Interview with David Scotney, vocalist for Janus By: Matty

March 13, 2012 by: admin
Interview with David Scotney, vocalist for Janus
Conducted on Friday, March 9th, 2012
Monday, March 12th, 2012 “like” the page
By: Matty
Recently, I had the pleasure to conduct an interview with lead vocalist David Scotney of Chicago-based band Janus.  Truthfully, I’ve only become very recently acquainted with their music.  My readers, I am a sucker for ambiance and keyboards in a rock-band.  I believe that those elements in music allow the listener to become further engaged in their senses and the ambiance and keyboards make the music sound more full and even more crisp.  I really enjoyed the interview with David.  I am still relatively new to the writing and music scene, and David with his down-to-earth personality that he brought to the interview, helped me feel more comfortable and gain some confidence as an interviewer.  Janus is comprised of David Scotney on vocals, MIke Tyranski on guitars and programming, Alan Quitman on bass, and Johnny Salazar.  They have a new album out entitled “Nox Aeris”, which is being released on March 27th everywhere you can purchase music, physically or digitally.  Please request their latest single entitled “Stains” at your favorite local rock radio station.  Without further delay, I give you my interview with David Scotney of Janus.
Matty:  Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me regarding your band.  You guys have some big things coming up.
David:  Thanks for having me.
Matty:  I see that you guys have been out on the road with Chevelle and Middle Class Rut.  How has that tour been going?
David:  It’s been going great.  Most of the shows have been selling out.  The crowds have been super intense at just about every show, especially the new stuff that nobody has heard yet, which is amazing.
Matty:  Awesome.  How has the crowd responded to the new material?
David:  Great, like I said, they’ve been pretty intense at just about every show.
Matty:  I owe you an apology, you’re stuck with talking to me instead of the lovely Shauna O’Donnell.  I apologize to you in advance for that. (laughs)
David:  You all sound the same over the phone.  (laughs)
Matty:  You guys have a new record out, I apologize if I butcher the pronunciation of it, Nox Aeris.
David:  That’s exactly how you pronounce it.  (laughs)
Matty:  Nice!  Can you tell us about the album, the writing process of the album, and what, “Nox Aeris” means, and what motivates the band Janus in the songwriting process?
David:  Sure.  The writing process was pretty intense, it was done pretty quickly through this record, quicker than any record that we’ve done.  I think that ended up being a good thing for us, because it forced us to work hard and to get things done, and I think working under pressure really helped to find and hone a cohesive sound.  “Nox Aeris” itself means it’s Latin for “night air”, and when we were digging through ideas, on what could work for the whole record conceptually.  I kind of stumbled through this plague doctor image, and we thought it was a cool mask, and we did research on the plague and the doctors, particularly around “the black death”, which essentially wiped out a third of Europe, and this man-made hysteria kind of evolved around this myth that rats can actually give you the plague.  It’s a pretty dark metaphor that sets the tone and the vibe of the record.  There’s a lot of songs from this record that are kind of haunting and darker point of view.
Matty:  Is it the personal life experiences that causes the darker point of view, is that how your songwriting tends to go?
David:  I think that these songs are a result of where we were creatively after a hard, rough, and positive year and a half of life on the road.  Some of our lives were flipped upside down.  As much as it was a dream come, it was also a challenge, so I think a lot of that channels itself into the sound of the record as well as the tone behind a lot of the lyrics.  Another thing that I think fuels some of the undertones message-wise on the record was not only some of the struggles that we had on the road, but some of the struggles that we went through in the recording process, actually trying to produce a record on a deadline, that’s something that we have never done in the past, having writer’s block here and there throughout the process, and it came out in some of the songs.
Matty:  They say that you have a lifetime to create your first record and approximately six months to create the second record.  Is that pretty much true?
David:  Yep! (laughs) But I think in the end, we embraced the challenge, and I think that we have such high standards and we didn’t let them slip even though we really wanted to make the best record that we could and a new record, something different from the last record.
Matty:  I’ve been listening to the new single entitled “Stains” and I must tell you that I really dig the ambiance and the keyboarding in the song.  I’m a sucker for keyboards first of all.  The single “Stains” is currently out on the radio, what’s that song talking about and give me one reason why people should request it on the radio.
