Edge of Jupiter's first show was opening for Wrist Rocket in 1999. Its last show was in Boston in 2013; after a solid run, Guy Higgins, the band's leader, had put the Edge of Jupiter to rest. However, a little over a year ago, Higgins went in to the studio to demo ideas with Chris Vandeviver, the head honcho and engineer at Brass Palace Recording. Inspiration struck soon after Guy recorded all the parts for the album, and the resurgence of the proggy alt-rock outfit — which, for the live band, includes Mike Satter, Neil Polanski, Scott Higgins, Emma Yun-Chieh Hsieh, and Jay Rodgers — began to take shape.
Edge of Jupiter is returning on September 12 in massive style during a show at The Record Archive. The ticket includes a copy of the new record, a download of the album, food from the Le Petit Poutine food truck, an open bar from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., posters, and some surprise items. City Newspaper recently sat down with Higgins to talk about the band's history, moving forward, and the new studio release. And edited transcript of that conversation follows.
City: "Planet of the Crossing" took more than a year to make. How was this experience different from past recordings?
Guy Higgins: This recording was totally posthumous. The band hadn't played in a long time and in a lot of ways this recording began almost as an homage to Edge of Jupiter. However, as the project went on and the ideas took shape, the other members' interest grew, and their creative input began to get put on the table. But in the end, the biggest difference from past studio experiences was that this was my first stab at co-producing an album.
What kind of musical changes has the band gone through after 20 years together?
Stylistically we have changed a lot. Mike Satter and I have always been the core group, so our styles have grown together. We began when we were 14 years old, and we started playing a lot of the early 90's Seattle sound, plus stuff like Pink Floyd and Sabbath. At the time we hadn't honed in on our sensibility to what makes a good song. That changed a lot 10 years ago when Jay Rodgers, Benjamin Seyna, and Neil Polanski joined the band. They brought a real experimental, progressive sound that was grounded in song structure. Some big influences now are groups like Squarepusher and Swervedriver.
You played all the instruments on the new album. What did you learn from that undertaking?
It was humbling. It's just you and an engineer, and the slightest mistake is all on you. Chris Vandeviver really held me to task. He pointed out lots of ideas for things that could be worked on, and then he brought me in on the engineering and mixing end. I also picked up a lot from playing bass tracks. You realize the responsibility of it, and as a drummer, it really started to inform my playing.
Vandeviver spent a whole year working with you, and showing you the ropes on producing and mixing. How was it working with him?
Chris is very focused and does not let you waste time. He lets you know how he feels, and is a genuine producer. He gets things done no matter what obstacle comes up, whether it's finding a weird way of setting up in a closet, a basement, whatever. The best sound, the most truthful sound is always his goal. I think that everything in a song should evolve right up to the recording, and he is great at bringing all the details to a culmination.
Where will Edge of Jupiter be going from here?
Given the new interest from band mates, we are moving forward as a full-time band again. We are releasing a new website in conjunction with our Record Archive show on the 12th. The site (edgeofjupiter.com) will have all six of our albums available plus music videos. The plan is to play one show a month from here on out with Mike and I plus a revolving cast. It feels good to be out there because I think that rock is a little pigeon-holed right now. I like to think we have a little of everything in our sound. We have nothing but respect and love for music, and we want to share that with our fans.