As chart-bothering American death metal giants, Job For A Cowboy prepare to journey across Europe with the travelling festival, Bonecrusher Fest, they make a quick stop in Camden's rather fine drinking establishment, The Black Heart. It is here, in the darkest corner of the room, where Scribes gets a chance to chat with JFAC and Cephalic Carnage four-string whiz and overall top dude, Nick Schendzielos. Over a pint of fine ale, he had this to say.
Nick Schendzielos of Job For A Cowboy Interview
Welcome back to the UK! Have you enjoyed your stay so far?
Yes! I always enjoy the UK. There are some obvious benefits when touring across the pond, like being able to speak English. I can go anywhere and be able to communicate. I particularly liked Leeds this time around, I never really got to check that place out before and Camden is always super fun, man. Just walking around and seeing all the awesome people and how open it all is. UK people are always pretty genuine.
It's cool that you get to check out places on tour that you wouldn’t normally see.
I consider myself almost a traveller first, you become a traveller when touring as a musician because 90% is travelling around and 10% on stage. It's ok though, it is one of the reasons that I love touring so much because I've always wanted to travel the world and see the planet. Not a lot of people get to experience every continent and meet all the people. It’s really cool, its like a blessing being able to do it.
The last time you were over here was for the 'Destroyers of the Faith' tour. Do you prefer to headline smaller shows like tonight? Or a bigger venue with a support slot?
I like the contrast of playing both. It's almost like you need one to do the other. The more that you get established as a headline act, the bigger support tour offers you get. Then touring with bands like Cannibal Corpse you play to a few thousand people and expose yourself to that market in each city. Then when you come back around and headline a tour, you have your fans plus the new fans. So it's a reciprocal thing, you need to do both and it is great to be able to do both. Bigger stages have killer sound systems, monitors and all that 'big show' vibe and smaller shows have intimacy, closeness and electricity of 500 people having fun. Sometimes we play 'throw together' shows, like when a show gets cancelled. We just throw a message up on Facebook and say 'we are playing a basement'. Those shows are great, playing to like 80 people, its palpable electricity and it is awesome! It's just as cool as playing to 30,000 people, sometimes better because you could have a twenty foot barrier between you and it is hard to get that energy flowing. That energy is what keeps you touring, if that exchange of energy ever stops then you could fall out of love with it.
There are 6 bands playing tonight, including yourselves. There is Beneath the Massacre, War from a Harlots Mouth, Gorod, As They Burn and Make Them Suffer. Have you ever played with any of these bands before?
Yeah, we played with Beneath the Massacre before and maybe Gorod. War from a Harlots Mouth we played one show with in Paris back in 2006. The chemistry on the tour so far has been good, there is a lot of French going on. There is a great energy from everybody and an overall happy attitude. Everybody pulls together and makes the shows happen. It's cool, man.
Who would you say are some of the best bands that you ever had a chance to play with?
Oh man, that's a loaded one. Psycroptic are phenomenally talented musicians. We have toured with Animals as Leaders, they are good friends and their calibre of musicianship is ridiculous. Necrophagist... there are so many awesome bands. If you play a summer slot like Mayhem or something, you get 40 awesome bands right there. Faceless are fun to tour with but there are so many, I could go on forever.
Job for a Cowboy have been through quite a few personnel changes early on in their career. Are you happy with the current line up and do you feel some stability in the band now?
Definitely. From a musicians standpoint, this is the best line up we have ever had. I feel like now that if anybody left then I don’t think anybody could be replaced, I think we are going to go for it with this line up. If it doesn’t work out, then that is the band.
It is quite a well known fact that Job For A Cowboy were helped along by Myspace early on in their career. How important do you think the internet is for modern music and musicians?
You could still make your way the old school way and not use it, but it will be tough. YouTube is now being charted by Billboard, so you can get Billboard ratings for your YouTube plays. Which to me means that anybody has a chance to get on an international stage. You could have a band that you don't even tour with but still have an online presence and get huge. It is extremely important for anybody starting a band now. I would put a huge focus online and create a professional, extensive, interactive online presence.
Every Job For A Cowboy album has sold well so far, is it refreshing to see such heavy music getting charted on the Billboard 200?
Yes! It's crazy, I remember Billboard being something unobtainable for anybody but the biggest bands. I remember when Slipknot got to number 1 and I didn’t believe it was possible. Bands like Meshuggah and Between the Buried and Me make top 20 now. I mean, top 40 is a term used to describe Madonna or Prince! Extreme metal is now more accepted and it is huge for bands like that to make top 40. It is a great time for metal.
Demonocracy is first full-length album that you were a part of. How do you think it compares to earlier material?
It is incredibly technical. There is a lot more presence from the bass, a significant increase from earlier albums. I feel like it is diverse, super fast with some slower parts too and more musically advanced overall. It is a mature release, not so much more than Ruination but with Tony (Sannicandro, lead guitars) coming in, there are solos on every song – sometimes two, and lots of extremely technical guitar parts. There are some great riffs and licks and its a good direction to go in.
Are you still working with Cephalic Carnage? Is there anything coming out of their camp in the near future?
Yeah. Actually, I will be back over here with Cephalic and Suffocation in around 6 weeks. We are supposed to be writing our new record, but that offer came up so we will put it off for a couple of months. 2014 should see a new Cephalic record. Brian Hopp (Guitarist) has moved in with me, so we have our living room set up and any night of the week we can sit around and riff. We toss some riffs back and forth. We have some songs but we want to take our time with it as opposed to being on a crunch time schedule. It will be out when it is out because we want to make sure that it is something awesome!
And finally, what is next for Job For A Cowboy?
We have a tour with Hatebreed coming up, which will be cool. We are playing the New England Metal and Hardcore Fest. We have a super big summer tour planned, which will be really fun, I can't quite say it yet but it is gonna be the shit! We will continue writing as well. For the second half of the year I'll be writing with both bands. Another tour may come up, but mainly we will be writing.
Nick, it has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you very much for your time.
No problem man, thank you.
Check out Ben's review of Job For A Cowboy, along with many other bands, laying waste to London's Underworld venue during Bonecrusher Fest 2013. You can read the review right here on this link.