “Through Time and Space”. I’m very much looking forward to this release and hope people will enjoy it. Also I would like to point out in the next month or two I will have physical copies available for purchase as well as keeping the free digital download for the Ep.

Has it been getting some airplay on the radio?

We’ve actually been getting a good amount of radio play. A few awesome online radio stations have been playing our stuff. V103.net, Metal Messiah Radio, Radio BONE, Vyper Radio, to name a few. I believe there were some others and I apologize for not being able to remember their names.

Tell us about the EP:

How it all started was I was tired of not having Dire Peril going anywhere. I had enough material to make a full length album and said “Screw it I’m going to go for it and just do it alone” I asked a few of my friends to help out on things I couldn’t do such as vocals, which eventually led to Norman and Jay joining on full time. Anyways, I had planned to do a CD release show but it became clear that the album would not be ready in time for the show. I wanted to at least have something ready to give people and I was able to get the four songs finished in time which led to “Astronomical Minds”. It contains four tracks and I feel gives you a really good feel for what Dire Peril is all about. The tracks are: The Eternal Struggle, Twisted Whispers, Astronomical Minds and Godzilla (Blue Oyster Cult Cover).

Do you have any band, or musician, that has been a major influence on your playing, or your sound?

The main influence of mine, which I’m sure you know already, and can be clearly heard in my music is Iced Earth. Pretty much anything Jon Schaffer does becomes an influence to me in some way. When I was in 6th grade a friend of mine showed me Alive in Athens “Travel in Stygian” and it changed my whole outlook on music and really got me focused in wanting to play. Other bands who influence me a great deal are: Blind Guardian, Symphony X, Kamelot, King Diamond, Persuader, and Ayreon. Tobias Sammet of Edguy is a big influence on me even if I’m not too excited about his more recent releases.

You run the California State Chapter for Sons of Liberty. What inspired you start it?

Well what really got me inspired was the Sons of Liberty CD Jon Schaffer released. I’ll be honest and at first I didn’t know what the hell it was all about, but of course Jon being my biggest influences I was curious and I started digging deeper. It really took me perhaps a year after the release of that CD before I finally was like “OH! I get it!” and I wanted to get involved in some way. When the state chapters popped up I realized there wasn’t a California one yet and I asked if I could jump on board. It’s been great ever sense. Not only has it been insightful for me but through it I have come to meet some really amazing people and also a few head cases lol

Are your political (or anti-political) views reflected in your songwriting?

They definitely aren’t. I thought about it and songs like “The Eternal Struggle” and “Twisted Whispers” you can see the political views in the lyrics. When it comes down to it though I have a lot more fun singing about sci-fi or spaced themed material. I’m really into long epic pieces telling stories. I love concept albums as well. I may do one someday down the line.

Do you have any upcoming shows you’d like to plug here?

I am working on getting a show together in Sacramento for January 18th but nothing is for sure at this moment. We do, however, have a show on February 2nd in Sunnyvale, California at the Quarternote. It’s a 21+ FREE show. We will be playing with Serpent and Seraph, Death Under Fire and I believe Hysteria is still pending they may have been confirmed. Either way it should be a great show.

Last but not least, where can metalheads download Astronomical Minds?

You can get the EP here for free a long with the album cover and lyrics. Dire Peril - Astronomical Minds Digital EP

Thank you so much Jason! We wish you nothing but the safest travels on the road ahead. Thank you for taking the time and doing this with me!



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