Formed over 15 years ago in Michigan, Pop Evil has close to 500,000 followers on Facebook. 2009 was a big year for the quintet as it saw a major label release via Universal Republic Records, charting radio singles with “Breathe” and “100 In A 55,” and touring alongside Judas Priest and Whitesnake in arenas. In the years since, Pop Evil has released plenty more charting songs, and toured with Papa Roach, Theory Of A Deadman, Five Finger Death Punch, and Black Label Society.
2018 is shaping up to be a banner year for the group as February 16th brings the release of the self-titled Pop Evil full-length; the band’s prior release UP had debuted at #1 on the Billboard U.S. Independent Albums chart. Pop Evil’s first single “Waking Lions” went Top 5 at rock radio, while second single “Colors Bleed” also made a quick impact. Meanwhile, “Be Legendary” has received major support from ESPN, featuring as part of its NCAA College Basketball season. Later in the year — beyond its own headlining dates — Pop Evill will be part of the Nothin’ But A Good Time 2018 tour, playing dates alongside Poison and Cheap Trick.
On behalf of PureGrainAudio, I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with the group’s drummer Hayley Cramer. Originally from England, Cramer had not been to Michigan before playing with vocalist Leigh Kakaty, guitarists Dave Grahs and Nick Fuelling, or bassist Matt DiRito; she joined Pop Evil in 2016. More on the Entertainment One-affiliated band including pre-order can be found online at THIS LOCATION.
Watch the band’s video for the single “Colors Bleed” here.
You joined Pop Evil in 2016. Had you been to Michigan before auditioning for the band?
Hayley Cramer: No, I had never been to Michigan before so it was all really exciting for me. It’s crazy to think back to that time now because I feel like Grand Rapids, Michigan is a second home to me.
Was there a particular album or artist that inspired you to start playing drums?
Cramer: It was a mixture of things that inspired me to play drums. Firstly my older brother plays drums so there was already a kit in the house. Also, my dad plays bass guitar, so I guess I was definitely heavily influenced to become part of the rhythm section of bands. However, it was the drums that felt more natural to me. When I first sat behind my brother’s kit, I knew it was what I was supposed to do and I’ve never looked back. Whilst I was first learning drums I was influenced by many bands but the two that really stand out to me are No Doubt and Skunk Anansie. Both bands have awesome bassists and drummers plus a really strong female in the mix, too.
Do you play any instruments besides drums?
Cramer: Yes, I play piano and sing, maybe a little guitar, bass, flute, trombone, euphonium… At school I just tried to play any instrument the school band needed more of. I absolutely cannot play the violin, though!
The self-titled album is the latest release from Pop Evil. How long did you spend recording it?
Cramer: We spent six weeks writing together in Michigan. Then another six weeks in Nashville recording all the rhythm section, keys and most guitar parts. To finish it off we spent another few weeks in L.A. tracking vocals and guitar solos.
Do you have a favorite song on the album?
Cramer: I can’t name just one because there are quite a few. I love playing “Be Legendary,” “Nothing But Thieves,” “Art Of War” and “Gods Damn.”
Will you be playing a lot from the new album on your upcoming tour with Poison and Cheap Trick?
Cramer: I’m not sure how many new ones will be in that set. We have quite a few in our headline setlist for the upcoming Music Over Words tour, so I guess we’ll take the ones that we feel the crowd respond to best.
Prior to booking the tour, had you seen Poison or Cheap Trick in concert?
Cramer: In one of my previous bands, I supported Cheap Trick in London U.K., so I am very much looking forward to supporting them again.
Here is the music video for “Waking Lions” by Pop Evil.
Upcoming summer tour aside, what’s coming up for you and Pop Evil?
Cramer: We are pretty much going to be solid touring for most of the year. We are looking to head over to Europe soon after the Poison tour, which will please my friends and family!
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Cramer: When I’m not touring I head home to England. I spend time walking my dog and frequenting fine drinking establishments, You can’t beat a good English pub! I also love to cook and eat out at fine dining restaurants. I love to experience food that has been prepared with passion, just like the way I am with music.
What’s the last concert you attended for fun?
Cramer: Bring Me The Horizon in Birmingham U.K. and In This Moment in L.A.
Finally, Hayley, any last words for the kids?
Cramer: Support live music, come to the shows. Give me a shout, make a funny sign for me to read while I’m playing, wear neon clothing or a T-Rex costume! Get my attention! You never know, I might toss a stick out to you. The main thing is to come and have fun with us! oh and go grab our album!
Here is “Pop Evil Episode 2:+-City of Angels”.