An amalgamation of influences and various explorations of the Deep South, Henry Derek Elis origins are about as strange as his career in the music business. Henry grew up next to Central State Hospital, once known as the largest psychiatric facility in the world, the town being one of many surrounding areas nearly destroyed & badly burned by General Sherman during the Civil War: the kind of small town with a haunted past that can swallow you up whole if you let it.
Henry came to prominence upon moving to Atlanta, playing in mostly rock & heavy metal bands before joining The Sweet Meat Love & Holy Cult : A folk collective with legendary artist Jarboe (formerly of the influential noise rock band Swans) This prompted him to start creating acoustic based folk music under the moniker : To The Boy Elis, a reference from the Austrian born poet Georg Trakl.
Henry would eventually move to Los Angeles and would form projects with various bands, including members of Gorgoroth, Type O Negative & Anthrax. Most of the projects would fall apart after a few demos and ultimately, he would find himself joining the band, Scar The Martyr with drummer Joey Jordison of Slipknot fame. After releasing one album on Roadrunner Records, Henry went on to help form the extreme thrash metal band, Act Of Defiance featuring former members of Megadeth & Shadows Fall. After shouting and growling for over twenty years, Henry Derek Elis has decided to reconnect with his Southern heritage. His debut solo album, The Devil is My Friend, is a refreshingly grim take on roots music, chock full of dobros, mandolins, and pedal steel. It is also considerably more disturbing than the ground he’s covered with Act of Defiance. The Devil is My Friend is available as CD, LP, and download at his website.
Henry chatted with on old friend, the restless Gonzalo Pozo, senior staffer at the Sonic Perspectives Texas bureau, and he explained many details about the inception and recording process of the album. As usual check out their conversation in the video below, or subscribe to our Podcast in several platforms to listen and be notified about new interviews and contents we publish on daily basis.