Jarvis the Night Demon frontman cuts quite the figure, his sideburns and greased back hair prove him to be a true rock and roller of a breed often forgotten. It was truly enlightening to pick his brain about the madness of the rock and roll music he holds so dear.
Interview by Matt Bacon
From February 2015 Edition
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So how the hell are you doing Jarvis?
Jarvis: Fantastic man. Out here on the road with Skull Fist and Elm Street. It’s good to be back in New York. We had a great show in Amityville last night, we had some people who came out to see us last time we were here at St Vitus which was cool. We’re building our story out here on the east coast.
That must be a challenge for you as a West coast band..,
Jarvis: It’s a challenge to make it. But all you’ve got to do is get in the car and get there. You’ve just got to drive. There’s always a lot of logistics standing in the way, but we were able to get out and tour overseas so after that anything is possible. There are a lot of bands who don’t tour the States for financial reasons and stuff like that. You just have to find a way to do it. If you’re going to do it you just have to do it, you can’t make excuses. There’s fans of ours all over the place, it’s pretty widespread. This country of ours is so big you’ve got to go everywhere in between not just the major markets. Sure New York is a big deal but there’s a lot of small places you’ve got to get too before.
So that’s how you got here?
Jarvis: Not on this tour. During the holidays it’s really hard to book shows on the way out, we just drove straight out. The tour starts on the East Coast. Skull Fist are from Eastern Canada so it makes sense to start here. It ends at home for us which is good. But it had to happen so f*ck it. We had a plan of how to get out here, we didn’t just throw it at the wall and say “Oh shit” we knew what we were getting in to.
When I was reviewing your record I put it on my roommates speaker and he claimed it was to derivative of Iron Maiden. How do you feel about statements like that?
Jarvis: I think that’s a compliment. Anybody who can should copy the originators. They’re the greatest metal band ever! We were talking about it the other night, of all the bands we love I’m the least embarrassed of them! We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel and create this new genre of metal at all. I would take that over any other band. If you listen to the music… we’re a three piece band, our songs are shorter, it’s more punk, it’s more straight ahead. We’re honored to have that comparison.
How many US tours have you done at this point?
Jarvis: This is our third, this is our second coast to coast.
Are you starting to make money on the road now?
Jarvis: It’s all relative. We’re not losing money which is good. We’re by no means wealthy, we’re still only third from the top… But we’re a young band, we might be the oldest guys on the bill but we’re a newer band. Financially it’s been better than expected. It’s all calculated, we don’t go out and say “Let’s hope we don’t f*cking lose our ass!” We are selling our product in a way that keeps us alive and gets the fans what they want. It’s something we discuss every single day. You have to treat it like a business in a way, if you want to do it that business has to grow.
As you’ve learned to make your music a professional endeavor how do you keep it exciting?
Jarvis: You constantly reinvent yourself. Every tour that we do the set list changes and build on that. This tour we have our own lighting, and a new backdrop, and the Rocky character actually comes onto the stage now, stuff like that. It’s especially important when you’re going to new markets you have to be fresh. We’re definitely teasing new songs and playing new stuff. We only have a half hour to get up there. Our goal is to get up there and win every night. We love the other bands and we’re happy to be playing with them but it’s a friendly competition. We want to erase it all and take over. That’s what we consciously try and do every night and when we’re not doing it then why are we doing it at all? We might as well be working boring day jobs we hate. You can’t become stale, you have to find new ways to do things. A lot of times they get frustrated because they can’t come up with ideas and stuff. We haven’t really had that problem because we constantly communicate and brainstorm daily. We still make adjustments, we’re still getting used to it all, it’s a progression.
What’s the origin of Rocky?
Jarvis: Basically he was the guy on the cover of our original EP that our friend drew and we came up with a story behind it. His name is Rockwell Ogden Aldritch III and his nickname is Rocky. He is the Night Demon. He’s the mascot of the band. He’s kind of like the devil in a way. The devil but not in disguise. He’s the revealing of the devil. In later records he’ll take on the faces of other people but we’re still building the lore.
Kind of like Eddie?
Jarvis: Kind of but Eddie doesn’t really have a story. He’s just Eddie.
I want you to finish this sentence for me “I’ve never told this story before and probably shouldn’t but…”
Jarvis: (Laughter) I don’t want to get to incriminating! What I’m thinking about in my head there’s no way I could tell it…
What do you love so much about music?
Jarvis: I love everything about music. It’s my entire f*cking life. I wouldn’t do anything other than music, I never have my entire life, since I was eight years old all I’ve wanted to do was this!