This month, Michigan’s Pop Evil will release its fourth studio album, Up. It is the first time since the band debuted that the quintet has been this solidified and confident in its sound and future. The success of the band’s previous two records, 2011’s War of Angels and 2013’s Onyx, both yielded handfuls of radio hits, cementing them as one of today’s premier heavy rock acts. With that knowledge in their pocket, Pop Evil moved outside of its comfort zone, recording in Seattle rather than Chicago, and utilizing a new producer, Adam Kasper (Foo Fighters, Nirvana. Soundgarden) rather than their previous partner-in-crime, Johnny K (Megadeth, Disturbed, Machine Head) who helmed their most successful records.
Pop Evil was born in 2001, the child of frontman Leigh Kakaty and guitarist Dave Grahs. Bassist Matt DiRito joined early on, and drummer Josh “Chachi Riot” Marunde and guitarist Nick Fuelling joined before the recording of the band’s highly successful Onyx record. The new record, Up, marks the first time the band has made two albums with the same line-up, and it reflects in the confidence and growth of the new music. This week, Metalholic caught up with Leigh Kakaty as part of a pre-release tour to get the band ready for the long road in support of the new record which releases August 21, through E1 Music.
After the dark soundscape of Onyx, Pop Evil has recorded a, no less heavy, but certainly a more positive set of new songs with Up. Kakaty, who feels Up is Pop Evil’s best record to date, talks about the new album:
“I feel like this one’s just better. I mean we’re better studio musicians now. Something about being out west in Seattle really rubbed off on us. We took the sound that has developed on the last two records and given it steroids in a way on this record, and we were able to experiment in different ways than we’ve been able to do in the past. It’s been a nice kind of progression to see how the band’s grown.”
The band recorded its previous to records with the renowned producer Johnny K at Groovemaster Studios in Chicago. Kakaty reveals why the band opted to go a different direction with Up.
“We wanted something different. Obviously Johnny’s changed our life. He’s amazing. He’s like a big brother to me. But there’s just something about Chicago that we felt could really disrupt this next record. Right off the bat we knew we wanted to get out of Chicago. With the success that we had with Johnny K we were adamant about not getting complacent and just counting on that to regurgitate the same success. We wanted to challenge ourselves and our fan base to continue to evolve our sound. To do that, we had to go into some unfamiliar territory. And obviously when you get a chance to work with Adam Kasper, you’ve got to take it. And what he’s done for the band, especially on this record—it speaks for itself when you get a chance to hear the record.”
Pop Evil has already released the first single, “Footsteps”, which is the band’s fastest charting single to date. The band also recently posted the new track, “In Disarray” which has something of the ’90s Seattle vibe, the band grew up on. It is new territory for the band’s sound, and more reason to be excited about the future of Pop Evil. Catch Pop Evil on tour this summer and pre-order your copy of Up, now. Check out the full interview below: