July 12, 2013 Interview: Chachi Riot of Pop Evil
Pop Evil is a band on a mission. Since their major label debut Lipstick On The Mirror (2008) the band has been known as hard driven rock n roll band. There sophomore album War Of Angels (2011) was the next step in progression of the band with songs like “Last Man Standing” and “Monster You Made”. Shortly after the release of the album the band suffered a few kick line-up changes. Where most bands would pack it up and call it a day Pop Evil saddled up and found strong replacements in the band. One of the key members to join the band in 2011 was drummer Chachi Riot. Having craved out the band’s new line-up they released their new album Oynx in May. Determined and stronger than ever the album could be their best to today. Recently we sat down with Chachi Riot to talk about the turning point for Pop Evil, their drive to success, and passion to rock.
Crypticrock.com- Pop Evil has been fighting now since 2001. Releasing their major label debut Lipstick On The Mirror in 2008. You joined the band in 2011 after long time drummer Dylan Allison departed. What was it like for you to take the reign of drummer at that point in time?
Chachi Riot – It was a big step. I was in a band out of Grand Rapids also. I was younger and watching the guys from Pop Evil pave the way, to be the first rock band to come out of Grand Rapids to really go anywhere in a while. I grew up watching them grow up and as they accelerated, signed and left. My band started to accelerate, picking up speed, and due to internal stuff touring ended up not being for us. It kind of all worked out, I guess somebody has a plan somewhere. It seemed the right things happened at the right time for Pop Evil and myself to end up where we are today together in this great family.
Crypticrock.com- It seems to be working well for you guys. Now that you have been working with Pop Evil for the better part of two years and recorded your first album Onyx as a member of Pop Evil, what was the chemistry like for the writing and recording?
Chachi Riot – I was actually in the band when War Of Angels (2011) came out but I missed tracking of the album but a few months. We really didn’t know what to expect with Onyx. We all went in there and knew that we just had 4 singles and had a lot of expectations to live up to. It really could not have gone any better. We went in there and worked really fast. It was a really optimistic and positive vibe. We got really lucky, we really gelled. We had cut drums, bass, and rhythm guitars all done in 2 weeks in the studio. We went in there and everyone was really supportive. I remember specifically being in there and tracking drums and there was never a time when I was the only one either in the room or in the listening room. I don’t even like listening to just drums, that’s not fun (laughs). Never was I alone, somebody was always there. Leigh was supporting me and bouncing new ideas off of me. We really work as a cohesive group and I think that shows in the album.
Crypticrock.com- Onyx was released in May and songs like “Trenches” is getting heavy air play on rock radio. How do you feel about the album and do you think the band’s line-up is starting to take shape 3 albums deep now?
Chachi Riot- I’m really excited about the album. It wasn’t always a band I was part of so I came in as somewhat of a listener. I knew the kind of music they made and I liked some of the stuff. On the new record we all worked hard together, including Nick our new guitar player. When you change the lead guitar player you’re going to change the sound of a band like us. I think the album is very much a statement album. I think the group of guys we have right now is a pretty special 5 piece. This feels like a pretty great line-up, it feels special. It’s definitely something special on stage and in the studio. It’s a unique experience.
Crypticrock.com- Sometimes it takes a band a few records to really carve out their line-up because things happen and change.
Chachi Riot – I definitely think so. You find out who weak links are and you also find out maybe the road is not for some people. A lot of people join a band and you can’t mentality prepare yourself on the road for 300 days a year until you do it.
Crypticrock.com- That is definitely true. Now your currently on tour all summer long in support of Onyx. It’s a long trek from now until the end of August. What is it like being on the road that long and how do you keep yourself healthy in that time?
Chachi Riot – Touring for us is what we do. The year I joined this band we did 265 shows which puts you on the road literally 300-305 days a year. We’re road dogs, that’s one thing that I always really respected about this band well before I was ever in it. As far as my health I am kind of the health nut on the bus. I try to eat really well, I’m a cross fitter, I stay really active. We watch what we eat and do cardio. We’ve gotten really serious about our health and partying a lot less than we used to. We realize if we are going to be a real band and make a real record we are going to have to start acting like it. Play it as a career and not playing it like let’s get hammered every night. It’s not a big joke and a big circus anymore to us. If you’re going to play 300 shows you have to healthy, it’s tough.
Crypticrock.com- You have to put on a good show for the crowd and you want to have the best quality music that you can play. You say that about partying less and taking it more seriously. That is a turning point for a lot of bands. At first you just want to have a good time and then you say wait a minute this is our lives and career.
