Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers chatted with Night Demon vocalist and bassist Jarvis Learherby about their current tour and upcoming new album. Check it out below.
Metal Mofos: How’s the tour with Anvil going so far?
Jarvis: So far so good. We’re like 5 shows in. We did some headlining shows ourselves out here. We toured with Anvil for like a week last year, and they asked us to come out with them this year. We met them on the tour last year. Our band is a good pairing with Anvil and makes for a good night every night.
MM: What can you tell me about the new album?
Jarvis: It’s called Darkness Remains and is coming out April 21st. We have a single out now called “Welcome to the Night”, and there is a video out for it as well. The second single will be “Hallowed Ground” out April 7th. We’ll have two singles out before the record comes out. We’re playing both those songs on this tour. Album is great. I like it. It’s typical Night Demon. 40 minute album. 10 songs. It’s a bit of a progression from the last one, but still normal Night Demon. I think it came out really well. The production is the best we’ve had so far. We stripped it down a little bit as well. We focused more on getting the right sound. It’s more like our live sound without as many layers of guitars. I’m happy to be able to put out new music and keep the touring rolling.
MM: What do you think the biggest progression is from Curse of the Damned?
Jarvis: There’s a lot more musicianship. The guitar solos are extended, and there are more of them. There’s definitely some normal burners, you know fast songs. There’s some mid tempo stuff as well. There’s an instrumental track. I don’t usually like instrumentals, but this one is good and gels with the album. I hate to use the phrase more mature, but it’s definitely a step forward I guess you would say.
MM: What is the influence behind Night Demon’s sound? You’re a newer band, but you don’t sound like newer bands. You sound like NWOBHM bands from the early 80s.
Jarvis: Right. That’s pretty much my biggest influence. All those bands. I listen to them all the time. I’m still finding new stuff. New old stuff. I feel like I’m running out, but there’s always something. That was our goal when we started the band, to play this style. We didn’t play out for our whole first year. It started out as just something fun. We didn’t plan on being a full time band at all. I never would have imagined doing what we are doing now. It’s just the reality that we didn’t think anyone at all would care about it. We are quite pleasantly surprised.
We’ve been fortunate to grow up after that scene happened and the thrash metal scene, then death metal, then nu metal. We’re not just this straight British heavy metal style band. There’s other styles in our sound as well. We listen to all different stuff. We’re fortunate to live 30 years past that and take in all these influences. Things we’re doing now would have been pretty innovative then. I’m ok with any label people want to call us. Most bands don’t want to be pigeonholed in any style, but I don’t mind. I’ve had so many people call us so many different things and that’s really cool. It happens daily to be honest, especially people who haven’t heard us before. People say you remind me of early Metallica and early Megadeth, you guys are like Black Sabbath, you remind me of Black Sabbath, or you sound like Diamond Head. I love all those things and am influenced by all those things.
The journalists that review us try to pick out things that are rip offs on our albums, but they are not. They’re just in the style of our influences. We haven’t gotten into any plagiarism yet. Honestly, I’ve written some songs we’re I’ve found out later it’s like the same riff of some other song. There’s a situation with a Night Demon song which I won’t name, haha, where the riff is almost the exact same from a classic band from one of their later albums which I had never heard. I guess there’s only so many combinations you can do when you are writing a certain style, you know? So that will happen and I’m totally ok with it. Everybody knows we know how to write a song. We pride ourselves on songwriting and not just performing. We’re a lot better players than what you hear on the albums.
MM: What can you tell me about the lyrical themes on Darkness Remains? Similar to Curse of the Damned?
Jarvis: Yeah, it’s not a huge jump. Your normal heavy metal cliches of evil and darkness are definitely there. There’s some interesting stuff in there though. The story of the band is getting more complex and intricate. We’ve always kind of gone with concepts and themes with the artwork on our record. There’s a trilogy on this album. Three of the songs tell a story, the first song, middle song, and last song. The video for the first one is out now and there are another two parts that will be linked to that. There’s some concept stuff going on now. The other songs have their own thing. One songs is about ghost hunter. Everybody can take their own thing from the songs. I will say there is one song on the album that everyone will know what exactly it’s about called “Maiden Hell”. It’s about Iron Maiden. It’s about growing up with the band, and a lot of people will relate to it. There’s a lot of references to the band in the song. I will also say the album artwork has a theme. There’s a lot of hidden stuff on the cover, and people are noticing things which is cool.
MM: Would you consider “Maiden Hell” to be your favorite song on the album?
Jarvis: No, I wouldn’t although it gives me a really good feeling when I listen to it which is cool because it’s hard to listen to yourself sometimes. It’s hard to pick a favorite. I don’t have one. There’s a lot of good stuff on here. There’s no filler on this album in my opinion. It ranks up there for sure though. Europe is going to have it as a single on the 20th of this month. I would love for the Iron Maiden guys to hear it.
MM: I’m sure it will get to them! Can you tell me about the music video for “Welcome to the Night”?
Jarvis: We had a vision for this three part story. I’m an amateur as far as film making goes. I directed the video at the suggestion of the producer because I had a very clear vision of what it was supposed to look like, what happens when, and even camera angles. One of the things that is very difficult in music videos is to tell a story. There’s no dialogue. It’s just clips of action that the viewer is supposed to pick up a story from. If we don’t tell the story there’s no point in going into the project with a high budget. It was a pretty big undertaking. It was six weeks of hardcore prep and a few days of shooting.
It’s a story about a guy and a girl, a couple. The girlfriend pushes her boyfriend to get a psychic reading just for fun. The psychic is waiting for him and gives him a medallion. They get mugged in an alley, and he changes into this thing. That’s basically what happens in the first part. I can’t tell the rest for now. The lyrics go with the story and the flow of the video so that helps a lot.
MM: Are you going to make two more videos to finish out the story then?
Jarvis: That’s the plan. I’d be disappointed if we didn’t. I’m working on them now. It’s hard because we are on the road so much. We don’t really have a break until late June. I would like to release them this year. That’s the plan. The fact I’m talking about it in an interview makes it kind of like how I have to do it haha!
MM: Who would you say is your favorite bass player of all time?
I would probably say Cliff Burton. His tone, his sound, his technique, the riffs. All the writing he did influenced so much stuff. There’s so much bass stuff on those albums that people don’t even know about. I highly encourage people to listen to isolated bass tracks from those albums. They’re out there on the internet. Really cool stuff. I also like, obviously, Steve Harris and I like Geezer Butler. It’s funny, all my favorite players are finger players, and I play with a pick.
The pick works well for Night Demon and a three piece band. It adds a lot more muscle and punch to what we do. We don’t have that second guitar, but playing with my fingers isn’t right for what we do. I can actually play really well with my fingers, but it isn’t right for Night Demon. I’m trying to think of a pick player I really like. I like Sting from The Police, but I never really liked his tone. I like some of the bass lines. Lemmy is a good looser player and I’m more of a tight player. Lemmy and Steve Harris’ tone is something I really like as well.
Be sure to like Night Demon on Facebook, buy their new album Darkness Remains on April 21st, and catch them on tour now with Anvil!
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