Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle – Interview


Billy Howerdel

Billy Howerdel – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle joins Anne Erickson to discuss his new solo album, “What Normal Was,” in this extensive interview

Billy Howerdel, known for his work as songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in A Perfect Circle, recently released his debut solo album, “What Normal Was.” In addition, Howerdel is on tour this summer in support of the album, spending five weeks across North America.

While this is Howerdel’s first release under his name, he has released solo music for years under the moniker Ashes Divide. So, why the change?

“There are a few different reasons, but it’s starting to make more sense as I’m starting to talk about it,” Howerdel told Audio Ink Radio. “I do feel like it’s a little bit more personal, even though I don’t know how much more personal Ashes could have been. But, it does feel a little bit more vulnerable and personal and no extra character applied. No intention applied. Just, what was my musical DNA, and where it came from, and trying to tap into that, so using my name was the way to go.”

“One of the beauties of using my name for this is that everything can go,” he added. “I don’t need to sound like anyone but me.”

As for what’s new with A Perfect Circle, while Howerdel says the band is “not officially” working on new music right now, he’s getting a head start on the creative process.

“I’ve always got it in the back in my mind, and if there’s something that sounds like it could go there, it kind of goes into that folder,” Howerdel said. “I feel pretty good about what’s in store for the future there. But, it all can change, too. Once I give it to Maynard (James Keenan, vocalist) and then he digests it, he’ll have his take, and we’ll see where it goes from there. But, I think that as far as the foundation goes, it might quite well be a reaction to this record. I think that’s kind of the way they go. Kind of hyper-focused on a set of sounds and approaches, and I’m just not there to go and explore that, because I’m so excited about this record and touring on this, but I know that once this tour cycle is over, I’m pre-excited to get into digging into that side of me…but I think we’re a little ways off from that.”

So, what’s it like working with Maynard, one of the most mysterious frontmen in all of rock? It’s a question that stumps Howerdel.

“That’s always too hard for me to answer,” Howerdel said. “What’s it like being raised by your mother? I don’t know. It is what it is. Because it’s the only partnership I’ve had in music in that kind of way. Otherwise, I’m kind of — even though Danny Lohner is kind of my partner in this, it’s still not the same dynamic as with Maynard. It’s a conversation. It’s a musical conversation. You start an idea, musically he’ll answer it, and then I’ll answer back and it’s just evolving. If you’re going somewhere and you’re having a conversation with your aunt, it might be more tight and over thought out than it is with your friends that you’re shooting the s*** loose with at the bar. So, our relationship is built upon a mutual understanding of humor in the beginning when we met, some bands that we surprised each other that we both knew and liked, and I think we took that relationship and made it come forward into, oh, yeah, you can pull off the music thing, too. And I think that’s probably how a lot of bands function.”

A Perfect Circle’s last album didn’t really feature any straight-out hard rock numbers, but Howerdel says this time could be different. “I don’t know. We’ll see,” he said. “There’s things in the incubator that certainly are that I’ve got. But, again, what’s the conversation going to be when we get together? That I don’t know, and that’s the exciting thing, too. I don’t have, it has to be. I’m not setting out that we have to make this kind of record next.”

Listen to the full Audio Ink Radio interview with Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle in the player near the top of the story. You can also stream the interview via the podcast on Apple Podcasts here and Spotify here.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Features, Interviews, Music, Rock

Related Posts