Based out of Ventura, CA – Night Demon has been on tour throughout the country, possessing metal fanatics with their exhilarating brand of raging heavy metal! In support of the legendary Raven, one of the stops would be at the world famous Whisky on the Sunset Strip. With a Self-Titled EP in tow from Shadow Kingdom Records, Night Demon now find themselves signed to Century Media stateside, and will be releasing their debut full length early in the New Year. We caught up with Night Demon front man Jarvis Leatherby just moments before going onstage to discuss their tour with Raven, signing to Century Media. their upcoming album, advice on seeking a label deal. and other fiery topics of interest. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Night Demon.
I am Jarvis Leatherby, bass and vocals.
What’s the first concert you ever went to?
Monsters of Rock 88′ at the sports arena. Van Halen, Metallica, Dokken. My dad used to play in a band with Michael Anthony. So he was always a family friend, he’s like let’s go see Uncle Mike! Then I saw Metallica and was like, I know what i”m doing with my life, you know? [laughs]
How’s the tour been going, what are some of the highlights?
It’s great, man. We did three dates with Diamond Head and Raven last year and we became friends with those guys. We ended up on a festival with them in Spain back in April. We’re just stuck talking to nobody, we started talking about touring and stuff. We had an agent that had asked – originally it was supposed to be Raven, M-pire of Evil which is Mantis and Demolition Man from Venom and us. It was a three, three piece old school metal bands going out on tour. We were trying to come up with a cool name and theme it. But the agent was just, raking everybody over and it was a bad situation. So they fired him and called me up and said, hey do you guys still want to do this? We’re like – yeah! Let’s do it. This whole thing, the two month jaunt is a total DIY effort. There is no big business involved. No agencies. There’s nothing like that. We’ve booked all the shows ourselves. We played in a garage last weekend, hands down it was the best show of the tour. It was insane. 100 metalhead kids, a house party with Raven and Night Demon. It’s been good. It’s been a lot of – again, booking the tour yourself you gotta take what you can get so the routing has been really fucked up but we make it work. Try and play every night, it’s great. It’s like, for these guys it feels like the old days for them. I dont know if that’s good or bad, but its definitely – come full circle for them out there doing the whole DIY thing.
How did you wind up signing to Century Media?
We’ve been playing around LA – we’re a fairly new band so, for about the last year and a half. Our A&R guy, Dan Dismal he’s a promoter so we’ve been on some of his shows. He’s seen us, so people from the label have come out. Marco Barbieri is now the president of the label, prior to that he was doing shows. He booked us on the Doom in June Festival out in Vegas. So, we went out and did that. So we’ve been on the radar. I think they’ve seen the story grow and they’ve been a part of what we’ve been doing. So it’s not just that we sent in a demo and they’re like, hey what’s up? It was just a natural progression. We signed with SPV / Steamhammer in Europe. So they’re releasing the next two records in Europe. But that’s for Europe exclusive so we needed something in North America. That’s where they came in.
How will this upcoming album compare to the EP that you put out last year?
I mean, it’s the same kind of concept. There’s a little bit of a progression, obviously we have Dustin now, a different drummer who is much more accomplished than the previous one we had. The EP was basically just a demo, we recorded that thing we had only rehearsed four times, ever. We wrote four songs in four rehearsals and said, let’s put this thing down! We didnt do anything with it for about a year and a half. We didn’t play shows, we weren’t even a band. There was no intention of being a band, ever. We just wanted to record the four best British heavy metal songs we could ever write, and that was it. It was just for our friends. So this time, we took some time to write and get more sophisticated with the material. It’s very raw. There’s no click track, there’s no headphones in the studio. The amps bleed into the drums, there’s one guitar track. The only overdubs are the vocals and some of the guitar solos but it’s very raw. It has the same feel, the sound, the production is better but has the same feel.
It sounds like it’s ready to be released.
It’s done, yeah.
