Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Janus

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with JanusThe band that I am sitting with today needs no introduction. They bring to the stage a sound that is nearly impossible to replicate and a certain style that deserves some attention. They are dressed exactly how they sound, their album cover matches their style to perfection, and their sound begs for more. If I had to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 as far as their overall image and branding is concerned, I would give them an 11. Sharing the stage with bands like the Sick Puppies, Breaking Benjamin, and Chevelle, they are getting invaluable exposure and are selling records as fast as they can produce them. They are touring the United States and are winning fans in every corner of the globe with their hit single Eyesore. Their name is unique, their style is fitting, and the talent is impressive. It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to the next big thing in rock music, Janus.

Where in the world did you come up with that name?

Janus is a Roman god of gates and beginnings and is depicted as a figure with two faces, one looking forward to the future and the other looking back to the past.  Honestly, we just thought it sounded cool, but it really encapsulates how we approach songwriting.  We’re always looking at what we’ve done in the past to learn and build on what we’re going to do in the future.

How long have you all been together?

This lineup has been together about three and a half years.

When did you first decide you wanted to give this a music thing a run for its money?

I’ve wanted to be in a band since I was thirteen years old.  Writing, recording and performing our songs is the best thing I can imagine doing.  This is actually the first band I’ve had where I felt like we had something special.

Where do you guys practice?

We practice in Chicago , but we’ve been on the road so much we don’t practice anymore.  The shows are our practice now.

I love your album cover. Who designed that?

Thanks!  Our singer David Scotney designed all of the artwork.  Everything you see from the album to the website to the merch is created by him.

You guys are doing some pretty heavy touring right now. What do you like about being on the road every night?

Playing shows and meeting fans is the best.  That’s the fun part.  Everything else is some kind of business or logistical task.  It’s just the four of us out here on the road, so we wear a lot of different hats.

What is like being on the road with Chevelle?

The Chevelle tour has been amazing!  Those guys have been really nice and super helpful with everything.  We actually crashed our van and trailer in a snowstorm traveling from Pennsylvania to Ohio , and Chevelle took our gear to the next town so we could get the trailer fixed up.  Other than that, we’ve had some really candid conversations around the music business/touring/etc., and the path they’ve taken.  Very insightful.

Where can I get some Janus merchandise?

You can get Janus merchandise at our shows or our online store.

Wait wait wait, you are going on the road with the Sick Puppies too? Do you ever quit?

Not really! (Laughs)  The best thing we can be doing for this band right now is touring.  There are still a lot of markets we haven’t been to yet and a few key markets we’ve only been to once or twice.  Despite the radio and Internet, you really have to do a lot of touring before people really know who you are.

If you could only perform one song for the rest of your career what would it be?

Right now it would be “Eyesore.”  I love seeing people getting rowdy in the crowd.  It would be great to see that forever.

Who writes all of the lyrics?

Our singer David writes all of the lyrics.

Is there a ringleader in the band?

That depends on the day.  I’m not sure anyone is really “in charge.”

What are you guys drinking on stage?

Beer or water.  I usually bring something on stage to drink and never touch it.  I feel weird about that…like people came to see us play not stand here and drink.  Less drink more rock!

If you could live anywhere in the world where would you go?

Portland, Oregon.

What are your thoughts on MySpace?

It’s got its pros and cons.  You have to have a MySpace page as a band at this point, but it can’t be the only thing you have.  I think people are so sick of bands on MySpace at this point, because they are constantly bombarded by messages and bulletins.  Being obnoxious will only earn you so many fans.

Are you guys on Twitter?

Yes we are!  You can find the band account, Mike’s account, David’s account, Johnny’s account, and even Al’s account on Twitter!

What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

I stepped on a cord while running across the stage and slid like five feet almost taking out the drum kit.  That could have been disastrous.

How did you react to the passing of Michael Jackson earlier last year?

Michael Jackson’s music was phenomenal.  His persona creeped me out though, and I grew more and more distant to him and his music over the years.  Still, I was shocked and saddened to hear of his passing.

How cool is it being featured on MTV with the Headbanger’s Ball?

Amazing!   Been a fan of the show for a long time, so it was cool to do something I’ve seen some of my favorite bands do over the years.

Do you guys have a favorite venue to play?

I don’t have a favorite venue, but I did really enjoy playing the Riviera in Chicago recently.  Up until that point, I’ve only seen shows there so getting a chance to stand on that stage in front of a sold-out house was amazing.

What is largest crowd that you have ever played for?

Probably somewhere around 3,000.

The smallest?

Probably ten people.  We happened to be touring Tennessee and Kentucky right around the same time they were getting show storms.  They never get snow, so one inch of snow and the town shuts down.

Who are some of your influences?

I’m a huge Deftones fan.  I grew up listening to mostly heavy music though, so I draw influences from rock and metal.  I’ve been listening to a lot of old Pantera records lately and Lamb of God.

Where do you see yourselves in five years?

Hopefully we’re on our forth or fifth record at that point and not driving around in a van to all these  shows.  I’d like to continue making music for as long as possible.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

If we can connect with people through our music then that’s all we need.  It’s what we’ve wanted to do our whole life.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

Stop.  (Laughs)