Check out the song: “Headshot”

The Maryland based hard rock band Evolver has just released their newest self-titled disc. The disc is pure rock and roll with no gimmicks, catchy melodies and rock sensibilities combined with lots of anthemic choruses make this a very kicking disc that proves these guys can rock with the best of them. I recently caught up with guitarist/vocalist, Mike Smith, to discuss the record and the band. Here is what he had to say.

Now that your self-titled release is complete and has been released. How do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Mike: We’re very excited about it! and are more than satisfied with the outcome of it.

What made you decided to work with Brian Virtue?
Mike: Brian’s a talented guy, he took a strong interest in us early on, he was passionate about the band and our songs and where we could take them, and at the end of the day that’s who you want to be working with when making an album.

How quick are you in the studio? Can you usually knock things out in a couple takes?
Mike: I go with the flow in the studio, if we’re moving quickly and things are sounding great I can be happy about it, but I never move quickly for the sake of being fast. For me the studio is a place to get inspired and create music, as well as capturing a great performance, but I don’t like watching the clock. Sometimes being rushed is a good thing though, it can allow you to think less and go more from your gut instinct, and there’s magic in that too, especially in a vocal take, sometimes that creates a sense of urgency that really comes across on tape.

What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a theme or themes behind the writing of this record?
Mike: I always create a vocal melody to the music before I write the actual lyrics, but when I’m creating that vocal melody I’m usually singing words, whatever they may be, rather than just humming it, and 9 times out of 10 those words end up as the lyrics. To me there’s a purity that I really love in that, it’s like the melody knows just what word, what vowel sound and how many syllables should be used and it’s all coming straight from the heart… But don’t get me wrong, I do believe lyrics are very important and I love sitting down once I have the basics together to really refine them and do my best to tell a story of some sort based off my life.

When you begin to put an album together are you concerned at all about commercial success?
Mike: First and foremost my concern lies in how I personally feel about the songs on the album, how they affect me, and if they best represent the band. Once I’m on board with that the skies the limit! I want as many people as possible to own our record! Bring on the Success!!!

Are there any tracks on the disc that are personal favorites or that have good stories behind them?
Mike: I don’t really have any personal favs, I’m partial to them all which is why they made the cut, but “Broken Down” was the first of the batch written and somehow ended up being the first track mixed down and I remember listening to it in my car thinking how Brian really was able to capture the exact vibe sonically of the emotion that I was feeling when I first wrote it. I’ll never forget that first listen. My life finally felt right.

Check out the song: “Burned Again”

What was it like working with him? Did he take you in new directions you hadn’t thought of?
Mike: Working with Brian was truly Amazing! One of the best studio experiences in my life thus far. I recorded an album with him as a guitarist in the past so I knew how talented he was but this was a whole different experience altogether. He really worked me vocally in a way I’d never worked before and it felt good. He definitely had suggestions and made some changes to our songs too but he produced and guided us in a way that never compromised the integrity or style of who we are as a band. It’s all about the song being the best it can be, whatever that takes. I’d recommend him to anyone.

What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?
Mike: Apple S or Ctrl S when in the studio. Lol (but Seriously, Remember it)… On stage you kinda just have to adapt and overcome when something happens or things go wrong, it’s easier said than done, but as the old saying goes ‘the show must go on’…

Do you have any touring plans made yet?
Mike: We’re working on that as we speak. Hope to have something concrete real soon.

What’s next for Evolver?
Mike: World Domination