When is the release date?
I think, Germany is going to be middle of January then Europe later in January, then North America is looking like February. All first quarter.
Is there a title?
Curse of the Damned.
Any concept behind that?
Yeah. There’s a guy who – he wrote this 100 page graphic novel. It reads like an 80s horror comic and he wanted to use Night Demon in the comic. He wanted to use the band, he loves the band and wanted this kid, the main characters in the comic to use the band to summon the devil. We’re like, this is great! So we read through it and we basically wrote the soundtrack to the comic. It’s not really a concept album, it’s more of a soundtrack to it. There are some themes in there. The Curse of the Damned, that song was actually written prior to that and its based on – you ever hear of Solomon Kane?
It’s old comic book stuff, basically a guy who comes from a royal medieval family and he’s cursed by the devil to walk the earth. The devil is constantly hunting him down for his soul. He basically is constantly escaping the devil. We have songs about drinking beer too. We’re not really into the traditional metal, the swords and stuff. That’s just not really our thing. But anything like, occult like we’re pretty fascinated by without being – our image, we’re just normal dudes. It’s the same kind of occultish themes that we write – the darker side of life.
What can one expect from your live show tonight?
Definitely the EP songs, maybe a couple of cover songs in there. A couple of new tracks. Our support slots dip down to about 40 minutes on this tour. We don’t like to extend it past that. People only know four songs that we have out there. When we were in Europe last year, we were headlining shows for six weeks and having to play for an hour and a half. We were playing every song we knew, what are these songs!? I don’t know. The same thing always, a lot of sweat. A lot of high energy from us. We’ll play until we pass out.
What advice would you give a band here in LA looking for a record deal?
Don’t. [laughs] I don’t know. You know what? This is a conversation we have with a lot of bands. “If you know anybody, hook us up!” It doesn’t really work that way. I think labels, right now, they’re not in a position where they can really develop an artist. Nobody has the manpower or the money to do that. You really have to create your own way in the scene – you have to have a plan of what you want to do before you can have that. People think you get signed to a record label and you get whisked away to this whimsical wonderland. We have a partnership with Century Media. We run our own ship. We do as much as we can all the time. Again, putting this tour together. When somebody needs to step in and bridge the gap with us with something we can’t do, that’s where it’s beneficial to have that. Obviously distribution too, people can find stuff online too but people still do go to stores and buy records. When we put out that EP, I called every record store in this country that existed. I found them and I called them like fan, “what do you know about Night Demon? Can you order the Night Demon?” You have to work, you can’t expected it to just be done for you. Then again, what are you going to do? We want a partnership. We want to work with somebody where everybody is doing well and people are happy and respectful. There’s certain things that labels can do for you that you can’t do for yourself. They’re not going to be able to do everything for you, they’re not going to write your story for you.
What’s up next for you guys?
We’re home for a few weeks in December then we go out with Skull Fist and a band from Australia called Elm Street. That’s start in upstate New York on January 2nd, in the dead of winter. Then we’ll do the states, we’ll do a record release show here in LA, Orange County at the end of January. We’re off for 5 days and then we go to Europe, we’re doing the Metal Assault Festival in Germany. Doing some headline dates for a few months, playing with Raven again. Raven and Satan at the Very Heavy Fest in the Netherlands at the beginning of April. Then we’ll see what’s up. We have an offer to be in Europe for three months, we might shorten it to two if something happens here. We have a new release here so we’d want to come home and tour again, but we have to have the right situation. That’s it, man. We’re just road dogs. We’re out there bringing it. A lot of bands don’t tour anymore. Or they just want to tour the major markets.
The road dogs of Night Demon. That’s what I shall this article…
We sold a shirt in Tulsa, so you gotta go to those places. You gotta go everywhere, man. You gotta go. There’s always someone there that’s going to want it.
Night Demon is: Jarvis Leatherby, Brent Woodward, Diezel
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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