Ever since I started listening to Evile last year, I have been unable to say the word evil anymore. It has been replaced by the word evile for the indefinite future.
What started as a one on one with Ol ended up being a full band interview before their set at the San Francisco stop of Killfest. From the secret dressing room high above the Regency Ballroom stage, I discussed metal awards, videogames, sightseeing, and being an unbreakable new band with the boys from Huddersfield, who proved to be neither evil nor vile.
HardRockChick: First off, I think you guys have the most awesome band name out of all the new bands that I know. You hear some really shitty band names nowadays, and I really like yours.
Matt Drake (vocals): We don’t like sentences for band names. Or theories. Or days of the week.
HRC: I know, right…you can’t remember it! So being part of the new wave of thrash metal bands movement, how does it feel to be in San Francisco where it was born?
Ben Carter (drummer): It’s ridiculous. Ever since being in high school, listening to Metallica and Slayer and people like that, I’ve always wanted to come to San Francisco. I never thought I would, certainly not playing in a band.
MD and Joel Graham (bassist): Though Slayer is LA…
Ol Drake (lead guitar): You always hear about the Bay Area, and thrash metal to me is like (makes an excited sound).
MD: Obviously it’s changed over the years, it’s not the same now, but the history is amazing to me.
BC: It’s a spiritual kind of thing.
HRC: You’re nominated for a Metal Hammer Golden God Award for Best U.K. Band…how does that feel?
BC: Amazing and confusing. It’s a privileged to be involved in the same sentence as the other bands that are nominated for it. It’s quite strange.
MD: The other bands are ridiculously successful…and we aren’t.
JG: Judas Priest are in it. Like, who else is gonna win but Judas Priest?
MD: It’s good to be nominated, I’m just, I dunno, in disbelief I guess.
HRC: What do you think about awards like that and metal…do they fit together?
OD: I think it’s pretty pointless.
MD: It’s just an opinion, really, you can’t say ‘we’re better than anybody else’.
JG: It feels a bit embarrassing to me…to be honest. It just feels weird! You can’t be like, ‘Yeah! Great! We’ve been nominated!’….you just go ‘oh god..’
BC: It’s humbling in a way. Because, like you said, Judas Priest has been around for how many years?
BC: Yeah, at least 80. And then they come around and, like, we’re in the same bracket as those guys? And like Skindred as well, and Bullet For My Valentine as well.
MD: That’s why I kind of think it’s a joke.
HRC: You guys have been through a lot for a relatively new band- with the death of your bassist, and you (Ol) had a bad accident on tour….what gives you the drive and inspiration to keep going when a new band can be so breakable?
MD: It’s all we can do.
BC: I think you have to take the blinkers off and see things from outside the band’s perspective. Like, the fans would obviously want us to carry on, well, whatever fans we’ve got. People who’ve grown up with us know that this is all we know how to do. So, our friends and family, if we stopped being Evile, I think we’ve let them down, we’ve let ourselves down.
OD: We’d let Mike down as well.
BC: We’d let Mike down for sure. So, yeah, we’ve just gotta keep rolling on and see what happens. We just enjoy doing it.
MD: That’s it- it’s just the love of doing it. Just to be able to come to different cities and different countries is great. As far as inspiration goes…it’s just fun that somehow people enjoy what we do. It’s just good to have that.
OD: The inspiration is when you play to a crowd and they appreciate you and you appreciate them..it’s like an exchange of appreciativeness.
MD: Is that a word?
OD: It is now.
HRC: You guys are involved in the Rock Band Network…how is that going?
HRC: It’s very new….
OD: Yeah, it only started in March, but it’s just a very thorough process and it’s taking a long time, but it’s going to be worth it and very cool. A lot of people played the song ‘Thrasher’ before…we had all these downloads…and people kept saying ‘more tracks! more tracks!’ so that’s what we’re doing.
MD: Going through every song to rewrite it for Rock Band is really hard to do. It’s really cool to do it, just the fact that we’ve all grown up playing games. All we did was play computer games when we were kids….so to be on one is amazing…so good.
HRC: So are you guys good at Rock Band?
OD: I can do up to hard difficulty on the guitar, but not past that.
BC: I’m useless…condensing everything that I have in a drum kit into four pads and one kick pedal…it’s horrific.
OD: It’s not drums, it’s a game…it’s totally different
BC: And I’ve got the slowest reactions in the universe…I just can’t do it.
MD: I love it. Me and my girlfriend have our own band on there…I play drums and she plays bass. And we just play that. I have yet to get Beatles Rock Band, it’s on my wish list.
This is the part where I revealed what my real job is…which I think earned me some cool points with Evile.
HRC: You guys seem pretty involved in social networks and connecting with your fans- I saw Ol’s YouTube channel and Twitter in particular….what do you think about all of that and do you have any weird stories about things that have happened?
MD: There’s upsides and downsides.
OD: I think it’s really important to be in touch and be accessible. Because I know, when I was growing up, if Metallica had a Facebook, if the internet was around, I would be like ‘oh wow!’, because they would be talking to you…and that would be amazing. To see people react to you, just interacting with you, it’s just really cool.
MD: The downside of that is that people, not really take it for granted but kind of go too far sometimes and don’t stop hassling you. You’ll get 50 questions in one email: ‘what’s your favorite color?’, ‘what’s your favorite band?’, ‘I like this and it’s really good’, ‘what color guitar would you prefer to have next week?’…
BC: ‘Are you wearing a belt right now?’
OD: Then it’s like I got 1800 messages today to reply to…
MD: So that’s the downside of it….but like 99% of the people are cool.
JG: It had just been announced that I’d been in the band for like a week or two weeks, and someone put a thread up about me joining the band in the forum. And someone posted that they were in Sheffield talking to this person and this person, and I actually found out I have a sister through the forum….and I actually don’t have a sister. But someone just said, ‘I know your sister and her boyfriend’ and I’m just thinking…I don’t have a sister! But people presumed I had a sister..strange!
BC: It keeps you grounded in a way.
HRC: So what’s on your list for sightseeing tomorrow?
MD: Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz, the port….as many places as I can think of that were in The Rock. I just want to go stand by them and go ‘Welcome to The Rock’ all the time.
BC: In a mock Sean Connery accent?
MD: A really bad one.
JG: There’s lots of movie sightseeing going on on this tour. We’re using movies as reference points to go and see things.
BC: Not actual landmarks…just movie references.
JG: We went out to see The Goonies house yesterday.
BC: First thing when we landed in New York was go find the Ghostbuster’s fire station.
OD: The Goonies house was great because the owners put up a sign that said ‘Goonies Welcome’. So you could walk up the drive and look at the house.
MD: I just wanna go and see as many things as possible tomorrow…the hills, the trams…the obvious sightseeing stuff. Because we’re English, everything’s seems cool.
HRC: So what’s in your future plans after this tour?
JG: Festivals, writing…
BC: We’ve got like 8 or 9 European festivals lined up.
OD: We got Wacken, finally, in Germany.
BC: We’ve got Hellfest in France, and Sonisphere in the UK. Bloodstock in the UK.
HRC: That Hellfest lineup is ridiculous.
BC: I’m hoping we can stay for the entire weekend because I really want to see Kiss. Stupid Kiss fan.
MD: We get to open the entire thing- we’re the first band on the main stage. So we’re the ones that get to iron out all the technical difficulties.
Be sure to catch Evile on the rest of their North American tour!