Interview with Jonny Davy of Job for a Cowboy

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.

What was it about Tony and Nick that made you realise they were the guys to help out firstly touring and then to be added as permanent members?

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?

Yes! Nonstop!

How do you think the live shows will change with the new guys on board compared to before?

A lot more energy.

You all seem to love every aspect of Job for a Cowboy but one senses the live arena is where you have the biggest thrill from?

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 @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/job-for-a-cowboy-demonocracy/

The RingMaster Review 16/06/2012

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Job for a Cowboy: Demonocracy

Job for a Cowboy return with a new line-up, new ideas, a continued evolution in musical maturity, and in Demonocracy their new album, one of the most formidable releases so far this year. The sheer power and quality to the songwriting and its realisation means that even if you are not a fan or the songs within the album do not grab you the musicianship and technical excellence is still unmissable and undeniable. Demonocracy is not a put on and listen once or twice and it clicks type of release, though for many it will do just that, this album demands your focus, attention, and at times your patience before divulging the ingenuity and excellent varied construct within the brutal onslaught it consumes with.

Released April 10th via Metal Blade Records the album follows up the widely acclaimed Ruination of 2009 by moving all aspects of the sound and songwriting of the Arizona quintet forward. From listening to Demonocracy it is evident there was no temptation to rest on their laurels even a little after such a strong and deep affection thrown over the previous album. For sure the change of personal has brought a natural change, the fact that songs now contain solos and at times the guitars take the lead suggests that, but there is an apparent organic shift too, a determined intent to find a further progression to themselves as musicians and the band as a whole.

The time between the two albums has seen the departure of guitarist Bobby Thompson and bassist Brent Riggs. Their replacements have not just come in to fill the slots but from the evidence on Demonocracy have instantly added a new dimension to compliment what their predecessors and the band had already impressively created. Cephalic Carnage bassist Nick Schendzielos and session guitarist for Despised Icon Tony Sannicandro initially were brought in as touring musicians but the chemistry that was immediate from playing and the songwriting ideas they brought into the band on the 2011 Gloom EP saw the arrangement become a permanent one. Alongside vocalist Jonny Davy, guitarist Al Glassman, and drummer Jon “Charn” Rice the pair has added a different dynamic which has also created another within the band as a whole to make their new release something that grabs the attention on every level.

From the opening onslaught of Children Of Deceit, Job for a Cowboy unleash their recognisable death metal/metal power but with a fuller and one can almost say more elaborate sound and texture. The track scrapes flesh from the ear as it thrusts its muscular riffs and full intensity through seeking to consume the senses but it is veined by guitars, melodies, and technical manipulations that are as scorched and venomous as you will find anywhere.  As mentioned now solos appear on tracks and though something almost unexpected and new for the band it is an easy and impressive fit.

As always listening to Job for a Cowboy is a testing and challenging experience, they are a band that requires a deliberate focus rather than a passing listen to appreciate all their attributes and this album is no different but the new progression to their sound and the additives brought from the new members and the determined ideas of the band as a whole are openly audible and enjoyable and again understood and complimented by returning producer Jason Suecof (The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel). Tracks like the excellent Nourishment Through Blood, Imperium Wolves with its excellent cello/keys ending though the song as a whole blisters and abuses perfectly, and the tumultuously intense Black Discharge, leave one numb, bruised and fully satisfied from being obliterated by a band that has found something very flavoursome to add to their already mighty sound.

Tongueless And Bound and The Manipulation Stream are the two songs that really ignited the most on the album, both slicing though the senses with technical precision whilst tearing the wounds wider with a pummelling that aches rather than numbs. Every track on the album is immense but this pair offer extra sparks from the guitar work of Glassman and Sannicandro through to the dehabilitating rhythms of Rice and Schendzielos. Davy too has upped his game on the album offering more variety to his delivery whilst still spewing and spitting the politically and socially themed lyrics as vehemently as ever.

Demonocracy will not be the album of the year for everyone as the band demand much more than most are willing or able to give with their hungry and intense sounds but it is hard to think of a death metal album as fulfilling and inspired as this for a long time. Job for a Cowboy might not be a flavour for everyone but with the new album they offer much more for many more making it at least a definite investigation.

RingMaster 04/04/2012

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