Keepers of the Earth Peace Music Revolution might be a mouthful to say, but the reward is well worth it. This father-son music team joined with a death metal drummer to make the album Black Rose and amaze listeners. We sat down with Jeff Hoyt to talk about the album, their creative process, music and much more!
OSR: How has being a father and son band impacted the way you create your music?
Jeff: It is really based on our talents and builds upon each other’s strengths. For the first two years, the creation of the music was done by my son, the lead guitarist because he enjoys playing, recording and is prolific. It was all I could do to just keep up with so much music that he created by reviewing it, helping edit and mix it. I also supported him by writing lyrics, singing and playing bass or keyboard. He is a very talented guitar player and also good at synth.
I had some difficult events in my life, and I quit playing music for a few years. I just could not sing or play anymore. I had enjoyed recording and creating music previously for years. I’d have to say that my son brought the music back to my heart and soul and helped heal myself through the music. I have started taking the lead on creating some of the ambient instrumental music now.
OSR: Was there a moment when you decided that you wanted to start releasing your songs?
Jeff: We went and recorded our first album at Spiral Studios as it just seemed to be the next logical step. As I watched the lead guitarist play an instrumental, ‘Valley of Fire’, with Z the hand pan man, I knew we were going to start releasing music. That song just had to be shared with the world.
OSR: Is there a backstory or theme to Black Rose?
Jeff: The album was created with an experienced doom metal drummer, so we were blending doom metal with psychedelic rock. The lead guitarist is the primary composer of the song, ‘Black Rose’, bringing together synth and guitar to merge ambient, drone and doom metal influences. We recorded with our drummer in Salt Lake City at Downtown Music, setting all the mics up and recording in the practice space. The creativity of an experienced doom metal drummer enhanced it, as well as the other songs on the album. The song, ‘Black Rose’, on the album is a love song, about the love one wishes for, feeling like it is real, but in the end, is deceived by it, lost. It was just how the music felt to me.
OSR: What is your creative process? Do you start with a melody or the lyrics of a track?
Jeff: We start with the music, playing what we feel. When we practice with our drummers, we mic up and record everything, creating hours of music tracks. We have hour-long sessions of pure improvisation. I know the lead guitarist plays with pictures in his mind. Afterwards, we look over our music and pick what stands out. Then the lead singer listens to the tracks and writes lyrics based on what the song makes him feel, whatever comes to mind.
Then I concentrate on rhyme, bring in metaphors, trying to create unique lyrics. The singers then record the vocals, wait a few days, listen to it, match it up against other songs and decide whether to keep it or lose the vocals and keep it as an instrumental song. We mix it, add in additional instruments in some cases if it feels right and test it out on large PA speakers, car speakers, and earphones. If it checks out in the end, it finally becomes a song, but it takes a lot of hours to produce a song that often gets thrown out. We probably set aside half our songs and try to keep the best.
OSR: As a gypsy band with various drummers, who would you most like to play drums on your songs?
Jeff: We value all the artists who perform with us. If we have a concert, then we decide on the set and invite the drummers who created the music to play with us. Twice we’ve even invited the drummer’s girlfriends to sing with us, and it worked out well. We are just very open to letting people perform with us.
A long-time musician taught our lead guitarist some techniques when he was young. He could no longer play because of MS, so we had his son play the bass guitar in his place, while his father watched in a wheelchair on the front row. That was so meaningful to all of us. Music is about sharing and giving.
OSR: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome making Black Rose?
Jeff: We drove 5 hours up and 5 hours back each time for a year to record music and perform with the drummer in Salt Lake City. We used the time in the car to write lyrics or even mix on the computer, play back what we recorded. One time after a performance at Metro Music Hall in Salt Lake City, it was 3 am in the morning. We just drove all night and watched the sun come up when we arrived home.
OSR: What is your favourite and least favourite track on the album?
Jeff: We like all the tracks or they would not be there, so that’s a hard question. We perform with visuals that enhance the music. So, a song can be great to perform when we have visuals on the screen and a light show that bring it to life even more. Our YouTube channel features several of the videos that go with the album.
OSR: How did you decide on the creative direction of the music video for the single ‘Black Rose’?
Jeff: It was based on the lyrics. The video came from a process of experimenting with many styles. The lead guitarist is a graphic design major with 3-D animation skills and is the creator of all our visuals. I recorded a black painted rose and my daughter singing. We merged that with 70’s analogue oil and dye visuals then compounded it with more digital FX. Then Mike took the combined video and projected it onto a geometric dome in 3-D software. Since it was psychedelic rock, we wanted to make the video psychedelic, so we altered her face and had it disappear inside a black rose at one point.
OSR: If your music were an animal, what would it be and why?
Jeff: That’s a great question. (laughs) A black panther, slow moving, fierce but gentle like psychedelic rock and drone metal with ambient mixed in on occasion.
OSR: If you could have people take one thing away from your music, what would it be?
Jeff: Enjoy merging styles of music to create new sounds. To look at the world in a different light.
OSR: What are your plans for the future?
Jeff: We live in footloose country. We are seriously thinking about moving to Miami or another location so we can continue to produce music but have a larger local audience. Mike will continue to make music his whole life. It is just in his blood. So he will carry the Keepers of the Earth Peace Music Revolution torch with him when I’m gone and keep the band name. So many bands fall apart, but this one will not as he will always own the band name and be the main creator of the music. I would love to spend the rest of my life writing and creating music with him. We plan to collaborate with other drummers, musicians and singers along the way and enjoy playing together. Music is life.