Κυριακή 20 Νοεμβρίου 2016

Jarvis Leatherby (Night Demon) interview. Heavy Metal is the law.

Night Demon from Ventura, California was born in May of 2011 and the current line-up is Jarvis Leatherby (vocals, bass), Armand John Anthony (guitars) and Dustin Squires (drums).
Their first s/t EP was released in 2012 and was a shock for the traditional metal scene, followed by their first full-album "Curse Of The Damned" in January of 2015 by SPV/Steamhammer. Been active with many live shows and extended tours, Night Demon have been established as one of the leading forces of the new wave of traditional heavy metal. 

Jarvis Leatherby has become one of the most respectful persons in the metal scene today and besides Night Demon, he is also the man responsible for Frost & Fire Festival and the reunion of Cirith Ungol, where he also handles bass duties. So, there aren't many people out there suitable for a similar interview where we simply discuss the present status of heavy metal music.

-Let's take a short break from your Night Demon tour and talk for a while for what your are doing almost every night lately, Heavy Metal. But first of all, how the tour is going?

J.: Tour went well. It’s actually over now. I can’t even believe it! I don’t know what to do with myself.  

-What's the diferences of the European metal fans, with the ones in the United States?

J.: I think there are very passionate fans in both places. Really they are all the same. I think that’s a common misconception. I will say that metal is much more popular in Europe and there are more die hard fans by volume, but in America there are many metalhead who live the lifestyle and are true supporters. They don’t have as many opportunities to see metal festivals and certain bands, so they make the dedication to travel to those events, and support those bands when they come to town. But basically metalhead are metalhead anywhere you go in the world.  

-What kind of hypes do you recognize in the metal scene over the last years? 

J.: It’s hard to say now with the internet being so popular. Obviously in mainstream metal, there’s still a lot of tough guy stuff, a lot of down tuning, and radio rock. That stuff will always be popular in middle America and other parts of the globe, and real metalhead don’t listen to that stuff, but I also see doom metal and stoner being more of a current trend in underground music. Maybe its not a trend, but it definitely has been more popular as of late.

-Is regression the new mainstream in metal music? In the present decline of the physical format, it seems more and more record labels (even major ones) sign and release what we might call "true" in metal music.

J.: Well I think that maybe some of the bigger labels are getting smarter business wise to sign try metal acts. The reason not necessarily being that they love true metal music and want to be that sort of label, but the fact is that true metal fans will always buy physical media or digital. Not the case with most mainstream music, so it seems to be a good move for the labels financially.

-How would you define "true", and such a term should exist? 

J.: I would honestly describe that as meaning that a band is not fake. Meaning they don’t follow current trends too closely, there is some originality there, and they mean what they do. No matter what style of music a band is playing, you can easily spot when someone is not being genuine with what they do. I don’t mind the term “true”, but I don’t like when people in the scene take on this term to mean that they have the right to call anyone else a poser who they don’t think is “true”. People need to be able to be who they are and listen to what ever the hell music they want to without some internet bully telling them they can’t.

-Many old and underground metal bands are reformed and even more new ones are born. Various festivals grow here and there and small record labels appear everywhere. Is everything so easy in our days? For me, wrong people and intentions are spread everywhere making things harder for those who really "know how", but what's your view on this?

J.: Well nothing ever with it in life comes super easy. When you truly follow your passion inline, there will be many obstacles  in the way, and they will never stop coming, but its really all part of the bigger plan. When you take these things on it can also be enjoyable. Accomplishing things in the face of adversity, especially following your passion, you can’t do any wrong, and you should never let anyone tell you that. Or don’t let it affect you, at least. There will always be people in this business for the wrong reasons. The only thing anyone can do about that, is stay away from them and keep doing your own thing. Those people always fall apart in the end and their true intentions will always show. You don’t need to waste your valuable time and energy trying to bring someone else down. They will do it on their own. Also, what does that say about young try and do that to someone else? You become the same thing you despise at that point. There’s enough room in this world for everyone.

-Old farts die hard. For sure there are some 80s metal bands that live and breath for metal and you can't easily stop them from what they love to do. How would you seperate them from the "fake ones", what is fake for you and who from those bands are the most important and/or best for you? 

J.: It’s a difficult question you have posed here.  I will answer and explain the best way I can…
I think its safe to say we can all agree that any historically great band from the old school at one point in time had integrity, originality, hard work, passion, and a great vision. Now some bands will continue to do this throughout their careers, or the opposite happens. They grow older, things change, they lose sight of why they started to begin with, and they go off in other selfish directions and the whole thing falls apart, or even worse, the band continues to do their thing for the wrong reasons and it shows.

Another scenario is when sometimes a band reunites for the first time in over decades of not only performing together, but also not even being in contact with one another. A lot of things can happen during the course of that time. People change. Even if the reunion has good vibes around it, there is an adjustment period. Often times you also have these bands that reunite after all these years, and want to take on a trendy or current rock and roll image. They want to be relevant in some sort of modern way. I can imagine that as an old man going out there, one would want to seem young and hip as they were in the days that fans know them from. However, this is a double edged sword. The fans like the old school style and fashion and that’s what they really want to see.

-From your experience and your live performaces, which are the best metal festivals out there?

J.: Keep it True, Muskelrock, Up the Hammers, Frost and Fire, Ragnarokkr, Defenders of the Old, Pounding Metal, Bang Your Head.

-Speaking for festivals, you are also the brain of Frost and Fire festival (Ventura, CA, USA) and this year in the second edition of the festival, you are behind the Cirith Ungol reunion. What made you start this festival and which are your goals?

J.: Yes, I started it in their honor. Cirith Ungol and Night Demon are the only two metal bands to ever break out of Ventura California, and as we all know Cirith Ungol started it all. Those guys are my best friends, and it’s been a true honor being the band’s manager and bass player. We are having a lot of fun, and have a lot more to come!

As far as the festival, it is something that I plan on keeping as an annual event. I was on the fence abut it before because my touring schedule is always so demanding, and I always want to make myself available for those opportunities, but after this last year, I saw how much fun everyone had and how important the whole thing was to so many people, so now I feel a definite responsibility to keep this going and pride myself on being the best heavy metal festival in America. That is my goal.

-Who are the new bands you distinguish from the present metal scene and why?

J.: Visigoth, Blade Killer, Black Trip, High Spirits, Warbringer, Midnight Chaser, Cauldron, Enforcer.
There are many more, but off the top of my head these bands represent what “true” means. It’s not the style the play, but their intent when they do it. 100% integrity all the time. They are all serious about what they do, but are also willing to have a good time with it.

-How would you describe the "proper" Heavy Metal fan / supporter?

J.: There is no proper way. If you like it, support it however you can and want to. I know one thing is that in Night Demon we are completely committed to what we do. We feel just as much responsibility to support our audience as we feel we want them to support us. We strive on putting on the best live show possible, traveling all over the world to visit anywhere the fans will have us, big or small. It’s give and take. Respect is earned, and everyone should think of it as a collaborative relationship.

-Last words. Give me something the readers will be glad to read!

J.: Lots of exciting things coming up!  New Night Demon album and European tour coming in April 2017, Cirith Ungol European festival appearances in 2017, and of course most and Fire III in October 2017 in Ventura, California.
Always stay true to yourself and thank you for supporting heavy metal. We get just as much from it as fans and as performs. Thank you!

Join Night Demon on Facebook HERE and visit www.nightdemon.net

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