By now, my affinity for Evile’s “Thrasher” has become well-known 1 (and no, I don’t just love it because “Thrasher is my nickname)2. I was pretty psyched to find that one of the more impossible DLC artists in our game was planning to add further tracks to the game via Rock Band Network.
Last week I headed up to Worcester, MA to catch Evile as they opened for Overkill. Of course, I got stuck in traffic and ended up arriving at the venue right as the guys finished playing 3 - Ol was still kind enough to hang out with me for a few minutes and answer some questions.
Being the professional I am, I sought out the quietest place in the venue for our interview. This was, of course, next to the rubbish bins in the lobby. Even then it was still pretty loud (which you’ll hear in the recording). I didn’t want to take up too much of Ol’s time as a few fans gathered nearby for high fives and hellos. We did, in our short interview, get to talk about some rad stuff like the firehouse from Ghostbusters, authoring Rock Band Network tracks, and Ol’s influences as a guitar player. We also got some big news about Evile’s upcoming RBN tracks. I, for one, am excited about this particular announcement – but rather than spoil it, I’ll let you listen in for yourselves. And if you're a playtester on Creators.RockBand.com, you can check out Evile's RBN tracks on the Earache Records profile.
Listen to the interview below.
HMXThrasher: What’s up podcast land? This is HMXThrasher, or Alli, and I am very pleased to be here at the Worcester Palladium with a very special gentleman. Sir, would you like to introduce yourself?
Ol Drake: No, no. [laughter] I’m Ol from Evile and I play lead guitar.
HMXT: Yeah and Evile has one of the hardest songs in our game currently available as DLC. It’s a nice little lullaby called "Thrasher." It’s something you tuck your kids into bed at night with – really mellow, laid back. You should download it for your mom and dad to play.
OL: Oh they’d love it.
HMXT: This is your first North American tour, am I right?
OL: This is our first time here, yeah. We’ve just finished a long tour with Kreator and now we’re starting with Overkill, so basically going around in circles - twice. But yeah, we love it. It’s great here, really cool.
HMXT: Awesome. I was watching your Paris video yesterday. So what was the first thing you did when you got to the US.
OL: We went to see the firehouse from Ghostbusters, you know, the film and then where John Lennon was shot. Which is a bit morbid, but…we just… We’re kind of film buffs. So we try to find all the locations in films and stuff, you know.
HMXT: Have you seen any good movies since you’ve been on tour?
OL: No, we haven’t had time. I went to see the Alice in Wonderland thing just to see how it is. Clash of the Titans too.
HMXT: Speaking of time – you’ve authored three Evile tracks for Rock Band Network and you guys didn’t send them out, you did them yourself.
HMXT: What motivated you to just get in there and learn how to author and how to do that stuff yourself?
OL: Boredom. [laughs] I just really like Rock Band and playing it. So being a gamer, I know the language in a way. So it was just really fun to know all the guitar parts and write them for the game. So I’m on the fourth song now – I’m doing the whole album. I just really enjoy it.
HMXT: [way too excited] So you’re doing all of Infected Nations?
HMXT: Oh that’s amazing. You heard it here first! Yeah, so three of your tracks are in playtesting right now, what has the experience been like for you in terms of working with other authors and playtesters on the Rock Band Network Creators site.
OL: It’s really cool – everyone helps each other. If someone does something wrong, everyone says, I mean they don’t say “ah you’re crap for doing this.” They constructively say: “you have to do this.” Everyone helps everyone out. It’s really cool. I was quite dubious about doing it because I have no idea what I’m doing. But everyone really helps me to do it so it’s really cool.
HMXT: Do you have any advice for other bands that are maybe on the fence about doing it themselves? Any words of encouragement to kind of get them to jump right in?
OL: Just have fun with it. Because if you’re scared about doing it, you’ll do it wrong , so do what you want – if it’s wrong, just edit it. You can only learn from failing, I guess. Just learn from mistakes.
HMXT: So in terms of appearing in the game Rock Band, one of our forum members, Skode, actually had a really good question for you guys. They wanted to know is there a difference between your longtime fans and the kids who’ve discovered you through the game? Do you perceive those fans differently? Are the interactions with them a lot different?
