Devil You Know will finally be releasing their highly anticipated album, “The Beauty of Destruction,” on April 29th via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. This band marks the return of Howard Jones to the metal scene, and with Francesco Artusato, John Sankey, Ryan Wombacher and Roy Lev-Ari behind him, they’ve created a powerful debut album that all metal fans should be checking out next month. They played their first live show ever last month, and from the footage we posted, and the crowd’s response, these guys look to be making a lot of noise in the scene in 2014. For their fans in the States, they will be touring in support of Black Label Society, DOWN and Butcher Babies at this year’s 2014 Revolver Golden Gods Tour (dates here). It’s a tour everyone is talking about already, and Devil You Know is kicking off the show every night! Don’t miss it!
Last week I got to speak with Howard Jones on his return to the scene, the response from fans, their upcoming album and more! Check out the chat below and be sure to pick up “The Beauty of Destruction” on April 29th!
Metal Mark- First things first, a welcome back is in order from everyone in the metal world.
Howard Jones- Ah, well thank you (laughs). It’s only been a few years, but it’s good to be back as they say.
MM- That’s good to hear. A lot of fans, like myself, are excited for your return to the scene. Are you blown away at all of the positive response you’ve received so far?
HJ- Definitely man. It’s been really cool. Metal fans are awesome and as passionate as ever, so the fact that they are still supporting me after my absence is really encouraging for me, so I hope to make them all proud with this new band.
MM- I recently read that after you left the scene in 2012 that you thought you were completely done with music. What was it about Devil You Know’s music that reignited that fire for you?
HJ- Well they sent me the music a while back, and after listening to it for a while, I knew that it was something cool, and something I’d like to be involved with. At the time I wasn’t focused on it that much, but I went back to it, and figured that it’d be something fun to do. I was thinking it was going to be studio project or something like that, because the last thing I wanted to do was fully dive back into the touring life style at that moment. Before I knew it these guys were almost at thirty or forty songs, and I was like we got to do this album now. They were writing incredible stuff, and I knew that people needed to hear it. Once we started jamming together, it felt really awesome, and shows started coming up. Before I knew it I had an album on the way, and a full year of touring ahead of me (laughs). It’s the last thing I expected, but I’m ready for it, and have the right guys behind me to get this done right. It’s an exciting time for sure.
MM- Speaking of the album, “The Beauty of Destruction,” your vocal performance is absolutely stellar. There is a lot more singing than you’ve done before, but there are also some of the deepest and heaviest screams you’ve ever done as well. How exactly did you approach this record vocally?
HJ- My main focus for the vocals on this album was to do something different. I wanted to do something unexpected and new ya know. There is definitely a blend of stuff I did with my previous bands, but there is a lot of stuff that I’ve never done before. Just the clean vocals alone, I did some stuff I didn’t even know I could do. With the help of the guys and the producer, Logan Mader, it came together really well. If you’re listening to this band because of the other groups I’ve been in, there is stuff you will enjoy, but overall, it’s much more diverse than anything I’ve ever done, which is exactly what I wanted.
MM- In the world of iPod shuffle, it’s really hard to find albums that you can listen to from start to finish without hitting that skip button, but I think you guys nailed it. From the melodic to heavy, this record moves in a seamless way. How important was that for you guys?
HJ- I would say the band definitely had that in mind for sure, but for myself, I was just focused on what I was going to do on each track. Am I going to sing or am I going to scream? That was my main focus, but that’s really awesome that you feel the record moves that way. There is definitely a lot of heavy stuff on there, but the melodic stuff is present throughout as well, so I’m glad it is a easy listen for you. It is a lost art for a lot of bands to have a listenable album from start to finish, and hopefully others feel the same as you do (laughs).
MM- When it comes to your lyrics, they are as honest and as personal as they’ve ever been. Were some of these built up over the past few years, or just since the band started jamming together?
HJ- I didn’t start writing the lyrics until they sent me the demos. A lot of it was written in the studio actually. You can write all of the lyrics you want, but it’s never final until you hear it on top of the music. So I changed a lot of parts in the studio, and went from there. Some of the songs only took ten to fifteen minutes, and we were done. As simple “Let’s change this,” “Okay, go in the booth,” and we knocked it out. It sounds more simple than it was, but it was definitely easier than some of the other records I’ve done.
MM- Very cool. As I said earlier, I don’t believe there is a bad song on this album. With what you went through over the past few years, and now having this “rebirth,” are there any songs that mean more to you than the others?
HJ- Honestly I am just happy with it as a whole. I know that’s cliche to say, but it’s the truth. I really think we made a solid album here, and pretty excited for the fans to hear it. If I had to choose one it would be “As Bright As The Darkness.” That is a snapshot of about three or four years of my life in one song. The record as a whole is the most personal thing I’ve ever done, but that track alone is really powerful to me. If you want to know about the past three of four years of my life, read the lyrics to that song and there it is. Nothing else needs to be said. It’s out there for everyone to read and listen to in that track. So if I had to choose one, it’d be that one, but like I said, I think every song is special in it’s own way.
MM- You’ve always been very open and honest in your lyrics, and you hear the phrase “music is the best therapy” all the time. After what you’ve been through in the past few years, has it ever been more true to you? Where would you be without it?
HJ- Where would I be without music? Dead. As simple as that. But then again, I almost did die when I was in music, so what do I know (laughs). My life is just strange man. I just take it one day at a time now and try to enjoy it ya know. I’ve been through a lot, as many other people have, but without music, I definitely wouldn’t be here. Without a doubt man. It’s a beautiful thing.
MM- Well we are thankful you are still here, and for the music continuing to come our way. Of course, with every new album, new tour dates are coming, and you are hitting the road in support of Black Label Society and DOWN. Let’s go back a month though when you played your first show back in California. What were your emotions before you hit the stage?
HJ- “Oh my god this is really happening.” (laughs) Like I said, I didn’t expect this to be more than a studio project in the beginning, but then we had a full album, and now massive touring all year booked. So it was just the realization that it was happening was a little overwhelming, but I was ready for it. That show was a blast man, the crowd was insane.
MM- For the last question, you’ve had a successful and long career in the metal scene so far. You’ve toured the small venues to the arenas, had hit records, and played all over the world. People always want to know what to do to follow in your footsteps, but I like to ask what would you tell people not to do?
HJ- Wow. How much time do you have? (laughs) What not to do? That’s a good question. Honestly, don’t take it so seriously. Just enjoy it. Music is meant to be fun, so do what makes you happy. Don’t listen to others, and believe in what you do, and good things will come. I see people take it so seriously and get completely drained after a few years. There are times to be that way, but for the most part, enjoy the hell out of it. It’s fun.
MM- Well said Howard. Thanks for taking out the time today. Do you have anything else you’d like to say to the fans out there?
HJ-Here we come!