Job For A Cowboy are the strongest example of a new breed of hungry young death metal bands currently sweeping the world at large, having cemented their place in the scene with a succession of EPs and studio albums, each of which is more brutal and more refined than the last, the band continues to go from strength to strength.
We had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with Guitarist Al Glassman to discuss their most recent UK tour with Cannibal Corpse, their brilliant new album “Demonocracy” as well as the rest of the bands plans going forward and the influence that Ace of Base also had on their career.
You were recently in the UK with Cannibal Corpse opening up for them after some time away from the road,was that a good way to ease yourself back into touring?
Al: I wouldn’t say ease in per se, we spent a lot of time off the road doing our e.p and then going into our new full length album directly after, we had a lineup change. We wanted to get something out right away so we could show people what the new line up was all about with our new guitar player,and kind of give people something while we were working on the new full length.
Because of all that we took nearly 10 months off the road, so coming back with a half hour set is kind of cool, as you said easing in, but we’re back in with tour, tour, tour so we’ve definitely gone in all guns blazing.
Do you find with playing a half hour set you have to be more creative with your setlist, and play the songs that are just going to smack everyone in the face straight away?
Al: For us we want to use the time we had to push some of the newer songs and really give the new material its time.
The new album “Demonocracy” which came out in April was the first chance you guys have had to write a full length album with the new line up, how did the new line up change things when it came to writing the new album?
Al: I think every aspect of this album was completely different to what we’ve done in the past, because for the first time the whole band was spread out across the country, and during the time off we had everybody got up and moved elsewhere.
We all lived in Arizona at one point with the old line up, we all had a house and we’d write there, during this we had so much time off, our drummer moved in with his girlfriend in Seattle, I moved into a house in Boston, our other guitar player Tony (Sannicandro) is also out of Boston, so we had to do everything via the interwebs which was a little bit different for us.
I am kind of glad we did the “Gloom” EP because that got the ball rolling to lead directly into the full length, so it was a way to test the waters of writing, this time around me and Tony would meet up and try to construct the songs together then we’d be emailing them back and forth between members, we flew everybody out to Boston, then we had a game plan of how to get it out there.
“Demonocracy” is very experimental and technical in comparison to your other material. Was it about pushing yourselves as far as you could this time?
Al: Jonny (Davy, Vocals) had a motto for us which was ‘Get Weird’ throughout the whole thing. Me and Tony would write a song, we’d get up to the minute and a half mark and get stuck, we’d email it up to the band to see if they could add in any riffs or ideas, and Jonny would just call us and be like ‘Dude, just get fucking weird with it’ so by the second song into the writing process we were like ‘Fuck it, it’s open game and we’re going to have fun with it’ not to put the band down, the whole MySpace thing we had going before is all gone now and we wanted to legitimize the band with the new line up, there was no reason not to push things as far as we could, there were no limitations to the amount of weirdness we could get away with.
Was the legitimization of the band one of the main focuses this time around, to really show all the people that criticized you, that you are real band that is here to stay.
Al: In a lot of ways this album was the be all and end all for us, this was the first time in some peoples minds we weren’t seen as part of the deathcore scene, but still we had some people in the death metal scene that thought we were still a deathcore band, so this was our one shot, if we blow this where does the band go from here. We did take longer than we normally would have to do an album to make sure it came out right.
You’ve mentioned the line up changes, how have they affected you personally as well as creatively?
Al: Having Nick (Schendzielos, Drums) in the band definitely changes the vibe, he’s a fucking funny dude, and he carried that whole Cephalic Carnage vibe over with him, so there’s always fun times with him, having Tony in the band was a big thing for me getting to move back home to Boston, I’d moved to Arizona for the band and having him join we got to move the band’s home base to my city so it makes rehearsing an preparing a lot easier and I get to be in my comfort zone as far as that.
I think we all gel a lot better, everyone is still close friends with Bobby (Thompson, former guitar player) when he left, he left for personal reasons which were nothing to do with the band, he actually did the last song on the new album, so it was cool for him to still be a part of the process. Brent (Riggs, former bass player) however, on the other hand he delved a bit too hard into drugs and that lifestyle so we don’t see him much any more, the rest however is good shit. [laughs]
I think it has definitely made the band stronger.
Al: We got a shot to build a whole new monster, we had to start the band over. Losing a guitar player is difficult, when we lost Bobby, we were like OK who do we wanna write with, and everyone came to me to ask who I’d be comfortable working with and writing with. I was kind of stoked to start the band over in that aspect, I know Tony through his years in Despised Icon, we had a mutual thing and he’s from my area, we tried out a few different guitar players and he was the one that was the most ambitious about it.
What does the next year look like for you guys?
Al: Touring is our next year, personally I am hoping to make enough out of this next tour to finish off my bathroom. [Laughs]
When are you guys next back in the UK?
Al: We’ve just switched booking agents, so it was always going to be tough to book something over the summer because we left it a bit late, but hopefully we will be back in the fall.
If someone was putting together a time capsule based on Job For A Cowboy’s career what 3 songs would you pick to best represent the band?
Al: That’s actually a really good question, can Jonny chime in on that one?
Jonny: All that she wants-Ace of Base. [Laughs]
3 of your songs.
Jonny: We do listen to that a lot though on the bus [Laughs] 3 Job for a Cowboy songs that represent us. I would pick anything off the new record BAM!
Al: Embedded, Constitutional Masturbation,
Jonny: Constitutional Masturbation twice and Embedded I guess.
I would probably pick Tyranny of Gluttony from the new record, that’s a great track the way it just slows the pace down on the album, it’s pretty awesome.
Al: With that track me and Tony wrote all the songs then Bobby came in and wrote that last track.
Jonny: Bobby wrote that for us as kind of a farewell to the band which was kind of cool.
If you were told Job For A Cowboy was ending tomorrow, what would you want the lasting legacy of the band to be?
Al: I don’t think we have a choice I think Entombment of a Machine will be our lasting legacy. [Laughs]
Jonny: I just want people to recognise the fact that we’ve progressed as a band, and we’ve made and effort to improve. Some bands put out the same record over and over again and that’s good for them, but we made a conscious effort to improve and get better.
Al: that’s been the mission statement to make the next album more mature than the one before it, and its nice to see how we’ve progressed.
Lastly, do you have a message out there for all the Job For A Cowboy fans?
Jonny: Grab the new record, download it, spread it around and we’ll see you on tour.
Job For A Cowboy are currently on the Summer Slaughter tour in the U.S with Cannibal Corpse, they will be returning to the UK in September as main support to Dying Fetus and the album “Demonocracy” is available now via Metal Blade.