Date: August 5th, 2012
Venue: Hevy Festival, Kent
Interviewer: Zach Redrup
Format: Written / Audio
Ambient post-hardcore outfit Devil Sold His Soul have always been ones to stick to their guns, despite not creating the kind of music that reels in a strong fanbase easily. However, those with patience will reap the treasures, and upcoming third full-length ‘Empire Of Light’ is their biggest offering yet. Following their Hevy performance, we caught up with the guys to talk about the album, leaving Century Media Records, feeding rhinos and more:
DP!: Hevy Festival weekend is coming to a close now. How have you guys found it?
Ed: It’s been wicked. It’s a really cool festival, the best line-up that I’ve seen in a long time.
Jonny: Yeah, by far.
Leks: It’s been really good. Literally, between us, it’s like all of our favourite bands under one roof, so it’s an awesome line-up.
Jonny: It’s always cool seeing friends and stuff, and talking to loads of people.
DP!: How did you feel that your set went yesterday?
Ed: It was amazing. We had such a great time.
Jonny: It was great.
Leks: Apart from getting cut off.
Jonny: We didn’t mind too much though.
Leks: We didn’t want it to happen.
Ed: Yeah. We’ve been saying loads, that usually would probably annoy us, but yesterday it didn’t at all. I think the crowd seemed to be on our side with it. It was nice to get that kind of response to getting cut off, so it was kind of heart-warming in a way.
DP!: At first I thought that it was sound problems, with Bury Tomorrow playing just before you and suffering from them.
Ed: Yeah, the whole thing was sort of delayed from then on, so we ended up losing the end of our set. Oh well.
DP!: Well you guys got a good reception from what I saw.
Ed: I had such a good time that it didn’t ruin it.
DP!: When you guys are at a festival like this, do you have a drink of choice?
Ed: Water. Just loads of water.
Leks: It depends. If Josef (Norocky, bass) was here then he would probably beg to differ.
Jonny: He’s been carrying around his bottle of ‘Kick Energy Drink’. A bottle he’s been carrying around every day with various different alcoholic drinks in it.
Ed: I don’t think he’s had the same drink in it more than once. I don’t even think he knows what’s in it.
DP!: When I spoke to the guys in Never Means Maybe earlier, they said they’d been drinking Jagermeister and milk together.
Ed: Actually, that could work. It would be kind of like a new Crusha. That’s quite a brave choice. Where the hell did they get the milk from?
DP!: They mentioned something about mixing it with egg yolk too.
Leks: Oh god. No, no, no. That is grim.
Ed: What is wrong with them?
DP!: Have you guys had a chance to visit the animal park whilst you’ve been here?
Ed: I was meant to go last time we were here, but we’ve just been so busy. We got here late on the Friday at like 7:00pm so it had already closed, yesterday we had loads of press and today we’ve just been a bit slack. We could have gone earlier.
DP!: I went earlier and there’s this big silver-back gorilla there. These guys were taunting it, so it basically shit in its hands and threw it at them. Nearly hit them in the face.
Jonny: No way.
Ed: That’s incredible.
Leks: That’s cool. I wanted to go earlier because apparently they have rhinos there. I’m a big rhino fan.
DP!: Did you want to feed the rhino?
Leks: I did want to feed the rhino.
Leks: I definitely set that one up.
DP!: You guys have your new album coming out next month, ‘Empire Of Light’. How was the writing and recording for that record?
Leks: It was a lot more relaxed than usual. The demoing process was a lot more different than what we did last time. When we did it we used the internet a lot more, in terms of, say Jonny would come up with a song structure, I’d then take that and programme drums into it, send it over to Ed who would put some vocal ideas to it; stuff like that. But we didn’t really do the demos to death as it were.
Ed: Yeah, we didn’t do any studio demos which we’ve always done in the past. You end up doing a home demo, a studio demo and then the final thingy. By recording it so much you’re kind of killing it a little bit, so by cutting out the middle process, you’re just doing the home demo and then going straight to the final thing.
Jonny: We made the home demos, not purposely not sound good, but they were slightly more basic I guess.
Ed: I think to an extent with the home demos they sound pretty crap, so you work quite hard to make it sound good. You work quite hard on your parts to make sure that the songs sound as good as possible. Then when you come to record it you’re like “oh wow, that was much easier to hit”.
Leks: It makes it more exciting.
Jonny: I think with the last album, the demos were, well not as good as the album versions, but they were essentially very, very similar. You end up essentially just re-doing it.
Ed: You end up putting quite a lot into the demos to try and make them as good as possible, so even when you do drum takes or vocal takes, you work to try and get a good performance and end up fighting to try and do the same or better. There’s a few tracks on the last album where we actually just took vocals from the demos and just put them over. It’s like, it’s a good take there. Why not use it?
DP!: I suppose that way gives you less time to over think what you’ve actually done as well.
Jonny: That’s exactly the point, because we’re very good at being too picky about the tiniest details that don’t really matter that much.
Ed: In the past we have gone too far to try and get things perfect, and sometimes with albums you notice that the best bits are where there’s, not necessarily a mistake, but parts which aren’t perfect bring some character.
Jonny: It’s like we just calmed down a little bit and just let it be a little bit. I think it’s worked out for the better.
DP!: You have gone with Small Town Records for this album too. What made you guys go for the label move from Century Media?
