Jezter Vocalist Matt Orr on Their Sick New EP, Twisted Visual Aesthetic & Working with Ephyra

Photo: Reese Thomas

One of my favorite hardcore releases of 2023 so far has been For the Amusement of You by Jezter. The Daytona Beach, Florida band cooks up driving metallic hardcore packed with sudden rhythmic shifts that keep your attention and head bopping throughout the 6-song EP.

For the Amusement of You is the follow-up to Jezter's debut, a 2022 ripper of an EP called Just Jokin'. Both releases feature a demented-looking circus character that looks like something you would see in an '80s horror flick. I dig it.

I spoke with Jezter vocalist Matt Orr about the band's music, twisted visual asethetic, and working with one of the most exciting labels in our scene right now, Ephyra (Balmora, Cross of Disbelief, Adrienne).

Did the whole “evil jester” thing brew in your head before you started the band, or was it a simultaneous type of deal? I dig it when hardcore bands have concepts like this because it adds a different layer to everything.

I can’t entirely remember when the name was picked. I believe it was definitely before the first EP was finished. I don’t think I really had the ideas for the theme before we came up with it. After it clicked though I just ran with it and I remember feeling like everything was falling into place when I started really thinking about it.

I remember coming up with the idea for the Monty Python clips for the first EP and thinking like dude this is perfect. It’s been fun to come up with ideas and it seems like funny things we could do with the band and theme come up all the time. Like the sound clips on the new EP the carnival music is a voice memo my roommate took at a fair in Ohio and the laughing at the beginning of the last track is like a mask at a Spirit Halloween store.

Anything laughing, joke, clown, or jester-related turns into a band idea at this point. The jokes kinda write themselves no pun intended [laughs]. I’ve always found it enjoyable to come up with stuff like that whether it’s song titles, sound clips, artwork and lyrics especially. Running with the theme and bringing that continuity throughout stuff, I think, like you said, brings an extra layer for those who appreciate it.

Who else is in Jezter and is it the same lineup between Just Jokin’ and For the Amusement of You

So far has been mainly been written by Hunter Young and myself. The lineup has changed a little bit since the first EP. We switched drummers around maybe April of last year. As well as switching bass players in November. Currently Jezter is Myself, Hunter Young, Jordan Crain, Jonah Hess, Edgard Manso, and Aiden Bessent. 

Photo: Reese Thomas

Let’s talk about the musical side of Jezter. What were some of the influences you brought into the project?

So the first EP was written long ago during COVID by Hunter and few other friends. He loved stuff like Criminal Instinct and that LP that had just come out. It gave him itch to write a hardcore demo. When I deicide to write and do vocals for the project I wanted to lean into stuff similar with the fast cadences and timing.

The writing has always tried to be reminiscent of bands like Bracewar and Nervous Breakdown. When the time came to start working on the second EP, Hunter and I got to talking about still bringing all the fast parts as well as leaning a little heavier and bringing some harder parts. 

For the Amusement of You was released by Ephyra, a label that’s been killing it. Tell me a bit about your connection with the label and that relationship.

Yeah man, Ephyra rules. Everything they’ve had a hand in seems to be gold. They’ve been awesome and great work with so far. They always just been stoked on everything I’ve sent them. We originally met last July when they’re were on tour. They stayed at our place after a show in Jacksonville.

My roommate Trent was pretty tight with them already and they were all sick when I met them. Then back in October Balmora came down to play Equinox Fest in SFL and they stayed with us again. The new EP was recorded at that point and I think it was after the fest that Trent and Jordan showed it to Senti, Jay, and Brandon. They were super stoked on it and they said they’d be down to drop it on Ephyra. We were stoked and obviously very down. 

I noticed that Jezter has been playing out. How have the shows been so far and do you see the band ever doing some weekenders, maybe out here to the West Coast?

Yeah, we’ve played a good amount of shows now. We’ve been mostly a Florida thing until recently. We did a weekender up to Atlanta and South Carolina right at the end of last year with our friends in Miracle and Fading Signal. We’ve got a lot of shows coming up and some tour plans for the summer if all works out. I don’t know if it’s anything as far as the West Coast, unfortunately. Hopefully someday a weekender out there would be insane.

As far as the response to the band, everything has been cool so far. Everyone seems to be digging the songs and sets keep getting crazier. Shows have been great so far. It feels like there are really no bad places to play in Florida. Pretty much every scene is doing good right now. Orlando, Tampa, Jax, and South Florida are all having great shows weekly and a lot on new kids are popping up everywhere. We’ve even been able to have some cool shows here in Daytona. 

Photo: Reese Thomas

What else do you have going on outside of Jezter? Do you play in any other bands right now?

For myself currently, Jezter is my only band. Jonah and I have some other projects in the works hopefully coming soon. As far as the rest of the of the band, our guitarists Hunter and Jordan play in a rock band called Moodring as well a band called Psycho-Frame along with our bass player Aiden. Check both of those bands out if you haven’t.

What are some other bands you'd like to shout out before we close this out?

Check out Domain, Xcelerate, Suntouch House, Miracle, Ephemeral, Sidearm, and every band on Armageddon Records. All from Florida mostly and all sick!


For the Amusement of You is out now via the Ephyra Bandcamp page (CD/cassette pre-order).

Hit the Jezter Linktree to find all of their social media pages.


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