Interview: Leigh Kakaty of POP EVIL
Five albums into Pop Evil’s career, combining strong hooks with knockout punches is more important than ever. The band’s new record, simply called Pop Evil, is a surging, contemporary sounding release that incorporates metal, alternative, hard rock and even electronic music. In the wake of the band’s peppy, upbeat 2015 album Up, it’s a wake-up call, a musical rebirth that inspired the band to self-title the release, partially since they’d never done so. Their first album, Lipstick on the Mirror came out in 2008, and while it introduced listeners to the band’s core sound with well-received singles like “Hero” and “100 in a 55,” Pop Evil has grown exponentially since then. Pop Evil are on the uprise and are quickly becoming one of the biggest names in modern rock music. We were lucky enough to speak with vocalist of the band, Leigh Kakaty about their new album and plenty more.
Thanks for chatting with us today Leigh, hope all is well. Your self titled album has been out for almost a month now, how's the response been so far?
It's been an overwhelming response thus far, we couldn't be happier man. It's definitely humbling to see how fast our fans have taken on to it, now we just keep pushing and doing one show at a time.
Was the goal for this album to make a representation of what the Pop Evil sound embodies?
Correct. You know, we just want to make sure that we can just keep reiterating our identity and keep going with the yin and yang sound, that blend of rock and metal and alternative music.
A lot of bands that release self titled albums, usually they go on to become one of their biggest records, do you think this will happen for you guys?
You know, obviously that would be awesome but we aren't super stressed on that stuff, we just know where the hard work begins and where it ends. We just have to keep going and keep killing it with our live shows, we're all about working hard and pushing it to the limit. There aren't really any lightning in a bottle moments with this sort of format, it's just hard work and a lot of grind, a lot of blue collar mentality, one day at a time.
How would you say the Pop Evil sound has evolved over the past couple of releases to where we are at now in 2018?
Yeah it's definitely evolved, I think with this record we were so focused on making sure that the "Evil" was represented. We felt like on the past records, especially on the last one, because the third album was our most successful, it had a few number ones on it, but it was a very dark album, it was written when I had lost my father. So with the last record I just wanted more light in my life, you know? I was so sick of all the darkness and just being down and all of the negativity, I just really wanted some positive stuff in our songs, which kind of triggered that. I think that now moving forward as we prepared for this record, it was now so important to bring the back that perfect blend of our heavy and our positive music, but we still try and define our music with positive messages. We challenge our fans to be better and we try to strive to be better people both on and off the stage.
You've said that the name Pop Evil has a meaning and you just sort of explained it then, you love catchy hard rock songs with melody and you also love dirty and loud metal music. Which rock band has inspired you most and what metal band could you say the same about?
Oh man, I think they've all kind of inspired us at one time or another. Depending on what band member you're talking to, I don't know if it's so much a band anymore but to be honest our fans usually inspire us the most these days. We're constantly a band that wants our fans to be involved, we don't like going to those shows where they just kind of sit there in chairs and hum along, we want our fans to jump up on their seat and go insane. Raising their hands to the sky, clapping and jumping around, singing, I mean that's really our inspiration these days, what is going to be the quickest and easiest way for our fans to be involved. People's lives now are more busier than ever, they have so many things that they can look at, social media, whether they're on their cell phones or on their televisions, time is money these days and often we don't get a lot of time to have that window, so when we get it we try and make the catchiest hooks and the catchiest choruses that we can. We just want people to have fun and enjoy our music.
Lyrically, what sort of subjects did you tackle on this new album?
A lot of them. The big thing for the lyrics on this record was just positivity, whether it was a heavy song or an aggressive song, the influence of positivity in our lives is very important. As you get a little bit older you get get a little bit wiser, we want people to have fun at the end of the day. This is music man and sometimes music saves lives, more than even doctors, so it's so important to us to stay positive and whether we were just taking our anger out on an aggressive song or whether we would just slow it down a little bit and focus more on the groove, all those messages of positivity are all over this record.
Of course I have to ask, when can we expect Pop Evil in Australia for a tour?
There are definitely plans, it's been a life long goal for me personally and the other band members to get to Australia and New Zealand, we'd love to come over there. We thought it was going to happen with the last record, but for some reason it didn't happen, so it is definitely priority number one to get your way. We've got a lot of press coming in now, from Australia especially, so that's exciting and hopefully it leads to a tour very soon.
Written by Steve Jenkins
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR "COLORS BLEED" BELOW:
Pop Evil's Self Titled album is out now! Download or stream HERE.