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Shots From The Sun: An Exclusive Interview With ETHAN JACKSON Of SOLAR FLARE

By Jason 'JRock' Houston, Contributor
Thursday, August 11, 2022 @ 10:27 AM

"To be put in the same breath as artists whom you look up to is amazing! Maybe one day someone will tell the next kid trying to make it that he sounds like me!"

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I recently had the pleasure of interviewing lead singer Ethan Jackson from the Ohio based Metal band SOLAR FLARE about the band's self titled CD. Ethan explained in the following interview that at the age of 15 years old his life changed forever when he saw IRON MAIDEN in concert. It was that very night that Ethan said he knew after seeing IRON MAIDEN that he wanted to be a Metal singer himself. It was the very experience of seeing them in concert for the very first time that Ethan knew he was going to take a shot at becoming a professional musician himself and now he's very much living out that dream. It's quite ironic that a lot of critics have compared Ethan's vocal ability to that of Bruce Dickinson and original QUEENSRYCHE singer Geoff Tate. And while Ethan very much appreciates such kind words from the critics he jokes that he hopes just maybe one day people will compare another up and coming singer to him, which would be really cool now that I think of it, right on Ethan! SOLAR FLARE really have delivered the METAL goods on their debut CD!

KNAC.COM: Hello Ethan, Thanks for taking time out of your very busy schedule to speak with KNAC.COM.

JACKSON: No problem at all! Thank you for your time and consideration!

KNAC.COM: I know that SOLAR FLARE is from Ohio. Is there much of a metal scene there these days?

JACKSON: Yes, I would say there’s a big scene out here. The problem we often face is that the majority of the scene out here is death, core, black, etc. styles. We feel at times that we’re the odd band on the list. But, we also have bands like our buddies WARCURSE that are signed to Metal Blade, FERAL FRIENDS, UNRIVALED, SPLIT THE ABYSS and AUTOMATON, and a couple other bands that makes for a solid line up sonically.

KNAC.COM: What was the point in your life when you knew you wanted to be a Singer? Do you remember how old you were when you decided that you were going to take a shot at being a professional musician?

JACKSON: When I saw IRON MAIDEN when I was 15 or 16 years old. Watching them perform that night completely changed (or ruined) my life to go down this path. It was truly something magical to me.

KNAC.COM: I've seen in many reviews where you are compared to Geoff Tate and Bruce Dickinson. I can understand why because like those 2 legendary singers you can reach those high notes. Were you at all influenced by them? How does it feel when you hear people make those comparisons?

JACKSON: Well, I would say for sure they were major influences on me, but I’d also say I’m influenced by my history learning and listening to music. I sang opera learning through a private teacher for like 10ish years. I’m a major fan of several different bands, styles, genres. I grew up listening to jazz, disco, and 60s-70s rock music. And I only have gained more influences from all of it that I’ll pull from. When people make those comparisons, I would say it’s great! To be put in the same breath as artists whom you look up to is amazing! Maybe one day someone will tell the next kid trying to make it that he sounds like me! That’d be something truly special.

KNAC.COM: When I was listening to the SOLAR FLARE CD your vocal range was indeed very impressive but what really impressed me the most was the band really does seem to have a real fresh, original sound that is all its own. Is that something the band set out to do or is that just what came out when the band got in the studio and started recording the songs that made up your debut album?

JACKSON: Well, I would definitely say there’s influences from everyone in the music. We do try to have our own feeling, and our own perspective, as well as our approach to pieces that we write. Do we set out to try and be unique specifically? Not, really. Some songs are crafted a bit and some got written in a few minutes. Our muse was super random with the music on the debut. We’re in the writing process of the next one. It’s such different chemistry, and looks to be even better.

KNAC.COM: Another thing that I found really interesting is that the CD only has 7 songs on it and yet I felt like I just got done listening to a full length album if you know what I mean. I would say that the band really delivered the goods on your debut album to your fans which just goes to prove that it's more about the quality of the songs than the quantity of the songs. Would you agree with that?

JACKSON: Yes, There’s albums I love that are technically one really long song. Music, art in general is subjective anyway. Making your music can be difficult, especially when it’s your first record. But, it’s always a big opportunity to just get yourself out there and see what happens. This next record will probably have more quantity, but definitely higher quality.

KNAC.COM: I'd love to hear the story behind the band's name.

JACKSON: Well, naming a band is hard. So I prayed to all of the old gods for days to get an answer. They gave me a vision of being in Valhalla, and the goddess Sól stood in front of me shooting fire at me. I knew then what their answer for me was.

KNAC.COM: How many years has SOLAR FLARE been in existence?

JACKSON: Since January/February of 2014, 8 years.

KNAC.COM: I would describe the overall sound of SOLAR FLARE as bone crushing, heavy, intense, screaming, soaring metal with melody. Would you say that is a fair description?

JACKSON: Yeah, that’s pretty fair! You should see us live, the album was realistically only 10% of our power in person! (Ha ha!)

KNAC.COM: Is everyone in the band involved with the songwriting process?

JACKSON: Pretty much, if not official “writing” then like edits or what have you. It’s an ebb and flow when we write. Especially now, we’re really trying to make this next one with love. So we’re putting in the real elbow grease.

KNAC.COM: Can you tell me a little bit about the cover artwork?

JACKSON: Oh, my lovely girlfriend drew it by hand and scanned it. Then edited it with Adobe Illustrator. I wanted a unique-looking character that had a 1980s comic book look to it. Plus, I love vivid colors.

KNAC.COM: What has been the response to Solar Flare so far?

JACKSON: Well, most reviews or interviews seem to like us. The industry can be difficult, that’s the nature of the beast on that side. Other than that we’re received well anywhere we go.

KNAC.COM: Has the band played any live shows yet? If so, what has that been like?

JACKSON: Yeah, a few. It’s up and down, getting payment with gas prices is a challenge. However, people love us anywhere we go. We’re working on booking more out of town gigs, and definitely have a couple things in the works for that. So that’s pretty exciting!

KNAC.COM: When it comes to the recording studio vs. performing live, which do you prefer?

JACKSON: Performing live. Recording is amazing too, but it’s being under a microscope trying to get things just right. If you’ve seen the movie Bohemian Rhapsody about QUEEN, the scene where they’re in the studio listening back to the vocal track, Freddie says, what do you guys think?” Band:“Oh we think it sounds good!” Freddie: “I think it sounds like sh*t, I’m going to do it again.” Pretty much that, haha!

KNAC.COM: What's next for SOLAR FLARE?

JACKSON: More shows, another album, potentially another label, more fun, more power, and a lot of wild things!

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