Matt Drake : Kill Fuck Marry ?

Your first major album “Enter The Grave” came out in 2007, and last year you released your second major album “Infected Nations”. Would you consider yourselves as a fairly upcoming band even though so far you’ve toured with bands like Exodus, Entombed and Amon Amarth?

Matt Drake (vocals) : We are definitely still an upcoming band. We’ve made some albums that we are very proud of but I wouldn’t say we have gotten very far yet. We do not have an established reputation yet I think. People still tend to say things like “I think I’ve heard of them” about us but that’s about it.

What were you guys up to before, as a band and individually?

Matt : Oh god! Since birth? (laughs). We’ve been Evile for the past five years and before that we were in a covers band with all of the same members except Joel. So we have been officially together for almost ten years now. We’ve always been good friends and obviously Ol (Drake – guitarist) is my brother.

Joel (bass) : I’ve been the new bassist in Evile since last December and before that I was in the heavy metal band Rise To Addiction. I’m originally from the Dewsbury in the UK and with my previous band I also did a few tours of Europe.

What were your main musical influences?

Matt : When we started, we were looking up to bands like Metallica and Slayer. Sepultura was also a huge influence. We just felt that none of the new bands were really doing stuff that we wanted to hear anymore, so we thought “Screw it! We will do it ourselves!”. We started writing music individually and then as a band before finally getting picked up by Earache Records.

« …often we would be playing in the studio and he would just be looking at pictures of trains on the internet rather than concentrate on us. (laughs) The guy is obsessed with trains! He loves them! Don’t ask why… »
You worked with Flemming Rasmussen (producer and sound tech for Metallica on “Ride The Lightening”, “Master of Puppets” and “…And Justice For All”) on your first album. That must have been pretty amazing!

Matt : It started as a joke at first… We were joking around about who we wanted to have to produce our first album and we came up with Flemming Rasmussen. Of course at first we thought that it was completely outrageous since he had worked with the likes of Metallica on “…And Justice For All”. After a while, we thought “Well why the fuck not?!”. I sent him an email and he replied immediately. It was amazing and the sound was just right. Overall, it worked quite well, he is incredibly talented and he’s a great guy. Although, often we would be playing in the studio and he would just be looking at pictures of trains on the internet rather than concentrate on us. (laughs) The guy is obsessed with trains! He loves them! Don’t ask why…

Your music video for “Infected Nations” is quite original. It doesn’t follow the pattern of metal clichés like flames, girls, booze, sex or overly pretentious musicians in undersized clothing. How did you come up with the concept? And is this a way for you to gain credibility?

Matt : It was my idea. Originally we wanted to film it in a theatre and make it a lot more sinister. It’s definitely got a philosophical edge to it. So I guess that we wanted to gain credibility but we also wanted to make something interesting to watch. The video illustrates another aspect of our band. It shows that we are willing to think about things instead of just playing as fast as we can. You just have to try different things from time to time also. On “Enter The Grave” we were able to see the things that did and didn’t work and we applied them to “Infected Nations”. It tends to get boring when you always stick to usual metal clichés. We always think thoroughly about what we do and this was the case with this video. But we also love to confuse people! (laughs).

It seems that you guys are reviving the thrash metal genre.What is you opinion on this?

Matt : I wouldn’t say that we have revived it because it has always been there. Especially in Europe with bands like Destruction and Sodom. But it’s true that in the UK it was quickly overshadowed by “nu metal” (they both pull horrific faces of disgust). But I think that people still remember that thrash is around somewhere. So I suppose that that it is a revival in some ways considering the current trends.

Could this reputation have something to do with the fact that you guys are younger than the members of those classic thrash bands?

Joel : Thrash has never gone away but the press had a tendency to put forward to upcoming younger bands. It’s true that our music genre is normally associated with older bands. However, whether we are 12 or 45, it’s about the excitement and the fact that we are four guys playing together. It’s what we love and what we grew up doing.

