Interview with Justin Bender of Third Ion

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Interview with Justin Bender of Third Ion


What does Third Ion mean?

It’s just a play on words of Third Eye, and since we wanted to make everything sci-fi, and space themed, an Ion particle seemed appropriate.


Your new album is called Biolith.  What is the inspiration for the title? 

We had thought of having a monolithic space creature, but being album two we looked up if BI-olith was a word, and it was haha. A biolith is a rock produced by biological organisms, so we sort of designed the space whale on the cover to be bursting from his rock formation in deep space that he hibernated in for millions of years. It’s more or less another play on words, we like to have fun and be a bit silly with the sci-fi nature of the visuals, so we just rolled with that and it turned out great.

How did you recruit  Dave Padden and what does Dave Padden bring to the band?  

Our bassist Mike Young has known him for years, both being active Vancouver area musicians, and they played together in Terror Syndrome. He just asked Dave if he wanted to do a quick demo and see how it fits, and much to our benefit, he did just that and it turned out great so we asked him to join. Again to our benefit, he agreed.

Dave is not only a really really talented guy, amazing pitch, super great live and in studio, but an extremely nice and genuine dude. He fits in well with our geek ways, and he brings a TON of experience to the table. We couldn’t have possibly asked for a better fit.

I’m glad you released a physical CD.  In these days of instant downloads and digital only albums, how important is the presentation not you?

If we didn’t have much direction for artwork or kept things really simple in the visual department, I may not be as determined to release a physical CD. It is expensive, and less people buy them, so you have to ask yourself every time if it is worth it. That said, I love the digipaks that Harley K has come up with and I feel like we have no choice, we just HAVE to have that on CD. Ultimately we should be doing vinyl releases too, as the artwork in a larger format like that would be badass, but it just comes down to money. It’s a goal, though.

Like I said, though, if we didn’t have that, I’d probably be okay with doing digital only releases. If there is not much for presentation, then there wouldn’t be much point in sinking the dollars in when you live in a time that doesn’t really require you do so.

For our gear guys out there, what is your standard recording set up and in the same sense, what is your live rig like?

For guitar, I tend to record all the guitar parts direct in, using amp sims in Pro Tools. When I’m all done and I have edited whatever needs a bit of fixing, I then reamp out through real amps and re-record them back down in pro tools. On Biolith you’re hearing a mix of some amp sims ( I think Podfarm) and an EVH 5150 III head through my Diamond 4×12 cab with Vintage 30’s. It’s one of those things that I don’t really have a standard approach, and I change my mind all the time. Next album will probably be done differently.

For live, since we are all on in-ears and I am midi controlling all of my guitar patches, using an amp sim live makes the most sense. We have so much less gear to haul around, so I love it. Lately I have just been using Amplitube on my iPad with their iRig Pro interface. It’s pretty awesome actually, but I’ve been looking into the Line 6 Helix Rack, or of course Axe Fx and the Kemper are great options.

Speaking of touring, how hard is it to pull everyone together to do a tour? 

Definitely very hard. There are always a minimum of a couple flights for a couple of people involved, so we only really book stuff if a good enough offer comes in. Then there is scheduling. All four of us are full time musicians juggling many simultaneous projects, so even when an offer comes in, we often can’t do it just because of schedules not aligning or people having prior commitments. Which is totally fine, we all knew this would be how it is.

There is a big rise in video game culture interbreeding with Metal.  What do you attribute this to? 

I guess I would say that kids born in the 80s and 90s are starting metal bands, and these generations grew up with Nintendo’s, Sega’s and Playstation’s. It’s been so ingrained in us from birth. I also think that more metalheads are nerdy type people than most other genre’s of music.

In a related point, what are your main sources of inspiration when writing lyrics and writing songs? 

If it’s a song relating to our concepts behind the main character featured on both album covers so far, then the inspiration is generally a mesh of our favourite sci fi, comic, cartoon, and video game stuff. We pay homage to Megaman more than a few times throughout both albums.

There are some songs that are really science and atheism inspired as well, mostly just me letting my imagination run with thoughts of what it would be like circling a black hole, or getting sucked into one, or whatever. Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s podcast “StarTalk” has given me a few good topics to explore over these first few years.

What is next in your conquest for world domination? 

The next thing, baring any good show/tour offers, is to get together and write the third album. We hope to get started soon. It’s the first time we haven’t been continuously writing since we started the band, and this break has been over a year now.

The reason for the break was specific though, as we want to take a very different approach to the next album, so we need to be patient and wait until we can get together for a big chunk of time. That’s all I will say for now, but I am super super excited for it.

Thanks for the interview!!

Check out all the great ways to get in touch with Third Ion.

Twitter and Instagram – @jb_thirdion


Thanks for the interview!!