Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle – Interview

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2022-06-14

Billy Howerdel – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

A Perfect Circle’s Billy Howerdel joins Anne Erickson to discuss her new solo album, ‘What Normal Was’, in this lengthy interview

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

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

“There are several different reasons, but it starts to make more sense the more I start talking about it,” Howerdel told Audio Ink Radio. “I feel like it’s a bit more personal, although I don’t know how much more personal Ashes could have been. But, it feels a bit more vulnerable and personal and no additional character is applied. No intent applied. Just, what was my musical DNA, and where did it come 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 anything can go,” he added. “I don’t need to look like anyone other than me.”

As for what’s new on A Perfect Circle, while Howerdel says the band aren’t “officially” working on new music right now, they’re getting a head start on the creative process.

“I always have it on my mind, and if there’s anything that looks like it could go there, it kind of goes on this file,” Howerdel said. “I’m pretty happy with what awaits me for the future there. But everything can also change. Once I give it to Maynard (James Keenan, vocalist) and he digests it, he’ll get his point, and we’ll see where he goes from there. But, I think in terms of the foundation, it could very well be a reaction to this record. I think it’s kind of their way. Kinda hyper-focused on a set of sounds and approaches, and I’m just not here to explore that, because I’m so excited about this record and this tour, but I know that once this cycle of tour done, I’m pre-excited to dig into that side of me… but I think we’re a little off from that.

So what’s it like working with Maynard, one of the most mysterious singers in all of rock? This is a question that intrigues Howerdel.

“It’s always too hard for me to answer,” Howerdel said. “How does it feel to be raised by your mother?” I do not know. It’s like that. Because it’s the only partnership I’ve had in music like that. Otherwise, I’m kind of – even though Danny Lohner is sort 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 pitch an idea, musically, he’ll respond to it, then I’ll respond and it just evolves. If you go somewhere and have a conversation with your aunt, it might be tighter and more thoughtful than with your friends that you loosen up with at the bar. So our relationship is built on 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 the brought up, oh, yeah, you can make music too. And I think that’s probably how a lot of bands work.

A Perfect Circle’s last album didn’t really feature any outright hard rock numbers, but Howerdel says this time might be different. “I don’t know. We’ll see,” he said. “There are things in the incubator that are definitely I have. But, again, what will the conversation be when we get together? That, I don’t know, and that’s also what’s exciting. I don’t have one, it has to be. I’m not saying we have to do this kind of record next.

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

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