Matt : The funny thing is that when we started playing together, we stupidly assumed that we were the first band to even play this way! (laughs) Then you go on tours and meet other bands from others countries that are playing the exact same music as you. So we decided to organise some concerts together and managed to create a little UK thrash scene of upcoming bands. But unfortunately, we were not the first!

Obviously, the end of 2009 was really tough for you guys. Mike was an amazing bass player and a crucial part of the band. He will definitely be missed. In fact you held two memorial gigs for him in London and Leeds. Could you tell me a bit about these events?

Matt : We wanted to do something for Mike and everyone else who is involved in the band. The funeral took place beforehand for us, his family and close friends. But the thing is that Mike was very much against religion, so we felt that he also deserved a proper metal send out. We organised two memorial concerts and the response from fans and other bands was amazing. We were sent donations and memorabilia from bands like Iron Maiden, Slayer and Machine Head. They sent signed guitars, calendars and skateboards; lots of amazing things like that. They were truly great with us. It is just such a shame that we only get hear from these bands through such a tragedy.

The gigs were also fantastic. The first one was in Leeds and Mike’s mum actually came and got up on stage to say a few words. We were standing backstage with Gama Bomb, Mutant and Seregon with whom we had just done a few covers. As soon as she started to speak, the entire crowd was in tears. It was incredibly emotional. The second one in London was a bit more fun, as we played on stage with some more of our friends and celebrated Mike’s memory in true metal style. They say that metal is an extended family and we now know that this is absolutely true.

Do you think your music is going to take a new direction now that you have Joel Graham as your new bass player?

Matt : Both of our albums have been very different so far. I think that we will have a different style and sound once again on our next album because it is what we like to do. Joel coming into the band will not make us take a new direction but it will definitely bring something new to our sound. Whereas our first album just seemed to be incredibly fast, on the next album I plan to concentrate more on the lyrics and develop them so that they have a deeper meaning. We will have to wait and see.

We know that Entombed love to party and Amon Amarth being Vikings must know how to knock them back! How was it keeping up with the Swedes? Did you do the British proud?

Matt : We didn’t even attempt! We only had about five or six dates with them so we didn’t get the chance. We spoke a lot with Entombed and they are amazing guys. Mike and Ben were always the ones out partying with them. Personally, I don’t drink so I’m always in bed early (laughs). Mike definitely did the British proud though! Even when he was getting ill he would still be beering away and rolling around on the floor (laughs).

I would love to see Amon Amarth and Entombed again because they were really great with us. In March we are going off to tour the States with Voivod, Kreator and Kataklysm. The day after that tour ends we will be touring again in the reverse order with Overkill, Vader, God Dethroned and Warbringer. As we have never toured America before, we have no idea what is going to happen. We’ve also been told that bands don’t get treated as well in America as they do in Europe. We have been roughing it for years so that part does not scare us (laughs)!

Every year, Radio Metal employees do a top 10 of the year’s greatest albums. Can you guys think of a quick top 5 of the best albums of 2009?

Matt : Definitely! Mastodon with “Crack The Skye” as number one, secondly Candlemass “Death Magic Doom”, third place is Gama Bomb “Tales From The Grave In Space”, fourth is Kreator “Hordes Of Chaos” and finally… I can’t really say my own (laughs). Alice In Chains, “Blcak Give Way To Blue”! That’s the one! Brilliant album.

Here is the last and stupid question of the interview. KILL FUCK MARRY : Angela Gossow from Arch Enemy, Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil and Amy Lee from Evanescence.

Matt : Oh God this is going to be embarrassing… They are all really attractive but because she was in Evanescence, we kill Amy Lee (laughs). I think I would marry Angela Gossow because she is amazing despite the plastic surgery… i’ve met Cristina Scabbia and she is really nice. Can I fuck Angela and Cristina and marry no one?

Joel : Marry Angela, Fuck Cristina and Kill Amy !

Matt : Yeah, ok me too. (LAUGHS)

Interview by Izzy in january, 2010 in London
EVILE website : www.myspace.com/evileuk

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