Jarvis Leatherby from Night Demon sat down with National Rock Review to talk vinyl, highlights, and Night Demon.
Night Demon is a three piece out of Ventura, CA that started to play seriously in 2012. They are Jarvis Leatherby (bass and vocals), Brent Woodward (guitar), and Dusty Squires (drums). A very easy way to describe their sound is along the lines of New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Jarvis gave National Rock Review a few peeks behind the curtain while the band traveled from a great show in Cleveland the night before, to their next gig in Chicago.
NRR: Tell me how the name of the band got picked out? Did you guys just throw names out there or did it have some meaning?
Jarvis Leatherby: We wanted something cool and heavy metal. We wanted to have a song with the band name in it.
NRR: How long have you guys been around as a band? I’ve seen two different dates.
Jarvis Leatherby: [In] 2011, we formed. That’s correct. We recorded the four song EP. We were not active as a band, however. Til 2000, like, probably, that, a year and a half later, like in the later 2012. We just kind of, just did the EP as a demo, just for us. Just because, we started a cool band just for fun and people dug it. [They] pushed us into giving it a shot. I mean it wasn’t like twisting our arm to perform, but I mean, we had no idea there was an audience for it like there is now.
NRR: Ok, cool. What’s the name of the EP?
Jarvis Leatherby: It’s just self titled.
NRR: Self released, self published, the whole nine yards or did you work with anyone?
Jarvis Leatherby: No, there were various, ah, three different independent labels that released it on different formats. CD, seven inch vinyl, and a twelve inch expanded EP out of Germany, so no they were on smaller labels but they were released. I mean as soon we, what we did is, just put a couple of tracks on-line and we started to get a lot of offers from there. So, we decided to just, to just take it slow at first and just license the EP out for x amount of copies you know on whatever format, whatever labels had the strongest format, you know? Certain people specialize in certain things, we kind of, you know, strategically worked with them for the method that they were the strongest in. Kind of did a strength in numbers thing and it really helped boost the band out of the gates.
NRR: If anyone is curious to get a hold of that EP, what’s the best way to go about it?
Jarvis Leatherby: You know, it’s like, it’s out of print. It’s been pressed about six times now on different formats. The best thing to do is go on our website or you can go to the bandcamp page and it’s available as a digital download. The physical format, there’s an expanded edition twelve inch LP available from High Roller Records in Germany. I think they have some distribution outlets here, in Americia. That thing cannot stay on the shelves for some reason. People just keep buying those things. We’ve just sold through pressing after pressing. I think we’re going to let it die on the vinyl after this and we’re going to wait a little while and do an even bigger edition with demos and stuff.
NRR: That vinyl sounds like a great collector’s item. With a lot of the bigger bands with multiple singers, drummers, (Linkin Park, Slipknot, Mushroomhead) was the three piece intentional, or did it just kind vibe that way? Or…
Jarvis Leatherby: No, I mean, it wasn’t intentional. It was just what, what was necessary to start and it just stuck, you know? It was like, it was like three good friends that liked the same stuff. We didn’t have a fourth, you know? So, not yet, and it just kind of stuck. But I guess in hindsight looking back it’s really good because we can pull it off with less people. It’s always going to be better, it’s going to be easier to do, you know? I prefer it, I prefer less. It was really just what the music called for. It was straight out of necessity and that’s just the way it’s been.
NRR: Are you guys all high school friends or buddies from way back?
Jarvis Leatherby: After that, but yeah we kind of knew each other from the local music scene in Ventura, CA. We’ve all been, you know, we all played in other bands and stuff that played together. So, it was just a natural progression, you know, musicians come together a lot that way.
NRR: In your own words, describe [your] sound in a way that it just doesn’t seem like it’s print on a page.
Jarvis Leatherby: Right, ok, well I mean it’s basically like a NWOBHM. It’s heavily influenced by that sound. It’s a raw kind of MotÃ¶rhead-y kind of sound, but not as straight ahead as that. It has a lot of melody into it too. It’s basically just classic metal and classic hard rock. It’s like caveman music, you know, there’s not a lot of finesse to it. It’s definitely rough around the edges, but it does have a good pop sensibility to it as well. There is a lot of catchy hooks, but it is mainly about the guitar riffs just tons of guitar riffs.
NRR: Sounds like there may be a new project about to be released?
Jarvis Leatherby: Yeah, our first first full length debut, Cursed of the Damn, … and North America Jan 27, 2015. Eleven new track, there’s all kinds cool bundles and stuff on-line like tee shirts, limited edition colors, CD digipacks, vinyl, and all kinds of stuff.
NRR: Who are you on tour with right now?
Jarvis Leatherby: We just did 45 shows in the States with the NWOBHM legends from the UK, ah, the band Raven. And right now we’re on tour with Skull Fist from Canada and Elm Street from Australia going across the States.
NRR: With the new album coming out, what would you like new fans to take away from the CD?
Jarvis Leatherby: Just, I think, pure like rawness, you know? The record is recorded mostly live. And you really get the feeling, I mean, it’s just the three of us jamming in the room. It was a very tiny room. You know, we didn’t use headphones or anything like that. It really has that kind sound and feel to it. This day and age when everybody is making perfect albums, this is kind of like, we’re bringing back the true art form of live musicianship.
NRR: Give me one band that you’d drop everything to go out to support on tour.
Jarvis Leatherby: Iron Maiden, without a doubt. That’s like on the bucket list, that’s number one. Like, if I had the choice to choose the would be the band for sure.
NRR: Is there one memorable, maybe funny, maybe somewhat embarrassing moment that you can think of off the top of your head while on tour?
Jarvis Leatherby: I think one of the best was before our last tour, we had to drive from California to the East Coast to start. We made it the Grand Canyon and our drummer was getting gas. He ended up getting his leg smashed in between our van and an RV that was backing up that didn’t see him there. And it was like, within centimeters of crushing his leg. Even though, he did get pinched by the van, everything worked out well. You just never know and it was like some German tourist in the RV. (Laughing)
“But it was just one of those moments like come on man. We’re not even out of Arizona yet and there’s threatening, like tour-ending injuries.” ~ Jarvis Leatherby on tour experiences
As stated in the interview, the guys are currently on tour. Jarvis was a pleasure to talk to and the band is down to earth. It is highly recommended to support the guys and see a show or buy the album when it comes out later this month. A few of Night Demon’s upcoming shows on the current tour are listed below. If anyone gets to see them live, feel free to let us know what you thought.
01/22/2015 Colton, CA ~ The Hub Bar & Lounge
01/23/2015 Los Angeles, CA ~ The Airliner Nightclub
01/24/2015 Fullerton, CA ~ Riff Haus
01/25/2015 Santa Cruz, CA ~ Catalyst Nightclub
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High Roller Records
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The Hub Bar & Lounge
The Airliner Nightclub
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Website | Twitter
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Photo credit ~ Mark A. Whitaker