What do you get if you combine science-fiction and power metal? For Jason Ashcraft the answear is Dire Peril. And now the debut album is soon to be released!
First of all: what is the story behind the name Dire Peril – what does it mean?
Jason: I actually got the name from a video game I used to play in High school called «Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines». The words appeared on a loading screen warning vampires that should they cross the path of a werewolf they’d surely be in Dire Peril. I always thought it’d make a cool band name and it just stuck with me.
Dire Peril was started up as a combination of your love for metal and science-fiction. To someone who doesn’t are that into the science-fiction world, can you try to describe what it is with science-fiction that fascinate you?
Jason: For me personally it’s always been about the unknown, what could be and where we as people could potentially go. What’s out there in this big universe and how much of it will we really get to see?
What are the similarities between metal and science-fiction?
Jason: I think metal and sci fi is a great mix. The two complement each other very well. Especially dealing with topics like «The Thing», the dark tone of that film carries over very well into metal.
In general how do you combine the two artistic expressions? I know the lyrics are inspired by science-fiction, but do you also try to «science-fictionalize» the music itself?
Jason: Sometimes I do, if I feel the music calls for it. When I’m writing, I like to let the song take its own form and it can end up sounding nothing like I originally anticipated.
It’s been six years since the bands first release, the EP Astronomical Minds . Since then you have released two more EP’s, two singles and one compilation. Has this been a planned «strategy», or would you rather have released an album earlier?
Jason: That was definitely not the plan, but I’m glad things happened they way they did. When I started Dire Peril I really had no idea what I was doing, and truth be told I’m still figuring this business out. It’s been a lot of ups and downs with Dire Peril, but I think we are finally at a point we are grounded and ready to go as far as we can.
And now you are ready to release the debut album! Talking about ups and downs; how has the journey been, from the beginning till the debut album?
Jason: The journey has been anything but easy, but this album is a testament to that and I’m very proud of it.
How long have you been working on this album?
Jason: I would say at least a good three years has been put into this album.
What can we expect from Dire Peril with this album? As I mentioned, it’s been six years since the first release, has the band changed musically during those years?
Jason: The band has definitely changed. I feel I’ve become a much better songwriter. Anyone who follows me in either band I do, should be happy with what John [Yelland] and I have done here.
What can you tell me about the lyrics on this album?
Jason: The concept behind this album is each song is based on a favorite science-fiction film of ours…
You have both Arjen Anthony Lucassen and Brittney Hayes as guest musicians on this album. How did you end up with them, and why?
Jason: The song with Brittney [«Queen Of The Galaxy»] is actually and old song written for our second EP [Queen Of The Galaxy, 2014]. When doing this album, I felt it was our strongest song from the EPs and was worthy of a re-recording, and the lyrically theme fit the album. I was a fan of Unleash The Archers and reached out to Brittney. I’m happy to say it’s started what I’d call a great friendship. For those who know me it’s no secret Arjen is my biggest inspiration as a songwriter, so of course I had to take the chance and reach out to him. Thankfully he said yes!
You also play in Helion Prime; is Dire Peril your sanctuary in a way, where you can do what you want?
Jason: Thankfully I’m able to do what I want with both bands, haha! I started Helion Prime when I decided to take a hiatus on Dire Peril and things progressed a lot faster than expected. But my heart belongs to both.
What are the plans forward with Dire Peril? Is this just the beginning?
Jason: This is definitely the beginning, or the rebirth if you will. You never know what will happen, and I’ve learned that on several occasions within my music «career». So, I’ve learned to not expect much, but I’ll always keep moving forward.
What are the plans regarding touring?
Jason: We will be doing a Midwest and Southern US run next month [November] with Seven Kingdoms, and are currently discussing other plans for early 2019.
Dire Peril’s debut album, The Extraterrestrial Compendium, can pre-orders here.