David:  The song is that some of the lyrics I like to keep it vague, and keep it broad and open enough to where people can draw their own interpretation.  For me, that song as a whole is just about being true to yourself, at this particular moment in time, it was about being true to yourself in the writing process on the record, dealing with the pressure of ensuring that you keep your moral compass and it pointed in the right direction.  And as far as why fans should listen to it, for fans of Janus, I feel that the usual suspects are in place. It’s heavy and it’s got a lot of interesting textures and new ideas, and I scream my face off, and it’s a lot of the stuff that makes us Janus.
Matty:  I definitely notice that in the chorus, and it sounds really cool.  One thing that I was intrigued about was that you guys self-produced the record as opposed to hiring a producer to produce the latest record.  So why that route instead of hiring a producer?
David:  You know we had talked to a couple of producers and it didn’t feel right.  We had done so much of our self-producing on our own and we kind of had a vision of what we wanted to do, and it almost seemed like that it was going to slow us down, and it costs a lot of money and we wouldn’t be happy with the results.  Our goal was to get this done as quickly as possible, also be as true of what we wanted to do as possible.  With that said, I did work with a vocal producer on some of the vocal melodies on the record, who is a dear family friend who I’ve known for years and years and years.  He was probably the only one that I trusted to work with on a personal level when it comes to vocal melodies and harmonies and whatnot, so he and I did a lot of solo work on songs.  And then, also for a lot of the stages of mixing with a producer named Chris Granger out of Nashville, and I would say he’s responsible for pulling the sound of the new record together, and he and I worked together to fine tune all of the little nuts and bolts, and sitting down right before we went to mastering.
Matty:  So essentially, he helped change the dynamics of the music in that way?
David:  Yeah, he made the mix sound ten times bigger.  He went up to Chicago for a couple of days and he and I hid in the basement, and pounded out on these mixes until we got them to sound killer, and then he took off and we finished up on the tweaks via email and printed it.
Matty:  That’s awesome.  I always like hearing about the producing and the writing process.  Going back to the touring, what has been your favorite Chevelle moment and your favorite Middle Class Rut moment, and what has been your personal highlight on this tour that you guys are currently embarking on?
David:  I would say that we had a really killer show in Fort Wayne and we had a pretty decent fanbase of our own in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  That was the second show of the tour, just a really killer vibe and Irving Plaza in New York City, logistically we’ve really struggled in New York in terms of finding a place to warm up in, and then you have all of this added pressure from all the industry people there watching the show, and of course you don’t want to let your label down on the business side.  We had a great show there and the label is happy.  And Middle Class Rut, those guys are really good dudes and they put on a great show every night.  I would say that the sound was particularly good at the NorVa in Norfolk, Virginia, and I got to actually see most of their set, and it sounded like the record, it sounded great.
Matty:  Random question I had for you.  What’s on the I-Pod that no one wants to know about?
David:  I have an assortment of meditation and visualization type of CDs, they walk you through all sorts of meditative exercises and relaxation exercises.  They’re a really cool way for me to kind of take a break in midst of the chaos and craziness of the tour, and helped get centered and stay focused, and clear-headed.  That’s something that nobody knows is on my I-Pod.
Matty:  For mine, mine is “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga.  That is such a guilty pleasure song for me.
David: Nice!
Matty:  What is Janus’ tour plans after being on the road with Chevelle and Middle Class Rut?
David:  We got a handful of headlining dates in the Midwest, and then we are going out with Cavo for about three weeks, not sure what’s going on after that.  I know that we have a handful of radio and festival dates coming up this summer.  Other than that, we don’t have any plans after the Cavo tour.
Matty:  Very cool.  If you all come to Iowa, look me up, I’d love to come see you guys.  All Iowa gets is Journey and cover bands it seems. (laughs)
David:  For sure! (laughs)
Matty:  I’m going to give you the floor.  Say what you want to say regarding the new record and your fans, and pretty much anything that comes to mind. (laughs)
David:  To our fans out there, check out the new single called “Stains”, it’s available on I-Tunes right now.  The album “Nox Aeris” drops March 27th, and then stay in touch on our Facebook page and at our website which is and  We’re going to be dropping in some videos of us in the studio.  Also all of the songs from the new record leading up to the release, also stay in touch and look out for tour dates, we’ll be filling up the calendar.
Matty:  Thank you so much David for taking the time to interview with me for MUEN Magazine, and hope you guys go platinum cause you guys deserve it.
David:  Thanks brother, you take care.
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