Interview with Ben Carter (drums)
Interview conducted by Adam Kohrman
Date online: April 6, 2010
Adam: Thanks a lot for doing this interview.
Ben: You're very welcome.
Adam: Well, it's your second time touring in the States.
Adam: How does it feel to have two States tours pretty much right on top of each other?
Ben: It's awesome for us. We've tried for maybe four or five years to go to the States, and every time the tour has either fallen through or people have let us down. This time, it's nice to be on tour with bands that have influenced us right from the start, for instance, Kreator last month and this month with Overkill. It's something we never thought would happen. It beats the shit out of doing small bars and tiny little clubs on our own money. We couldn't guarantee this kind of crowd for ourselves on our first time over here.
Adam: And that's what you were doing back in the UK before coming over here?
Ben: That's right, yeah. For us, coming over here it's like we've gone back five or six years and we're starting again. It's brilliant that we've come out with such recognized bands as the ones on that bill.
Adam: In Europe and in the UK, do you play to bigger crowds than you do here normally?
Ben: We've built up a nice little profile for ourselves and we've got really dedicated fans, and we're lucky to have that over in the UK and Europe. But we know for a fact that this is the best territory in the world when it comes to selling CDs and records, and shit like that. So it's a tough nut to crack.
Adam: You did mention one of the things I wanted to say, with a band like Overkill...
Ben: Yeah, it's fantastic. They were one of Mike's favorite bands, if not his favorite band, and it's a shame that he's not here enjoying this with us. Yeah, it's a huge privilege. They're really awesome guys. We've met up with them a couple of times in the past. It's nice to be on tour with them.
Adam: Great. I'm glad for you guys too. Now that you've done all this touring overseas, has it become draining on you or anyone in the band?
Ben: Not at all. It's always refreshing to get back out on the road. You do two or three weeks out on the road in the UK, and then you have a week off, and then you do a few gigs around Europe. And we've been out since, let me see, I think it's been pretty much since midway through January.
Ben: And then it's gonna be festival season over the summer, and we've got seven or eight festivals to do around Europe. So, we're busy. But it's always nice to be back out playing because you know the people's responses and how they act around the band is great. It certainly beats sitting at home watching TV.
Adam: No one's getting homesick at all?
Ben: I think all of us get homesick in our own little way, but we know why we're on stage. We know why we're doing it, and it's a privilege. You know, there's not that many people that get to come to America for two months, see so many different states, so many beautiful landscapes, et cetera, et cetera. For us little English dudes from this small town that sucks, this is making us so wide-eyed and taking it all in. So it's like sightseeing and a vacation, but we never forget there's a job to do.
Adam: What's been your favorite part of touring in America so far?
Ben: Oh wow. Umm, the first night we landed, we landed in New Jersey and we went into New York, and we're driving around Manhattan. Instead of doing the usual sightseeing shit, like you know the Statue of Liberty and all that kinda shit, we went to the Ghostbusters firehouse from the Ghostbusters movies and just stood outside it going "Wow" like fucking nerds.
Adam: (laughs) That's awesome.
Ben: There's been loads of shit like that. Movie references and stuff. We always try to find stuff like that that means something to us. A couple of years ago we toured with 3 Inches of Blood around Canada, and we visited a place called Hope, which is where they filmed First Blood, the Rambo film. So, for us having a song called "First Blood" and being really into the Rambo movies, it was just like weird coincidence number one, and we seem to have a lot of those.
Adam: Cool. Now you're still a new band. You've been around for five years, but your mainstream exposure is still relatively new. Do you feel pressured now that you're touring all the time to keep writing new material? To keep producing new material for your fans?
Ben: Yeah. We're still green in terms of touring and playing different continents and stuff. Writing is always in the back of our minds. We know we have to put ideas in the pot, and stir that up and see what comes out. Oliver, our guitarist always does that, and Max has lyrical ideas that he works on all the time. As far as songwriting as a band goes, we kind of do the touring and then get back home and say "alright, from this point on, we'll be sourcing ideas." That's when we think about it seriously, but we're always noodling around and trying to think of different riffs and making little notes and shit.
