With a new line-up the mighty Arizona death metal quintet Job for a Cowboy have lit up 2012 with their magnificent new album Demonocracy. Returning with a continued evolution in musical maturity and technical excellence, the band retain their claim to being the most hostile, visceral, and exciting bands in death metal. As expected the album does not give an easy ride but is genuinely one of the most rewarding you could wish for. As ever we wanted to find out more about the album and look behind its sounds, as well as hearing more about the band itself. With pleasure we were able to do so with vocalist Jonny Davy who kindly tackled our questions.
Hi Jonny and many thanks for taking time to talk with us.
We will cut straight to the chase and the new album Demonocracy. Wow impressive, has it emerged even more powerfully than you at first envisaged?
Absolutely. We ended up changing parts and experimenting ideas within the studio. Something we haven’t really done before. I’m glad we took the time and effort to rearrange parts and hash out new ideas. We are all super happy with the product.
I admit I am no expert on the back catalogue of Job for a Cowboy but from the previous album Ruination there feels not only a distinct evolution in sound but in maturity, the songwriting and song construction especially, is that something that has been simply organic or have you worked particularly on that?
It is organic only for the fact that our motto in the bands writing system was to ALWAYS progress as a band. We are here to impress ourselves and others amongst the band. A lot of bands find their niche and safe zone, writing the same material record after record. We are entirely opposed to this and continue to enhance our sound as much as possible.
How much has the addition of new members guitarist Tony Sannicandro and bassist Nick Schendzielos, sparked the changes in the band sound?
A new lineup always sparks a fire under everyone’s ass’s. The reality is, every time we find new members we make sure that they are a step up from the previous ones. I know that it is cliché to say, but this is the strongest lineup that we have ever had, and if any of these members leave… it will be the end of Job For A Cowboy.
You are never an easy band to listen to haha, you demand a focus other death metal bands ignore but offer deeper rewards for that but with Demonocracy there is maybe a more instant aspect to parts of the music with the solos etc, would you agree?
Haha, yes I agree. I feel like this is the type of record where you really have to listen to a few times before really digesting it all.
The album and band is still as aggressive and hungry, that is very apparent on the album but is there a fine line between expanding your sound and direction ahead and losing the impact you have always brought to date to be wary of?
You know, it is hard to say. We don’t necessarily nit pick our music at that angle. We just try to have fun with it and try to make sure it is an improvement from the past.
Many bands would have used the acclaim and success of Ruination as the base for the next album but you seem to have started with a clean slate though it is still obviously a Job for a Cowboy sounding album.
I think every album for us is a clean slate. We don’t want to focus on one record and work around that. We want to keep making new ideas and stepping forward.
How does the songwriting work within the band and has it changed in any way with Tony and Nick on board?
It has changed dramatically. In the past, we always wrote and even lived together in Arizona. Now, guys live in Boston, Denver, Seattle and Phoenix. All across the United States. We had to shoot our ideas through email and home recordings. I think giving everyone space however let everyone hash out their ideas without the distractions of other members knocking them down before they could really progress.
Tell us about the theme and inspiration for the songs and lyrics.
Obviously from the title they are very political. So many bands in our genre from a lyrical perspective write about the stereotypes of death metal. Anti-Christianity, gore, death, murder… We stray away from this stuff and have a much more punk rock attitude.
You have again worked with producer Jason Suecof, he seems to have a real understanding of what you are as a band and want to bring to your music?
Jason is awesome. He has become a great friend and we really respect what he does in the studio. It is nice walking into something and know what to expect. That is why we keep working with Jason.
The album cover is immense, a welcome into Demonocracy as powerful as the music. Can you tell us about it and who designed it etc?
Brent Elliott White, who also did the cover for Ruination did this cover as well. He is an amazing artist just in the sense that you can give him so little and he can create so much with it. I gave him a rough idea on the lyrical content and he nailed it right on the head.
As mentioned you have two new members, so was the band set back a little with the departure of Bobby (Thompson) and Brent (Riggs) and can we ask the reasons for their leaving and was it something that was on the cards for a while?
I’ll start with Bobby. He simply wanted to start the family life back at home. He actually helped write Tarnished Gluttony on the record. Great friends to this day, he just couldn’t handle the touring life with what he wanted to do at home anymore. As for Brent… Well, drugs became his first priority. He fell into the black hole of caring about drugs over everything else. He had to leave.
We knew Nick from Cephalic Carnage, he still plays bass for them to this day. As for Tony, he was with Despised Icon for a couple years. They were both easy fits, especially from a personality perspective.
What have they brought to the music that was possibly lacking before?
Much much much much more technicality.
Has the new dynamic and ideas the two have brought in made you return to older songs with a slight re-invention in mind?
No, I think people like to hear our older songs the way they are. We don’t want to pull a George Lucas and recreate Star Wars.
I am no musician but was wondering when you bring a new guitarist in alongside the existing one is there a change required in both in regard to how they have played previously or in the existing member’s role within the already written and established songs?
It just turns into a new collaboration. We want our new members to do everything freely as they want.
One can assume you will be touring the ass off of Demonocracy?
How do you think the live shows will change with the new guys on board compared to before?
A lot more energy.
Absolutely, we have toured nonstop for years. It is our true passion.
Too early I know but anyway what is next for the band and you as individuals?
More and more touring across the world.
Once more many thanks for taking time out to talk with us and good luck with Demonocracy, though one feels it will not be needed.
Would you care to leave us with any last words or thoughts?
Check out the new record!
Read the review of Demonocracy @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/job-for-a-cowboy-demonocracy/
The RingMaster Review 16/06/2012