Does the following date have any significance
to you - 6th October 1985? Didn't think so. But it's a special
date for me as it was the start of a love affair that has burned
just as passionately to this day. You see that particular date
was the first time I'd seen a thrash band live – Exodus
on the “Bonded By Blood” tour, supporting
(the truly awful) Venom. And, in a round about way, it
was the first time I was guest listed...
Fast forward to another date – Wednesday
15th April 2009. Ring a bell? Well over two decades later another
thrash band is poised to rip a venue to shreds. On this particular
occasion, it's Evile, about to launch their “We
Who Are About To Tour” rampage around the UK. Shortly
after sound checking at the Birmingham Barfly on the first leg
of the tour, Pink and Chop from Chopmusic
spent a madcap time on the tour bus, and Evile gave us
an insight into what makes them tick....
Chopmusic - Thank you all for agreeing
to the interview – we appreciate it. First date of the tour
– so what are your main hopes?
Matt - That we get through it without blowing up any
more equipment! (Matt's amp had just blown during sound check).
Joking aside I just hope we get through the tour. We seem to have
been cursed over the years... (thrown brick at first gig, vehicle
breaking down in France to name but a few).
Chopmusic - There's a real sense of
irony here. Warpath's misfortune is reminiscent of your tour with
Satyricon last year...
Matt – It was unfortunate but these things happen.
Chopmusic – So Ol – are
you back to full health now?
Ol – Near enough. All healed up on the outside,
although the jaw hasn't quite healed straight. I have most problems
now trying to sleep.
Ben – Yeah at least you haven't got the chin-gina
Matt – Kept him quiet for a bit though... (lengthy
piss-taking session and general mayhem followed...)
Chopmusic – Back
to the tour, any dates you're particularly looking forward to?
And which do you consider your home town gig?
Ben – We're just hoping people turn up!
Mike – Can't wait for London..
Matt – Well there's not a Huddersfield gig –
don't know if there's a venue that would be suitable. We've always
had a great reaction from Birmingham fans to be honest..
Chopmusic – The look on your faces
when the “Evile, Evile” chant started at the Academy
when you supported Megadeth was quite something!
Matt – We weren't expecting it. We were the support
act on tour with Megadeth. That was the first time that that had
Chopmusic - Mentioning
Megadeth, you've supported some big names. Exodus also spring
to mind. Who's your favourite band you've toured with?
Evile as one – Megadeth!
Matt – Dave Mustaine was so cool with us, and treated
us well.. He could have been up himself, but he wasn't.
Chopmusic - Tonight's
the fifth time I will have seen you and at the fifth different
venue, which is unusual - you seem to have a knack of coming up
with different venues – is this intentional, or is it down
to the tour managers?
Ben – It's just because the venue doesn't want us to
play there again! After we've blown up equipment, or some other
disaster...! Missile strike....
– It's not intentional on our part, it's just the way
it happens. It's just a question of where we end up. Most of the
time we've been supporting, so we've had no choice, we play where
we're sent. I think this is the first time where we've kind of
had a choice. I think our choice would be “England”!
Chopmusic – Looking at
the forthcoming album...
Ben – What's that, new album?!
Matt – Are we?!
Chopmusic - I can't help but notice
the change of location and personnel?
Matt – We were originally going to record with
Flemming Rasmussen again, but cutting a very long story short
he was double booked. We're looking forward to working with Russ
Chopmusic -What's the general
writing process with you?
Ol – For the first album, because we had so much
time, and we actually had jobs, and we could get places, it was
just us in a rehearsal room jamming out a riff, “oh that
sounds good, what can we do next? Oh that sounds good...”
But this time we haven't got much money, we can't get to practice
a lot, a lot of the time it's just me on my computer writing a
lot of riffs. And then Matt will come in and say “that's
good, that's crap”, and then we'll write a basic song. And
then we'll take it to all four of us. “Oh I've written this
song – what do you think?” and we'll play through
it. Mike will go “that bit's shit, I'm not playing that”
- and then we'll either get rid of it, or just work on it until
Chopmusic - (chuckling reacting to Mike's
facial expression) Are you the final quality control?
Mike – I'm the guru!
Matt – If everyone's generally happy we do like
a voting thing – if three of us say something's good, tough
luck to the one person who doesn't think it's good, because no-one's
always going to like the same things.
Ben – Otherwise you'd end up re-writing stuff for
the rest of your life.
Chopmusic – So with the new stuff
tonight we've got to look out for one of you going “shit,
this doesn't work”.. (everyone points at Mike!! - much laughter)
Matt – If we can play it right...(much chuckling
- Who's the main lyricist?
Matt – That's me. Last time it was a collective
thing, we all contributed. But this time it's all me. I think
you prefer singing what you've written as well. You can be more
creative. I've been looking more into how other people do it as
Ben – That's good seeing as you're the frontman!
(hysterical laughter for long time...)
Matt – Isn't it funny how that's worked out! First
album's lyrics were all like “Black! Fire! Death! Die! Woargh!”You
look back at them and you think “I can do better than that”.
And you learn how to do it and be more creative with it, and more
metaphorical. I've been trying different things and really enjoying
doing it actually. So I'm going to be writing the next two weeks
and scribbling down just as much as I can.
Ben – In all fairness there's always going to be
that one knob sat at home who says “that's shit –
Matt – So I'm trying to get more than the generic
war/skull/kill/death. Trying to write about things that you can
actually read about. And one or two of them have more of a personal
slant as well, which is a brave step I think. But you'll obviously
tell the one's they are.. obviously not about war..!
