Hello dear readers, and welcome to another interview! This week, I talked to Gary Baker of the band Jagged Doctrine. Starting up in 1996, Jagged Doctrine is probably most well known as an industrial band, but throughout the years they have recorded music in a number of genres, including instrumental electronic, ambient, and acoustic tunes. They've also done a concept album with an accompanying graphic novel/comic, and they even recorded the soundtrack to a series of books. The band has been on my radar for years. I’d heard songs from various compilations and had friends share some of their music with me, but until recently I’d never heard a full album.
Mr. Baker and I recently came into contact with each other through eBay, while I was on one of my music purchasing binges. During our interaction, I realized that Gary was a part of a band that I’d known about for years. Once we got to talking, I asked the inevitable question and requested that Mr. Baker participate in one of my e-mail interviews. The following interview is evidence that he agreed to do just that.
Enjoy the interview, and don't forget to visit Jagged Doctrine at the links below.
Brax: Tell me a little bit about Jagged Doctrine. How long have you been at it, what's your music about, and what's the origin of the band name?
Jagged Doctrine: Sure. Jagged Doctrine started as an experimental industrial duo in 1997. Originally desiring to sound like a hybrid between Mortal and Deitiphobia (but lacking the experience at the time to achieve that), a friend and I started messing with all things electronic. The band name came from a description of our music (Jagged) and a description of our lyrics (Doctrine). Both received equal importance. Over the years, I've been the chief lyricist for the band, and I've covered a myriad of topics– including, to name a few: drugs, evolution, salvation, Christ, hypocrisy in the church and in the secular realm, suicide, the rapture, etc.
I've also written songs about people, including songs about a rocker, a Christian musician, a pro wrestler(!), a football player, and others. I'll keep their names out of it though. ;)
In 1998, the lineup changed, with the other original member departing and a guitarist/vocalist (Rod) being added. This dramatically changed the sound of Jagged Doctrine. With Rod's stellar guitar riffs, we became more of an industrial metal band and left the experimental side mostly behind.
Brax: I love the soundtrack for a book concept, especially since I recently read the Red, Black, White trilogy. How in the world did you happen to wind up doing an official soundtrack to a Ted Dekker book?
Jagged Doctrine: Prior to us doing The Circle Trilogy soundtrack in 2004, I wrote another song about one of Ted's books, When Heaven Weeps. This was to be released on our 2003 release Darkness Wrapped in Plastic. As we were tweaking the song, I decided to reach out to Ted as a professional courtesy to get his approval of us doing this. He was very receptive and really enjoyed our music. During this time he was working on Black. We came up with the idea for Jagged Doctrine to do a song for Black (this became the song Fade to Black). Ted sent me an advanced copy of the book and I came up with an imaginary soundtrack for the first few scenes in the book. Then Rod and I created that score. It turned out so well, and we enjoyed it so much, we decided to do an entire soundtrack for the trilogy of books he was releasing in 2004. So, Ted sent us early versions of each of the books and I would come up with scenes. Rod would come in to record with countless riffs and ideas, and I would match his riffs with music I had ready for some scenes, or we would write music around his riffs for scenes that fit.
It was a fantastic experience that we really enjoyed.
Brax: Are you currently playing live shows and/or touring? What does a Jagged Doctrine show look like?
Jagged Doctrine: Jagged Doctrine has never played live. I never had a strong desire to do the live thing.
I've thought about it a few times, but I think that window has closed. I do live sound mixing though.
Rod plays out frequently with other bands.
Brax: Influences are great and all, but what other current artists do you listen to?
Jagged Doctrine: Hmm…my listening is all over the place. One of the "newer" bands I really enjoy is Twenty | One | Pilots. Other than them, I haven't really gotten into a new band as much. I'll listen to new releases of bands, listening to the production tricks and such to see if I can learn a new trick to do on our CDs.
I just heard the new Thousand Foot Krutch that came out in August 2014, and it has a good raw sound to it. Almost reminded me a bit of Bride's heyday sound.
Brax: Which do you prefer: The Vulcan neck pinch or Darth Vader's force choke?
Jagged Doctrine: If I am on the receiving end, I'll take the neck pinch.
I am looking forward to the new Star Wars movies though. Here's hoping we don't have to have another
Darth Vader character killing a bunch of ten year old Jedis in training to show how bad he is. Yawn.
Brax: What upcoming music projects are you currently working on?
