Chris Loomis

INTERVIEW: J. Costa of Thy Will Be Done

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thy-will-be-doneSoCalMusicToday.com caught up with Thy Will Be Done vocalist  J. Costa prior to the bands performance at The Observatory on Sunday December 15 with DevilDriver and Trivium. Costa discussed the bands new EP Temple, Touring Japan, Being handpicked by Metallica for the Orion Festival and starting his own record label. A live show review and photo gallery can be viewed here.

For those that are not familiar with Thy Will Be Done and your style of music can you give us a brief description of that and a little background on Thy Will Be Done.

The origins of the band started with an earlier band I had named Kobalt back in the mid-nineties. Then in the mid 2000’s we grabbed the attention of Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed and started doing some stuff with him. Hatebreed had put us on one of their anniversary shows and things just really blossomed from there.

Thy Will Be Done released its first record Was And Is To Come in 2007 then our second record In Ancient of Days in 2009 and then our newest EP Temple came out last year in 2012. Hopefully that is a quick brief background of Thy Will Be Done.

Today is the last day of the current tour with Devildriver and Trivium. How did the tour go? How do you spend your last day on the tour?

It’s bittersweet you know, when you spend so long on the road you miss sleeping in your own bed, you miss this and you miss that you know – there’s those things but when you are playing the shows and doing what you love you don’t really think about it. This is our third tour with Devildriver so they are good friends and its nice hanging out with them. The last day is pretty much the same except today there is a lot of local bands going on before us . . . it’s just another day at the rock show really.

You also toured Japan earlier this year. Was that your first time over there and what was that experience like?

That was actually our third time in Japan. We did a two week headline tour – it was absolutely great. We did our newest EP Temple in its entirety. It was a good time, we love Japan. It’s one of our favorite places to tour for sure; the people, the culture, the food and the shows are always just amazing.

Also this year you played the New England Hardcore and Metal Festival in April. That is like the premier festival in the US for extreme music. How was that experience . . .  sharing the stage with so many other great bands?

It’s just awesome. You are right New England Hardcore and Metal Festival is one of the best festivals in the country. With us being from the east coast and it’s on the east coast we know all the promoters and everybody else it’s just a good time. Even if we are not playing we are there hanging out and watching all the bands. We have done that festival maybe five or six times . . . just a great festival. Anybody who has never been out for it should experience it – it’s worth the trip.

One last touring question . . . Thy Will Be Done was handpicked by Metallica to play their inaugural Orion Music Festival. That must have been quite an awesome feeling to be recognized by the mighty Metallica. Can you elaborate on how that all went down?

It was and is pretty surreal . . . that is the one word I use to sum it up surreal. I was excited when I heard about it as if there is any heavy metal band out there that can do their own festival it’s Metallica. So it was about six weeks after the announcement and I get this e-mail and I like totally thought it was a joke. It was from the production company for the festival and they were like is Thy Will Be Done available to play the Orion Music Festival as curated by Metallica and I’m like what . . . .I researched the e-mail just to make sure it was not a joke. When I realized it was for real I ran around my house for like five minutes screaming and I wrote back YES Thy Will Be Done is available.

So for like two weeks I did not tell anyone – not the band, not anyone and when we got the official offer I called all the guys and told them. I found out the official story was that James Hetfield listens to Sirius XM’s Liquid Metal and we were being played a lot at the time thanks to Jose Mangin. Hetfield contacted Jose and asked for a list of all the bands they were playing and Hetfield went through this long list and picked three bands and we were one of the three. So we were a handpicked band by James Hetfield to play their festival.

It is a very rewarding feeling to be in a part of Metallica’s history.

What was the mindset of releasing Temple as an EP vs a full length record. Actually I am not even sure what the difference is anymore these days?

The EP was just a snapshot of that the band was doing at that time. We actually had a lot of material but there was a group of songs that just sounded different and had a different feeling to them. I had actually just gone through a really pivotal point in my life – coming out of a relationship that ended poorly, I was really depressed, I had a lot on my mind . . . I had some family members pass and some friends diagnosed with disease. So I was in a really bad place and this group of songs just became as a result of that.

So the mindset was to release this batch of material as an EP because the songs had a different feel before we go ahead and release the full length.

What is the meaning of the album’s title Temple and how did the idea for that come about?

I do a lot of reading and a lot of research; I have a lot of interests – some of it esoteric. There is a lot of allegory in the lyrics and imagery on the EP. I encourage people to just check it out . . . like I said a lot of allegory there.

How do you go about choosing your live set list? Is it band collaboration, do you pick songs out of a hat, what is your process?

Most of the time it’s a collaborative effort. There are songs that are expected that you just have to do. This is the first tour where we are not doing ‘Earth’s Final Embrace’ from our first album and sure enough every night people are like “how come you didn’t play that song” . . . we just wanted to give that song a break and play some other stuff.

We don’t actually do a written set list we just do them in our head based on how much time we have to play or I will just call out the song as we are going – that gives us the flexibility to change up the set if need be.

Tell me about your decision to start your own record label Eye.On Lion Recordings and release Temple on the label. I have read that Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed inspired you to do this.

Jamey Jasta is one of many of my inspirations . . . he is a workhorse! He has such an incredible work ethic. At the time we were done with the EP Jamey had lost the distribution from his label and he said he didn’t want to hold us up – he suggested we go find another deal all in an effort to not hold up the EP release.

So we talked to some other labels who were waiting for us to become free-agents so we had some conversations with others and it just came down to me wondering in my mind and my heart “Why can’t we just do this ourselves” – this would let us be in control of everything and we dictate what we do and when we do it. It feels good to have our own label and to watch it grow.

Do you have any other artists signed to the label or do you plan to sign new artists?

Right now the label will serve as a conduit for projects that any member of Thy Will Be Done gets involved in. Maybe sometime down the road . . . there are a lot of other bands I am friends with and would love to work with on different levels. Sometimes there is things about other bands that just resonate and you want to help them out. There is a band in Japan we are good friends with – I just want to help out where I can. But who knows how it will all unfold.

What bands are some of the bands in your ipod that you are listening to currently?

I listen to a lot of Black Crowes (love that band), Johnny Cash a lot of Black Sabbath. We take turns in the van. We play whatever the mood calls for . . . we love W.A.S.P. and of course Pantera. We have Sirius XM so that is on a lot and we listen to Liquid Metal or Ozzy’s Boneyard.

What has been your favorite band to tour with to date and why?

Devildriver Definitely!!! Dez is one of my best friends – I love that dude as he is like a brother. He is responsible for us being on this tour. And the rest of Devildriver are great people, the crew – they all take care of us. It’s definitely a good time.

What bands are on your bucket list to tour with?

Well Black Sabbath for sure. I would love to tour with Metallica. I would love to tour with Machine Head, we’ve done a few shows with Machine Head thanks to Mr. Robb Flynn who is a fan of ours (which is awesome and surreal). Testament would be another one . . . . I could go on and on.

J it was great talking to you. Thanks for your time and all the best for tonight’s show and everything in 2014!

Thank You Chris it was definitely a pleasure talking with you. Thanks for the support.

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