Evile - February's Artist of the Month
We've chosen Evile as February's RBN Artist of the Month! Hailing from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK, Evile set out to generate a sound that would fill a void within the metal world. Railing against the dominance of morose emo bands and no-fun shoegazers currently populating the metal scene, the band looked instead to the classics of the thrash genre for their influence. Comprising of brothers Matt and Ol Drake, and augmented by Ben Carter and Joel Graham, Evile throws together their old-school thrash influences of Metallica, Anthrax, Testament, and Annihilator and mixes in their own energy and enthusiasm to create a fast paced sound dosed with unrelenting speed and aggression. The band described their aim as trying to give thrash a "new" sound while staying in the classic thrash vein.
With guitarist Ol Drake doing all the RBN authoring for their tracks, the band now has all of their latest album Infected Nations available for play in Rock Band. To celebrate, Evile is offering Rock Band fans a free download of the "Infected Nation" mp3 here on RockBand.com for a limited time!
Download "Infected Nation"
HMXThrasher's Interview with Ol Drake
Last spring I had one of my nerdiest fan moments ever when I got to meet (and interview) Ol Drake of the band Evile. (You can check that out here). We chatted about the band’s current tour, their DLC track "Thrasher,", and the day in-day out of being in a killer thrash band. Fast forward a few months and the band’s finished their first North American tour, is hard at work on a new album, and has been named our RBN Artist of the Month! Did I mention that they’ve also expanded their Rock Band catalog offerings with an additional 10 tracks? Ol himself authored the entirety of the band’s album, Infected Nations, as DLC for RBN. Since the band’s back home in the UK for a bit, I caught up with Ol via email to see how things have been going.
HMXThrasher: It’s been quite awhile since we last chatted – you’ve released a full album for RBN (doing all the authoring yourself), toured, bungee jumped dressed as a cowboy, and now you’re back writing and recording again. Tell me, how are you still standing?
Ol Drake: I've had artificial everything installed. None of me is real except my brain. But seriously....I have. But more seriously; I just love getting things done. If I'm not doing something I get bored fast and get lazy. If I don't feel like something's getting done I feel useless. Then in turn when it comes to having a break it means so much more. Loved doing the album for RBN though! even if it did take me................I don't have last year's calender to figure it out.
HMXT: Why was it important to you, as a musician and artist, to do your own authoring?
OD: It started off as me just wanting to get more Evile tracks on Rock Band, but then it also occured to me how cool it would be to try and inject a sense of "realism" into the tracks on Rock Band. I wanted to translate some of how to play the songs on the real guitar, and knowing the songs 10000% meant that it simply made sense for me to do them. I remember in a some solos on Infected Nations the authoring of them was a bit "backwards" because I authored them how your fingers would move as if on a real guitar. On top of that, I love video games, so I thought it would be cool to be involved with that side of things. I've always wanted to be a part of the gaming world, be it in a musical vein or designing vein.
HMXT: Has authoring songs for the game influenced the way that you find yourself writing songs now?
OD: To be honest, I don't think it has. When I write it's completely down to the feel of a riff/song. If I were to detach myself from the feeling of the song and purposely write something that I'd later consider a great addition to Rock Band, it wouldn't be as good a song to me. There's a few times that I've thought "is that too fast for Rock Band?" but then I just think "I hope it is" to bring another challenge to the game.
HMXT: For you, what’s been the best part of being involved with the Rock Band Network? What has been the most challenging?
OD: The best part is the community. Everyone is out to help everyone and give/receive constructive criticism and praise. The most challenging thing has been keeping up. When I started doing the Evile tracks for RBN, we were on some downtime, I was lucky enough to be able to read through, and study all the RBN documentation about all the rules. After that we were busy again, but in all of my spare time I'd be authoring. There's been quite a few different rule changes, and they're even changing over the RBN 2 soon, so it's a bit of a shock to my system. We toured North America for 5 months in total this year, and I put in as much authoring as I could in between gigging, travelling, sleeping and recharging, and I come home to "hey! everything's changed!". I had to pick back up again. Another obvious good part is when one of your songs you've slaved over for eons finally goes live.