Jagged Doctrine: Up next is Eve of Destruction. This is a special Jagged Doctrine CD of sorts. Except for the title
track that introduces the CD, each track on this disc will have a female guest, usually doing vocals. At this point, the only song on the entire CD with male vocals is the title track. Right now, the most notable guest on his disc will be Syd Rentz of Morella's Forest. Additionally, we are working on the next normal CD as well (yet to be titled). We have probably ten songs for this release mostly complete as well.
Brax: I love Morella’s Forest! That is so cool! Anyway, what's your preferred format: CD, vinyl, MP3, or other?
Jagged Doctrine: My preferred format is likely CD. It has the quick select format of vinyl (as well as the artwork, which I find important) and portability. I have a 32 GB mp3 stick in my car, but when it's on random, it can take a long time before it gets to some songs I want to hear. I need a vocal search feature for my mp3 stick. Then I'll be happy.
Brax: Outside of Jagged Doctrine, you've been involved in some other interesting projects, such as doing some recordings for Morella's Forest. How did that come about, and what other cool bands/projects have you worked on outside of your own music?
Jagged Doctrine: In regards to Morella's Forest. I was walking down the street in downtown Cincinnati one day, and saw
Shawn Johnson (guitarist) walking down the street. I started talking to him. Come to find out, he and I worked at the same company. We started hanging out at lunch time and talking music. He had a desire to do a trip hop project in the same style as the French band Air. I thought that sounded cool and so he started coming over and we were working on it in my home studio. He wrote some stuff, and I would try to add to it, and I wrote some things and he would add to it. We had Syd come over and put her vocals on a couple of tracks as well.
We called the project "Ti Mo."
Also, (Morella's Forest) started recording their next CD at my house. The is the CD that eventually became Tiny Lights of Heaven, their first release off of Tooth and Nail records. I would program drums for the tracks. Eventually, Jesse Sprinkle signed on to be drummer for the CD. At that point, they went to New York and recorded at Jesse's studio. After that CD was released, a Japanese label wanted to release it as well, but they wanted a few extra tracks. So, Shawn and I did a remix as Ti Mo. I did a remix as well. And for the third track, they recorded a friend of mine's song. These were all done at my home studio.
The Ti Mo tracks as well as the 3 Japanese tracks are on the Ti Mo band camp site. http://timomusic.bandcamp.com
Rod and I have collectively started a few side projects. We started a jazz/easy listening EP under the name of Jai Dee El around 2003. Parts of those songs were eventually usurped into Jagged Doctrine.
We also did a complete 10 song New Wave CD under the name pFissure. We are in the process of usurping those into Jagged Doctrine as well, but tracks exist online under that name. (on MySpace)
I had an EP on MP3.com under the name Royal Facade that was electronic music.
I've worked with a few other artists over the years. Recently, I did vocals for a song for Industrial act Human 2.7. I've also worked with Midiboy on a track on his most recent CD.
I've been a sound mixer for live shows on occasion as well. Some of my favorite music memories have been running sound for some bands. Some of my favorites live that I've ran for were Twenty | One | Pilots, and Showbread. But topping all that was Gothicon. That event had some great industrial & goth bands, and I ran sound for each one. Dark Valentine (former female vocalist of Wedding Party), Coriolis, Leper, I-Dragon I (Wedding Party), Grave Robber, & Eric Clayton. Eric performed three Saviour Machine tracks using members of the other bands as band members. It was a mixing highlight for me.
Rod plays in several bands, but his main project in addition to Jagged Doctrine is Perspective XIV. This is a progressive metal band and their last CD was on Nightmare Records. http://perspectivexiv.com
Brax: What is your favorite planet, other than Earth?
Jagged Doctrine: I'd have to go with Neptune on that one. I had a story in the works in the mid '90s that may eventually
become a concept CD called The Neptunian Theory. It covered many topics, including aliens, dinosaurs, the lost city of Atlantis, the Biblical flood, and others.
Brax: Any advice for aspiring artists who are trying to make it in music?
Jagged Doctrine: Uh…make it for the joy of making music. If you are going to put your music out there, have thick skin.
There will always be someone who doesn't like what you do. If you get some bad feedback, take it in stride,then figure out if there is actually something you can learn from it.
Brax: Anything else you’d like to add?
Jagged Doctrine: I guess I would just like to tell people to follow us on Facebook. (See link below.)
I've not done a good job of promoting our Facebook, but it might change one day.
Check out some of our latest releases on Bandcamp. (Also see link below.)
Thanks for listening!
Visit Gary and Jagged Doctrine:
Tell them Brax sent you!
Thanks to Gary and Jagged Doctrine.
Check back soon for another exciting band interview. Send us a message if you'd like to see your band featured here.