Interview with
Ol Drake
Interview by:
Carlos Rodríguez
December, 2007

Some gave thrash metal a deceased date a couple of years ago, but for those paying enough attention the movement remained alive and well, just away from the main stream metal media; and this pas 2007 it demanded attention one more time, thanks to a huge amount of new comers and veterans releasing some amazing material, one of the “rookies” that help the genre re-surface was this UK band, Evile.

With a definite old school Bay Area sound, these bunch of crazy Brits made us all remember just how good Metallica was in their beginnings, and how good could have they been if their inspiration haven’t abandon them; but enough of past glories, because now is time for Evile to lead and dust out a non at all dying genre, but in need of a new generation of fans that are tried of the same merchandising, emo looking music which the media has flooded their minds with.

Line Up

Matt Drake - vocals, rhythm guitar | Ol Drake - lead guitar | Mike Alexander - bass | Ben Carter - drums

Pic courtesy of: Rockphotographer
"I was roped in by the Brazilian side of Thrash. Sepultura!! I was just amazed with the power and energy in the music. It was the musical equivalent of aggression to me"
Hey man how are you? Thanks for the opportunity!
Ol Drake:
I'm not bad! hope all is well with you! no problem. Blench.

"Enter The Grave" your debut album has received some pretty good reviews around the world as I can see, well disserved really, why don't we start by you introducing this record to those living under a rock!
Ol Drake:
Enter the Grave is the debut album by us UK Thrashers, Evile. The album was produced by Flemming Rasmussen, responsible for creating Metallica's Lightning and Puppets to mention a few. The album is out now worldwide on Earache Records. If you're after an old school Thrash sound, it is 10 tracks of un-compromising Thrash Attacks! ...or something!

What do you think “attracted” you guys to listen and play this sort of thrash metal style, this Bay area approach instead of the European way of playing thrash, you know the whole Destruction, Kreator German school of thrash, do you think there is a difference between those two “schools”?
Ol Drake:
Personally, I was roped in by the Brazilian side of Thrash. Sepultura!! I was just amazed with the power and energy in the music. It was the musical equivalent of aggression to me, but it was also intricate and impressive. I was just hooked. We have very mixed influences, including the many 'schools' of Thrash. I do think there are differences, but it varies between bands. The German side of Thrash was and is very guttural and straight down the line Thrash. Very to the point. Not to say it isn't great, but you can recognize the German thrash straight away; (Destruction, Sodom etc). The Bay area/USA side of Thrash to me was a lot more musical. Testament for example had the aggression and kick of thrash, but brought a lot more melody and virtuosity into the music. That really attracted me to playing guitar and thrash.

Evile has quite a busy Christmas this year, a couple of shows before the years end; you guys recently played with Machine Head, did you had any expectations coming up to this show or did you guys had already played with them?
Ol Drake:
It was our first time meeting, seeing and playing with Machine Head. Our expectations were high, as they have a great reputation in the biz (at least as far as I know). We knew they'd be tight as hell and would be on the ball 100%, which they were. Excellent live band. Robb was a really nice guy. He came out of his way to come and thank us for supporting. He's really up on the whole new 'revival' Thrash scene, which surprised me. Had a really cool time!

The way Evile started out is a very common tale among metal musicians, it all started out just so you could play some songs from your favorite bands and it just grew up from there. Why do you think this “tale” is so repetitive among metal fans, why do you think metal fans seem to be more eager than let¹s say pop fans or folk fans to actually get involved in the music that they like to listen?
Ol Drake:
I'm not sure. I think you can start a Metal band wherever and whenever you want. You can play any shitty little pub/club and there'll be some metallers there. I'm no expert on pop/r'n'b music (other than Rihanna being hot), so I don't know how you develop into the scene that way, but I’ve never seen any "un-signed pop acts" at local venues. I'm really not sure! I'll have to quit and pursue a pop career to answer that. Hmmm.........

