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Interview conducted August 3 2019
Interview published August 14 2019

"Cemetery Junction had great reviews and it's done quite well, but it's never gonna be Night Of The Demon or The Plague."

British NWOBHM legends Demon were playing at the Swedish festival Skogsröjet and Metal Covenant took this opportunity to talk to the group's co-founder and vocalist Dave Hill.

Tobbe: It's been 3 years since Cemetery Junction was out and will we see another Demon record out any time soon?

Dave: Well, actually there's gonna be a soundtrack to an online game that's coming out. And there's a new track on that. The actual soundtrack is called The Devil Rides Out. It's, like, tracks from the first two albums [Night Of The Demon, 1981 and The Unexpected Guest, 1982], so there's, I think, 7-9 tracks. It will be coming out in September/October.

Tobbe: If you were writing new songs, is it much harder today to get creative than it was back in the day?

Dave: I don't think it's more difficult to be creative. We've been going for nearly 40 years and I think what happens with people is that they put you in a particular period. Cemetery Junction had great reviews and it's done quite well, but it's never gonna be Night Of The Demon or The Plague [1983]. So, basically, as good as the albums are you are categorized as a particular period in time. Which is not a problem; it's something you do. But creative? Yeah, I think we're still creative.

Tobbe: Could there ever be some kind of experimental album coming out from Demon again?

Dave: Yeah. I mean, never say never. We have got quite a lot of material that we've been working on. Quite a few ideas. 'Cause obviously the last 12 months we've been featuring on stage the first two albums mainly, because people have asked us to do it. But we have accumulated quite a lot of material. Like I say, The Devil Rides Out, which is a new track, and there's several other tracks as well, so we will be recording them. As to where they end up I don't really know. But yeah, there's lots in the pipeline.

Tobbe: Some bands, very few though, have started to release singles instead of full albums and what's your take on doing so?

Dave: I think the business has changed. Obviously the world has changed. I mean, CDs have gone. Everyone puts something out on vinyl. We're gonna do a video the week after next for the The Devil Rides Out track. Yeah, I think it's different. We're having to listen to what's happening out there. Lots of people put two tracks out, or they put one track out, and they do a video for YouTube.

So yeah, we're open to… You know, we don't wanna be something of the past and say we're gonna do a new album. We have enough tracks for an album. So, we're making a video in two weeks' time and then maybe we put some more tracks out. But I think that you're right in what you're saying. I mean, the LPs, as we know, or albums… It's changed, it's different ways of advertising, different ways of putting things out.

Tobbe: Most rock bands, hard rock bands and heavy metal bands have often taken pride in doing full albums instead of depending on one single song at a time.

Dave: Yeah. I mean, I'm old school. I was brought up with Pink Floyd and Deep Purple, so to me the moment of having the album with a gatefold sleeve is really part of my youth. I found the new way. You know, you can go and download a Demon album, but I tend to think you miss half the fascination of walking in the record shop, or seeing it in the window on the Friday or Saturday.

But the point is I would like to make albums again. I don't think vinyl's gonna take over the world, but it's certainly made a comeback. The soundtrack that's coming out, The Devil Rides Out, is gonna be on picture disc; it's gonna be on blue vinyl. I'm, as much as anyone, looking forward to having it in my hand.

Tobbe: Like you mentioned, you've been out for the last year and playing certain stuff. At Sweden Rock you played almost the full album The Unexpected Guest and you're playing the Taking The World By Storm album [1989] in Hamburg in a couple of months.

Dave: Yeah, the promoter, Oliver, in Hamburg is a friend of ours and he said "Would you play Taking The World By Storm?" and I said "Well, we'll play most of the tracks.". It's only 7 tracks on it. So we are being rehearsing the album. Yeah, that's nice, because he said that people wanted to hear it in Hamburg, or wherever, and a lot of people came to us at Sweden Rock and said "You're gonna be playing this album. We're gonna come.".

So it's nice, 'cause you don't always think that anyone would be interested in doing that with, you know, a particular product. And there's a lot of interest and I think the presales are quite good. Yeah, we look forward to it. It's part of our history, it's something we did and it's a moment in time.

Tobbe: No amounts needed, but can you raise your fee a little bit when you're playing entire albums live?

Dave: I don't think it was particularly about the fee. I mean, he didn't suddenly say "I'm gonna give you a million pounds.". He'd heard us before and he heard us doing 4 tracks of the 7. The album, I think, is only about 45 minutes long [It's 51.], so we're gonna have to play Don't Break The Circle, Night Of The Demon, blah blah blah, as well. So it's not a big issue to do it. And it wasn't about money; it was just the fact that it would be nice to play. I asked the band and the band said "Let's play that album!".

Tobbe: Last time you and I talked was in 2016 and I kind of asked you back then if you see the end of your career one day, which you didn't at that point. So in what way do you look at, should I say, retirement today?

Dave: I mean, you can't go on forever. I was just talking to Bob Catley in the hotel. We didn't touch on that [Laughs], but I mean, how many times are we gonna meet in a hotel or play on the same gig? I mean, it'll have to end one day. I try and keep fit. I go cycling. I'm reasonably okay. But as long as I can sing and hear I just look at it one year at a time. You can't say 5 years' time. You know, it's not possible.

You know, the old-timers, like we are, got to look at this particular year and say "Well, let's see how that one goes.". 'Cause it's great to play and it's good to feel good while you're up there, but I think if it came down to I couldn't sing or not able to do what I've always been able to do, then I'll just have to say "Look. I don't wanna be out there and making a fool of myself.". You know, going through the motions or miming to some music. That's not rock 'n' roll. But at the moment I'm feeling quite good.

Tobbe: It's a different profession, where you actually can go on for a long time, while regular people kind of stay at home after their retirement.

Dave: Yeah, of course you do. Yeah, they've finished work, they're retired. I mean, I do pot around in the garden and do all those sorts of things. I mean, I'm somehow retired in that respect, but the rock 'n' roll thing is with me every day. You know, when you talk about songs, I probably don't go more than a week without putting some ideas down. It keeps you going. It's difficult, when you've done it for 40 years in a band, to say, you know, "Outside the window.". As long as you can perform, as long as you can still write some music…

Tobbe: Like you said, you've been doing this for 40 years and it was 38 years since Night Of The Demon was out, and did time just go by?

Dave: I often say: The late Mal Spooner and myself wrote Night Of The Demon in the back of a shop in between playing clubs and pubs and whatever, and to be quite honest, at that time, if I would have thought a year later or two years later that anyone would remember the album or the tracks, it would have been a bonus. But here we are, 38 years later. I was saying to someone the other day: All the albums and all Demon I did, I've been married 45 years, so it's all a part of my children and my grandchildren.

When you get to be my age [Dave is 72] and people ask you, you know, about something that was 40 odd years ago, then you think "Yeah, it was ago.". But at the time it was growing up, it was just part of our life, it's part of my children being born, part of being married, part of rock 'n' roll, so you never stopped. You finished that album, you moved on to the next one and you lived your life.

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