Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Evilis - The Cult of Youth

This is long and for those that just want music there is a link at the end. The pic below has nothing to do with the interview but is a cool lego version of the 1989 Unknown Rebel Tainanmen square photo.

I found this CD in the sale bin at Real Groovy Records in Wellington. Listening to it I was reminded of the funk metal bands who took there inspiration from Faith No More, Jane's Addiction and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper that arose after the New Zealand 80's speed metal scene seemed to die. Bands arose in Auckland with names like Semi-Lemon Kola, Deep Sea Racing Mullets and members of Auckland speed metal band Anigma formed Rumblefish. I can't remember hearing Rumblefish however at one point I did own an Anigma tape which came with a tacky badge and all I remember about it now was that the band covered Fear's More Beer. Anigma supported Metallica during their And Justice For All and it's possible this went to their heads as months later they played a show and the entire band wore Metallica backstage passes and the editor of New Zealand thrash metal zine AAARRGGHHH!!, which was then advertised on Sunday music TV show CV's real metal segment, tried to get an interview with them but they never got back to him and he implied it was due to their rock star attitudes. In the issue that could have had an Anigma interview there were interviews with Wellington speed metal band Shihad and New Plymouth band Das Unter Mensch who later became Tension.

I dug up this mid 90's interview from Auckland 'zine Intravene.

Intravene spoke to the fastest rising band in N.Z. at the moment and got the low down on all the hype.

Enlighten us on the formation of Evilis?

Richard: I suppose we started about 3 or 4 months ago, when I met Dave, when Future Stupid were doing a gig at the Powerstation with Supergroove and we talked about having a jam with Simon from Culture Stone. We wrote some songs and went in and recorded them. We had no singer and were looking everywhere for a vocalist. I can remember thinking that whoever is really wicked is probably right under our noses. Then Dee popped up and did some awesome vocals as well as Dominic Taylor from Repeater and Colony. I'd been doing my own stuff in bands and thought I'd put together one band comprised of bands I liked.
Dee: Richard essentially took the best components from each band.

How is it that Evilis is going to avoid all the usual traps that befall a fledging band?

Simon: Because we have all been through it before and know where the bullshit is. We know what to do and how to deal with shit when it does happen.
Richard: Our motto is kill everything that moves.
Dee: And if you think small time you shall remain small time. The emphasis is definitely on larger than life, because nobody else is going to do it. Everybody seems afraid to step out there and be full on, not only in the musical aspect but in terms of stageshow. We'll go the whole ten yards and we don't even shoot up, man.

Your profile is fast growing in Auckland, through stickers, T-shirts, posters etc. How long before the rest of New Zealand gets some aural taste?

Simon: Most of the time when you hear an American band the first thing you hear is their recorded music and you get into that. Then when they come over to play you immediately like and love them because you know the songs. Buy when you're a live band starting off you have to make the audience like your songs and you run up against great amounts of indifference.
Richard: We are getting high rotation of Bfm at the moment so a lot of people know what it is now and know our sound We have been receiving a lot of positive feedback. A lot of people may not know what Evilis is but they're soon fucking gonna. We just believe in promoting ourselves, that's why we've done posters, stickers t-shirts etc even if they don't know what it is, when they see the band they are going to connect with it instantly. We believe in what we are doing and this is how we will continue.
Dee: Because it's Evilis 24 hours a day/ We've just walked in and staked our little patch of Auckland.
Richard: Raping Auckland city (laughter)

What is it, do you think, that makes you any more special than the bands already out there doing it?

Dee: We've got a certain amount of pedigree to begin with. I think everybody brings a distinct element to the band. It's all about identity, a character and not listening to what's filtering down from the States. Not getting caught up in the music for the moment and pursuing something that is timeless and will last 5-10 years down the line.
Richard: We don't think that we are more special than other bands. I think it's more in the way we approach it. It's how you put your product together and market it, a certain degree of entrepreneurial skills. We're going for the big rock sound. We're doing a lot of stuff that's along the lines of the Judgement Night LP with heavy guitars and Boo Ya Tribe style rapping as well as the big rock sound with tunes and good songs.
Simon: I'd say it's a cross between Black Sabbath, The Cult, Black Flag and The Beatles. We have a very gothic edge as well.
Dee: It's like David Bowie or Peter Murphy singing for a very evil Kiss (laughter)
Richard: It's like Bad Brains or Type O Negative. (laughter) I get told it's like David Bowie and Faith No More by the same person, it's really varied. But nothing's contrived, every member just turns it up and that's how it sounds. When I first heard our EP I was kind of freaked out how it came out, it wasn't what I expected from the Toxic Avengers. But I love it now and that's how it works best and I'm not gonna try and change it. We've got a lot of respect for each other.

How much of a priority is Evilis over the other bands?

Simon: Well as you know we all come from other bands. It's a lot of fun for me playing in other bands and I get so much fun out of playing with other musicians. Most of the time it works out and we don't see it as much of a problem at all.
Richard: As for me, since I'm not any other bands and I put this one together I'm fucking proud to be working with these guys. Dave is in another wicked band, Future Stupid, who are happening at the moment. Simon is great too and Dee's in his other bands as well. But what they do is none of my business as long as they turn up to practices and the studio and we all do our jobs like professionals. If that's what is happening then that's great and as far as I'm concerened what they do in their spare time is none of my business.
Dee: Nobody would be in Evilis if we couldn't give 100 percent. Tell me another band that is moving as fast as we are, two EPs recorded six weeks released in November, the other early '96, it's daunting but satisfying.

Where was Cult of Youth recorded and tell us about the process?

