No member of Devil You Know is new to the bunk bed lifestyle of being in a touring band. Composed of nothing but seasoned metal veterans, Devil You Know are an engaging and diverse metal act that are quickly becoming more of a headliner than they are an easy support act. Full of energy, air guitar moments and choruses that’ll definitely having you singing in your shower, Devil You Know want to be your new favorite band. I caught up with guitarist Francesco Artusato and touring drummer Nick Augusto at the Louisville, KY date of their current tour with Hatebreed and DevilDriver for a nice chat about the band’s formative past, eventful present and promising future as well as the process of creating new music and the possibility of hearing Nick on a Devil You Know record in the future.
How you doin’, guys?
Francesco: Doing great!
Nick: Doing good!
Thanks, guys. So, first of all you’ve been around for three years at this point. You’ve done a headliner and several support slots in the U.S. could you ever have imagined you’d be up to even two records, maybe even on the cusp of your third?
F: Well, we didn’t even really fund anything – things just happened.
Fell into place?
F: Yeah. I dunno, it started with “hey, let’s do one record!” then “let’s do a second record!”. Now it’s like, “well, we toured, let’s do another one!”. So, I guess, it shows that we’re having fun, you know?
Right, right. And it seems like the process comes very naturally to you guys.
And there’s plenty of talk on the internet about how this is a “supergroup”. At this point, would you really even consider (Devil You Know) a supergroup or would you consider it a mainstay kind of band?
F: I call it a “veteran’s group” because we’ve done it before and that’s part of the thing. It’s not really a “supergroup” or anything. At least, that’s how I see it. But people call it that and that’s fine. I mean, obviously it isn’t a side project for us. It’s the main thing.
Right. Well Nick, you just started touring with Devil You Know. Have you officially joined?
N: Well, I don’t know. I mean, just kinda taking it tour-by-tour (This is Nick’s second U.S. tour with the band). I’m here now. So, yeah.
Are you pretty ecstatic about the opportunity? You’re usually accustomed to drumming for extreme metal acts. This is, in a way, similar to a band like Trivium, combining melody and brutality. It’s got different types of sections, not just blazing fast the entire time. Does it come pretty naturally for you to drum for a band like that?
N: *laughs* Yeah! I mean, fuck, I’ve been doing it for so long. It just fits what I play, you know?
It fits your background and whatnot?
N: Yeah, yeah! I mean, there’s some extreme stuff and you know, there’s some groovy stuff from when I played with Trivium. Mix them together and that’s what comes out.
So do you have a preference when it comes to the type of band you drum for?
N: Preference? Well, I gotta like the music! *laughs*
Right, right. Do you prefer to do the more extreme metal/black metal/grindcore stuff or would you prefer to do a band like this with bigger crowds every night, more accessibility, etc?
N: A band like this.
More energy to feed off?
N: Yeah. It’s fun to play that grind shit, but you know, it doesn’t really get you that far or anything.
But there’s the notoriety and the building up of it, of getting to a point like this. I’m sure that’s very satisfying.
N: Yeah! I’ve been working hard for it, so yeah!
One of the more hard-working drummers in the scene I really do believe.
N: Thanks, man!
No problem buddy! So Francesco, you have been with this group from the beginning. You’ve been one of the core songwriters from the start. John Sankey (ex-drummer) was also in that position with you. Now that he has left the band are you going to take over songwriting duties yourself?
F: We’ll see, I guess, once we get to the point where we are going to work on new music. I think this time we’re probably going to try to sit all together and jam ideas. I dunno. It might start with me writing ideas and we’ll all combine thoughts and ideas. We’ll see.
Is that a little different than the process in the past? Did you guys used to jam before? Or did you write something down and then go for it and add things on as time went on?
F: Well, with John there was a lot of sending songs back and forth because he was spending a lot of time in Australia (where he lives). So he would send me ideas back, a lot of that. So this time, I’d like to actually do the whole thing in a workspace, actually work on it. But we’ll see.
Interesting. So you’re a very dynamic band. You combine not only crushing brutality with grooves, but you also have plenty of melody in the choruses. There’s sections in the songs that differ, different progressions. Where do you see your sound going from here? ‘They Bleed Red’ was an expansion of the previous sound on (debut record) ‘The Beauty of Destruction’. Do you see it continuing to progress or do you think you’ve hit your stride and want to maintain what you’ve established?
F: It’s hard to say. At the moment, the things I’ve been writing are simpler kind of grooves. I almost want to say they’re heavier, but obviously, nothing that we have right now has got vocals. That would change a lot of it and again, these are just rough ideas. We’ll see.
Of course. So Howard has been the vocalist from the start, but it wasn’t ever clear before you guys were a band, before you were called Devil You Know, that he was going to be the vocalist. If you would have not chosen Howard for this project, do you have anyone else who you would have chosen instead?
F: It wasn’t [clear]at the beginning when we had instrumental demos, but the first person we sent them to was Howard.
F: And again, we weren’t really trying to start a band. I was in All Shall Perish, staying busy on tour. In fact, at that time, it was kinda difficult to find time to write. And then John was also doing other things. So for us, it was kind of like “eh, for fun, whatever”. And then the first time we sent emails was Howard and right away he was like “oh, I like it!”. I was like “okay, cool!”. *laughs* And we didn’t have to ask anyone else. He was our first choice, you know?
Yeah, of course.
F: And we knew that he wasn’t busy with other music at that time.
That worked out really well then. Nick, you’re known for coming in to bands and having extremely tough acts to follow up – Travis Smith from Trivium and then you have John Sankey here who plays extremely fast too. What do you want to add to Devil You Know’s sound? Do you think it’s good as-is and you already have some ideas?
N: Well, I mean, I haven’t written with them yet. So I’m just playing [John’s] old parts. But we work well onstage already and if we did write together, I see it flowing and working out pretty well. I’ll just expand on the sound they already had and do my thing, add my style to it.
That’s perfect. That’s all you have to do as a drummer or a musician in general.
N: For sure!
So finally, I just want to say that this group has plenty of hype around it, having Howard Jones from Killswitch Engage in it of course, then you (Francesco Artusato) from All Shall Perish, Nick Augusto from Trivium and Ryan from Bleeding Through. Some of those bands aren’t even going anymore. They’re just really well-known legacy acts at this point. Where do you see Devil You Know going from here?
F: I dunno. I mean, more records and more tours, definitely!
That’s good news!
F: And keep growing and keep getting new fans, and hopefully they’ll dig it.
Yeah, definitely. I hope so too. Nick, I really hope to hear you on a Devil You Know record potentially. That’d be sick.
N: Yeah, for sure!
Thank you both so much for your time.
F: Awesome, thank you!
N: Thank you, man!
Catch Devil You Know this Fall on the Concrete Confessional tour with Hatebreed and DevilDriver in a city near you. “They Bleed Red” is out now on Nuclear Blast Recordings.