Guitarist Ravi Bhadriraju
Interview by Lord of The Wasteland and Hanntu
Some Live Photos By Hanntu
After missing out on a scheduled interview with Arizona death metal band Job For A Cowboy when they toured here in London a couple of weeks ago, Metal-Rules.com jumped at the opportunity to conduct an email interview with the band that has excited so much opinion among metal fans, mainstream and non-mainstream alike. You just cannot sit on the fence with JFAC. In this interview with guitarist Ravi Bhadriraju, he talks frankly and decisively about his influences, the controversy, and their musical progression from the EP. M-R.com is also slightly proud that he has used this interview to name the band mascot for the first time. You heard it here first, folks!
What is the basis for such a bizarre band name?
The bizarre and obscure name is a joke. We were young kids and figured it was cool. We were actually planning on changing the name but we played a few shows and got stuck with it.
What was the starting point for you guys? How did it all happen?
The starting point of the band was about four years ago. I had a band at the time and we needed a vocalist. I heard from a friend that Jonny [Davy, vocals] was pretty decent. He came to a practice once and we hit it off pretty well. That was the start of Job For A Cowboy. We started playing local shows pretty much every weekend. By doing that, we developed a strong hometown fan base. In addition to playing shows every weekend, our Myspace starting booming. I’m still amazes that it did so well. Myspace helped us out immensely, too.
How exactly did the deal with Metal Blade come about? Did you get a lot of interest from other labels, as well?
The deal with Metal Blade happened due to many reasons. Brian Slagel first caught us playing with fellow Metal Blade bands such as Psyopus, Into the Moat and As I Lay Dying. He also saw us on the cover of a local magazine here in Arizona. The final reason is our online push was really strong and at that time, nobody was really venturing into that. We’ve always felt since the day we signed those papers that Metal Blade is our home. They’ve treated us so well and have given us opportunities that we could’ve never asked for. As for other labels showing interest, yes, there were a few but nobody could compete with Metal Blade.
What are your influences and how did you choose your initial sound?
My personal influences are from bands like Mastodon, Nile, Cannibal Corpse, and even Katatonia. The way we developed our sound was using the motto "do what we want" and, of course, "la bu day". We pretty much just went for it. I can’t explain how I write, I just go for it. With some help of La bu Day, I should be good. If you want to know what that means, come and find me…
Your DOOM E.P. had a lot of hardcore influences, so why did you cut out almost all the `core stuff for GENESIS?
Yeah, that core crap had to go. Why would we write another CD that sounds the same? If they wanted to hear that stuff, go listen to DOOM. If they want to hear faster, more aggressive and a mature Job For A Cowboy, listen to GENESIS. I honestly love both of the CDs because I worked so hard on them but I can’t wait to write another one.
Did you worry that moving away from the hardcore tendencies of DOOM would alienate that fanbase who would find the heavier, death-metal style of GENESIS too “metal”?
No, not at all because our true fans will stick by us through it all. Also, we don’t care what people think, we just want to write whatever we want.
Why did you drop the “pig squeal” vocals on GENESIS?
We dropped the pig squeals because everybody was doing them at that time. We didn’t want to keep doing the same generic crap that everybody else was trying to do.
Religion seems to be an overriding theme on GENESIS, not just in the album title, but the song titles and lyrics, as well. Is there a central concept present or are you just pissed off at religion as a whole?
Religion is a part of the band but not as a whole. We all have our own beliefs in the band and our singer, Jonny, writes his lyrics. He is also a militant atheist, so you can tell by his lyrics.
What sort of reaction have you got from bands like Suffocation, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, etc. who have so clearly influenced the band’s music?
We’ve gotten pretty good reactions from bands like that. We know the Cannibal Corpse guys. They’re some of the nicest guys in the world. It is also an honour to be compared to bands of that stature in the death metal world.
If Job For A Cowboy came on the scene, say, ten years ago in a pre-Myspace world, do you think you would have become as popular as quickly? How much credit does Myspace deserve for “breaking” the band?
There’s no way in hell I’d be here first of all –I’d be nine years old hahaha. Myspace has helped us out beyond belief. It gave us a chance to get our feet wet in the music scene. It was a tool that we used and it blew up somehow. I still don’t get how it happened but I am more than thankful for it.
