Devil Sold His Soul (Interview)
Devil Sold His Soul have long been once of the most exciting metalcore-based bands in the UK. I got chatting to DSHS guitarist Rick Chapple about his band’s latest plans…
You’re three dates into a four-date UK tour. Can you tell us what it’s all about?
We’re celebrating the tenth anniversary of our first full-length album, A Fragile Hope.
The initial idea was to re-release it on vinyl, which the guys over at Basick [Records] were really happy to do. From that, the next logical step was to play some shows! So we put out the feelers and managed to book four shows – and here we are now, doing it!
Cool! So how did Devil Sold His Soul come to be? What’s the band’s origin story?
Myself and Jonny Renshaw, the other guitarist, were involved in another band before with Paul Kitney on samples. When that band split up we decided we wanted to keep on going, so we and the drummer of that band, Tom Harriman, started a new band. We had to audition a new vocalist and bass player, and we found Ed Gibbs and Iain Trotter at the time – and that’s how it all started.
We’ve gone through a few member changes since then; we have a new singer, Paul Green, a new drummer (who’s been with us for years now), Leks Wood, and a new bassist, Josef Norocky. But originally we were all in a band together, and we just kept going when that band finished.
Which memories of the original writing and recording sessions for A Fragile Hope really stand out for you?
We spent ages recording it, because Jonny recorded it at his home studio, Bandit Studios, and so we had the luxury of really taking our time. That was good and bad, because maybe you can spend too long recording something; I can remember spending weeks down in Gloucestershire travelling to and from the studio each day in the winter.
It was a long time in the studio, but I think it turned out pretty well. Some bands tend to go into the studio for a couple of weeks and get it all done, but we must’ve spent about three months doing it. So by the end I think we were glad to get it finished, because being in the same room with the same guys for too long gets a bit claustrophobic [laughs]!
Yeah – you can end up with cabin fever in the studio sometimes…
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at one of your live shows?
At some Russian shows we’ve had fans smashing up the barriers in front of the stage, and big aggressive Russian security guards rushing over and telling them to stop enjoying the show; that was a bit freaky.
Also, not the craziest thing to happen, but we were playing an all-day festival and drove for about six hours to get there. We weren’t on until midnight, and we got there about 3pm, so we were just hanging out all day. So we finally get onstage, we play one note – literally one note, kicking in on the first song – and we blew the power to the whole building! Then the security guards came in and just called off the whole night – so we literally played one note, and that was it!
What challenges were involved in setting up this tour, and how did you get around them?
The scheduling mainly. Because we all work full-time now, we’re not in a position to do the band as full-time as we used to do it. Our sampler, Paul Kitney, has currently moved to Australia – and we were really hoping he’d be able to make it to these shows, but it’s a long way to come for four shows and we just couldn’t make it work unfortunately.
So that’s the biggest challenge for us – we’re a bit sad that he couldn’t make it. But he’s here with us; we’ve managed to put all the parts he plays through a laptop, but it’s not the same as having the complete lineup. Other than that, playing the songs and practicing with the two vocalists has all worked really well.
Do you have any special plans for the London show?
Just to enjoy it! In all the years we’ve been going, this is the only time we’ve ever sold a show out before the show; we’ve sold London out on the night, with people walking up [and buying tickets at the venue] but to have sold [this show] out a month in advance is a really new thing for us [laughs]! So we’re kind of nervous about it, but at the same time we want to enjoy it, because there’ll be loads of friends and family there.
As for something special, I’m sure there’ll be something; it’s a sold-out hometown show, so something exciting’s going to happen! We’re really looking forward to it.
If money and good taste weren’t issues, what would your stage show look like?
Good question! We’re all pretty minimalist, and we’ve got a great lighting guy, Tom Campbell, as well as a great sound guy, Stuart Avis, with us – and between them we’ve hired some lights in. We’re not playing the largest venues, but the light show and sound have just had people in awe. We’re really glad they’re on board, because good sound and lights add another dimension to the music – especially the music we do, because it’s so atmospheric.
But if we could do anything…you’ve gotta have some fire in there [laughs]! Some explosions, and fireworks. We’ve always dreamed of playing an outdoor festival in a summer evening when it’s getting dark and having some flames and stuff like that. That’d be the dream.
Beyond this next show, what’s exciting you about the future?
We’re hoping to take this A Fragile Hope show to Europe in the summer, and we’ve got a few festivals lined up – ArcTanGent, Fat Lip Festival – and we just want to play this show as many times as possible. We’re coming to the end of these four shows, and we’re feeling like we wanna keep playing them.
It’s exciting for us, because it’s made us really excited about the music – and the more shows we can play the better. I’m sure there’ll be new music in the pipeline too, but for the time being we’re going to see out this anniversary year with A Fragile Hope and try to play it to as many people as possible.
Then after that, who knows? New music, new album – we’ll see what happens.
Are you working on new material at the moment?
There’s always a couple of songs in the background being worked on, but we usually just get in the mindset once we’ve finished a tour, then we’ll get into writing mode and concentrate on that. So there’s always a couple of things in the pipeline – it’s just a case of finding the time to finalise it all and get it down into a mix and get it out there.
For more info about Devil Sold His Soul’s future plans, head to their official website.