Richard: York St B in Shortland St and vocals mixed in York Street A. We did pre production on 4 track and just went in and did it. But like I said we didn't know who was going to sing. We asked people out of bands in Auckland but they weren't into doing it, so we went ahead anyway. We just thought someone would come along and do some bitchin' fuckin' vocals and they did. Dominic Taylor showed up and did the rap stuff in an hour and got it all down.
Simon: Then we met Dee here and he did the other stuff and it was fucking amazing. All I knew was that we were doing this recording, then I turn up and hear this completely awesome voice singing along with it. I was blown away.
Richard: I was surprised. I was used to the hardcore punk scene and screechy punk lyrics and then I heard actual singing (which was what we wanted and heaps of people audition too) we knew we had a singer.
Dominic: Personally I thought Evilis could have done with someone who knew how to construct a song that was right for the music and give character and a touch of class to the song not someone just howling for the sake of it. They needed a vocal presence and style that along with their own abilities was gonna set them apart and take Evilis a lot further than any of their other bands....that's me.
Richard: The first EP I really love, but since then we've done the second one up at York St A and the recording is just superior. It's really focused and if you play them one after another you can hear this big jump and it's only six weeks later. Our sound really came together. Nick Abbot recorded both EPs for us and he's fucking good.
Simon: He's one person we can totally respect and trust. When we went to York St B it was more like who's this guy, I'm not sure we can trust him but he proved himself tenfold.
Richard: Nick is very much part of the band as any member here. He stays up all night long and the second time we came in we just clicked. He put his heart and soul into it and we appreciate that. It's a two way respect.

What can we expect for live performances?

Simon: Every thing that we are, we're just gonna go off. The whole band revolves around that whole live ethic trying to do the best you can, but you'll have to wait and see.
Richard: With members hailing from Toxic Avengers, Future Stupid and Rumblefish, you can guess what it's going to be like.

Favourite New Zealand band?
Everybody: The Chills, Split Enz, Supergroove, Solid Gold Hell, Scavengers, Shihad, Hieronymoush Bosch, Semi Lemon Kola, Supergroove. They're fucking great and we take our cues from that.

Opinions of the Auckland scene?

Dee: It's too cliquey and so goddamn fickle, plus everybody's in their own bands and really trying to appeal(in the inner city) to people who aren't going to get into you because they're peddling their own shtick. There's a backlash against Auckland bands down the country, but I think Evilis will base its self around the country before it will hit Auckland firmly in the backbone.
Simon: The live situation in Auckland is really dire. There haven't been any decents venues in Auckland for a long while. It's really stifling but we'll work our away around it.
Richard: I find the scene different to when I was in New Plymouth, it is a small town and my band and all the bands pulled together and supported each other and toured and gigged together. Whereas I find Auckland really cliquey, like Dee said, and people are threatened by what everybody else is doing. They don't want to get in there and hang out together and help each other out. I don't want to make decisions based on fear in Evilis...fear is fucked. I get in there and try to support any other musicians I can and support all the other guys bands like Think Tank, Future Stupid, Dirge and Canis, cause they are all good bands and they are all good at what they do.

Is credibility a priority in what you do?

Dee: For me yes, in may respects. It's very blatant that we play unabandoned four on the floor rock, but we do it better and with more character than anybody else.
Simon: That were cred comes from, from believing in yourself. We are all pretty old, we're in our mid-20's and all the cliquey stuff just sort of washes over us. I think we just had to believe in ourselves instead of worrying.
Richard: I find it a lot like the tall poppy syndrome. When you put yourself out there you are always going to be the first in line for a smack in the head and a lot of bands don't want to say 'hey, we're fuckin' wicked'. But I believe in what we do, that it is a good product, the Evilis concept, the music, the image and everything that goes with it. There's a lot of great bands around Auckland and people just have to get out there and say 'hey, man, this is what we're doing...and step out. Put their heads under the knife and prepare for the chop, cause that doesn't necessarily mean you're gonna get it.

How do you see the music industry?

Simon: It's gotten a lot better, the chances are tenfold compared to when I was in Anigma.
Richard: The industry tends to stay away from things that are big and nasty. Head Like A Hole and Shihad have really opened some doors for band in N.Z. I've seen it with Sticky Filth. I've seen them on stage many times and they're fucking awesome and they have no support. The only support they've had has been from Brian Wafer and he does have enough money to do what is needed to be done. People were afraid to touch it and that's why Shihad, HLAH and Supergroove doing what they've done inspires me. Anyone can do that if they put in the work and put in the money and effort and we're just hoping that someone likes what we do and helps us out with a bit of cash.

Last comments?

Dee: Stay focused.

Here is Cult of Youth


Anything for now
Grip The Bars
No Longer Silent
Hold the kill
Cult of Youth

Simon along with fellow Anigma/Rumblefish ex-member Dave Goodison was in the punk band City Newton Bombers who split just a weeks ago.


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Anonymous said...

Hello everybody,

What online mags do you read and would recommend?

For all you punk people out there I recommend The Enough Fanzine. It is one of the first hardcore zines on the internet.

They have throusands of reviews from the most underground bands all over the world. Check them out online: [url=]Enough Fanzine[/url]. Best of it all, they are 100% non-profit and just helping the scene!

Looking forward to your recommendations.


Anonymous said...

Just keep doing good stuff.

Pym said...

Hey..I remember this interview - and I still have an Intravene interview with (vocalist Dee's band) Think Tank, plus their mini-album 'Under Glass' from '95. Let me know if you'd like to use any of this stuff.

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