Job For A Cowboy's Jonny Davy Talks New EP, Tour, Music Biz, Piracy, Germophobia, Fleshwrought, And Bands He Loves
Band Photo: Job For A Cowboy (?)
Supporting Between the Buried and Me on tour for the new album, "The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues," Job For A Cowboy is anticipating its own new release – "The Gloom EP," which is due out on June 7th, via Metal Blade records. Sharing the bill on the month-long tour that wrapped up on Saturday the 14th was The Ocean, from Germany, and Cephalic Carnage for part of the tour. You can read my show report and see photos from the show shortly in the newly-relaunched MetalUnderground.com Photo Gallery.
On Friday the 13th in Nashville, TN, Job For A Cowboy’s lead vocalist Jonny Davy met up with me for an interview just after the band played their set at the gig at Rocketown.
Frank Serafine (Progressivity_In_All): You guys are finishing up this tour. Tomorrow’s the last show in Asheville, NC.
Jonny Davy: Yeah, this is officially the fourth week. The tour’s been awesome. It’s the first time that I met The Ocean. They’re really great guys. It adds a little flavor with Europeans in the mix. Sometimes, I’m just like, "Am I in Europe?" Cephalic [Carnage] was on a good chunk. We’ve been good friends with Cephalic. It actually made it better for us, because it’s a mixture of hardcore and progressive hardcore metal.
BTBAM, we went and toured with them in Europe for a long time with Lamb of God, so we know those guys very, very well. They’re kind of late in the game with Europe. But this tour’s been killing it, and I honestly couldn’t ask for a better tour. It’s been a good time.
FS: Have you noticed any weird tour habits of any of the bands?
JD: Blake [Richardson, BTBAM drummer] is a horrible germ-ophobe! (laughs) I’m sure he won’t care that I bring it up. He works out with us every day. We tried to make him do that with us. We kind of do the workout thing every day. Especially for me as a singer, what do I have to do all day? I read for a couple hours in the van, and we get to the club and I have nothing to do, so I just work out.
But it’s funny that you bring that up, because he’s the biggest germ-ophobe. Last night, we were drinking. Only a couple guys in BTBAM drink – I think just him and Dustie, some of the other guys are straight-edge. We’re just passing a bottle of Jameson around and he’s like, "No, dude! I can’t do it. I can’t do it, dude." Why? "Oh, because everyone put their lips on it. Let me get a cup." He’s that one guy that has to get the cup. (laughs)
FS: It’s alcohol, right? Isn’t it supposed to kill germs?
JD: That’s what everyone says. (laughs) I dunno.
FS: What’s the craziest crowd on this tour that you’ve seen?
JD: Honestly, it’s been really crazy almost the majority of the tour. There have been a couple bad shows obviously where there was a dead crowd, but Dallas was nuts, Seattle was crazy. Seattle’s always great. I don’t know why. Every time I go to Seattle, it seems so chill and mellow. I guess that’s their time to let some anger out. My favorites have been Portland and Seattle. I wish we played Philadelphia, but we didn’t, because that’s always awesome.
FS: Do you have any rituals other than working out?
JD: Personally? I drink a lot. We like to drink a little bit. I’m a very socially awkward guy. I usually like to have some social lubricant, which is usually Jameson.
FS: If you could tour with any band that you haven’t yet, who would it be?
JD: We talk about it all the time. We all listen to a bunch of different things. We’re not the type of dudes who are like, "Oh, we only listen to metal." You know? I feel like when you’re in a metal band and you claim that you only listen to metal, you’re lying and trying to be a hard-ass.
I listen to Radiohead, Bjork, and that kind of stuff. We talked about touring with Opeth, which doesn’t make any sense for us, honestly. We’re all huge Opeth fans. We’d like to tour with Lamb of God in the US again. We’re really good friends with the Black Dahlia Murder and we’re hoping to do a US tour with them. We’re hoping to just tour with peers that we’re really good friends with like The Faceless, Black Dahlia… Meshuggah, which, again, probably doesn’t make any sense, with all these "djent" bands coming out.
FS: How do you guys see your band in context with the new "djent" stuff?
JD: My other band, Fleshwrought, is apparently considered a djent band, one way or another. I think it’s awesome. It’s almost kind of funny. I feel like it’s almost inevitable to where it’s going to get saturated. The death metal and death-core scene is going to get saturated really quickly because it’s kind of the new thing, but a lot of amazing bands are coming out of it so it doesn’t really matter. Obviously, the metal genre’s always evolving and changing. I don’t think we’re ever going to delve into that realm, though.
FS: Any new side projects going on with anybody from JFAC?
JD: Not really. Charn [Jon Rice], our drummer, is kind of the main guy with The Red Chord. He’s doing that. I’m doing Fleshwrought on the side. We’re doing another record and it’s a quarter of the way through. It’s really hard, because the initial lineup is supposed to be Steve [Jones] and Evan Brewer ,who are in The Faceless right now, Navene [Koperweis] is in Animals As Leaders, and I’m in Job For A Cowboy, so it’s a horrible mess right now.