Ben – Are you going to tell the story about “how
Matt – That's the next album...
Ben – The song called “My Lost Glasses”?!
Matt - “My Blown Up Fucking Amp”!
At this point the curse reared it's ugly head
as the voice recorder died....and so after a swift change of batteries...
- Quite a thrash resurgence going on at the moment, I know
Kerrang had a classic quote...
Matt and Ben together... “Genre revival on our
Matt – I thought of writing to them and saying
“it's always been there”... Maybe not.. Has been there
but we didn't care about it until.. oh you're in a thrash band.
Ben - I think it was a case of being in the right place at the
right time, and they had to pick one of the bands, and it just
happened to be us.
Chopmusic – Nice to be championed
Matt – I don't know if it was championing – I
just think we had the same ideas as a few other people at the
Ben – Maybe we've been doing it just a little bit
longer than some of the other bands.
Matt – I think it's just one of those things we
had the same idea at the same time, and a lot of bands just came
out doing it.
Ol – We're not really a band to say “oh we're
the first – we're the first new one”.
Matt – It just ended up being a UK scene that kind
of happened. All these bands that knew each other, and got on.
I mean some of those bands have disappeared now, some have carried
on, and we've done what we've done. Shocked as hell with it.
Chopmusic – You've obviously got
Mutant tonight, who will rip the place apart.
Ben – We've wanted to play with Mutant for such
a long time. And we took Tom on the road with Megadeth with us.
Matt – He was our bitch on that tour..
Going back a while there's a couple of demos (All Hallows Eve
and Hell) – any plans to re-release?
Matt – Do I have plans? I wouldn't want to. There's
certain things in old tracks that are really good, but overall
the tracks are pretty weak. There's a few riffs where I think
“that might work well in a song” but they're like
Ladybird books - you know “My First...” - in this
case my first song. If we were to use anything from the older
songs it would be almost like taking a step backwards. You keep
doing that then you go around in circles, and end up re-writing
the same material. You still can't deny a good riff though.
Ben – A good riff's a good riff. But we're playing
a genre from the 80s, so you can't really afford to step back!
Chopmusic – Before we
get any more involved can you clear up an urban myth please? What
are the origins of the Evile name?
Matt – Well I was drawing some ideas for logos.
Originally I'd come up with Exile, but found there were several
hundred bands of that name when I did the searches. So I thought
“what else would work?” and Evile seemed to work.
I put it to the rest of the band and they seemed to like it so
Evile it was. When we were in France we became “E-ver-lee”
which was an unusual pronunciation!
- Something we were talking about a while ago on MySpace Matt
– the conception is that you're signed to a label now, Earache,
but I understand you're all still holding down your 9 to 5's?
Ben – Yeah. You've got to. I don't think the music
scene's what it was twenty years ago, where people would come
round with massive suitcases full of cash, and flash it, and you're
set for life.
Matt – It's overdraft city!
Ol – Exactly!
Ben – Fans especially seem to have this misconception
that once you're signed that's it. And you're a millionaire...
Matt – Keep the magic! We are!!
Chopmusic – Don't worry we'll
Evile (all together) – We are rich!!
Matt – I've got the keys to my Rolls here!
Chopmusic – We're sipping Cristal
in here then..
Matt – Not free beer..
Ol – I prefer expensive beer!
Matt – It just tastes better doesn't it? Free beer!
Matt – It's hard to get a job. I used to work for
the Council – they were really cool with me because they'd
just let me come and go. I'd say “I've got a tour this week”
and they'd be cool. See you in two or three weeks. “Great
come back when you want”. That was great. I had to quit
for the Satyricon tour..
Ol – Sorry!
Matt – I couldn't go back because I'd fully quit
and they'd actually got someone else to do the job I was doing.
Looking for a job when you're in a band is quite hard. I couldn't
do stuff like bar work because I'd be rubbish at it. It's hard
to find a job with someone who will take you on knowing you're
not going to be there for two months at a time. Or a month at
a time. I'm off in about a month – why would they bother
hiring you? It's really hard to find someone to employ you.
Chopmusic (as time was getting
on) – Time to wrap things up. As far as influences go it's
clearly stated that the Big Four and various thrash bands, and
I think there's a death metal influence with Death and Obituary
I believe; anybody on the current circuit that you particularly
Matt – Any kind of music? I'm really into Gojira..
Chopmusic – They were awesome
Matt – The new Mastodon album is a stunner as well.
Cool. Bosh. It's a good album. Other than that .. did I just say
“bosh”?! .. Creedence Clearwater, old rock stuff...is
all I've been listening to. I haven't really been listening to
that much.. probably should.
Quick final question – best thrash album ever?
Ol – Arise
Ben – For me – Beneath The Remains..
Chopmusic - I'm going to say thank you
Evile as one – You're more than welcome...
Chop – It would be good if you
didn't fall down the stairwell! You alright love? (As Pink
very nearly hurtles headlong off the tour bus).
– The curse strikes again...
Just time for one last group photo shot –
and oddly enough the camera doesn't work – the jinx strikes
Hopefully this will give you an idea of the thoroughly
enjoyable time we had. Thanks to Evile for agreeing to
the interview, and for their warmth and humour. It was a pleasure
chatting with them. Thanks also to the tour manager, Andy,
for looking after us so well. Last but not least a huge thank
you to Earache Records, and especially Talita, for
setting this up for us. Of course Evile went out and
ripped the Barfly to shreds with one of the best performances
I've seen this year. And I got to see them unleash their mayhem
at Hammerfest too – tough life....