Latest release: Love Your Demons (Riot!)

A year ago, Sydney’s Melody Black played their debut show at the Sando, and then automatically booked time in the recording studio to begin work on their debut album. Just three days in the studio, and the album was recorded. After a year of successful shows in Sydney, and some interstate appearances, Melody Black released their much anticipated debut album Love Your Demons. Catching singer Johnathan Devoy just after he finished dinner, Christine chatted with him about the album, the band and everyday life.

Q: Hi John, first of all a big congratulations on the debut record. It’s a great listen, and you’ve received a lot of positive reviews so far.
A: Thank you very much. That’s the thing: we’re really proud of it, no love lost, and all the labour worthwhile; it’s very pleasing. We’ve been doing this for long enough to know what we want to do, and to be able to do it, so yeah loving it.

Q: Love Your Demons was recorded live in three days, correct?
A: I would say more. Well it was over three days, but if you want to get total recording time, maybe twenty hours. We basically just smashed it out, because we started that very first gig at The Sando, and then booked studio time the next day. We booked for three days, but we were in there just sitting around going “What else do we need to do?” I would say if you want to get technical, twenty hours.

Q: You’ve got quite a few gigs lined up in the next few weeks, The Halloween show this Saturday (October 29) at Venom…
A: Yeah and we’ve got the Annandale, the Screaming Sundays thing, and I think, but don’t quote me, we’re doing the last Blink for the year on the 23rd of December, and we’ve got the Misfits spot on the 1st of December; which should be quite interesting because I’m a bit of an old school Misfits fan, and they chose us which is the beautiful thing. They saw the ‘Pretty Ugly’ video and went “those guys!” A little stroking of the old ego doesn’t hurt once in a while.

Q: So, have you started thinking about, or working on the second album yet?
A: We have always been thinking about it. Here’s the thing… this has kind of been Leeno’s (Dee, bass) baby for a long time. We haven’t actually had a chance to write – well we have, but we haven’t really written together as a band yet. We thought we’d get the most concise, clear message that we could, and those were the songs Leeno had already. So, once we sort of wind down the usual gamut with the touring and everything else, we’ll take a step back and we get to start again, and I can’t wait. I honestly cannot wait. I mean my favourite guitarist the world is in my band, my favourite drummer in the world is in my band, and it’s fucking great. I can’t even tell you! Exciting times ahead.

Q: Have you guys got interstate shows planned for the near future?

A: Yeah, well, again I am but a mere singer [laughs] so I don’t know the actual specifics. We are hoping to do a nice little east coast up and down, because now the album is out there in stores, it’s much easier when you have a product to sell at the end of it. Or people can at least be familiar with your songs and come down out of curiosity. We’ve been blissfully free so far of that whole “oh it’s those guys from Jerk” or “oh it’s those guys from Candy Harlots”. People are just coming down because they’ve heard it’s a good band. It’s kind of a relief after 10 years of carrying around that little Jerk persona around with me; I mean I can let it go now.

Q: Is there plans for another music video?
A: I am currently in pre-production for a new video that will be, I’m going to call that a secret for now.

Q: So, we don’t get to know? Not even a hint?

A: [Laughs] It will probably be ‘TV Generation’, but you know, we’ll see how we go. But, yeah I’m just getting things together because I’m going to shoot it again. I just got some better cameras and some better lights and a little bit more time, so I’m just making sure that I can do it justice. I’m going to take my time, but not too much time obviously. We’ll probably smash out another live video anyway. The live clips I guess are more effective in showing people what you’re like. Anyone can make that studio video; I’m trying to get, for want of a better word, more conceptual. We’ve got to think bigger. I think everyone does, musically, generally, everyone has to think bigger. Sorry, I think I’m rambling a bit, I’ve been drinking. I’m at my mum’s house, nothing better to do. I’ve been doing the yard work all day!

Q: I was talking to Leeno a few days after the release of the record about the secret track. With the large gap before the piece of music begins. Leeno called it a tribute to Greg Clarke. Could you tell us a bit about that?
A: Essentially, Greg Clarke is The Man. If you don’t know who he is – and I know you do – but if you don’t know who he is, all you have to do is listen to the news on Triple J, because he did the theme song. They haven’t stopped using it, I think he made it 12 or 15 years ago, and every time he heard it he was like “Oh my god, I can’t believe they are still using that piece of shit!” But, he made this track, it’s called “Chaps in Space”. It was originally made to be an intro to the set, then an intro to the album, but sadly it was never actually finished. So we decided, he recorded it and we want it on there, and we sort of want to mess with people’s heads, you know what we’re like. But the guy, who mastered our record, took us a little too literally when we said “ages”. So it’s like 45 minutes before it kicks in and it’s like that’s a little bit longer than I thought. [Laughs] Although, if you think about it like this, the last track on In Utero – Nirvana, the devalued American dollar purchase incentive track, I think was like 35 minutes and then it started. We like messing with people, but we also want people to remember. Think about it like 45 minutes of silence for the person who got us where we are, well I mean myself personally. There was no way we could leave it off because it was the last album that he actually kind of finished, so we wanted to make sure he had his own footprint on there, apart from everything else. It was a bummer he never got to finish it. We were both working on it, and I remember saying, “Can you just do this and this and this”, and he was just like “Yeah man, I’ll see you next week,” and that was kind of like the last conversation we had. So we thought we’d stick it on there anyway because apart from putting his name on it as many times as we could, probably it’s one of the last original noises he made too. Maybe I’m being egotistical about it, but I like to think of it that way. The last thing he ever said to me is the last thing you hear on the record.

With the album out and available for you all to get your hands, plenty of gigs coming up and the Halloween show just around the corner – where John is still not sure what he’ll dress up as – the possibilities of Billy Corgan in the Ava Adorevideo – knowing a lot priests [he] could borrow something, but doesn’t want to be disrespectful. Or cover himself in red paint and call that a costume. Or even borrow his wife’s wedding dress!  Whatever he decides, as long as Leeno wears that pilot cap he wore at the launch it doesn’t matter. John’s more interested in seeing what everyone else will turn up in.

“It’s going to be a big night, it’s Halloween, how could it not be?”

So, get your best, scariest, wildest costumes on, head out to Venom in Sydney on Saturday the 29th of October, catch some of the best glam-metal-pop Australia has seen, and don’t forget to check out their debut record, Love Your Demons.