OL: Well, they sure enjoy “Thrasher” a lot more. We play the set and they’ll be like [Ol crosses his arms and shrugs] stood there and then they’ll be like “'Thrasher,' woo hoo yeah!” and then they’ll just leave. Yeah, it’s a bit different, but I think because of the style of music. “Thrasher” is the same as the other songs so they appreciate it just as much. So, yes, it’s all the same really.
HMXT: “Thrasher” is probably my favorite song in the game. Not just because I’m selfish and that’s my nickname. I love doing it at live events and seeing people try to get into it, and like, their fingers just start bleeding and then their hands fall off…
OL: I have no idea how they do it. I’ve seen some people do it 100% and I’m like [gestures] amazing.
HMXT: Which leads me to my next question. Have you guys gotten better at playing your own song in the game?
OL: I’ve gotten slightly better. I can’t do Expert. It’s ridiculous, I wrote it on guitar but I can’t play it on Rock Band. I’ve gotten better, especially with Rock Band Network, like learning all the things.
HMXT: And having to play it over and over and over.
OL: Yeah, but I’m still pretty bad.
HMXT: What’s your opinion of rhythm games, like Rock Band, if you have one? Do you think they’re a plus for getting kids to pick up the guitar? A minus?
OL: I think it’s great. It’s just like a footballer playing a football game, a guitarist will play a guitar game. I don’t see any problem with it. I know quite a few people who’ve got the game and then asked me: “what guitar should I get?” “Do you play guitar?” “No I’ve just played Rock Band.” “Oh wow get this.” It does get a lot of people into it [playing guitar] so that’s really cool.
HMXT: As a guitar player, who are your biggest musical influences?
OL: Originally, through my dad, bands like Queen, Brian May, and old prog-rock bands from the '70s. But mainly bands like Testament and Annihilator, Metallica obviously, Megadeth – all the big thrash bands. They’re all sort of technical and I thought “I want to be able to do that.” So I just boringly sat in my room for like six years. I just thought “I want to play guitar.”
HMXT: So how long have you been playing guitar for now?
OL: Since I was about 16, so nine, ten years now. But nonstop – like no life, no friends, no girlfriends, just guitar.
HMXT: All guitar.
HMXT: Just you and your baby.
HMXT: When you have the time for it, right now, what other bands are you listening to?
OL: Warbringer, one of the other bands on tonight. I’m mostly, at the moment, in a prog-mode. I’m listening to old King Crimson and Yes. Loads of old prog. Classical, like Chopin and Hayden. I’m really weird with that I don’t really listen to metal that often. I like to incorporate lots of different styles instead of full on thrash all the time.
HMXT: So after you guys are done here in the States, what’s next for Evile?
OL: We’ve got loads of festivals. We’ve got Wacken in Germany, Hellfest in France, Sonisphere, Bloodstock, others to do with blood and stocks.
OL: Playing Europe all summer. Then I think we’re coming back for another two tours at the end of the year, so fingers crossed on that.
HMXT: Very nice. I won’t take up any more of your time, but do you have anything else you’d like to say to the RockBand.com fans? I know a lot of them, when I mentioned that I was going to interview you, a lot of them pointed out that you have an account on our forums and they could just talk to you directly.
OL: Yeah. Just check out Evile. If you like it, buy some. If you don’t, buy something else. [laughs]
HMXT: Thank you so much. We love playing your songs in the game – and I’m really excited that we get a whole lot more of it with Rock Band Network. So yeah, look for that in the coming months you guys – and thank you!
OL: Thank you.
1 Five bands took on the Thrasher Challenge at PAX East. I wore out my voice, but it was really fun - and there's video of it on the internet!.
2 Does this song not remind anyone else of their first time getting roughed up in a mosh pit? I’m too old for stuff like that now. Cue the nostalgia and rainbows.
3 The last time the band played in my neighborhood our car broke down the morning before the show. For serious, the universe does not want me to see these guys live. Cryface.