There seems to be a certain animosity towards Job For A Cowboy in the metal forums. Of course, 99% of the comments made should be taken with a grain of salt, but do you follow what is being said about the band and your music?
I don’t follow anything that is said about us. I know what we do, I know how we do it, and I don’t worry about what other people say. They’re just upset for no reason and, you know what, I can’t blame them. There are a few of us in the band that used to be those forum freaks and it is funny that this question got brought up. I used to check forums and then I stopped caring.
Considering the Internet provided such a boost for Job For A Cowboy’s career, what do you think of GENESIS being leaked early and pirated?
I don’t care about our CD getting leaked. The true la bu day doesn’t come out and play if you’re worried about that. People download CDs and that’s the end of it. I do it, too! So what? CD sales are going down due to it and there is nothing we can do about it. We’re all here for the same reason and if that reason means we have to download CDs, then so be it!
Is Job For A Cowboy in the right place at the right time with deathcore bands like Despised Icon, Through The Eyes Of The Dead, All Shall Perish etc. being the current hot trend?
I guess so, but I honestly don’t compare us with bands like that. Personally, I see us out of that whole deathcore genre. Of course, we’re still in it but I don’t see our music qualifying us in there. Regardless, our success was “right place, right time.”
Has the European market been as successful for Job For A Cowboy as North America?
Almost. We’re still breaking in over there but slowly you can see the number of people coming out to shows have risen there for us.
Do you worry about having too much success too soon? Have you had problems adjusting to the fast rise in popularity?
I’ve felt the same since day one. I do the same things: fart, eat, sleep and SHIZA. Nothing has changed. I still can la bu day five times in a row.
What are the personalities like within the band?
I think Jonny and I have the weirdest sense of humour out of anybody else in the band. We’ll drive in my car and start singing random, stupid songs about people. We do some crazy things that I can’t tell on here, too. For the most part, we’re all the same. We fight just like any other band but for the most part, we’re all just lazy guys that love hanging out.
Was the pressure laid upon you by the Metal Blade hype machine stressful at all?
I had no stress at all. I was ready to do it and they had confidence in us even after our drummer quit! I am grateful to Metal Blade for taking good care of us.
Have you seen the Spongebob Squarepants video parody of “Knee Deep”?
Yes, I’ve seen that shiza. It is funny, we actually met the kid who did it. He’s some eighteen-year old kid from San Diego.
As you know, December 13th was the anniversary of Chuck Schuldiner’s death. At Metal-Rules.com, we’re doing a little remembrance section for him. Do you have any personal stories you’d like to add about Chuck, a personal meeting, watching Death or Control Denied live, or just how much he influenced you or extreme music in general?
I wish I knew some stories to tell. I’ve always wanted to meet him. Death is one of those bands that changed music. If there wasn’t Death, there wouldn’t be bands like there are today. The times are changing and they gave us all the inspiration to get heavier, faster and more aggressive.
With appearances on two album covers, is the steer skull becoming a trademark of the band, a la Eddie for Iron Maiden?
Yes, that is our homie. I’m going to name him actually in this interview…Sammie?
Will there be a new album in 2008?
2009! Get ready for it. I already have five songs that I personally wrote. It is going to be way different, yet still JFAC, though.
There is strong buzz that Job For A Cowboy will be on Gigantour 3 in North America in 2008. Truth or rumour?
That is true. We’re doing it and everybody should come out. We’re going to have some crazy and weird production stuff that everybody needs to come and see!
With thrash metal making a resurgence and the deathcore bands taking metal and hardcore in a new direction, do you think metal is going to break again to the masses?
I hope metal will break for the masses. Being such good music, more people need to listen to it! It will break out. For example, look at a band like Lamb of God, they’re huge, and they’re a metal band that is the new age Pantera. The age of metal is coming back!
What’s in the future for Job For A Cowboy?
The future of Job For A Cowboy is touring, touring, touring and then some writing and then some recording and then MORE TOURING…AHHHHHH! We’ll be writing and recording a CD later this year. I hope everybody enjoys it and LA BU DAY!
***Thanks to Sarah at Metal Blade Records Canada for facilitating the interview.
Job For A Cowboy—Official Site