It’s been a few years since the members of Light The Torch (formerly Devil You Know) have been to the UK. Prior to their performance on the second night on their UK run with In Flames, Howard Jones and Francesco Artusato sat down with me on the red sofas in Manchester’s O2 Ritz to have a discussion about the latest album and their plans for the next few months.
This is the second night of the tour with In Flames. How did last night go?
Howard: It was good. It was a lot of fun and of course, you know, any time to you travel to another continent, things are going to be weird with equipment. We managed to power through it though and we’ve been wanting to come back to the UK for a long time. I think we were more excited than anyone else was!
How do you feel the response has been to the most recent album, Revival?
Francesco: It’s been a great surprise for us. It came out and was doing really well and it’s just kept growing since then. A year later, particularly in the States, it’s just kept on getting bigger. I’ve never experienced that before and people are really digging the record, which is great.
H: We’ve been through so much we didn’t really know what to think and it had been a while since we released something. It’s been a bit of a slow burn but I think it came out at the right place and the right time. We’ve had good people behind it and maybe it was that sandwich I had that helped it. That was a really good sandwich!
This was also the first release with your new drummer Mike Sciulara. How do you feel he’s settled in?
F: The last part of the DYK album cycle, we had a few drummers and that was when the weirdness with our old drummer started. We were more focused on getting a drummer who would fit the vibe of the record we wanted to create and he fit the bill. Touring with him has been good as well as he’s really good and the shows have been great.
H: Trying to fit in having session players was really tough for us with schedules for everything. It was a rough time and it’s nice to be past that.
What are your plans for the next 6 to 12 months?
H: We didn’t do a ton of touring when the album came out as we had to get a lot of the behind the scenes stuff sorted. Now that we have the management and all the changes done, we can properly start touring. We’re going to be pretty busy this year with touring so that’s the main focus.
F: We’ve got some gigs planned already with some weekend festivals like Rocklahoma, and some other dates that are coming in. Our diaries for summer are getting really full which is nice.
H: There’s some cool stuff coming throughout the year as well which’ll be good. We’ve been very fortunate on that front.
What gear do you have on this run?
F: I’ve got my Ibanez guitars with me and the rest is rental items. On the first night there’s always some gremlins and something always doesn’t work right. I played without a wireless last night which was slightly annoying but now that we’ve had some time to sort the gear out, things should be better now. Like I said, there’s always something that doesn’t work on the first show. If everything goes smooth on that show, then you are very lucky!
H: That just doesn’t seem to happen though! If you don’t get mad about such things and power through then it will be fine. I don’t think anyone wants to see the band ticked off that their gear is not working so you just power through it and have a good time.
What are three things you can’t live without on tour?
H: Wow… [Thinks for a bit] I’m going to say things that people might not expect. Deodorant, good podcast and grapes. That doesn’t make sense at all!
F: I’d say a decent place to sleep. That’s my number one. Good people on tour as well. You can be on the best lineup, but if the people are shitty then it’s not fun.
H: That pretty much sums it up. When you’ve got the right people to tour with, the little stuff doesn’t matter. We already know this is going to be a fun tour.
If you weren’t playing metal, what genre would you play instead?
H: I’m pretty sure I’d have to collaborate with someone on the hip route and make some sweet juicy rhymes. It would be terrible though, I’d just be horrible! [laughs]
F: I’d probably be a jazz player or a film scorer. Even though I can’t really see myself as a performer that’s not rock or metal, even though I love jazz and classical I couldn’t see myself performing that.
What is something you wish someone told you before you started?
H: For me it would be when you first pick up a music magazine and see the pictures of all your favourite musicians and rockstars, that is nothing like what it really is. What you see online and in the papers, that is not what touring is like. It is totally not glamorous.
F: Treat it as a job I’d say. Don’t fuck around as there’s so many little details that need to be got right and don’t party all the time.
H: Partying all the time is hard to sustain. It is a job although you don’t clock out at 5pm.
F: Even when you are writing, you need to have a lot of concentration. It is never a random process and you can tell when a band has spent the time on the music and you are writing it. Every song before you record it should feel like the best thing you have done. When you think you are done, you’re never done. It takes a lot more time than you think.
H: You never record all the songs and think “I’m done. Let’s get this mixed and mastered.” Oh no. There’s a lot to be done on it.
F: Don’t get attached to a song as well. You might spend hours and hours working on something and it might need to get dropped so don’t be too attached to it.
H: Sometimes you do have to release your “homework” and then get feedback on it. Don’t be too attached and always try and do better. Everything is for the better song. Any corrections or changes, it is for the better of the song.
Photos by Katie Frost Photography