by Ryan Meehan
Job for a Cowboy have wrapped up music and art on their fourth full length album, “Sun Eater.” Along with producer Jason Suecof, vocalist Jonny Davy, guitarists Al Glassman and Tony Sannicandro, bassist Nick Schendzielos, and session drummer Danny Walker have crafted a cerebral and accomplished piece of technical death metal. Job for a Cowboy wrapped up touring in 2013 as part of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival that summer. Following that performance, the band collectively decided to sharpen their focus and set an intent on cooking up a record that encompassed their full dynamic range of talent. The group had all agreed on the main course being a desire for futuristic tones, a wider spectrum of textures and tempos, and an emphasis on slightly more ancestral song construction. The result, “Sun Eater,” does not just sound like a new record, it sounds like an entirely new band. Listen to “Sun of Nihility” and pre-order the album now at metalblade.com/jobforacowboy. Regarding composition, guitarist Tony Sannicandro recalled: “This album came together very smoothly. We had the concept before hand and I took it upon myself to try and portray that concept through the music. I took a much more melodic approach than “Demonocracy”:focusing on the structuring and the layering that would complement the story to my ears.” The other half of the guitar duo, Al Glassman, continued to be a driving force behind the band’s sound. Bassist Nick Schendzielos added that “Al riffs long and hard for greater the good of everyone involved. He really used a lot of foresight in his revisions during the writing process, creating ample room for me to mood-out the tracks with bass that you can actually hear. In the end I think we really brought the character out in each and every song.” Indeed, composition and songwriting was the focus here. With this new album, the band had the luxury of relative longevity in the core of their songwriting lineup. This led to a far stronger vibe and a much more realized final product. Audiohammer producer Jason Suecof, whose first bout with the band was 2009′s “Ruination,” has now worked with the band for over six years. Few are more familiar with how Job for a Cowboy operates in the studio than Suecof, and he was also feeling the “vibe” on “Sun Eater“: “This band is composed entirely of top notch musicians all the way around and they are clearly at the top of their game. This new album is a stellar combination of everyone’s efforts and what we have now is something that conveys everyone’s musicianship without being techy for the sake of being tech. This album has got feeling and it is fucking brutal!” Sun Eater will be available via Metal Blade Records on November 11th in North America and November 7th/10th in Europe/UK, and guitarist Tony Sannicandro of Job For A Cowboy is our guest today in 10 questions.
RM: First off, how was your summer? Did you guys spend a lot of the time touring, or were you primarily focused on getting new material together for the release?
TS: We did not tour. We have just been focusing on getting this release ready and making sure everything was in order before it gets launched out into the ether. Summer was good. Lots of grilled meats and libation.
RM: How did you come to join the band, and how long have you known (vocalist) Jonny Davy?
TS: I joined the band through Al. We are both from the Boston area and I had done a few tours with his previous band Despised Icon. They saw a video of me playing a song, and next thing I know I’m in Arizona. I’ve known Davy for probably 5 years now.
RM: What’s your current live setup; and how does that differ from the gear that you use in the studio? Which guitar would you say is your main “workhorse”?
TS: I always play Ibanez guitars. They are a great company and I love the instruments. Live I use a Jet City amplifier which is similar to Soldano in its tone and design. I use a few pedals as well, delay for leads, noise gate and a tuner as well as a Tube screamer to dirty the signal. My main guitar live is my Hulk RG and I have a custom RGD7 they made me. The studio rig was a collection of 6 and 7 string Ibanez guitars including an RGD 7-string and a bunch of amps that Jason owns; he would do some magic tricks and a tone was born.
RM: For this upcoming album, you have enlisted the services of Danny Walker (Intronaut, Murder Construct, Exhumed) but he is listed as a session drummer on the latest press release…How did the process of working with him come about; and do you have any plans to retain him as a permanent member of the band?
TS: Simply enough we asked and he said yes. You know: old school. The process went well as you can tell, and as of right now I don’t know what our mutual future holds.
RM: Speaking of “Suneater”…what did the band do during the writing process of this album that was different than “Demonocracy”?
TS: We really didn’t have a new process just better writing tools i.e. Toontrack to help get ideas down fast. Additionally, I was much more comfortable writing and I had a game plan sonically. Demonocracy was a little more of a “fuck and just see what happens”. The usage of 7-strings and slower textures was just an evolution from touring with different bands and exploring new sounds.
RM: For those of us who are not familiar with his work, what do we need to know about (producer) Jason Suecof? What special attributes does he bring to the table that allows JFAC to put together such killer records?
TS: Well he’s one of my best buddies, and we just collectively get along with him. He acts almost like another member in terms of knowing where the songs are going. His ear is really killer and he can hone in on little things other people might miss. Love the guy and love working with him.
RM: Hailing from the Southwest, it’s no surprise that the sun seems to be a common theme as evidenced not only by the album title, but also in the first track released “Sun of Nihility”…What is it about the band’s fascination with the sun that has made it such a popular topic to write about; and how would you best describe the metaphorical concept of eating the sun?
TS: George Carlin has a classic bit about the sun as a divine object, and obviously this concept has been around since the birthplace of civilization; and rightfully so.
If you read the story in the lyrics you will actually find the concept of “eating the sun” is used in a literal sense here, which is very interesting to me. I’m from Massachusetts, so I try and take advantage of the sun because 3/4 of the year is garbage hahah.
RM: You have stated that you took a “much more melodic approach” to the construction of this record when compared to the last one…What is the best way to take such an approach with regards to composing music that is inherently death metal in nature? Why do you think that certain death metal traditionalists believe true death metal cannot have too many melodic elements in order to fit what they assume is the definition of the genre?
TS: What I meant by that was that I focused more on melody. It wasn’t about making a riff salad but more of taking an interesting melody or chord sequence and building around that. To my ears, that always produces a better flowing song. It’s harder to do it that way. If you go in and start mushing riffs you’ll have an easier time writing riffs, but it’s harder to fit them together. We did that too but it was easier if we had a melodic concept at the beginning. I think you can apply that concept to any style.
RM: As a guitar player who is essentially rooted in death metal, do you think that you would be in Job for a Cowboy right now if their style resembled the deathcore musings of the band’s early work?
TS: I don’t know. I suppose when I joined the band it was essentially a different band than it is now and that turned out fine hahah. I’m far from any sort of death metal elitism, so who knows?
RM: What’s up next for you guys in the remainder of 2014 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
TS: So far so good. I do not know what the future holds just yet. The album came out great and I’m patiently awaiting the release!
Official Band Profile at Metal Blade Records: http://www.metalblade.com/us/artists/job-for-a-cowboy/
Job For a Cowboy on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jobforacowboy
Job For a Cowboy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jfacmetal
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.