Ed: To be really honest, we were dropped.
Leks: The thing is though, it felt like it was quite a natural thing to happen, because Alex (Berry, founder) at Small Town is like a really enthusiastic guy, like when we first met him he was bursting with all of the ideas that he had for the release and things. It was quite refreshing. We’re not naming names and stuff, but we didn’t have the greatest of experiences at Century Media, so it was nice to finally be with someone and with a nice label which really cared about the release.
Ed: Put it this way, no one was upset to be parting ways with Century Media.
Jonny: It kind of links back to what I was saying before about the demoing. Part of the demoing was because of the label. This time around we weren’t actually on a label when we did the album.
Ed: That’s true. They wanted to hear everything, didn’t they?
Jonny: So there was no real pressure in that sense.
Ed: The whole thing was so much more relaxed with this album. Even in the studio, we actually kept numbers down, so there wasn’t everybody there all at one time. There would just be the person recording, Jonny obviously and maybe one or two other people at the most. Everything was just more relaxed. When Leks did the drums, there was nobody else there.
Leks: It was just us, wasn’t it?
Ed: I think the most stressful ones are drums and vocals, because you’re kind of like – I don’t know why, it just kind of is more stressful. It’s kind of more intimate, maybe. I don’t know. It’s just good to have that space. Not even if everyone isn’t even saying anything, you just feel like there’s this pressure when there’s loads of other people there. It was nice and fun.
Leks: Yeah, it was definitely a good process.
Ed: And it was quicker. It was much quicker. That’s the quickest that we’ve ever written and recorded an album before. Actually, from when we started writing ‘til we finished recording it was about a year, maybe a little longer. We started kind of writing for it in February 2011, and we kind of finished in like mid-March 2012. That’s pretty quick for us really.
DP!: You also released your new music video for ‘A New Legacy’. How was the shoot for that?
Leks: That was good fun.
Ed: We’re really happy with it. We love it.
Leks: It was directed by a guy called Stuart Birchall and his amazing team of geniuses pretty much. Obviously it’s not a performance video, except maybe with Ed and the vocals and the odd bit of shouting, but it was fun.
Ed: It was a nice and relaxed day. Well, not relaxed, but an exciting day just hanging out in some boxing gym in London, drinking energy drinks.
Jonny: It was just cool to be able to watch it being made as well.
Ed: It was a really quick turnaround too. We got it sent back to us really fast. It was really fun. No one was like “that should be changed” in the video. We just went back going “yeah, that’s great”.
Jonny: We were just like, “that’s pretty much what we’re looking for”, which was great.
DP!: Especially for a quick turnaround. I think I remember you guys mentioning the last time I spoke with you that the video for ‘The Disappointment’ took ages to come around.
Ed: Yeah. But Stuart had it storyboarded down to a tee. He knew exactly what he was doing, he knew everything very concisely. He knew exactly what he wanted.
Leks: Stu is an awesome director. Obviously there’s a level where he’s friendly, but you can tell that he still stays professional and he knows exactly what he’s after, which is good.
Jonny: It’s that balance which is perfect really.
Ed: Cool enough to keep you relaxed but in charge enough to get things done.
DP!: How are you finding the fans’ reactions to the new material that you’ve released so far?
Ed: It’s been really good. With ‘A New Legacy’ we thought we’d have a load of people going “urgh, singing”, and we have had a couple of those, but on the whole it’s been good.
Jonny: It’s quite a short song for us as well.
Ed: I mean, you’re always going to get someone whinging. No band in the history of the world has released a song and not had someone whinging about it. That’s standard, but we’ve pretty much had 98-99% good feedback.
Jonny: We’ve also been getting quite a lot of radio play recently with both of the tracks really.
Leks: Thanks to Mr. Daniel P Carter for that.
Ed: Yeah, and XFM and Kerrang! Radio.
Jonny: We’ve been getting more feedback than we normally would.
DP!: You guys are also headlining the Metal Hammer tour soon, are you excited for that?
Jonny: Yeah, totally. It’s a cool line-up. We’ve toured with Heights before who are good guys. It’s going to be one of those tours where people will come for us – well, everyone hopefully and we’ll get to watch the bands ourselves.
Leks: It’s definitely a high standard of bands on there. Like, Heart Of A Coward, a couple of guys in previous bands that we’ve known and stuff like that, like Noddy for instance who is the drummer, I’m looking forward to watching him play every night. He’s just incredible.
DP!: What else have you guys got planned for 2012?
Ed: Tours. Well, on the day of the album release we’ve got a release show and then we’re going to head straight over to Europe, Russia, Ukraine. Then we’ve got the Metal Hammer tour and hopefully just more touring really. Get as much done as possible.
Jonny: Hopefully we’ll head out to some new places maybe in the beginning of next year. That’s what we’re hoping. See what happens I guess.
DP!: Any final words to share with our readers?
Leks: Whassup! And, also, thank you for like sticking by us and all that during all of this, without getting too emotional. But, you know, it’s nice. Thank you to people for sticking by us.
Jonny: We’ve been going for a bit and we’ve always stuck to our guns. Helping us through that, we appreciate it a lot.
You can also read our review of the band’s festival performance that day by clicking here.
Written by Zach Redrup
Interview by Zach Redrup