Ultimate-Guitar.com: We spoke when you did your first album, “Zero Order Phase”. You said: “I don’t think instrumental music is really that popular.” Do you still feel that way?
Jeff Loomis: Wow, that’s something I still kinda think is true, but I think we’re seeing a lot more instrumental music from a lot of people today, which is really a super-cool thing. Just kinda keeping guitar instrumental music alive, such as ANIMALS AS LEADERS, which is awesome. Another great player by the name of Chimp Spanner [Paul Ortiz] who’s out of London, I believe; he’s doing a lot of cool instrumental stuff and it’s still out there.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: So how did you approach “Plains of Oblivion” that might have been different than what you did on “Zero Order Phase”?
Jeff Loomis: I wanted to change things up a little bit and simplify the arrangements and make it a lot more aggressive musically. But I did decide to spin it up a little bit with some vocal songs as well. Just to try to give the listener more of a chance to hear other ideas that I had. I kind of wanted to do the best of both worlds kind of thing on this new record: instrumental and vocal stuff as well just to keep it exciting so that was my theory on the whole thing.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Why has it been four years since you last released “Zero Order Phase”?
Jeff Loomis: Well, what happened was obviously a lot of readers out there know I was in a band called NEVERMORE for many, many years. We were going on 15 or 16 years, or something like that, together as a band, and that kind of was a huge deal for me and to leave that band was also a huge deal. After being together for so long, things just didn’t work out anymore and it happens to many bands. You get together for a long time and sometimes a band can be like a marriage because you’re on tour with the same bunch of cats forever. But that was really one of the reasons that it took so long. Just because I had other things going on with NEVERMORE, such as records, touring, etcetera. When NEVERMORE broke up, which was a little more than a year ago, I was sitting around at home going, “What am I gonna do? Am I just gonna sit around and do nothing or am I gonna keep going?”
Ultimate-Guitar.com: That’s when you started thinking about a new solo album?
Jeff Loomis: Obviously I chose to stay busy with music because that’s what I do and I immediately started writing for “Plains Of Oblivion”. That’s kinda what I did, man. I just kinda stayed busy and started putting music ideas together and had the idea of getting a lot of guest guitar players on the record as well. I started getting to work at that and I just thought, “Hey, what would be a good idea getting some of my hugest inspirations as I was growing up as a musician on this record.” I started sending e-mails out to Marty Friedman, Chris Poland, Tony MacAlpine and they all obliged to do it, so I’m more than happy.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Now that you’re no longer in NEVERMORE, how do you see the body of work you created with them?
Jeff Loomis: Well, boy, oh boy, we spent a lot of time together as I said prior, and we did a lot of great tours and a lot of great festivals and met a lot of great people. I think every book has its ending, so to speak, and once one door closes, another one will open up for other opportunities. I’m still friends with all the guys and we still talk.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Why did you leave?
Jeff Loomis: I really wanted to do my own thing and be my own boss, so to speak, and make my own decisions, and it’s working out for the better. I’m very happy with my career right now, and I’m not sure if those guys are gonna continue on with NEVERMORE, and if they do, all the luck to them. But at this point in time, I’m doing my own thing and I’m very happy with that.
Read the entire interview from Ultimate-Guitar.com.