Shane! Hahn sits down with Brendan and Jeff from the band Devil In The Belfry in a Horror-Punks.net Exclusive Interview.
H-P: Let's start this off with you giving a brief introduction of yourselves and a brief history of Devil In The Belfry and how the band came about.
JEFF: I'm Jeff and I play guitar/sing in the band. We had the initial idea of starting a band at a Nim Vind / The Cryptkeeper Five / Darrow Chemical Company show. Brendan, our bassist, was writing music with a mutual friend and I was fresh out of my old progressive metal band looking to pursue something more along the lines of punk. I happened to be getting really into horror punk at the time and that's what kind of music Brendan was working on. I asked if he would be interested in writing some stuff together and that is where it all started.
We've been through 3 drummers since starting and now on our fourth. We finally played our first live performance in December of 2015 after woodshedding all the songs we had been working on since originally starting mid-summer of 2013. Losing drummers kept setting us back but we were determined to finally take our hard work to the stage.
BRENDAN: That's about the size of it, I had been working with my friend Justin for maybe 2 or 3 months at that point but we didn't have a drummer yet and it was mostly just for fun. Jeff came out to see a show and it was the first time I had seen him since high school and he asked if we could use another guitarist and that he thought he knew of a guy who might want to play drums too. not long after that Bobby Ramaglino joined us on drums and that's when things started actually taking some sort of shape. I think that was back in 2014, maybe the fall of 2013.
H-P: It would be fair to say there is a heavy horror-punk influence in your sound. What horror-punk bands have influenced you to do what you do?
BRENDAN: I'd have to say Blitzkid in a big way, I've been a fan of theirs for a long time. The initial urge to start a project and actually really push to make it something more than a bunch of noise in someone's garage struck me at Blitzkid's last U.S. show at Dingbatz in 2012. Just seeing all those people brought together by music was awesome, and personally having a place to feel like I fit in meant a lot to me. So, I guess I just wanted to really put something out there, like I had taken enough from the Horror Punk scene and that it was time I gave something back. Aside from them, other bands like Calabrese, The Rosedales, The Independents, and a bunch of killer local bands like Johnny B. Morbid, The Zombie Mafia and The Bad Whoremoans, really showed me how dynamic Horror Punk could be, and that really inspired me to try and put my own spin on it. And the obvious answer, The Misfits. I have no idea what I'd be doing right now had I never heard them...but I'm glad I did.
JEFF: At the time of writing for our debut record, bands like Blitzkid, Calabrese, and Nim Vind were big influences in my writing. (I listened to a whole lot more up until that point that I also took inspiration from, but if I were to round it down, it would be those three.)
H-P: Devil In The Belfry is fairly new to the game as you recently released your debut full-length album 'Wandering Alone'. What has the support from the scene been like for you since your release?
JEFF: As we got closer to the official release of the album, we knew a bunch of people we've met playing this last year would want a copy of the album. When we finally released it, the support was much greater than I initially expected. We couldn't be more grateful and appreciative of all the support we've received over the last few weeks. It makes all the hard work we've put into making the record feel worthwhile.
BRENDAN: Honestly, it's been MASSIVE compared to the amount of support I thought we would get. It's really awesome to see people actually enjoying the music, and all the help and support we have been given from other bands offering gigs, promoters booking us, right down to word of mouth or someone sharing a Facebook post. It's all appreciated and recognized more than people might know. We've got a lot of love for all those people and it just drives us to make something more awesome going forward to give back to them.
H-P: Speaking of 'Wandering Alone', it is on the W.H.B. Records label. How did that partnership come about and do you think their experience in this scene has helped some with your release?