Chachi Riot- Right, you have to make a decision if you want to take it to the next level or not. I think this record really did that for us. The music changed, the line-up changed , the partying changed, and the life style has changed. It’s a new ballgame for us and it’s really rewarding and humbling to see that reflecting everywhere else. “Trenches” is our first number 1 we’ve ever had. That’s a really awesome feeling knowing that the changes we’ve made are being noticed.
Crypticrock.com- That is definitely very redeeming when you see the changes you make are being noticed. When you look at the landscape of rock bands out there in 2013 it’s often difficult to tell certain bands apart from one another. How do you think Pop Evil separates themselves from the pack?
Chachi Riot- You’re right there is so much music out there difficult to separate yourself unless you’re doing something really off the wall. I think right now we are just trying to keep it fresh and different. Musically we are trying to integrate different elements of different genres. All 5 of us are active writers in the band and we all have very diverse and different musical backgrounds. Some of us are really big rock n roll guys, some of us are really big metal heads and some of us are really into hip hop. Look at the first single “Trenches”, all of those have some of a breath in there. There are some easy choruses with a good hook. There is definitely a hip hop influence beat going on with the drums, and the guitar tone has the grit of metal, and that’s just one single. We’re are really trying hard to diversify ourselves and challenge us in our music. As far as individually, our stage show, I think has always been our strength. We’re not really a band of much frills and we don’t have tons of money for pyro and stage props. We just go and throw down. We pride ourselves very much on our stage show, performance and how hard we work.
Crypticrock.com- The hard work is definitely paying off with the success of the new record. You said everyone has different musical influences in the band. What are some of your musical influences?
Chachi Riot- I probably have the largest influences of anyone. When people ask me to describe my musical influences or my favorite I tell people I like good music, I like bad music, and some music maybe I don’t respect (laughs). If I were to go through my phone and read off my music I have everything from Abba to Aerosmith to Bruno Mars. I grew up listening to a lot of Motley Crue. I listen to a lot of country and a lot of hip hop. I like Kanye West and Kings Of Leon a lot. I’m all over the place man, I’m a wild card.
Crypticrock.com- That’s good to be diversify in your musical tastes because sometimes you box yourself in and you may miss out on something. It may not be in the particular genre your into but it may be a good track.
Chachi Riot – Yea I find myself unintentionally separating myself from active rock, I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl, I’m a massive fan of, other than that there are not a ton of rock bands I listen to a ton of. I have some Shinedown on my phone, and of modern rock bands, I’m a huge Sevendust fan. The last 2 concerts I went to and paid to see where Nora Jones and Michael Bubble so I am all over man.
Crypticrock.com- That is very cool that you are so diversified. What inspired you to start playing drums.
Chachi Riot- It was kind of a freak accident. I played saxophone for 7 years and I never touched a drum set really until I was 20. I played around when I was 18 for a really short amount of time and never got into it. We got into college and I had this idea of starting a cover band basically so we could drink, meet chicks, and make money. I was actually singing in the cover band and we tried this kid out for drums and he said I want to try singing and he ended up being a phenomenal singer and we moved me to drums and that was it. I never looked back I guess.
Crypticrock.com- That is very interesting and is kind of a freak accident how that happened.
Chachi Riot – A lot of kids I met grew up drumming. John Fred from Blackstone Cherry has been drumming since he’s 3 years old, it’s in his blood. I’ve been drumming for about 6 years so I have a lot of catching up to do with those guys. I look up to those guys a lot and I’m always eager to learn something new.
Crypticrock.com- Well that is good and you have accomplished a lot in those 6 years looking at where you are at. My last question for you is regarding films. Crypticrock.com is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of horror films and if so what are some of your favorite horror films?
Chachi Riot – I am a horror movie fan. I have some favorites, more of the modern stuff that’s probably a little wilder and crazy. I also like a lot of the classics. Everything I’ve seen directed by Rob Zombie has been pretty phenomenal. He did a really great job of disturbing horror like Devil Rejects up to the remake of Halloween. I remember when I was really young and seeing the special effects of The Ring when the girl bends around and crawls, obviously that will not be a timeless classic but it was a time when I was 12 years old and the movie scared the crap out of me.
Be sure to check out Pop Evil on tour all summer long. Check them out at www.popevil.com and on facebook
HeavyMetalLoverPosted at 20:15h, 15 May
I love this band so much I might just puke!!