From an outsider’s perspective, Pop Evil has just reached full circle in their musical career. Not only has been ten years since ‘Lipstick on the Mirror’ first debuted, but the most recent album launched last month was appropriately self-titled.
Even though Pop Evil are currently out on tour, vocalist Leigh Kakaty was able to take some time of his busy schedule to reflect on the last decade and pointed out “it’s crazy to think that we’ve been a part of a small piece of the sound that has survived for the last ten years! It’s just something else to think that we’ve been around and survived for so long. It really is full circle; getting a chance to get the band to Australia has been a life-long dream for me. We thought we were going to get there last record, but it’s becoming more of a reality every record.”
Taking time to talk about how the fans have reacted since the release of ‘Pop Evil’ last month, Kakaty enthusiastically pointed out that “the fan reaction has been incredible” before explaining that “it’s always a worry when you first release an album, as you want your fans to like it; but you never know, as we’re always taking risks and wanting to be different. The response has been overwhelming and it’s just amazing to be sitting where we are. We’re very humbled by it and it motivates us to work harder. We were constantly thinking of fans when we were making this record. We just want to challenge our fans to be better and hopefully we can give them the music that motivates them to get through the struggles of everyday life.”
Touching further on the response to the new album from a live perspective, Kakaty quickly explained that “that’s hard as we’re not playing all the songs” before going into greater depth and explaining how the band handles a new album when out on the road:
“We’re constantly trying to be strategic about it. An album cycle is a two year journey, so we want to make sure we pace ourselves; when we do get towards the end of the album cycle, we want to make sure we aren’t worn out. One of the songs going well at the moment is Waking Lions our first single and it’s actually number one this week in the US, which is very exciting! Be Legendary has just been a huge fan favourite; actually any of the new stuff we play, people are excited to hear it. We always think that people want to hear the old stuff and the stuff that they are familiar with, but they have been very open minded to being excited about the next chapter of the band.”
As mentioned in the intro, it would seem that Pop Evil have just reached full circle within their career; this has been a result of the band going through a musical rebirth! When asked about the events of the band’s re-birth that led to the self-titling of the new album, Kakaty explains how “I think the big thing right off the bat is that we have a new drummer, who happens to be a female as well. Whenever you bring that female energy to a project, things always seem to get a little better! She’s like having that big sister, a mother, a friend and she’s also been a nice fresh voice for the band; as we’re veterans of war that have been together a while now, she reminds us to have fun again. She also brings out a positivity that we’ve never, which I think motivated us to be better as a team and put together a CD of music that people could enjoy. We want people to come to rock shows and have fun; at the end of the day, it is meant to be a relief from the stress that is everyday life! We were thinking about that from the demo process through all the way to completion, which I think was a big part of it.”
Kakaty continued on, expressing how “us having a little more fun on this record was definitely a big part on this record. I also think Kato (Khandwala) our producer had a big part as well; instead of us recording our parts separate, he put us all in the room together. That was something we had never done! Previously, we would record one person at a time and the other band members would take time off and spend time with family, but there was never really any chance to take a break. It was refreshing to take our break before we demoed and recorded, so we could all be focused on being the room together; that way any energy we captured you would be hearing for the first time!”
Readers that have picked up a copy of ‘Pop Evil’ would know that there are 11 tracks on the album; however you may not know that there were originally 30 tracks to choose from! Giving an insight into how long it took Pop Evil to narrow that list down, Kakaty expressed how “that took a while; we just wanted to make sure that we put together songs that flowed but didn’t sound the same. We think it’s a cop out if a fan likes one of our songs and we try to regurgitate it; we try to put together a set and a set list that make people experience those peaks and valleys that are relatable to life. Because of that, we were constantly trying to battle ourselves to bring the best 11 in that we felt were not only great songs, but also had an ebb and flow that we could bring to our live show.”
Kakaty also have a major insight into the creation process of those 30 songs to choose from, pointing out “we all took about six months to write and then we did our demo process, got together, demoed some more, then we did some back and forth. We really started putting it together when we did some of the early recording stages in Nashville; I think we started recording 14 or 15, but sometimes songs just don’t come out the way you think they ought to in the studio. The big thing was that we didn’t want to rush, so we had the mindset of ‘maybe we can re-address this next album; if not, there’s no stress and we will worry about it the next time. If they don’t work, they don’t work; we’ll keep writing and these don’t see the light of day, so be it.’ At least we have a head start next record with a couple of songs that could have made the album. But for whatever reason, they didn’t make the cut this time around.”
The most important question that comes up whenever a new album is released is ‘will my country get to experience a tour for it?’ When asked about a possible trip to Australia, Kakaty very quickly pointed out that “we’re constantly talking about it, but it’s just a routing issue! We would want to be able to get into China or Japan as well; so not only is it worthwhile for the band, we can also do it right! That’s the next step and we’re hoping that it will either be by the end of the year, or within the festival season of 2019. It’s high priority, no doubt about it!”
MAKE SURE TO GRAB YOUR COPY OF POP EVIL HERE!
PHOTO SUPPLIED BY CLAY PATRICK MCBRIDE.