Jason Hook is a man of many hats. First and foremost, he’s the guitarist for Five Finger Death Punch, a metal band he joined in early 2009, who's first offering together, War Is The Answer, debuted as number 7 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. But when Hook isn’t on the road with the band, co-headlining music festivals such as the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival with Rob Zombie, or launching his own signature M4-Sherman guitar with Gibson, Hook is also a record producer, songwriter, solo artist and home recording studio owner.
Hook's musical career got its kick-start in Oakville, Ontario in the mid- to late 70s when a friend introduced him to what was at the time a new band. "My neighbor came by the house with a few of the band’s records and asked me if I wanted them, since he wasn’t allowed to keep them at his own home. I remember saying, 'sure, what is it? What's this band KISS?'," he recalls. "I was looking at the cover, thinking 'oh my god – that's crazy!' And it grabbed me immediately. It was extremely exciting.
Plus, I liked the songs -- they were simple, catchy and had a high level of energy. I remember thinking that KISS, which captured people's attention with all the makeup and photos and images, was so much more exciting than playing whatever video game was popular at the time. I was like, 'this is awesome; I want to do this!'"
Hook's private guitar lessons began at just 6 years old, but his formal music training also included drums, piano and violin.
According to Hook, he says from day one, he was a guitar player, wrote his own songs and put his own bands together. In fact, he would multi-track himself with what he describes as a "ghetto blaster" and an external microphone. "I would put the external mic on one side of the speaker and then play into the other mic, and so, I was playing along with a cassette and recording it into a separate cassette. That was crazy," says Hook.
Eventually he moved on to multi-track recorders, such as the Tascam 246 Portastudio 4-track and then on to 8- and 16-track recorders from there. Eventually he dropped $5,000 for a computer, monitor and Pro Tools software.
While Hook’s interest in home recording grew, so did his career as a musician. By the time Hook joined Five Finger Death Punch, he had already released a debut hard rock/metal album, Safety Dunce, which received a Best Instrumental Record award at the 2007 L.A. Music Awards, and had recorded a follow-up solo project that is currently awaiting release.
It seems that all of Hook's hard work and life experiences have finally culminated, as Five Finger Death Punch releases its latest recording, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1 and Hook now has a full-fledged recording studio he can literally call "home."
"My home studio is always a work in progress," he jokes. "Basically, I do all of my music in there. It has all of my amps, pedals, guitars, and recording gear, such as my Pro Tools HD rig and my KRK's."
A long time user of KRK gear, Hook started out with a pair of the KRK Rokit studio monitors. "I loved those monitors and used them for years. It wasn’t until after I became a Gibson artist that I found out KRK was part of the brand. That’s why when I upgraded my home studio, I had to get the newest monitors from KRK."
Hook currently relies on the KRK VXT8 accompanied by a KRK 12sHO large sub for his monitoring needs. The VXT8 features the company’s trademark yellow Kevlar woofer, and also has a visually striking enclosure design. Some of its most attractive features include its low resonance, improved structural integrity and extended low-end, slotted ports for reduced port turbulence, and a sleek curvature that provides excellent imaging characteristics and a wider sweet spot. “The VXT8 definitely has a bit more muscle," adds Hook.
The KRK12sHO powered subwoofer is powered by a 400 watt amplifier and offers a strengthened version of the company's signature Kevlar woofer. According to Hook, one of the standout features of the 12sHO is the Bypass Footswitch Control, which allows users to defeat the sub and provide full range audio to their recording monitors for use with a standard latching ¼-inch mono footswitch.
"This is what I used all through the making of our last record that just came out," says Hook. "I have a pro-level system right here at the house that allows me to work at home at a level that's compatible with a professional studio."