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Jason Achilles

Artist, NASA Researcher

Los Angeles-based producer / composer / multi-instrumentalist JASON ACHILLES recently joined Jerry Cantrell as touring keyboard player for the Alice in Chains guitarist’s 2022 Brighten tour. Achilles was part of an all-star band that included producer / film composer Tyler Bates, and Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Greg Puciato.

In February 2021, Achilles, an independent technical audio consultant with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena’s famed JPL), helped develop a microphone system for the space agency that
captured the first sounds of the planet Mars as recorded by NASA's Mars Perseverance rover.

But the UC Berkley graduate’s first love is creating his own music, and he’s honed his songwriting and stage skills for years with his own bands Black Belt Karate, OWL, and more. In 2022 and onward, Achilles is focusing his myriad skills into his solo career, creating songs that are an experimental fusion of old-school instrumentation and modern looping-switching technologies. Performing live, Achilles and drummer Forrest Mitchell demonstrate their musical chainsaw-juggling act through a unique interpretation of the intimacy and freedom afforded a multi-instrumental two-piece arrangement, drawing inspiration equally from high structure and free improvisation.

His prolific solo output began with Achilles' COMEDOWN LP (2016),.on which he variously performed all instrumentation. The debut release was supported by extensive touring throughout the US / UK / France & Spain. The onset of pandemic in 2020 resulted in a new creative burst of live video streaming from the band's LA-based Organic Audio recording and production studio.

His equal obsessions with space and music continually inform each other. It was 2017 when Achilles begin working on the microphone that would travel on NASA's Mars Perseverance rover. The musician included white papers he’d written on the microphone’s design, calibrating the final product, and post-processing the raw data files. 

In October, NASA awarded Mezilis and his collaborators $650,000 to develop a functional prototype that would fill a technology gap: the Lunar ExoCam, a novel camera system for Lunar and Mars deployment, along with another microphone system destined for the atmosphere of Venus. Mezillis’ “Entry, Descent, and Landing” microphone would be oriented toward capturing sounds for a broader audience than the science-oriented SuperCam mic.

“(Jerry) Cantrell is joined by a six-piece band that includes pedal steel player Michael Rozon and keyboard player Jason Achilles, the additional members creating lush instrumentation that adds layers and contrast to the mesmerizing, heavy-riff musicality.” - VILLAGE VOICE

"His work with NASA...has got that same sort of fascination and wonderment as music does, which opens the creative door for him" - WIRED MAGAZINE

"[Achilles] offers up a brilliant record...slick guitar tones, enchanting as they intertwine through each and every speaks for itself. And it speaks loudly." - NO DEPRESSION

"Just as impressive as his musicianship is [Achilles'] ability to trigger effects, create grandiose soundscapes...with his mad scientist-esque hair and space-agey sound, [Achilles] is an artist who can be dropped into just about any situation and draw in even the most listless crowd with his innovative, avant-garde tunes and dextrous playing...he's composing conceptual art. This is purposeful chaos at its finest." - MUSIC CONNECTION MAGAZINE

"A talented multi-instrumentalist; Achilles' musical history is a grab-bag of genres and collaborators ranging from ragtime duos...classical compositions...indie rock bands. But if it weren't scary, everyone would do it." - ROGUE VALLEY MESSENGER