Hopefully it will happen. We made a pact to do some shows in the summer, but it looks like it’s falling apart already. Navene’s four songs in to the record, and I’m just giving him my input. Me and Navene are kind of the main guys. I don’t write anything, but we’re very similar when it comes to musical tastes. He trusts my opinion and I give him feedback.
FS: Are you going to be working with Jason Suecof again, since JFAC’s had him for most records?
JD: Yeah, we just did the Gloom EP with Jason Suecof. It’s weird to say I’m a quarter of the way through with Fleshwrought, because we’re also a quarter of the way already on the next JFAC record. I feel like it’s kind of a change of pace, like every other record we’ve done. We’ve made an effort to not make every record sound the same. So far, it’s very interesting. I’m very curious to see what people think about it. We’re definitely good with Jason again. He’s a very crazy man in the wheelchair, but we understand each other very well.
FS: What’s one thing that nobody knows about Jason Suecof yet, since you’ve spent a lot of time with him?
JD: A lot of bands that work with him, I guess, kind of don’t understand him in the studio process. He’s kind of a space cadet, but his personality’s very similar to ours. When I first met him, I thought, "We could never ever record with this guy." But when we did "Ruination" we did demo tracks with him and Machine. I really liked Machine at first, but we went to Jason, and I was like, "No way in hell." After two or three days, I was like "Wow, I totally get it now." He’s very similar from a personality and emotional standpoint. It’s just one of those things where we can "bro down" easily. (laughs)
FS: Nice. On this tour, what was the craziest mosh pit like?
JD: Oh, honestly Atlanta was one of the craziest things, last night. I think it makes sense because it was almost like a festival show. We played in the big room and The Terror’s package played right under us. Apparently if you paid for The Terror show, you paid for the BTBAM show, so you could go to either one. Last night was insane. I’m sure it was because of the Terror fans. When I grew up, I grew up in the hardcore scene in Arizona, because that was all Arizona had. I think Terror’s awesome and their fans are all bat-shit insane.
FS: What’s your favorite place to eat on tour?
JD: Waffle House! Waffle Houses are sort of scattered everywhere. It’s a really cheap shitty diner.
FS: Perfect for greasy wake-ups, right?
JD: We do a lot of Waffle Houses for sure.
FS: Do you have any tips for bands trying to get out on a national level? JFAC blew up back when the whole MySpace thing was kicking off.
JD: MySpace was obviously a big part of our breaking out, and it was for a lot of bands. You can name it. All the top bands right now are honestly because of MySpace in one way or another. It was kind of the new era of tape trading.
FS: Any Do’s or Don’ts?
JD: From a touring aspect, touring’s hard. It’s not as easy as it seems. You have to have a good mindset. You just have to have a really punk DIY attitude about it. It’s not always awesome. That’s one of the main things. Just be level-headed. Know your place, I guess, and be humble about it. If you’re able to tour in the first place, you’re extremely lucky.
It’s not every day that you can tour and get paid for it and people come out to see you. That’s the mindset we’ve always had. I never thought, in a million years, I’d be traveling the US, traveling Europe, going to Japan, Australia… When I was 16, that was the last thing I thought. I was going to California and Texas every once in awhile. I never thought it would snowball into what it is now.
FS: Internet Piracy – helpful or hurtful, ultimately? What’s your take?
JD: As far as exposure goes, ultimately, it’s the best. I say on stage all the time, "Hey, our new record’s coming out – download or buy it, we don’t give a fuck." We don’t, because we pirate music ourselves. It hurts the label, but doesn’t really hurt the band to an extent. The music industry’s falling apart really quick.
Labels are running around, freaking out about what to do. The same thing is happening with management companies. Everything’s on a down-scale. I don’t know. We don’t make any money unless we’re on tour selling merchandise anyway, so it’s like, "fuck it." Download it. If you come to our shows, buy a shirt or something and it’s all "even Stevens," I guess…
I feel like how big your band is really makes a difference, but with us and a lot of our peers… Everyone downloads everything anyway with the extreme metal genre. We’re no Slipknot, we’re no Lamb of God. We’re not the higher end of the spectrum. If you come to our show and buy our merch, you’re saving our ass. If you buy a record, we’re honestly not really seeing anything from it.
FS: Where do you hope the music industry’s going to go after this crackdown?
JD: I feel like things are changing really quickly in the metal genre. I don’t really know how to pinpoint it, but I feel like that in the next 1-2 years, it’s going to be very different with what’s popular, especially in the underground. It’s kind of exciting, because you never know what’s going to be the next big thing, what’s going to be popular. I know I’m in a band, but I’m still a giant fan of the metal scene.
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