INTERVIEW: Matt DiRito (POP EVIL)
Levi: You’ve got a new album out called Up, how did the recording go? And Are you proud of it?
Matt: Absolutely, I think we are more proud of this album than anything we’ve done in the past. We went into the studio as a band to be creative and to experiment with some new sounds and different things, and I think we really worked together more as a cohesive unit than we have on any other album. We are extremely proud of it and very excited to release it.
Levi: I know Onyx was pretty upbeat, can we expect more of that on this one?
Matt: It’s upbeat but in a different way. We still have some songs that are reminiscent of Onyx, we’ve got songs which are heavier and songs that are lighter and everything in between. We really tried to focus on making a lot of the songs danceable on this new album. We feel like we’ve covered a lot on our past albums as far as having some heavier tunes and some rock tunes and ballads. But we’ve never really had that kind of fun carefree danceable songs, so we have a couple that we think we’ve nailed on this one. It kind of adds a new element to the record.
Levi: Have you been to Australia before, if not do you have any plans to come?
Matt: We have not been there and we would love to come there. We’re just waiting for the appropriate time and invitation, everything like that. Hopefully we will see it in 2016.
Levi: If you could bring any band along with you, who would be your ideal opening act?
Matt: That’s a great question, are you familiar with the band Kyng?
Levi: I’ve seen the name around, but I’m not sure if I’ve heard them…
Matt: Dude, those guys are fantastic, I’d love to bring those guys along with us. Them or Avatar. They’re from Sweden. I’m not sure if they’ve been there or not, I’m not sure if they have. But they’re a fantastic metal band.
Levi: Are they similar sounding to you guys?
Matt: They’re a lot heavier than we are. But they are like brothers, we have the same management company. We’ve toured together so it’s a close enough fit where we could fit the same bill but yeah they’re quite a bit heavier than us.
Levi: I talked to Shawn Morgan from Seether and he told me it’s getting hard to get played on radio these days, do you have difficulties being played on air?
Matt: I saw Shawn’s statement about rock radio and alternative radio and we are by definition a radio rock band here in the states. Our last album Onyx had three number 1 radio hits. Prior to this new album Up we never really got played by alternative radio that much. They are kind of taking a liking to our new song which is great but I think the whole market is changing a little bit too. It’s like anything else it comes and goes in waves and it’s hard to predict sometimes. We’ve got a very strong relationship with some of these radio stations and for us it’s been nothing but growth. We’ve added stations, we haven’t lost any but I’m sure at some point things are bound to go the other way.
Levi: Do you know if you have many fans in Australia? Do fans ever contact you?
Matt: I’ve had a couple that I’ve heard from on social media, twitter and stuff like that. They’ve reach out to me personally over maybe the last two years. Like ‘Come on! Get down here!”, but there is really no gauge for it until we get out there and do it. I have no idea what that market might be or how many potential Pop Evil fans we might have out there.
Levi: There was a statement made by the Mayhem music festival organiser Kevin Lyman who said “metal chased girls away” “Metal got grey, bald and fat”. Do you think there is an obligation for older metal bands to stay in shape so more girls come to the show? I know I see a lot of metal shows with few girls which sometimes sucks…
Matt: It really depends on what kind of metal you’re talking about. There are some types of metal where it doesn’t matter what the dudes look like there’s just not going to be girls at the show. I’ve been at those shows, I’ve been a part of those shows. It is what it is, like I don’t know man it seems like such a shallow question. To me if you’re going the metal route it’s all about the music, man. And people will go to these shows because they love the music. It’s not like a pretty boy contest where your songs are halfway there and you know, just enough to get by and your looks do the other half. It’s not what it’s all about man. The girls that you do meet at shows like that are typically pretty rad.
Anyone that’s going to a metal show with the intentions of ‘hooking up’ with someone that they’ve never met before… It’s probably not the best place you know. If all the planets align you may get lucky and you may find something. But probably not the best spot, maybe you should take up a pottery class or go to the park and walk a dog.
Levi: You guys did a song a few years ago called “Bosses Daughter” it featured the one and only Mick Mars from Motley Crue, how did you manage to hook that up?
Matt: That was a few albums ago and at that point in time when we were getting ready to go into the studio we just mentioned to our management “hey, it would be fun some sort of co-write with someone, so just put your feelers out and let us know if there’s anyone you’d think would like to collaborate with us”. Almost instantaneously they came back and said “Mick Mars loves the band, would totally love to work with you guys, whether it’s working with you guys or just hanging out and hashing out some riffs”. So we went to his house in Malibu and hammered out some guitar riffs and next thing you know “Bosses Daughter” is born. We asked him if he wanted to be in the music video and he was overjoyed. He told us it was the first time he’d ever played with another guitar player since before he was in Motley Crue. So for him to be in a video where he was not the sole guitar player was like a once in a lifetime thing.
Levi: Did you get along with him and indulge in any kind of Motley Crue mayhem?
Matt: Dude that guy has got so many ridiculously good stories and he is like the nicest, funniest guy, but I don’t think people always get to see that side of him and what a chatterbox he is. Motley Crue is a band of huge personalities, I mean you’ve got Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil, who are like huge, huge personalities, and it kind of overshadows him. He never really gets his time in the spotlight you know. I think that’s what he really enjoyed about working with us, the focus was on him for once. He got to be the star and in our video he got the attention and the recognition, not to say he doesn’t get that but certainly in comparison to some of the other big personalities of Motley Crue, he kind of falls to the wayside sometimes.