Vocalist Leigh Kakaty of Michigan hard rockers POP EVIL was recently interviewed by France's Loud TV. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On the group's new self-titled album:
Leigh: "[There's] a lot more energy on this record. We're super-excited about it. A big part of the new energy is our newest band member, [drummer] Hayley Cramer. She's from England, so she brings over some European flavor to the band, and the energy that she brings is amazing. Kato Khandwala, our producer, did an unbelievable job steering the ship from the producer's chair. The band is rejuvenated, and we're at a place where we really feel like we're really honing in [on] who we are. We got the pop; we got the evil; [and] the influence with all the different things in between. We're doing our part this time to take the best things about POP EVIL and really bring that yin and yang to our sound. I think those pieces were still natural, but they're constantly evolving and constantly changing, and I think being in Nashville and Los Angeles making the new music, it definitely evolved and took this thing to a whole different level. A different kind of confidence is flowing through the band, and we can't wait to take our live show to the next level, putting this new music in there, and putting together what we believe are the missing links to the live experience and giving our fans a better live show."
On whether the album came together quickly:
Leigh: "No. The writing process this time around was a lot longer. We took our time — we took a year to really digest the pre-production, family time to get away from the business a bit and charge our batteries and come together and be real open-minded to trying new things, and being honest — being open to this new lineup. It's the first time being in the studio together, so we had no idea of what we were going to produce and what we were going to make, so it was exciting to have it come together. It was a long process, but I couldn't be happier with how it turned out."
On how the album compares to its predecessors:
Leigh: "I think that the last record, to me and to the band, it was more fun, in a positive way. You've got to look back two records to the 'Onyx' album. I'd lost my father; I was very angry all the time. It was something that I just had to go through, off the stage and on the stage, I guess, in some ways. When we were getting ready to do the last records, I was just tired of being angry. I wanted to have fun again, hence songs like 'Footsteps', 'Take It All'. I just wanted to have fun on stage again, and then gearing up for this record, we really felt like we wanted to get to the point of, before we got a little too far off the beaten path, we wanted to remind people that we are a rock band, and we are influenced by metal, we are influenced by alt, take the pop, create more vibe around it, still keeping our melody, and really putting the emphasis on our evil, and making sure that our heavy sound was ready for the festivals that we play, and the crowd that we play for. We wanted to make sure we were able to have them have their horns up in the sky when they hear this record, and we really feel like we were able to do that this time."
On Khandwala's influence:
Leigh: "Kato made all the difference. He brought us together, making sure we all were there together from the recording process to give our input. In the previous efforts, we'd all been separate, so we could all take time off during the process of recording. It really led to a disconnect with ourselves, with our fans. You'd always hear fans say that they wanted us to sound more like we did live on the records, so we really made sure we listened to what our fans wanted and tried to go back in and challenge ourselves to be different. Kato kind of steered the ship. He's also an Indian-American like myself, and it was awesome to be able to have those talks and discussions with him about some of the insecurities he's had growing up in this business and the things that I was insecure about, and making them become strengths rather than weaknesses. He was a big brother or father or mentor — he was incredible."
POP EVIL will support POISON and CHEAP TRICK on a North American tour that kicks off May 18 in Irvine, California, which Kakaty calls "a fantastic opportunity to bring our live show across the country on the big stage."
"Pop Evil" will be released on February 16 via Entertainment One. The album marks the group's first recording with Cramer, who joined POP EVIL in 2016 following the departure of Josh "Chachi" Marunde. The cover artwork was created by Mike Cortada and can be seen below.