Adam: Right now, there's been a resurgence of Thrash, the Thrash revival they're calling it, of which you're certainly a part. What do you think is your part within the Thrash revival, specifically in comparison to some of the biggest bands like Municipal Waste and even Warbringer?
Ben: People call it a Thrash revival, and I don't actually think it ever went away. I think it just kind of got swamped by all these other subgenres of metal. Like Hardcore and all that kinda shit. I mean, I know Hardcore's been around for a long, long time.
Adam: But like Melodic Death Metal?
Ben: Yeah, yeah, that kind of shit. It's always been bubbling under, especially in the UK. The reason we started playing what we play and writing what we write in that style is because it's the style in which we wanted to hear and in which we wanted to play. It wasn't a case of "let's be a thrash band." We just started writing the music that we love that other people just didn't seem to be writing. And as soon as we got out in the UK touring, et cetera, we found all these different bands that were doing the same thing with the same mentality. It was like "Oh, there are more than just us across England and Europe and wherever, with the same kind of brain and thinking essence." It kind of went on from there.
Adam: I think it was a matter of a lot of people about our age who got raised on things like Megadeth, Metallica, and old Slayer.
Ben: That's right.
Adam: And they just starting replicating it.
Ben: Yeah. It just wasn't happening as much as it used to. Throughout the late 80s, early 90s, it was there, and then it was just kind of overshadowed by pop and shit. There's always going to be a fight between metal and pop. I'd like to think that metal comes through on the other side of that. There's a massive resurgence.
Adam: How do you think that Evile compares to older Thrash acts?
Ben: I don't know if we'll ever, ever compare to the old full-on Thrash style like Slayer and Sepultura, when it was big and happening properly. It's nice to be talked about in the same sentence as those guys. Obviously, it's a massive pat on the back. I think it shows that we're doing something a bit right. But the main objective for us is to stay relevant and keep people interested. If we kind of carve out a tiny legacy that we're still remembered in the same vein as Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, and Testament then job done. That's cool. But when we've toured with bands like Exodus, and bands like that, it's completely obvious why they have the stature they have. When we toured with Megadeth, he taught us so much about how to conduct yourself and how to act. That's the benchmark, really, I think.
Adam: Are all the rumors about Dave Mustaine being a jerk untrue?
Ben: Yeah, absolutely untrue. He's an amazing guy. He really, really is. He's so cool. He treated us like equals, well...kind of equals. The thing with Dave is that he's got this bubble around him that protects him from all the bullshit, and it's understandable why. But if you get close to him and get to know him a little bit, within six weeks of touring with him, he kinda let his guard down a little bit at times, and it was great to see. He's just a normal guy. You can actually converse on a really deep level with him. He's really intellectual. He's a cool guy.
Adam: He's really smart, something I've always picked up from him. Now Enter the Grave got a lot of buzz and attention as like a retro Thrash album, just pure old Thrash. Did you feel creatively hindered by that label.
Ben: It wasn't intentional. The thing with Enter the Grave was, when we got together as Evile, and we started writing the first batch of material, we were all still kinda naïve and young and...quite immature. If you listen to the record compared to the new one Infection Nations, there is a hell of a lot of immaturity and adolescence to it. You can tell that we were all on a high, just getting signed, working with Flemming Rasmussen who produced Metallica. For us, it was a dream come true. So the other songs that we wrote after the initial five or six that we had on the demo...it was really stupid and immature to write about stuff like that, but it's what we were into at the time.
Adam: Did you feel that after Enter the Grave became so big and so hyped that people expected you to write a certain style of music?
Ben: Possibly, yeah. There are so many bands that are stuck in the 80s Thrash kind of style that are only ever going to play that kind of music, and that's awesome. But I think that ourselves as a band want to mature, and not distance ourselves from that, because that's what got us known: the songs on the album with that merit that got us to where we are now. I think we're always going to look favorable at that album, but I think that sometimes bands have a tendency to produce the same album over and over again. It wasn't a conscious decision. It's just that in the time between the first album being written and the second album being written, there's what, like five years there. So as a band we've matured. As people we've matured. The recent album reflects that.
