Job For A Cowboy
By: Brian P. Sweeney
Job For A Cowboy just made its official debut on the metal scene with its Metal Blade Records album ďGenesis,Ē which caps off the buzz that has been circulating about the band for months now. The record marks a major departure from the ďpig squealĒ-heavy deathcore that gained the act its ravenous Internet following, but the group proves that change is indeed good. ďGenesisĒ contains the type of straightforward death metal that quickens a headbangerís heart rate and jolts grandmaís to a halt. As a result, the Sounds of the Underground tour has tapped the band to play alongside the likes of GWAR, Shadows Fall and Amon Amarth, and Job For A Cowboy was also invited to kick off the famed Download Festival at Englandís Donington Park.
Despite the chaos of his band's rapid ascent to metal stardom, founding guitarist Ravi Bhadriraju found time to catch up with Blistering for a chat about ďGenesis,Ē touring and . . . not peeing one's pants.
Blistering: ďGenesisĒ debuted on The Billboard 200 at No. 54. How are you handling the albumís success?
Ravi Bhadriraju: Iím just soaking it up. Itís all so weird because Iím not used to it, so Iím amused by it. I donít even know whatís going on, itís just this crazy thing that happened. Iím still in shock from all of this thatís going on. Itís so awesome, and I canít believe that Iím still here doing it.
Blistering: Many people label Job For A Cowboy as "death metal" or "deathcore." Personally I donít know what the second one means, but Iíve found that artists often have a different way of describing their music. How would you describe Job For A Cowboy's sound?
Bhadriraju: Our old sound was more of that deathcore genre, which is like death metal with breakdowns, so thatís what our older stuff is. But our newer stuff Iíd say is more aggressive death metal.
Blistering: Do you think death metal is having a resurgence right now?
Bhadriraju: I definitely think so. Itís coming back in full force, and thatís so awesome because 20 years ago, or maybe even 10 years ago, a lot of these bands would not be doing as well as they are now, and now that death metal is growing itís an awesome thing and Iím happy to be a part of that movement.
Blistering: Your EP ďDoomĒ really put Job For A Cowboy on the map. How does ďGenesisĒ compare musically?
Bhadriraju: "Genesis" is more of a mature Job For A Cowboy. On ďDoomĒ we were like 15 or 16, and we didnít know exactly how to write real songs or do anything with music. We were sloppier players back then, and we werenít good at structuring music. We just threw all those ďDoomĒ songs together, whereas on ďGenesis,Ē we took the time to actually write it, and then we structured each song making sure that we were happy with every riff that went in there. On top of that, we made the drums faster, we made the riffs harder and we changed up the vocals, too. There are no more pig squeals, and Iím sure that some kids are upset about that, but I think that was a good thing to do to mature as a bandóto leave something behind.
Blistering: How long did you spend writing and recording ďGenesisĒ?
Bhadriraju: We started writing soon after we came back from the U.K., which was in mid-August, and we wrote until late November and were in the studio by December. And then we had four weeks to get in the studio and get it done and then leave for [a] tour. At that time we were trying out a new drummer, too. Our new drummer flew in, and he sat in the studio every day just learning our songs, so then we got out of the studio and had like two times to practice, and then we left for [the] tour. So that was a pretty hectic time.
Blistering: What were you listening to while recording ďGenesisĒ? Who influenced your playing on the album?
Bhadriraju: My biggest influences were bands like Mastodon and Nile and Katatonia. Those three bands were the main bands I was popping in my player and listening to while we were writing. And I know they donít sound like we do, but there was something that moved me when I heard them that inspired me to write.
Blistering: Can you tell me anything about the lyrical theme of the album?
Bhadriraju: The lyrical theme and the whole concept is about this biochip called the VeriChip. Itís supposed to be implanted under the skin. On Christian television you can see them talking about it, about this being the mark of the beast and that the Antichrist will come. The biochip will hold all your credit card numbers and your Social Security number and all of your information. People on Christian television are worried that this is going to take over the world and that the Antichrist will soon rise. You can go on YouTube too and search for VeriChip, and it will have all these news things. We have nothing against Christians, though. We arenít a satanic band or anything like that. We just think itís a cool concept so we ran with it, and Iím glad we did. Iím sure there will be some Christian backlash, but what can you do about it?
Blistering: The song ďThe Divine FalsehoodĒ sounds like it has a little Middle Eastern influence. Is that my imagination, or was that intentional?
Bhadriraju: Thatís so true. We wanted that song to sound like a doomier song. We just wanted to slow down the CD at that point, because at that point it was kind of a climax. And thatís what we wanted it to beódoomier, slower and more melodic. Iím glad we did that though, because it was a sudden change from all this death metal to doom.
Blistering: Itís definitely one of my favorite tracks on the CD.
Bhadriraju: Thatís what Iíve been hearing from kids and other people, that thatís the favorite song. Thatís so awesome, because thatís the most random song that we did and Iím glad people liked it. I figured that kids wouldnít like it because itís so differentóthere are no blast beats and itís just simple with straight-up drum beats and a straight-up riff. Iím glad you dig it.
Blistering: How did things go shooting the video for ďEmbeddedĒ?
Bhadriraju: The process was probably one of the best video shoots Iíve ever heard of, because all we did was go in this white room in London and we just rocked out. Each dude would go in there by himself and just play in this white room. The whole entire shooting took about four or five hours. I only had to play through the song once or twice. Itís like a pop-up book video showing a kid rising as the devil . . . and it shows clippings of the Antichrist growing up and taking over the world with an army. Itís a cool video. I donít want to sound cocky, but itís crazy what those guys did with the video. Itís just awesome.