September 4, 2008
THE HUNGER INSIDE- Leigh Kakaty of POP EVIL
Talks to All Access Magazine
By The Atomic Chaser and The Rocker
2008 is shaping up to be a very promising year for Pop Evil, which has steadily built a grassroots following, since forming in November of 2001. Leigh Kakaty (lead vocals), Dave Grahs (Guitar), and Dylan Allison formed the early stages of the band in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They recently signed to upstart record label Pazzo Music, run by 25 year music veterans George Cappellini and Charlie Brusco.
After continually playing shows throughout the Midwest, Pop Evil decided to go into the studio with Al Sutton (Kid Rock, 5HJ) to record. In 2005, the band released their first EP entitled “Ready or Not.” Already having sold over 12,000 copies throughout the Mid West, the band is ready to release their upcoming debut album. Leigh claims that “It is amazing to see the level of support that we now receive in areas other than our home town (Grand Rapids). Everywhere we go, fans know the words to our songs. It feels really good to see people relating to and embracing the music that we have created.”
In the fall of 2006, their song “Somebody Like You” hit the radio waves and currently has over 1200 total media base spins on the most popular rock station in the area, 97.9 WGRD, and is currently the 1 most requested song in the city of Grand Rapids. Dave Grahs recently indicated, “From the beginning it meant a lot to see our friends embrace what we were doing, but it didn’t really set in just how much our local market stood behind us. Until I was driving down the road and heard our single (Somebody Like You).
In 2007, the band recruited Muskegon natives Tony Greve (Guitar) and Matt DiRito to help compliment the band’s sound and stage show. Soon after, the band teamed up with Al Sutton, and Marlon Young (Kid Rock), to help lay the foundation for their new album 'Lipstick on the Mirror'. The first single “Hero” is currently charted at the Rock format. With so much momentum, the band is excited about touring throughout Michigan and is looking to book dates throughout the United States. We caught up with Pop Evil's front man, Leigh Kakaty to talk about the band's major debut release and other goodies. Here is what he shared with us.
AAM: Let's talk about, 'Lipstick On The Mirror', how long did it take for you guys to record?
Leigh Kakaty: 'Lipstick On The Mirror', was a three year process. It started out as an EP and then it turned into an album. But when we knew it was going to be an album, it took us a year to finish.
AAM: How many songs did you actually write for the album?
LK: We did ten songs and I thought that was enough, but then our manager said we needed three more. I said, “Three more!” (laughs).
AAM: How long have you guys been together as a band?
LK: We've been together eight years as a band. We started off as a four piece. Since 2007 we had a different bass player and added another guitar player. We wanted to get some younger guys to give the band a lift.
AAM: Who are you musical influences?
LK: We have so many influences, but in a nutshell. We love Rage Against The Machine, Pantera, Pearl Jam and of course being from Michigan, Kid Rock. We love entertainers and Kid Rock is one of the biggest.
AAM: Now that your rock and roll dreams are starting to happen is it all you hoped it to be?
LK: Our band name is not really a name it's a lifestyle. It's been an uphill battle for us until recently. I've been doing this for eight years and every now then I would think, when am I going to get a break.
AAM: What is one of the advantages for you as a band being on an independent label?
LK: One of the advantages of being independent with a smaller label is we can get more of a priority. There are pros and cons, you would always want to get that major deal nowadays. That is not always a good thing. We stay grounded and at the end of the day. The most important thing to us as a band is that we own our masters and that is the biggest thing we care about. We have creative control.
AAM: What separates Pop Evil from the other bands that are coming out now?
LK: What separates Pop Evil from the other bands out there right now is, with all due respect to the other bands out there. But as band we have a different kind of working mentality. I went to school on a basketball scholarship and I tore my knee up. So I look at our band with team mentality. We are a team and we have a structured system that if the wheels fall off, we're still musicians.
AAM: Does that mentality shine through when you guys hit the stage?
LK: Our band doesn't like to watch bands that, what I call, "masturbate on their instruments". I don't want to see that. I want to see a band perform their songs. I want that band to prove to me that they believe in their music. Anyone can play an instrument, but can they put on a show?
AAM: Internet, advantage or disadvantage for bands today?
LK: I think it's an advantage in a lot of ways. It’s a direct link to your fans on a daily basis. When I was growing up a Pearl Jam fan, I could only do things through their fan club. It was like, 'Dude, I don't want to talk to three other people that are just in their fan club, I want to talk to the band.'. For us, Myspace is a direct link to our fans, each of us read our page daily and stay in touch with our fans. It keeps us motivated. When you don't have platinum all over your wall, it’s those comments daily that keep you motivated to write, keep you motivated when you are playing for nobody or playing for free that there are people out there listening. It's that motivation that the Giants had when no one gave them a chance against the Patriots. Talk about the underdog. It's that kind of feedback that really gives you that confidence to believe that you are king of the world without being arrogant about it. It makes us strong and independent musicians.
AAM: Do you guys see yourselves headlining your own tours soon?
LK: We'd love to headline, but we understand we have to pay our dues. We just did this show with Hurt and Candlebox, those guys have been around so they get to headline and we understand that. We call it eating humble pie, we don't want to go from point A to point B, without going through the other letters. We want to experience rock and roll, whether we're playing to a handful of people in a bar or as a supporting act playing in a big arena. We want to experience it all.
AAM: What about touring overseas?
LK: There are plans in regards to touring overseas, but to be honest we want to concentrate on getting the album out first. We shoot our video for "Hero" in August. We want to keep pushing and trust our management to do the right things for us. Hitting one city, one fan at a time to spread that Pop Evil message.
AAM: Will you guys be releasing a video for your first single, "Hero"?
LK: We do have a concept for the video for "Hero", but I don't know want to give too much away. We are shooting the video in Grand Rapids because that is where we're from. I will say that if we pull it off like we know we can the fans will love it! It's going to have that 'Sin City' comic book vibe to it.
AAM: Are you satisfied with the response you are getting from you fans and from people who've checked out your Myspace page?
LK: You know guys, I see it everyday, it’s insane and overwhelming! I really don't know what to say. It's like if you're dream girl came up to you everyday and said, 'You're so hot, you're so hot!' everyday. That’s how I feel about the response we are getting from people that have heard the track on our Myspace page. I am blown away, we all are.
AAM: For someone who’s never heard or seen Pop Evil, how would you describe your band to them?
LK: Man, I would tell them, you are going to see five guys that don't look like they should be near each other. But when they come together, you will see five guys that look they were meant to be together. A Pop Evil show is like going to a Guns 'N' Roses show. You never know what you're going to get at our show. Each show is going to rock that is for sure, but the experience will be different with each show. We don't have the budget for pyro or stuff like that, so what you are going to see is five guys playing their instruments like there is no tomorrow. You will see bust our asses 100 percent each and every night. That is what you will get and what you will experience when you come see Pop Evil.
AAM: Leigh, we are really excited about Pop Evil, we wish all the best!
LK: I truly appreciate that, guys. That means a lot to me. To hear you guys and our other fans say how much they dig our music is special. I know it gives us motivation to keep pushing on. There is no platinum on our walls just yet. We understand, before we are going to get big, we have to start somewhere.
The Rocker and I along with All Access Magazine would like to Thank Leigh Kakaty of POP EVIL for taking the time to talk with us.
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