Earache seems to be betting hard on thrash this days, Municipal Waste and you guys are two of the bands they have been promoting very extensive (hell they even send me here in Costa Rica both albums!) have all this promotion open your eyes to the magnitude that metal has this days around the world? Any plans for Evile and Municipal Waste to go out on a long tour?
Ol Drake:
I've always known Metal's magnitude. It's just somehow covered up in the public eye. I was surprised at the amount of promotion Earache put into us, we were always used to playing at venues who didn't advertise the gig at all, and 4 people would turn up, and we'd just get used to it.
To have all these people knowing who we are is just bizarre to us. Metal really seems to be becoming more widely acceptable. There was Nu-Metal and all that BOLLOCKS but it at least opened windows for younger people to not just conform to the normal order of Kylie Minogue’s. I can see us playing with Muni Waste again, not sure about a tour, but it'd be awesome! Great band and great guys. Unless they party themselves to death that is…

You guys were, before Evile a Metallica cover band right? What did you learn from playing another band’s music? What were you called and for how long did you played only covers?
Ol Drake:
I'm so glad we did the covers band thing. We learnt everything about being in a metal band from it. Life on the road, live shows etc. It opened our eyes to the different life style. Someone could be asked what their job is "Oh I work at a bank" and we could then answer "Oh I play noise at people and sleep on guitar cabs in a van. I don't get paid for it either!". Generally it doesn't sound normal, so I'm glad we got into it. THRASSHSHH!H!!!!

Was it hard to work with Flemming Rasmussen! Which of his suggestions was the one that you guys didn¹t expect; I mean did he came in and everything was fine with the songs or did he pick some tracks for “Enter the Grave” that you guys didn’t really think were that good, at least for a debut album?
Ol Drake:
It was brilliant working with Flemming. I've said it countless times before but he's just a really nice, friendly guy. There wasn't much he wanted to change with the songs; he loved them as they were. I think there were maybe 2 or 3 things he wanted to change/get rid of. If Flemming Rasmussen tells you to do something, you do it. So we did. Our choice of songs for the album was pretty much the same as Flemming's. So there wasn't much discussion with that!

Pic courtesy of: Rockphotographer
"I think you can start a Metal band wherever and whenever you want. You can play any shitty little pub/club and there'll be some metallers there"

90% of the reviews that I have read loved the album, some call it “the real revival of thrash” and just a few complain that the album in nothing more than a collection of riffs from great thrash legends; does it bother you at all that some people actually hear "Enter The Grave" and all they can think about is plagiarism?
Ol Drake:
Nah. I don't blame them. After all we're playing a style of music that has already been done, and is still being done. I don't think people realize, but we're not TRYING to be original. We Love Thrash Metal and we love playing Thrash Metal. That's it. We're not trying to re-invent it or anything. Progressions from Thrash has already happened; Death Metal for example. A lot of people are closed minded though; they cling to the old Thrash masters regardless of newer bands' potential/talent. What will they do when Slayer quit? Will they suddenly stop loving Thrash? To me that would mean their "love" for Thrash wasn't pure in the first place.

What do you think "Enter The Grave" has that have made most of the “metal press” fall in love with you guys and your music? (in a non gay way off course!!)
Ol Drake:
Aw, you robbed me of my gay joke. I'm not sure. All I can say is; the album was created with a pure passion for Thrash Metal. We wrote the songs with a love for the music, and we recorded it with a love for the music. We didn't change styles to be in with the new 'Thrash Trend' as we were doing it years before this "revival" happened. I think if a band tries to be Thrash when they don't genuinely live and love the music, it shows. It's like if we tried doing some screamy-shouty-Emo haircut crap, we'd suck, because we hate it.