JEFF: We met J.V. Bastard (from Darrow Chemical Company & founder of W.H.B. Records) early on when we first started playing live shows (in fact, he was at our first show) and he seemed to take an immediate interest in us after hearing our set. Shortly after that, when he found out we were taking a D.I.Y. approach to our record, he offered us the opportunity to release it as part of W.H.B.'s catalog. .J.V.'s experience in the scene is quite extensive, and he's been around the block a few times in his various projects. He's one of, if not THE best person to have on our side as it relates to breaking into the scene.
BRENDAN: Just like Jeff said, J.V. has been around and supportive of us since the first time we got on stage at an open mic night at Dingbatz in Clifton, New Jersey. Once he had brought up the possibility of releasing our album on W.H.B, it was the obvious choice. It's been a big help so far as far as promotion for the album and giving us someone with knowledge and experience to bounce ideas off of to help us avoid making stupid mistakes. I can't imagine a better home for us.
H-P: What is your favorite song you recorded on 'Wandering Alone'?
BRENDAN: I'd have to say my favorite is the title track "Wandering Alone" I really think that one came together better than we had expected. It's fast, It's energetic, It's in your face, It's one of my favorites to play as well. a close second is "Blood Stains" it's got this transition between super rowdy and melodic that I just love.
JEFF: My favorite song we recorded for this album is "The Blob" and it's proving to be a fan favorite as well!
"Blood Stains" is a close second. Those two were definitely my favorites to record.
H-P: How would you describe your debut album to someone that hasn't heard it yet to get them to listen?
BRENDAN: It's fast paced, aggressive and in your face. It's an equal measure of melody and ear drum punching punk rock! Heavily horror influenced and a little campy in all the good ways. It's something that we really gave our all to create and we think you'll love it. So, go check it out!
JEFF: I would say, it's for anyone who is a fan of Blitzkid, Calabrese, The Misfits, and Nim Vind... but also high-energy punk in general.
H-P: Are their any touring plans in the future for Devil In The Belfry?
BRENDAN: YES! We leave on August 31st! We'll be going up the east coast starting in VA and playing our way up to Salem, MA in support of this album. Jess-O-Lantern will be coming along with us and so far every show is going to have a killer line up! Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram profiles to see the exact details as we release them.
It's going to be great to get out there and share the live show with everyone. It's definitely going to be a bunch of shows that will be worth coming to see!
H-P: If you could tour with any band from any genre who would it be and why?
JEFF: If I were to narrow it down, I'd choose The Offspring. Not only because they were one of the first bands to get me into music and my biggest influence, but they just seem like cool dudes to hang out with on tour.
Coheed and Cambria would also be really cool to tour with.
BRENDAN: I'm going to have to go with The Damned. They're legendary and they put on a really bad ass show. They also happen to be one of my all time favorites.
H-P: Now that 'Wandering Alone' is officially out... do you have any plans for another album or have you began writing any new songs?
JEFF: We have the beginning stages of a new album in the works. We started writing some new songs while finishing up the final touches on "Wandering Alone". Even though we just released our debut album, we are excited to get new music out to our fans.
BRENDAN: Yeah we currently have the basic framework for a bunch of songs. They're still evolving and will almost definitely be a whole different animal by the time they are stage ready. But we're really excited about them.
H-P: Where would you like the band as a whole to be in the next 5 years?
JEFF: I'd like to be at a point were we can book a few tours a year and have a decent sized fan base. As for now, we will keep pushing ourselves and our music to hopefully reach that point.
H-P: That's about all I have for you. Is there anything else you would like to add?
BRENDAN: Just a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us this far, you guys kick ass! Make sure if you haven't already, to go click the links below and check out our album and follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date with our shows and future releases!
JEFF: First off, thanks for taking the time to interview us and for all you reading this give the album a listen! Hopefully you like what you hear! Second, I want to give a special thanks to Justin Osburn for mixing and mastering our album.He really brought our performance to life on the recordings and made it something to truly be proud to release to the fans who waited so patiently for it.
VISIT DEVIL IN THE BELFRY ONLINE:
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Also stream Devil In The Belfry on Spotify!!