Pop Evil – interview with Matt DiRito

Pop Evil - Matt DiRitoPop Evil are currently on tour in the US with Stone Sour and will be breaking their European cherry in support of Five Finger Death Punch in a few weeks. Expect a gig review after the Glasgow show.

For more info, check out the single and tour announcement from last week.

Pop Evil seem to have been doing well for themselves Stateside, but relatively unknown over the Pond… so far! Tell us a little about how the band got started.

The band got started in the early 2000’s by cherry picking different guys from local west Michigan bands. We had all grown up together in the same music scene, but playing in different bands. We decided to joins forces and take the best elements of these different bands and that’s how pop evil was born! We ended up getting regional success in our early days by putting together cover shows mixed with an original set of music, but the delivery and stage show was always what set us apart. We gained the interest of our local radio station, which caused somewhat of a snowball effect. Before we knew it we were traveling the USA with our single being played across the country.

And who would you say are your influences? Musical or otherwise? And, to someone who hadn’t heard you before, how would you describe your sound?

My personal influences are Trent Reznor, Peter Steele, Dimebag Darrel, Marilyn Manson, Nikki Sixx, Salvador Dali, and Dennis Hopper to name a few. If I had to describe our sound (current album Onyx to be specific) I would say it’s a very dark but powerful form of active rock, but with a slight industrial feel.

I interviewed another band from Michigan this week (yes, I know Michigan is a little bigger than Glasgow!) – Battlecross. Just wondering if you guys had ever crossed paths? What’s the music scene like in the Mid West? I gather Detroit still has quite a scene, but you guys are off the other side of the state.

Gumby and the guys from Battlecross are awesome!!! We had the chance to tour together a couple summers ago along with Killswitch Engage and Five Finger Death Punch. The Detroit/Flint scene is definitely more metal and hardcore than the west side of the state, but when we joined forces on tour it was nothing but love. Those guys are incredibly talented and make some fucking sick music.

I think I’m right in saying that this March will be your first trip (as a band!) to Europe? How are you feeling about this?

Yes! We have only ever played one show in Europe, and we also recorded our music videos for this album in Europe. This will be our first official tour. We have always heard from other bands that the European crowds are much more enthusiastic than they are in the states. We have toured long and hard in the states to win over a fan base, and I hope that Europe is as accepting of us as people claim!!! It’s also very exciting to visit different places and see cities that have been around for hundreds of years prior to the USA even being a country.

What can we expect from your live show? Go on – convince us to be there the moment the doors open!

A lot of hair whipping! Hahaha… Well we really enjoy the live show more than anything, and after being couped up in a bus all day our shows can be explosive! We try to do as much as we can with the space we have provided, even if that means bringing our show from the stage down into the crowd.. You will have to see for yourself!

You’ve played with some top drawer acts over the last few years – Judas Priest, Stone Sour currently, Papa Roach (who passed through the UK only a few weeks ago)… Have you had any “starstruck” moments?

Absolutely! I’ve had the chance to play with or meet almost all of my major I fluences, but surprisingly I was the most star struck meeting the band Jackyl. I think it’s because my dad and uncles had always listened to them growing up and the first time playing with them was like a time warp for me. I was immediately put back in my childhood. I even stood in line (after performing with them) to buy a few shirts and have them signed. Since then, we have all become good friends but that first show just blew my mind!

When you started out over 10 years ago was this kind of thing your aim? “We want to tread the same boards as Judas Priest.” Or was it more just for the fun of playing live and seeing where it took you?

I have always dreamed of big stages and sold out crowds, so I am happy to be on the path that we are, but if this weren’t the case I know that I would still be playing music somewhere. It doesnt matter if I were only playing to ten people. It’s in my blood and will always be something that I do.

Onyx is due out over here sometime before summer. It’ll be almost a year since it’s US release by the time you play over here. Are you already conceiving tracks for a sequel or are you a “take a break and focus on writing, not on the road” kind of band?

We are always throwing around riffs and ideas on the road, but we don’t sit down and seriously focus on the songwriting til it gets closer to studio time. If I were to write a song six months from now versus writing a song today, I would have more experience to speak of. I think that a new record should fully encompass the time and experiences since the previous record. It’s almost better to hold off and then look back and reflect. At the same time, it’s still healthy to write while you are in the moment. I suppose it’s a mixture of both!

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April 5, 2014 1:53 PM

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April 10, 2014 10:55 PM

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