Saturday, August 6, 2011

Interview with Matt Drake of EVILE!

Hey all you Evile fans! Evile has their 3rd album, Five Serpent's Teeth scheduled for release later this year in September so I figured it was necessary for me to get in touch with Evile's frontman, and he was nice enough to let me talk with him. Here's what went down!

SFM -  I figured the best start for this would be to talk about the new album. Are there any overall themes to this album? Would you say this album more closely resembles Enter the Grave or Infected Nations? How is it different?

Matt - I would say it resembles both and neither, it feels like a mixture of the
best things of both albums yet something entirely new. We are definitely
most proud of this new one, we feel like we've done justice to the song
writing for a change and not just smashed a few riffs together, shouted over
them and seen what happens. Although we have done that a bit haha. It has
everything we love about classic heavy metal- riffs, singing, solos, songs,
and a soul. It has a great energy to it which we were looking for from the
very start of the process. This album felt so natural to write and record it
just sums up best what Evile can do.

SFM - That sounds fantastic and I can't wait to hear it. Do you have any plans to tour for this new record? Possibly a headlining tour?

Matt - We start a UK headline tour at the end of September which takes us
through to the end of October. I think that's it for this year though,
there's just too many bigger bands out on tour or touring together that we
just couldn't compete so we are going to wait until next year to start
covering more of the world with touring this album. But we can't wait to do
so because every song on this album needs to be played live, we are insanely
proud and happy with these songs that we're itching to get out and play them
for whoever is willing to listen.

SFM - I hope you guys come back to LA! Who are your biggest influences when it comes to writing for Evile? How does the band as a whole go about writing material? Does one person write a whole song and the band learns it, or do you all collaborate for the songs?

Matt - I think with this new one we've been influenced by a lot of Classic Rock,
Queen influence me a lot with the bits I write. You can hear our influences
in the music but we don't necessarily sound like our influences, people get
that wrong sometimes, you don't have to sound like your influences. Vocally
I was inspired to sing more by freddie mercury, people like that make me
want to learn how to use my voice more effectively so this is what's
happened, it just came so naturally. We don't really have a set method for
writing, anyone can throw anything into the mix and if its good it gets used
and elaborated on and if its shit it gets thrown out. Mostly though Ol will
start with a few riffs and I will "produce" for him and suggest things or
add things or tell him its rubbish haha, then we argue for a while and
someone gives in and the song foundation is done. I will then write vocal
ideas to what's written and find the best way to fit in what needs fitting
in vocal wise. Then the same applies, they tell me if its good or shite, if
its shite I re-do it until it works. But then in some cases one of us might
bring in a complete song, for example I've written a complete song for each
album, which for this new album is the closing track, I'm like the heavy
metal Ringo.

SFM - What kind of gear do you use? Is there any difference between your live and studio setup?

Matt - No different at all for me, I use a Jackson Double Rhoads custom shop
guitar, through an EVH 5150III head and cab with no effects just an ISP
decimator noise gate. What you hear on the album is what we use live,
although with the appropriate delays and reverbs and double trackings on the
album haha. Ol has such a bewildering array of pedals and switches I have no
idea how he makes them all work for solos. I can't be arsed with all that, I
like guitars straight through amps. Done.

SFM - Speaking of your gear, you recently lost some of it due to problems with an airline service. I know you were able to get some back but is there anything still missing? 

Matt - Haha yeah we did, we lost our guitars and Ben's cymbals. We've been flying
to festivals at least 15 times a year for the past 3 years and its the first
time its happened so it had to happen some time. Ol didn't take it too well
though, he got a bit stressed out by it. My guitar and Ben's cymbals arrived
at the airport the day after so we got those back ok, then Ol and Joel's
guitars turned up on joels doorstep the night after that, the night before
we were due to fly out for another festival so it was a happy ending. Worse
things have happened.

SFM - Well I'm glad to hear everything was returned safely after all. How have the fans received the new bassist Joel Graham?

Matt - Amazingly well, getting Joel in felt so natural, well, as natural as it
could be under the circumstances! I think that if anyone would have had a
problem with the person we chose to carry on the band with then they would
be a person worth not paying attention to, or in other words, a thoughtless
arse. We have really supportive fans behind us who were with us all the way
and they took to joel just like we have, he's one of us.

SFM - Who are some of your favorite newer metal bands?

Matt - I will be honest there aren't many, Mastodon stand out for me, Opeth
although I guess they aren't new really they've been going aaaages. I've
been spending my music absorbing time listening to old stuff like Creedence,
Free, Beatles, Wishbone Ash, Uriah Heap etc, I like singing in music more so
now than ever which is why I've been teaching myself to sing, modern metal
seems to lean towards someone growling over breakdowns or blast beats and
that's just not my thing really, I'm not saying that's all of it, some of it
is done amazingly well but most of it just doesn't excite me like the old
stuff does, that stuff will live forever. I sound old haha.

SFM - What would be your reaction if you were called up to open for the Big 4?

Matt - My first reaction would be a yes and a thanks and disappear several
bottles of red wine into my face. Then I would maybe listen to Among the
Living, then Peace Sells, then Seasons in the Abyss, then Master of Puppets and
realise yet again how bloody good those bands are and what an honour it
would be to see our name with theirs. I said in an interview when we first
got signed that my goal for Evile is to be spoken of among those bands we
look up to so much.

SFM - Well Matt, I'd like to thank you again for your time, do you have any words for your fans?

Matt - You bring me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it I thank
you all. Seriously though, as always a big thankyou for being part of this
thing called Evile, we have no idea where its heading so thanks for sticking
with us through ace times and shit times. Enjoy the new album, I can't put
into words how proud I am of it, its the best thing we've done so let's so
let's see where it takes us! Maybe the bargain bin? Haha cheers and heavy
metal salutes.

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