Welcome back Pop Evil. The band returns today (April 30) with a pair of new songs, the upbeat, guitar-driven "Let the Chaos Reign" and the frantic, tension-building "Work." Ahead of the new tracks, we had a chance to chat with frontman Leigh Kakaty about the songs via email.

We also got an update on the band's forthcoming album and Kakaty offered some insight on what he's been doing with his pandemic downtime. Check out the chat and listen to the new songs below.

Each new album cycle provides its own inspirations and challenges. As you’ve started working on new music, what’s been inspiring you and have you seen any themes developing?

We are always trying to be creative with respect to our live shows. It’s always about making the live experience more enjoyable for our fans. Songs that inspire or motivate with positivity are always on our minds when writing, however we are always trying to be different and create more anthemic material when we write a new album.

Every album happens during different times of our lives, so we never shy away from ideas that may come from our own current experiences. Compared to our last release, we wanted to stick with what we have always done with our yin and yang approach to our writing style. It’s always about the songs, especially in today’s music scene. We try always just to be ourselves but we want our “Evil” side to be heavy and our “Pop” side to be catchy and melodic. That plus and minus has always been the duality of our band.

As far as the new music, who have you been working with for a producer and did you relocate from home base to record? How has the environment or supporting staff impacted your music if at all? 

This album we did things very different. We used several producers to try and keep the energy unique throughout the entire recording process. We had a lot of fun just thinking out-of-the-box and being open to all kinds of positive energy. We did this album in one of my all time favorite cities, Los Angeles. Having multiple producers was a challenge, as everyone has a different process on making music, but I must say we are very excited with how it’s all coming together.

This is my personal favorite Pop Evil album to date. The coronavirus has also made recording this album challenging. We were recording the album when the pandemic hit. It’s been a bit challenging to finish it, but it’s moving along nicely. Very happy we get to release two songs though… Hoping and praying everyone is staying home, safe and healthy during this tough time. We feel these songs capture the excitement and the chaos of the times, they have a frantic feel.

I’m really digging “Let the Chaos Reign.” The guitar tone sounds great and it’s kind of a motivational, kick you in the ass track about embracing the chaos and moving forward. Was there something that inspired that?

First off, thank you! And yeah, life definitely motivated the creation of this song. I think I’m always looking for more motivation so oftentimes it spills out in the way I write. This track reflects the anxiety of the times although that was not its intention, but definitely fits the moment. It gives me hope that we can beat this pandemic so we all can get back to those little things we use to take for granted. We all have to do our part. Until then, “Let the Chaos Reign.”

Pop Evil, "Let the Chaos Reign"

“Work” provides a little different vocal approach for you, going almost more spoken word over a head-nodding cadence before it builds more with your singing in the verse. How enjoyable was it to lay it down like that in a more rhythmic nature?

“Work” was a challenging, but a very welcoming track for me that captured the moment. It actually came together so naturally that I didn’t try and over think it. It took me about 24 hours to finally listen to the demo after we cut it to appreciate something that could be special for the band.

It’s so different than anything we have ever done before. The musical texture really has a lot of depth and out-of-the-box thinking and we can’t wait to add it to our set list. Vocally, we experimented with some different approaches that lead to the final product. Our producer for this song, Kevin Hissink, really did an amazing job to take me out of my comfort zone vocally.

The song “Work” is coming out in a very interesting time with unemployment at an all-time in the U.S. What is the song about and any thoughts about that?

Very good question. The decision to choose this song almost felt even more fitting as a lead single because of the state of the world during this horrible pandemic happening. The song is about being stuck in a mental rut, life in general is all “Work”. With technology infused in our lives, human communication and social media are at an all-time high. It’s almost impossible to completely shut down and rest your mind. This song embodies the angst and the emotions of just wanting to be left alone for a minute. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that can relate to “Work” even more so now than ever..

Pop Evil, "Work"

“Work” also speaks a bit to getting too focused on what you do and wondering if you might ever have the time to enjoy yourself. At this point in the Pop Evil career, is it still the same joy you had as a young musician just breaking into music and creating together or would you say it has evolved?

It’s a different kind of joy. It’s always a goal to beat out what you have done before. Trying something new so that the fan base doesn’t get bored with your new music. What came out in this song was a mix of if I knew then/what I know now. All the work, angst, and pent-up rage comes across with this song. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it is applicable more-so now than ever.

For me personally, it’s key for me to enjoy the songs because we will be playing them for a very long time and never want them to get old. The number one satisfaction is to be on the road and seeing the fans flip out to the songs, singing them back to us with their horns in the air.

There is a new record in the works. What can you tell us about where things stand at this point?

I wish I knew more however this pandemic has really led to a lot of unanswered questions. Right now, we’re just trying to take things one day at a time and stay safe and healthy, doing what’s best for everyone involved with the project. Time will tell but for now, we’re just grateful we’re able to release these two songs and hopefully give the fans something to enjoy during these quiet times.

You had “The Versatile Tour” with a great lineup of support acts scheduled, but like many, you’ve had to postpone. In terms of dealing with the pandemic and what it means for your touring, can you give us some insight of what you’ve had to navigate so far?

We are still in the early stages of this crisis so we are still up in the air about what the future holds for our touring schedule this year. However, we did postpone our spring tour dates. As of now, we are still planning future dates, but are seeing how the virus gets controlled before we proceed with finalizing them. It’s important that we just try and be as careful as possible. Hopefully this is behind us sooner than later and we can get back to touring with the people we love.

Speaking of being on the road, there is more than just the band to consider during these difficult times. You’ve got a road crew that also depends on touring for a living. I wanted to give you a chance to speak about what you’re doing with the Pop Evil merchandise to help them out.

Yes, our crew is so valuable and means the world to us. So we wanted to create an opportunity to not only show them how grateful we are, but also try and provide some financial support for them during this hard time. Every little bit helps and if you too want to support, head to https://store.popevil.com/ and you can purchase our crew shirts at our merch store where all profits go to the people behind the scenes who help us put on our shows night in and night out.

We often talk about how weird it is for touring musicians to be at home between albums. I’m sure you have a full list of things you’d do if you had the time. What has the pandemic downtime looked like for you? 

Definitely getting some much needed rest! My body has been going nonstop for years, so it’s been nice to just relax and rest my voice. I’m a huge sports guy so having no sports to watch is definitely frustrating for me. I’ve replaced sports with documentaries, from Tiger King to Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance, I swear I’ve seen them all. I’ve also been watching the news a lot. From Coronavirus Task Force Briefings to Zoom meetings with Dr. Fauci and Steph Curry. It makes me want to break free because all I do is work. It’s definitely time for me to go outside! Tons more to do and get done but looks like I’m going to have a lot of time.

What is your hope for how music will continue in live and recorded form after the pandemic lifts?

I just hope that we find successful therapeutics to prevent severe illness from this virus and end this massive loss of life. I want people to be safe. Once we can finally perform and tour again, I hope these INCREDIBLE fans will come back ready to RAGE ‘cause it’s gonna be LIT. When we return, we will return with new music. I can’t wait!

Thanks to Pop Evil's Leigh Kakaty for the chat. You can choose the platform of your choosing for "Let the Chaos Reign" here and "Work" here. If you'd like to help out Pop Evil's road crew by purchasing some merch during these tough times, visit the band's online merch store here. And stay up to date with Pop Evil's tour plans at this location.

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