Its self-titled album released in February is the yin to the yang of its past couple albums. Frontman Leigh Kakaty was in a darker place, mainly due to the death of his father.
“I think it’s a great way to look at it, just going back. I think that as I look at the previous catalogs it was more selfish-driven for me just dealing with life. Anytime you lose someone you love like that, it affects everything you do, whether you want it to or not. And so with the ‘Onyx’ record, two albums ago, it was just real dark. It wouldn’t matter what style of writing; I was just really sad. I was broke. I didn’t know if it was worth chasing a dream. I just felt so selfish,” he said. “I was just tired of being dark. I was tired of being upset, and then (with the song) ‘Footsteps’ everything changed. I found that fun again; I found that fire, just kind of motivating myself to take it one step at a time.”
“Footsteps,” “Ways to Get High” and “Take It All” on the new album rejuvenated Kakaty. Pop Evil’s new drummer, Hayley Cramer, also breathed new life into the band.
“She just opened up the door for us to write in ways that we weren’t able to do in the past,” Kakaty said. “She was just great, always open-minded to try whatever. So much positivity. I just think it’s that female perspective that calming, it’s motherly instincts coming through where she’s just like, ‘I got this, guys; you guys can relax.’ … She’s only been in the band for a year and a half, so she’s still very new. So to be able to do that and have that work ethic and that bond with the four of us was great.”
Pop Evil is on its path to greatness now that it has found its direction.
“I think a lot of that, now five albums in, we’ve just grown up and we kind of know now what we want to be,” Kakaty said. “We’ve been blessed to have a lot of success and a lot of failures, so we know now kind of moving forward that we’re not afraid to keep falling on our face. … We all have those ups and downs. We all fail. But not being afraid to take new risks and trying to hit it out of the park every time, you know; otherwise, ‘Trenches’ would never been written. There would have been no ‘Footsteps.’ There certainly wouldn’t be no ‘Waking Lions.’ So we just constantly try to evolve and write better songs and really prove now to our fans that it’s yin and yang, it’s that positive and negative. It is that ups and downs that at the end of the day are constant lessons about trying to be better people. Trying to be better musicians. Just trying to be better in life.”