Matt Drake, guitarist and lead vocalist for English thrash metal group Evile.
How was it working on the new Evile album, “Skull”?
We are pretty proud of what we have done with this one, it feels like we’ve made a grown up album. I think we’ve managed to retain what we started doing in the first place, but made a more mature set of songs this time around. The writing was quite slow at first, but as it got closer to the recording deadline, it sped up rather quickly haha. The recording was fun, with Russ Russell again– it’s always great working with Russ, he gets what we do.
What influenced the making of the album “Skull”?
This time around we took a lot more influence from death metal, bands like Entombed and Death were quite inspiring for this one. Of course people are going to listen to it and go, “I don’t hear any death metal, you liars,” but of course, I said “influence,” which doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to sound like that. I’m hugely influenced by Queen, but we don’t sound like that.
Any tours coming soon for Evile?
We have some European festivals over the summer, a few of them we are headlining, which is cool. Then we have four UK headline shows in September, then hopefully we can leave the UK for awhile and head overseas– we are really keen to get to different countries with this album, hopefully these opportunities will arise!
When writing a song, is there such a thing as investing too much time?
Not for us– if anything we don’t invest enough time, we’re pretty last minute with albums. If I didn’t have to work full-time, all I would be doing would be writing music– but life isn’t always that simple. For successful bands, they can do that of course because they do the band for a living– we aren’t successful haha. I can see how you can over-write something though. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best, sometimes it isn’t– you always know what feels right when writing.
What equipment is the band currently endorsing, etc.?
I will always be playing Jackson guitars, until I die! We use EVH 51050 III amplifiers and cabs, Ben plays a Mapex custom kit and uses Paiste cymbals, Joel plays a Peavey bass rig and ESP basses.
Would you say the overall music scene online is getting better with the economy?
The scene will always be healthy whether we have shops or online or not. People will always listen to music, it’s just getting harder for song-writers to earn money from the work that they’ve put in (thanks to downloading, etc.), but I’m personally not too bothered by that. As long as people come to shows and enjoy themselves, then that’s cool.
What were your earliest influences in life?
Queen is a huge influence on me, my dad got me into them when I was REALLY small. From there, I got into Guns N Roses, so Brian May and Slash got me interested in guitar– but it wasn’t until I got into Metallica that I really wanted to be a guitarist. I don’t have the skills to be an amazing lead guitarist, but I saw what Hetfield does and wanted to do that. I thought that was for me.
What could we find interesting in your music collection at home?
It’s a pretty bizarre mix of stuff. You could flick through my iPod and find Entombed, then Fleetwood Mac, then Daft Punk, then Mussorgsky, then the Jaws score, Alice in Chains, Wishbone Ash, Uriah Heep, Morbid Angel, BB King, Cypress Hill– there’s even some Sheryl Crow in there!
Could you describe what goes on in a day in your life as a musician on tour?
For me, wake up in a travel lodge, sit down for a bit, buy a really cheap breakfast and eat it while sitting down, drive while sitting down again, get inside venue, load gear in, set gear up, go sit down again, stay sitting down, do a few interviews while sitting down, make a sandwich from the rider, eat it while sitting down, warm up guitar, sit down for a bit, warm up vocals, get changed, play gig, pack gear, load gear out, sit down, drive to travel lodge, sit down. There’s a lot of sitting down involved. I also might occasionally treat myself to a Snickers.
Where do you see music in 100 years from now?
I think it will be pretty much the same. Look at the past 30 years, most things that are popular now have all been done before. It will keep coming around in cycles, it WILL NEVER END. But I doubt we will see another music video like Sabrina’s “Boys Boys Boys” any time soon.