JAHGERNAUT: Interview with Grizz

WAIL got the chance to catch up with Grizz from the up and coming Toronto heavy metal group, JAHGERNAUT (Jaw-ger-not). They just released their new EP entitled "Dark Time" which has some KILLER metal riffs, DEADLY double kicks and INTENSE vocals making this a VERY exciting addition to new Canadian heavy metal music. Just about a week after releasing their EP these guys are rapidly gaining momentum and making a serious impact in the metal scene!  

In Jahgernaut who plays what?   
Jason "Grizz" Cianfrini - Vocals & Bass  
Kyle Smith - Lead Guitar  
Jody Brown - Rhythm Guitar  
Jason Lioumanis - Drums  

Where are you from?   
Three of us are born & raised in Toronto. Kyle migrated from Guelph to Toronto.   

When did you start playing music?  
Started playing bass in 1990, kind of always sang but was more of a backup vocalist for years until I started jamming with Jody and the guys and we didn't have a singer and it just felt right. Just started getting ideas and if just felt right to sing.  

What or who inspired you to start playing music?  
The Who, Rush, Black Sabbath. My cousin Lenny played in Frozen Ghost in the 80s (pop/rock).  
Saw them play when I was 8 years old and was captivated by seeing the way the show came together and seeing all the gear, getting to go backstage, the lights, the whole scenario. I knew I wanted to be a musician and I never forgot that feeling still to this day it seems like yesterday.  

Who are some of Jahgernaut's musical influences?  
Slayer, Minor Threat, Entombed, Crowbar. We're also huge fans of bands like Fu Manchu and Kyuss but may not sound much like them.  

What year did the band form?  
I joined with them in Dec of 2015. Jay and Jody had already had the band going since the summer of 2015.  

What's your genre of choice to describe your sound?  
I'd just call it metal but Jody calls it Death N' Roll. I can't deal with all the different genres people use.   

What inspires you to keep playing this music?  
I played tons of gigs in my life playing other peoples music and more people-pleaser music, covers, anything. When Jody called me to play some original heavy music I was stoked and just wanted to play the music I believe in.   

What are your songs mainly about?  
When I look back on them they're all about struggling or overcoming things in different ways and forms. We've been through a lot of shit and I've written songs about my friends' struggles even.   

How have you developed as a songwriter since you started writing music?  
I read a lot, about 20 novels a year probably. I've always had a decent vocabulary from reading so much. I used to have to write pages and pages and sift through scattered writings to piece together a song. Nowadays it just kinda comes out in one exercise. Like on "Dark Time" I ended up writing it less then 5 minutes in the jam room. Exactly how you hear it is just how it came out of me. Jason and I wrote the music in about 10 minutes and the lyrics just flowed through after.  

Do you have any musical side projects?  
I also play in a Slayer cover band (War Ensemble)  
Jay does recording for different artists and fills in for bands here and there.  

What are some of your interests outside of music?  
My number 1 thing to do is probably read. I have a 4 year old daughter so another interest I guess is watching cartoons and acting like a 4 year old. I play hockey with my friends. Other than that I like watching Blue Jays.  

Who writes the songs? If more than one what is the dynamic behind your songwriting?  
Jody and I write the music and I write the lyrics. Jody and I grew up together and have a bond over seeing and reflecting on negative shit, negative people, and just through the struggle to get out of the bullshit we grew up with. We have 30 years of friendship and we just understand each other. Jody will just start playing a riff and I dig in and start bouncing ideas around and it evolves from there. Kyle writes his own solos, Jason writes his own drums.  

Do you start with the music or the lyrics?  
For one song I had lyrics written but didn't know what it was for. Jody had some riffs written that it worked well with, I added a chorus and we had "Plain Sight". Most of the time the music is written first and something will spark inside me for vocals and it turns into a whole story.   

Do you have any rituals that you and the band do when writing music or jamming?  
Not really. We don't follow many patterns. Some songs were written in 5 seconds and some take 6 months. Jody's right hand is definitely the catalyst for the Jahgernaut sound.  

What was your favorite gig and why?  
We just played it actually. Our CD release show just on Friday. It was crazy. People were just coming at us with compliments and buying tons of merch and CD's. Every show is better than the last. Everything just came together it was really magical.  

Do you have a regular venue where you play live often?  
We do it's called the Bovine Sex Club. It's where most of the heavy music happens. But we also love a place called Coalition where we just had our last show.   

How do you prepare to go on stage and play?  
Usually I give Jody a little pep talk that pisses him off and then we're good to go. That's pretty much it. We save the drinking and smoking weed for the end of the show. We are serious about our music so we definitely give the music and our fans the respect they deserve.  

How do you think the music industry needs to change?  
I was a tour manager and  I manage a venue now. I have been a musician for about my entire life. Technology advances and changes the whole game. The music industry needs to evolve with the technology. Bands need to explore different routes nowadays to pay the bills. Nowadays doing meet & greets, selling merch is a necessity as metal heads are very loyal.   

What advice would you give up and coming other bands?  
If you make as album as good as you think it should be, people will buy that album. If you're trying to trick everybody with one good song and the rest filler then fuck you. People don't remember original singles. You need a single to be an unforgettable, meaningful piece of a record that is a part of the epic full picture of the record.  
Shout outs:  
Definitely want to thank Greg Dawson who engineered, recorded and produced our new album. He made it really easy for me to express myself and get the voice inside out. He wouldn't let me do any shit takes, he'd make me do it again until it was perfect. Alan Douches as well. He mastered the album and took our shitty pencil art and turned it into a Michaelangelo masterpiece. Definitely want to thank the guys in the band as well for just being them. Awesome dudes. I want to thank everybody who connects with our music and everyone who supports heavy metal. I think it's one of the only real, honest styles of music left nowadays.   

jahgernaut.bandcamp.com | Jahgernaut on Facebook 

Embed for Jahgernaut - Dark Time