POP EVIL vocalist Leigh Kakaty recently spoke with Australia's Keen Eye 4 Concerts. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his philosophy toward performing live:
Leigh: "I think time is money nowadays. People don't have time to waste — they want to be entertained; they want to experience something. How more to experience something than at a rock 'n' roll show? When I think about the old-school rock 'n' roll shows I grew up going to, it was always about being entertained, and just being in awe of the fact that, 'I want to do what those guys do,' or 'I have a release — I'm stressed in life, I got to see my favorite band. I feel good — life is good again.' It is all about the experience. We write a lot of songs that are anthemic and become a part of people's lives. It's all about our crowd becoming involved and singing back with us as one. Together, we're stronger – united as a family – and that rock n' roll brotherhood/sisterhood is something that is very real and powerful."
On how the band prepares for its concerts:
Leigh: "We just try to be ourselves, number one. When you do that — when you be natural and you be honest with the fans — that's what they want the most. We're very raw and energetic, and I think that's kind of been our claim to fame. That's how we rose to the success we have, and to be able to do that — be energetic, be energized — is something that I think has really resonated with our fan base. That's important to us. To have that energy, and to be able to have those songs that lift you up, bring you back down, pull you through one way, pull you back the other way, that's what a great concert has always been to us. Whenever you can have those songs that are very relatable to life experience, that can make all the difference. It's always about songs and music that can bring a positive influence to people's lives... we try to take on that responsibility to write as good of songs as we can, to be positive and to send a positive message to our fan base and let them know that they're not alone when they listen to these songs, and together, they can be motivated to be better."
On the band's 2018 self-titled album:
Leigh: "It's a big record for us. We feel like we self-titled it for a reason. It felt like we almost arrived, in a way. It feels like our first record in the fact that it's a brand new lineup, [and] we feel like we know who we are off the stage more than we ever have, so now, we can be better on the stage together. That unity was a special thing we hadn't really experienced on the first four records... I just think writing this record, always being open-minded to be experimental, trying new things, but always being influenced by metal and rock... there's old NINE INCH NAILS in there, there's RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, there's tons of different influences. I think the most common question for any band is, 'Who influenced you when you were growing up?' You don't even need to answer that question — just listen to our record, and you can find out for yourself what the influences are."
On the need to inspire the next generation of rock fans:
Leigh: "Rather than me to just say, 'Oh, I like METALLICA and PANTERA' — yeah, join the club. Who doesn't? We all love those bands. It's important about bands of the future, bands [of] now. We need more opportunities for youth. METALLICA and those bands were our influences. What about our kids' influences? I don't want them to just be METALLICA. They've got to have other role models, and if we don't make opportunities for other bands — especially rock and metal bands on the come-up — then who's going to be there for our kids in the future? If we want this genre that we know and love to grow, we have to embrace this — and it's not just about POP EVIL. Who cares about that? I'm talking about, we need to create a platform for other rock and metal artists to be celebrated and respected, so youth can pick up instruments rather than keyboards and laptops."
On his background:
Leigh: "I'm a mixed guy in a rock n' roll world. I was always never white enough to rock and never black enough to hip-hop. It was kind of like, 'Where do I fit in here?' I grew up in a state that was dominated by Kid Rock and Eminem, so it was the yin and yang of rock and hip-hop. I was thrown in the middle of that. I was once asked, 'How big of an influence is Michigan on your career?' I said, 'It's everything.' You put me in any other state, maybe I'm not even in a band. In Michigan, it's cold in the winter, so people are basically trapped inside for five, six months of the year, so there's nothing to do but listen to music. When I was young, all I would do was listen to music and what my buddies would listen to, and my buddies would listen to Bob Seger, MC5, Kid Rock, Motown. It's Michigan — Detroit Rock City. We'd listen to KISS. Everyone was coming with these different influences from all angles, and when you really listen to POP EVIL and POP EVIL records, you see that yin and yang."
On what the band learned from touring with POISON and CHEAP TRICK:
Leigh: "TV and the TV world and [the] mainstream world doesn't really embrace rock the same way as it once did, so you have to be very open-minded to creating more opportunities to be seen by fans who may not be listening to your music. If you can do that and get them to say, 'I don't really like this music, but I really like POP EVIL,' that's half the battle. You're able to do some little wins, and hopefully make this a little more beneficial opportunity for your band to grow and create more young [fans]. If you can create that — people that are young, listening to your band — then you can create longevity, like all these bands that have been around for thirty-plus years... If you can create those opportunities to be relevant with the youth, you can create a lengthy career, and having toured with some of these great classic rock bands, that's the lesson they've all taught us. It's important to try to learn from these bands that have been successful in the past so we can be creative and open-minded to how to survive in the future."
POP EVIL's self-titled fifth album was released in February 2018 via eOne.