Many metal fans and metal musicians tend to focus or praise more what was done in previous years than to appreciate what we have right now? Why do you think this is? Is it really that metal was better back in the mid 80’s early 90’s or some of us are just resisting the idea of letting those years go?
Ol Drake:
I think it totally depends on the person's opinions and personality. Some people were there for Thrash in the 80s, and they loved it. So why not hold onto that? It’s just like a memory from childhood you'd like to cherish and cherish alone. Some people are plainly elitist about it, and blindly claim that anything past 1992 sucks. They don't even bother to check it out, they just KNOW it sucks. It's how people are, you can't change that. But one thing you can't deny is, Thrash was amazing back then. I mean, how can you deny Metallica's brilliance? Their early albums are a Testament to the glory of Thrash (or Metal, depending on your opinion of Metallica).

Many legendary thrash bands started out with the sort of “sound” that Evile has right now, with that sound that made the mid 80’s such a “golden” era for thrash, that sound that made Metallica one of the biggest bands in world; my question is many of this bands from that time, that started, shaped and perfected that thrash sound slowly started to evolved into a more “modern” sound, perhaps Exodus is a good example as well as Metallica, and Machine Head (maybe!) do you see Evile evolving into a more modern sound, stepping away from this mid 80’s sound? If not what makes you so sure that this is the sound that you guys will stick too through out your career?
Ol Drake:
I have no idea what we will do. All I know is we LOVE Thrash. We started this band because we love it. If we suddenly started down-tuning and playing heavier, slower and more 'popular' stuff, I wouldn't really enjoy it, so I can't see us doing it. I've always thought "the day I stop enjoying playing the music is the day I quit". So that's all I can tell you!

Pic courtesy of: Rockphotographer
"I think a lot of early bands dealt with stuff like Nuclear War purely as a subject. Popular music deals with falling in love and giving your girlfriend a rose, I think Metal just wanted to be the dark side of life"

Is there such a thing as “cliché” lyrics for a thrash band?
Ol Drake:
I think so yeah. Thrash has been established, so there's a reference. It just depends what subject is dealt with. You can't really be Shakespeare when talking about someone sticking a knife in someone's head (not that we sing about that), but I think you can be creative. Anyone can write "War! black skies are black! death is not life and I shoot youuuu!!!".

What topics would you guys never get near on your songs?
Ol Drake:
Teenage pregnancy, French Cafe's, Cats, Curtains.

You probably know this better than me so with the risk of sounding like an idiot here it goes, it looks to me that many of the early thrash acts (apart from the Venom types) focused their music on arm conflict, and a common fear of a nuclear war, thrash had a sort of “social” ideology, speaking about politics and society more than other metal genres and now during this times of war we heard many bands like Evile coming out one more time, do you think there is a bond between the thrash sound and war and global destruction?
Ol Drake:
I think a lot of early bands dealt with stuff like Nuclear War purely as a subject. Popular music deals with falling in love and giving your girlfriend a rose, I think Metal just wanted to be the dark side of life. Like when Alice Cooper said there are Peter Pan's of music, he wanted to be the Dr Hook. It might be just me, but if you look at Nuclear Assault's "Game Over" cover, that looks fucking awesome. I think in an artistic/musical way, when your music deals with the darker sides of life, stuff like that is inspiring MUSICALLY/LYRICALLY (I don't mean it inspires you to be the next Saddam). As far as politics go, I’ve no idea, I’m not really interested.

I haven’t seen a video for "Enter The Grave", is that something you guys are planning on doing, or no videos for Evile?
Ol Drake:
We're planning on a video, but we're not sure which. We're not really concentrating right now on it. We just want to play.

How is it looking for you guys next year in the tour department, have you played in the US yet? Any plans for a big tour?
Ol Drake:
We're definitely going to get overseas to as many places as possible in 08. US definitely. Can't wait to thrash for our.....10 USA fans! hahah.
There are things in the works, but nothing concrete, but I assure you they'll turn out awesome!

Ok man thank you so much for your time and patience, if you will like to add something else please feel free to do so”
Ol Drake:
I'm Ron Burgandy?

Design by Carlos Rodríguez