Interview with Matt Drake & Ben Carter of U.K. Thrashers EVILE –
Laceration Lacey: How did you guys start making Metal?
Ben: It was a long drawn-out process really. We went to school together and were both listening to the same bands and decided to put two and two together to eventually make four and start a band out of ourselves. We realized we were from the same backgrounds and into the same kind of material, that’s how it all started really.
Matt: Just jamming after school, making random tracks and we eventually thought, “let’s do something with this”. So we found a bass player and off we went.
LL: So what steered you in the direction of thrash metal as opposed to death, or black metal, or power metal?
Matt: Collectively it’s the one thing we all shared.
LL: Who are some of your influences?
Matt: Definitely Metallica, Sepultura, Slayer —it’s all different. Each of us has different influences. Whereas Ol’s more influenced by death metal, I’m more influenced by old rock, I’m heavily into Queen. Mike brought the obvious, ridiculous, insane thrash stuff: straight-forward heavy metal.
Ben: Like Exodus, Destruction, Kreator— that kind of European-style.
LL: What are some of your favourite albums?
Ben: Starting out when I was really young, it was â€˜Injustice for All’ that got me into metal in the first place, seeing videos from the album and stuff like that. I did a bit of research and found out about Annihilator through Oliver. That sort of opened my eyes to a faster style of playing. There’s a lot of variance really, people lending us CDs, from finding out about one band, you find out about two more, and you explore others and broaden your horizons more.
Matt: Arise from Sepultura just blew me away.
LL: Tell me about the evolution of Evile. What kind of changes did you go through when you got signed on with Earache in 2006?
Matt: Everyone says that your first album is full of songs that took you 10 years to write. We never planned to get signed so everything we had been writing went into the first album, we were just writing for a laugh. We wanted to write stuff that bands just didn’t make anymore. We were doing covers and we did a few originals, they went down as well as the covers did so we just thought “we’ll do something with this,” kept doing more, changed our name to Evile and we went from there. The first album came. It was all of our originals and some new ones we wrote, we kept some of the originals that we were quite proud of. When it was time to record the second album, Infected Nations, we were more thoughtful, we had time to think about actually writing a real album with highs, and lows. It was a bit more mature. We grew up a bit.
Ben: With the first album we were still kind of naïve about the industry.
Matt: When it came to Nations we had grown a bit. We kind of looked at the high-top shoes and the denims and thought it doesn’t really suit us and what we wanted to write. We wanted to be a bit more pro about it. A lot of the bands at the time were doing the whole denim 80s retro thing and we wanted to try and do something different with it.
LL: Do you all contribute to different elements of the music? How does it all come together in the end?
Matt: It’s pretty varied. At first it was very collaborative. We’d all get together in the same room and play, we’d all write lyrics, Mike would contribute, I’d write some, Ben wrote Machine. When it came to the second album it was a lot less collaborativeâ€¦
Ben: A lot more structured though. Everyone pretty much had their jobs laid out for them.
Matt: Ol’s the most responsible of the song-writers. He’s about 60 per cent, whereas I’m probably about 30. For the third album, we’re going back to being more collaborative, everyone is throwing ideas in.
Ben: Ol is pretty much the most technical guy in the band. Sometimes it’s hard to reach his level of understanding. I’m quite simplistic. I prefer simple ideas. Everyone is open to ideas, or open to saying â€œOh, that’s crapâ€.
LL: Do you guys feel that the loss of one of your original band members has set you back in any way or negatively impacted the music writing process for the band?
Ben: Mike was pretty much from the old-school. Most of our up-tempo tracks from the original album were Mike’s brain-childs.
Matt: He wrote in a certain way; you can always spot certain places where you were going to play something that you know Mike’s written because it was always based around the exact same 5 or 6 notes.
Ben: Mike brought a lot of aggression to the song-writing process. A lot of the raw-emotion is missing now. He wrote a lot of the evil, dark stuff.
Matt: I think that because of what happened you do start looking for meaning in everything. Be it Music,—you look for deeper things. And I think lyrically, this time, I’m looking for that even more. I think because of that it’s spurred us on to do something really meaningful and creative rather than bash the same album out.
LL: You’ve worked with Flemming Rasmussen and Russ Russell. What was that experience like for you?
Matt: Brilliant. Flemming was cool. We ended up getting him on board as more of a joke, really. Russ came about because of scheduling conflicts. We couldn’t get Flemming again because he was busy. Russ came to us after we had done the first one, he was drunk and he came with us to a show in London and said he had some ideas for our second album.
LL: How did Joel come to join the band?
Matt: We found him in a bin.
Ben: After Mike passed away we had a bit of down time to get our heads straight and figure out what we wanted to do with the band. It wasn’t really a question of whether we were going to quit or not it was just a question of what direction we were going to go in and when. We already had a tour lined up for January 2010. So we knew we had to find a bass player sharp. We held some auditions with loads of people who were technically brilliant but their attitudes just didn’t work for what we needed. We just needed a normal, regular guy who was down to earth like us. Joel lived in the next town over and was the only person during the application process who spoke about himself and his attitude.
Matt: We were looking for more of a good person than a good bass-player.
Ben: People forget that when you’re on the road you’re traveling all the time but when you’re on stage it’s only for a couple of hours a night so if you don’t get along with them while your traveling or while you’re just hanging out then it’s derogative to what you’re trying to achieve.
Matt: We didn’t want a twat and Joel’s not a twat so he worked.
LL: Are you guys doing any more tribute shows for Mike?
Matt: No. That’s done.
Ben: I think the longer we keep doing that sort of thing the harder it’s going to be to ever lose that stigma.
LL: I know you’ve played with Exodus, Kreator, Machine Head—What are some of your favourite bands that you’ve gotten to play with?
Ben: Earlier on we did a tour with Megadeth. It was such a huge scale show. The production value was just amazing so it taught us how to conduct ourselves backstage, on stage, and while around other people. But in terms of enjoyment I think for me it’s got to be Exodus
Matt: Sharing a bus with Exodus was brilliant. It was loads of fun.
Ben: Everyone’s been really good to us in different ways. They’ve all been very accommodating and made us feel at home. We’re fortunate.
Matt: I’d say Megadeth. It was amazing watching Megadeth every night for free.
LL: What are you guys currently working on? I’ve heard rumors that you’re going to be releasing a new album sometime in 2011, is this true? Can you tell me anything about it?
Matt: It’s super true! We have a title and we have an artwork idea. I dreamt of an amazing album cover, which ties in with lyrics that are based on dreams. We’ve got a lot of ideas put together, music wise. We’re trying to find the time and the space while on tour to write, it can be hard. So we’re thinking after Christmas. It should take about 3 months to write. We’re hoping it’s going to be more of a mix between the first and second album, we want to step it up every time. We don’t want to go back to rehashing what we’ve done before.
LL: Any last words?
Ben: Listen to Evile and look forward to our new album.
Matt: keep the fire exits clear!