Billy Howerdel works from intuition, a modus operandi which has defined his career, guiding the move from his days in theatrical lighting around New York and New Jersey to his work as a guitar technician. Billy worked with a number of high profile rock bands, ultimately leading to his creative breakthrough as the songwriter/guitarist/producer for alt-rock giants, A Perfect Circle.
Going a step further, Billy's uses his intuition to guide his own music. He does so without the aid of formal musical training. In fact, in a recent interview about his new project "ASHES dIVIDE, Billy stated, "To this day, I still don't remember certain notes on the guitar neck." He started playing guitar in high school, and picked up the technical aspects quickly, roughly in six months. He recalls getting to the point that he didn't want to learn much more. That was the moment when he realized, "I had to stop thinking about patterns and scales, and work from emotion". He states, "The best way I can describe it is that it was like opening your eyes and then blurring them out of focus, that's how I approach music."
The intuitive, unpredictable and yet immediately identifiable sound of Howerdel's guitar work is at play in ASHES dIVIDE. This is his project - he's the primary songwriter, musician, producer, and vocalist. It's an album featuring a wide range of styles, moods, and thoughts, with echoes of early 80's modern rock/Dark Wave mixed with shimmering guitars and heavy rock overtones. It's both anthemic and subtle, an album that fans of The Cure to A Perfect Circle will certainly appreciate.
ASHES dIVIDE continues Howerdel's growth as an artist in his own right. "It was important for Billy to go and do his own thing and really explore his own sound and let people hear what he has to say and how he would do it on his own," said Keenan earlier this year in an interview. Listening to ASHES dIVIDE, that point is more than driven home. Howerdel recorded all the music in his home studio, and he laughs, recalling how he would hit the "record" button from his control room, and run to the microphone in the vocal booth.
This spring, Howerdel plans to bring ASHES dIVIDE out on the road (line-up TBD), where he can bring the songs into a new context, and where he himself can re-discover their meaning. "I don't want these to be verbatim copies from the record," he says. "I want to find out where these songs are going. It's funny, for this project, I was everything from the writer to the janitor, and whatever comes in-between. It's a weird concept, for a control freak like me, to finally be able to let these songs go and let them live."