Adam: That actually went right into my next question, "Did you veer from the sound on Infected Nations?" (laughs)
Ben: Sorry to preempt you dude. (laughs)
Adam: Now I want to talk about Mike for a while.
Ben: Okay, that's cool.
Adam: Last September, you were hit a tragic blow.
Ben: It was on tour, yes...end of September/October, yes.
Adam: Just basically, how did you deal with it at first? How did you personally, and how did the band as well?
Ben: I think all of us were close to Mike in different ways. I spent a lot of time with him outside the band, just hanging out, drinking beers, and just pretty much best friends, really. When what happened to Mike happened, it kicked us all in the balls so hard you wouldn't believe. We were lucky and fortunate in the fact that we had a week, maybe six days drive home from Sweden after it happened. Close confinement, in a small light Winnebago/van thing. Uhh, it kind of kept us sheltered from everything happening in the press back home and friends and family and stuff. We had a lot of time and a lot of space to deal with it as individuals. So we just kinda went on with it. We're still feeling it. We miss him. On stage, when we're playing a track. We'll be really into it and I'll kind of look up and expect to see him there. That's no disrespect to our new bassist, Joel. That's just familiarity, I think. We haven't broken that yet. But as a whole, it's not a nice feeling at all. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
Adam: So the band is coming together to move on without him.
Ben: Yeah, we all took a month out to get our heads around it, and all remember him in our own way and take time out, a little bit of a hiatus, really. But we had the European tour already booked in January, so we kind of had to get ourselves back on the road, and that's what he would've wanted. He wouldn't have wanted us sitting around being really upset and everything. He'd want us to carry on and get out there because we only knew Mike through Evile. So if we gave up as a band, it would've been like we never knew him. So we carried on in his honor, obviously.
Adam: So are all your future albums going to be in memory of him, unofficially?
Ben: I'd like to think so. He was a huge, huge personality, and a huge character within the band. I don't think it would be Evile if we ever forgot how he was around us and how he interacted with us as a band. Joel, our new bassist, is a brilliant guy, and that's the reason we chose him as Mike's replacement...because he's so down to earth and laid back, and he just goes with the flow. I think Mike would have appreciated that mentality, as well, because he was pretty much like that himself.
Adam: Well it's great to hear that you're able to move on and keep going as a band.
Ben: Yeah, it'll always tug at the heartstrings when we think about him. You know, there are times when we're out there and blasting out "Killer from the Deep," which Mike wrote, and I get a bit chokey and whatever during the song.
Adam: Well, that's understandable.
Ben: It's just memories man, good memories.
Adam: What goals do you have for Evile and what does the future hold?
Ben: Like I said before, we just want to remain relevant and like people to enjoy our music. We're gonna write probably over the summer and into the fall...over the summer we're gonna come back and do about a month long tour. I can't say with who yet, but I think it's certain, and hopefully next year there will be a new album out. Probably April/May. A lot of time will go into the studio.
Adam: What can we expect it to sound like?
Ben: I don't know. It's gonna be interesting, because Joel's from a old school heavy rock kind of background. Matt's kind of developing a new love for proggy metal at the moment.
Adam: Is it gonna sound like Rush?
Ben: Probably not. I fucking hope not. (laughs) That's no disrespect to Rush. We'll always try different ideas because that's how we work. It's always gonna be thrash, but it's thrash how we want to do it, not the way anyone thinks we're gonna do it.
Adam: Well that's a great way to look at it, and thank you for your time.
Ben: Thank you for your time.
|Other information about Evile on this site|
|Review: Enter the Grave|
|Review: Enter the Grave|
|Review: Infected Nations|
|Review: Five Serpent's Teeth|
|Video: Infected Nation|
Copyright © 1999-2019, Michel Renaud / The Metal Crypt. All Rights Reserved.