HMXT: What can you tell us about the new album? Any new directions you’ll be taking?
OD: All I'd like to say is that I love what we're writing. It's so fun to play and hear, for me. There may be a few new things we'll try; maybe a few different directions, but it will always be rooted in the same heavy metal we've always played, because that's in our blood. Sure, some people didn't and may not like any new ideas we have, but without us giving ourselves that freedom to experiment it wouldn't give us a chance to grow, and we'd just get bored musically. I can tell you it'll be recorded in March at Parlour Studios with Russ Russell again, as he is completely the right producer for us. He's a friend, he knows what we want and how to get it, and we also consider him a band member when it comes to making an album.
HMXT: The last time we spoke we chatted a bit about what you were listening to at the time. What’s on your playlist lately? Any recommendations?
OD: I haven't really been listening to that much. When I'm in writing mode I like to only listen to what I'm writing. I'll also hear something when I feel like learning something challenging on the guitar. All I can remember listening to as of late is Metallica, Iron Maiden, Chthonic, and Thin Lizzy. I recommend a band called Evile. They're apparently really good, and they even have a new album coming out mid-2011. I'm excited for it..... unless it sucks.
HMXT: Taking off on that, have you gotten into any bands from RBN?
OD: I reviewed a song by Dying Fetus and that made me go ".......holy crap". I knew who they were before, though I'd never really heard much, but that made me like them. I generally have to be in the mood to get into a band I wasn't previously into. I can't fill up on new music until my brain lets me. I get people saying "Check out *band*!"; I'll listen to it, and I'll either like it or dislike it, but if I like it, I still won't be able to get into it until it feels right. Something has to happen in me to give room to that band in my music...ear...? I'm strange like that.
HMXT: I love that you held a contest to allow a new band the chance to tour with your for a bit. How did you get involved with this? Was it your idea or something that Metal Hammer proposed?
OD: We were sat thinking of who bands we could to support. I/We always get a lot of messages off bands saying "When you're playing *location* let us support you!" and in an ideal world I'd say yes to all of them. So our manager, Julie Weir (Wiseblood Management) had the idea of at least giving any band the chance to support us, instead of picking the tour package and leaving it at that. It was a great idea so we went along with it and Metal Hammer were interested. Seeing as we love Metal Hammer in the wrong way we went for it. We all collectively listened to all bands the who submitted entries, as did our management and Metal Hammer.
HMXT: Your last North American tour was a three month long stint – what’s it like being on the road for that long? Do you always tour so relentlessly? Any especially interesting experiences on your last time out?
OD: Being fully honest, being out that long for us is f***ing hard in many ways. We aren't at a huge level like some bands, so it's tough. It's an ultimate pleasure to be able to travel to all these places and play for so many people, but people don't (and probably won't, without doing it) realise how hard it is. We aren't a band who takes a crew out with us to do everything for us; it's just us 4 and a tour manager. With it being so expensive you rarely get the luxuries of hotel rooms, showers or sometimes even food. We haven't toured as extensively as we did in 2010 before, but it has to be done, so we're going to. What else is there to do other than record an album?
The problem with touring so extensively is everything merges into one in terms of memory. There were some hilarious experiences but I can't remember many, and a few that shouldn't be remembered. Hahaha. Most of the time our TM, Mike, would have to drive throughout the night and day, so after playing shows I'd stay up as late as I could in the front to keep him awake so we don't explode. I'm sure I saw some very strange things those nights outside, but I'd put it down to fatigue. That's not interesting; what else? Um... most of the time we used Wal-Mart car parks to sleep in. When the sight of a Wal-Mart makes you really happy, you know you've been on tour too long.
