Job for a Cowboy Ruination

Job for a Cowboy Ruination
Just when you think Job For A Cowboy can't push their progressive death metal sound any further, they prove you wrong. The once deathcore group have brutalized their approach for the better and have grown into an almost completely different beast in comparison to when they started during their mid-teens in 2003. JFAC steadily progressed towards much more purist death metal with 2007's Genesis, moving away from the characteristic deathcore sound of debut 2005 EP Doom. Now, with Ruination, JFAC have leaped beyond the boundaries of their style and have managed to release a technical masterwork, picking up where Genesis left off. Apart from the title track, Ruination never slows down and is straightforwardly powerful right from opener "Unfurling A Darkened Gospel." Although Jonny Davy's vocals are distinctive and forceful, it's the music that makes this album outstanding. The Arizona band have also captured a much more brutal death metal, Decapitated-influenced sound, with an added touch of unpredictable, technical guitar work, perhaps brought on by newcomer Al Glassman (ex-Despised Icon, Goratory). Tracks such as "Regurgitated Disinformation" and "March To Global Enslavement" are a few of the release's standout tunes, fully showcasing JFAC's progression in sound and solid musical abilities.

What was the writing and recording process like for Ruination?
Davy: The writing process was much easier than the last album, Genesis, because of the fact that we had more time and we had fresh meat in the band with Al [Glassman] and Jon [Rice], so that always helps; it sparks influence in writing. Everything with writing went really easily and then we did some demo tracks with Jason Suecof. The first time we worked with him I thought he was crazy and out of his mind, and at the end of the day I told everyone, "I do not want to record an album with him; I don't think it would be comfortable by any means." It was weird because by day two I just kind of grew on him somehow and realized he's a lot like us, so everything after that went great. Going into the studio was such a piece of cake, we get along with him so well and I think he gets our band really well. We couldn't have asked for an easier process.

The band's sound has changed quite a bit since you first began. Was that a conscious decision or a natural progression?
We wrote the [Doom] EP when we were really young; I was 16 years old. So, yeah, I think it was kind of a natural progression. Your influences in music change and you mature in musical taste when you age, and because of member changes too. But it was definitely a gradual progression for sure; it was nothing we intended to do by any means. It was just a progression that would've inevitably happened no matter what.

Would you agree that the album has a very brutal, Decapitated-influenced sound?
I'd definitely say for sure because of Bobby [Thompson]; Decapitated have always been one of his favourite bands. I think, especially on our new record, there are definitely some influences that you can easily hear, but we're just really happy with how the album turned out.

How would you describe Ruination in comparison to Genesis?
I would say that Ruination has a lot more flavour and there's a lot more to it. Listening to Genesis now, it almost comes off as bland to me at this point. With this new record, we kind of messed around with different things and we kind of just branched off with our influences; it just has more variety. I guess that's the best way to put it.

Ruination is much more technical as well. Is increased technicality something you wanted to include in this record?
I think that happened just with the addition of Al. His band, Goratory, are a technical gore-grind band and just with him being in the band that part of him and that influence really shine through on the album. Al's also a much tighter guitar player in contrast to our previous guitar player, in a live sense. I feel like as a live band we're much tighter with him in the band.

The lyrical concept of the album seems to go in a much more political direction. What was the thought process behind that?
On Genesis there were some political points but on this record I think it was just the fact that with the whole United States Presidential Election being everywhere - on TV, on the streets, just everywhere - I think that really just kind of sparked it, especially for me personally in writing lyrics. I wanted to write something more political with a little more meaning to it, especially because I've grown up in a really political family. I think that's kind of how it happened.

As an original member of the band, how has your perspective on JFAC changed since the beginning?
It probably hasn't changed that much since I was 16 years old. I mean, definitely looking back in retrospect and realizing all the things we've done as a band, I would have never expected in a million years when we first started out that we'd end up travelling the world and playing shows and tours with some of my favourite bands growing up. But I think in the long run, we all just still feel like we're kids doing some weird and really cool things, and we got lucky enough to tour. I'd say we're all pretty modest about it.

You guys are still relatively young compared to other musicians within this genre. Do you ever get sick of answering questions about how young you are?
You know, we haven't really gotten those in a while. I think that we get that a lot less now just because of the fact that we've been touring non-stop for four years and the longest break I've ever had in the last four years was five months. It's weird when you're at home - you feel awkward and, at this point, when you're on tour you feel like tour is home. I think maybe that's one of the reasons we don't get that as much, but we do still get it sometimes.

How has being younger than some of the bands you've toured with affected your experiences thus far?
It did at first, before I turned 21. Being on the road as much as we were at such an early age was kind of weird; it was almost like we grew up maybe a little faster than we should have just by hanging out with older people. Going back home with old friends, you'd feel relatively older than them a lot of times.

Did you have any problems touring before you turned 21?
Yeah, we actually did all the time. We played a lot of 21 and older clubs a lot when we were on the road and we would always run into these weird, awkward situations. But we're all of age now so everything's okay. There were a couple times really early on when promoters felt so awkward with us being in a bar; they were so afraid that they almost wouldn't allow us to play. It's happened a couple times, driving out miles and miles and someone saying, "You can't play here because of your age" was a little frustrating. (Metal Blade)