Latest release: They Bleed Red (Nuclear Blast)

Three years ago a group of mutual friends in different bands got together to make some music for fun; less than two years later they were completing their debut album for Nuclear Blast and playing their first ever shows at Soundwave. Another two years down the track and Devil You Know are about to launch their second album and hit the Soundwave stage once again. While he was on a break in Queensland, we caught up with drummer John Sankey.

Are you in Australia right now?
I am. I’m here for a couple of weeks’ break. I head back this weekend. Just chillin’ out before we start rehearsals and head off to Europe with in about three weeks with Five Finger Death Punch and Papa Roach and we’re there for about five weeks. It’s gonna be a massive tour and the last show is at Wembley Arena. It’s gonna be huge!

What’s the journey been like for Devil You Know the last couple of years?
It’s been crazy, that’s for sure. To be honest with you, the band was never meant to even be a band. It was just meant to be something for a few of us to do for fun, something different from our other bands and everything else that was keeping us busy at the time. Once word got out and the industry got involved and we signed a deal and recorded an album it was like, of course, we’ll go out and we’ll do some shows. Everything kind of got crazy, in a good way. No one’s complaining but it all happened a bit quickly and the band has taken off real fast.

I remember chatting with you about it and it was just you and some friends doing a bunch of tunes. Then the next thing you’re doing an album and touring.
When we played Soundwave last year, those were the first shows that we ever did, and that was completely unexpected. We were asked to do it out of the blue and I think at the time we only had one demo song online. But we weren’t going to pass it up so we completed the record just before that and went in and did a few rehearsals and jumped on the plane and got our gear, walked on stage and just played. That was the first of many strange situations, but it was great.

You’re two albums in now, so how was the chemistry like going in to do the second one?
Well it was very different. As you said, there was chemistry there because before the first album we’d never done a show together. Since then, in that two years – or less than two years – I feel like we’ve toured non-stop! We’ve played in so many different countries and places that when we walk on stage it feels like a band. I feel comfortable, we know what we’re doing and we can joke around and have a good time. It feels like we’re an actual group. So it’s very different. Even musically this album shows that cohesion that maybe wasn’t as strong the first time around. Playing live shows… you have to do that. You can’t skip that. By playing live shows you become the band that you should be.

Devil You Know will be back here for Soundwave again next year.
Yes, we’ll be back in January. We’re particularly excited to do that. Everyone wants to do Soundwave, it’s such a well-known thing overseas. Particularly for me, I’ll take any opportunity to come to Australia and do shows, and Soundwave is the obvious one.

Being from Australia, it must have be a big thing for you to be able to bring the band here and play those first shows in your home country?
It felt good. No one was against it, that’s for sure. It was surprising and we had to just cram in a few rehearsals, get on the plane and go, but for me, I was going to do it regardless. Even if we couldn’t rehearse, I was going to be down here doing it.

Do you have a break between the next tour and Soundwave?
I’m not sure. We just get told where we’re going and when to be there and when to be ready and that’s it! That’s kinda how it works for us right now. Or for me, anyway. I’m just here in Australia having a little bit of a laze and then once I’m back, it’s gonna be crazy. We’ve got a whole lot of promo to do and getting ready for the new album to come out and hit Europe. That tour finishes early December, so they may cram in some shows after that but hopefully we’ll get a break over Christmas so we can do the Christmas thing and have a bit of a break from each other.

I imagine you’d need some kind of decompress. It’s not an easy thing to do to be stuck together day in and day out for all that time.
Not at all. But we’ve all done it in various bands, and I’ve gotta tell you, and this is no bullshit, but these guys are awesome. We’ve all toured a bunch before and we all know what we’re doing and we’re all super boring, chilled out dudes. None of us are partying too hard or getting crazy or anything like that. We all get on heaps good and hang out together. We’re all good mates and we’re having fun.