The dark side of Halopent

Please give us a short introduction of yourself so we know who is answering?
I'm Randal Jackson, guitarist and vocalist for Halopent.

Introduce the other member and tell something we should know about him?
Ryan Jackson is the lead guitarist, he is my older brother, we actually have another music project which we started about a year before this band.

Is it much to asked to give an overview of the bands history? On your MySpace there isn't much to find.
Halopent stems from an old project from 2000-2002 which was cut short because we were still in high school, I graduated in 2004 and that is when I was really able to focus on writing music. The first demo was recorded in October 2005, we changed our name a few times and by May 2006 we had a 6 song demo. In 2007 I was writing music with Shawn Finney (who I had collaborated with in high school from 2003-2004, but mostly on death metal lyrics), and we wrote 3 songs, but he wasn't involved with the band very long and never recorded anything with us. I comprised all of the 2006 and 2007 recordings and called it "The Ancient Of Days" to my friends but for everyone else it was called "2006-2007 Demos", there were a few different versions with different numbers of tracks. Between 2008 and 2009 we recorded another EP's worth of songs to add to "The Ancient Of Days" so that we could release it as a full lengeth album. We still have a leftover song, one that we wrote with Finney, the demo wasn't quite what we wanted the song to be so we left it off of "Ancient", it will be on the next album.

What did you decide to pick up an instrument and start playing? Do you play other instruments as well? Followed lessons or DIY?
I started learning to play guitar when I was 8 years old, I learned from reading tabliture. I started the bass guitar around 13 years old, and a little while later I started on the drums. Drums aren't my strong point, guitar and bass are what I'm best at.

And how did you end up in the metal scene? What bands did you encounter first? Are you still listening to them?
After my first favorite band being Pink Floyd, I became a Megadeth and Metallica fan in the early '90s. I still listen to all of the bands I've ever listened to. The bands that made me want to play extreme metal were Bathory, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Emperor and Mortician mostly.

How did you find the mainstream bands? And how the obscure ones? Were you involved in some kind of trading?
I found a lot of bands online, but the bands that I mentioned were introduced to me by the local radio station KNON 89.3fm, they have a few metal programs.

So at one point you decided to write music yourself. What was the reason to express your creativity?
I wanted to create heavy music that sounded the way I wanted it to sound at that time. I wanted something that appealed to me, and if anyone else likes it then that is cool too. I also want to be able to play live but not in a cover band.

I searched for the word Halopent but couldn't find the meaning for it. So please explain what it means and where it stands for.
It didn't necessarily have a meaning to us, Ryan came up with it an we just liked the way it sounded. We didn't realize that the word already existed, but it is already a word. There could be a meaning to the word when used in the context of our music but that is for the listener to decide.

Using the downsided crosses, pentagram indicates affinity with or interest in Satanism or occultism. Is this true and what does this means to you? You is it woven in your daily life?
We're not actually Satanists, but the music is dark and the presentation has to be dark and thematically I thought we should use those elements in the visuals. A lot of times heavy metal can be like watching a horror movie but in music form.

Is this the reason why the last release saw the black light on Thorn Laceration and Satanica Productons?
It may be, I know that Thorn Laceration was just starting out and Satanica seems to be open to all kinds of metal so that is really cool. Carl Arthur III is the one who introduced me to the 2 labels.

The latest release was "The Ancient Of Days/In The Darkness Of Chaos". Why these two releases together on a disc?
I think that they fit well together, plus I have a lot of music written that I've been working on since 2007, that is also partly the reason for my other 2 metal projects "Mandible Relocation" and "Noetic Assimilateon".

I also did a review of it and although I liked the songs I complained about the rhythm guitar sound and the overall sound quality. Is there a reason for this quality?
The songs were originally meant to just be demos, but I really liked the way it sounded, it reminded me of old recordings so I kept it.

A thing that jumps out of the songs are the guitar leads. They are venomous and lethal. Do you practice on the leads or are they improvised and recorded in one take?
Ryan does basically all of the lead guitar solos, I did the first half of the first solo on "World Of Ashes", and the bass solo on "Cannibals..." which Ryan wrote originally on guitar. I think he may have improvised some of those solos, but not all of them.

Lot of death metal bands don't do leads anymore. What is your opinion about this?
It just depends on how it all sounds together, sometimes it's better without leads.

You also work with a drummachine. Never felt the need to use a flesh and bone drummer? Do you keep the machine in the back of your head when writing new songs?
Actually the only time we a used drum machine was for when we re-released the 2006 demo (when we changed the name to Halopent), but we didn't use those versions of the songs on the album, we used the "Castigator" versions of those songs.

Are you interested in the modern death metal bands? The ones that mix technical freaky stuff, jazz rhythms or other influences in their songs?
I like all kinds of metal, and that includes most extreme metal bands I hear.

Do you have interest outside the music business? Maybe sport, movie or other community activities?
I like to draw but my focus is on music, I can't draw quite as good as I can play music.

Is there anything you like to add that is important to know?
If anyone wants to hear some of our music for free, visit our myspace page.

Last rites?
Everybody needs to buy something from Thorn Laceration and from Satanica, check out their bands' myspace pages and anyone reading this interview should find something they will like.
Interviewer: twansibon
Apr 16, 2010

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