HMXT: What is in your absolute on the road survival kit? (Everyone I ask always says babywipes, which is sort of TMI).
OD: See, even after a month of being home I can't even recall what I need/needed. I think the essentials for me are things that are in the hands of other people: the ability to have clean clothes and having enough clothes to last you until your next chance to wash those clothes. I remember one time I tried washing my clothes in the bathtub then letting them dry over night. They smelt like the inside of an ass the next day. A toothbrush is very essential, though it's just for your own personal well-being. You might as well not have brushed your teeth if you're going to talk to a girl because you'll stink anyway from probably not having had a shower, but some girls seem to like that. Bizzare. Shampoo is also essential (if you have hair). Even if it's washing your hair in a bathroom sink somewhere, keeled over it looking like a deformity from The Thing, it still gets rid of that awful feeling of un-washed scalp. I'm painting an amazing picture for young aspiring bands. A razor helps too. Not that awful film Eraser that Arnie was in; A razor. EraserHEAD on the other hand would be taken. Ooh, that could be one of my essentials. Something about that film calms me. *shrug*
HMXT: Is there any chance of a Shooter McBullets* country record solo spin off?
OD: Actually, after hearing a lot of Hank Williams III throughout the tour, I wouldn't say no! sadly though, my heart and balls belong to Evile (the band as an entity, not the individual members).
HMXT: You play drums, guitar, and I’m sure other instruments as well – what’s the most important advice you can give to young aspiring musicians?
OD: This is the hardest question to answer for me, as I can never cover everything I feel I need to. I got to high school and hated it. I got on a drum kit in a music store in a local town and fell in love. Then in that same music store I found Metallica guitar tab books. I picked up Matt's guitar and was in love with playing guitar. I loved being able to play what I'd loved hearing for so long. I then subsequently fell in love with music. I soon dropped the tab books noticing their blatant mistakes in even the official books. I enjoyed learning what I loved to listen to, and I enjoyed learning it to the point of perfection until it sounded like what I heard. That's one pitfall a lot of guitarists fall into; trusting what a tab says and not what their ears hear. They'll happilly sit playing what the tab says but never stop playing to actually listen if it's correct.
I didn't want to do anything else with any single minute of my time. Any minute I wasn't playing guitar would be a minute I wasn't learning something on, and getting more familiar with, the instrument. Friends? A few. Girlfriends? Hindrance to progress. Food? S*** I forgot to eat again today from too much guitaring. I was very dedicated and focused, and I still am. To conclude I'd just say have unwavering, unrelentless dedication. You wouldn't see someone training to defuse bombs put "a bit" of time into it; They'd get their face exploded off their face.
HMXT: When you finally get some time off, what do you see yourself doing? (Playing lots of RB3 I hope – jk).
OD: The little things are big things to me. Just being able to relax and not worry about anything for a while, see my close friends who don't even mention/care about the band for a second hahah, play video games, watch movies. It's healthy to get away now and then, though I have a feeling there won't be a lot of time for that over the next few years coming up!
HMXT: What’s next for Evile?
OD: We're going into the studio in March with Russ. I'm extremely confident about this next album and what is to come. I still can't believe the amount of support we get from our fans. Being a music fan, it's strange seeing the support our fans give us, as it's the same support I give to bands I like. Unbelievable.
After that, only time will tell. It's festival season, so hopefully lots of those. Hopefully get to Japan and other places we've never been! I know there's at least 4 Evile fans in Japan. Hahaha.
Anything we didn’t cover that you’d like to say to your fans?
OD: I always suck at this part. Um... support bands you like in every way you can. Spread the word about them, buy their music and merch and go to their shows. Each one of those things helps a band in more ways than fans can imagine.
Free "Infected Nation" mp3 offer expires February 28, 2011.For more info on Shooter McBullets, check out the JUMP4METAL bungee jump Ol's alter-ego Shooter McBullets did Warning: some foul language in the video.