Recently, I had the opportunity to interview the drummer of Pop Evil, Hayley Cramer, ahead of their concert in Dallas. If you’re a fan of hard hitting, high energy rock ‘n’ roll, then you’ve got to check out Pop Evil at the House of Blues on January 25. This is a must see, all ages, concert event.
DFW Images: Will this be your first time to Dallas?
Hayley: The last time we played Dallas, the previous drummer played, but I was there. This will be my first time to play Dallas.
DFW Images: So you have visited Texas?
Hayley: Yea yea, and I love eating steak, so… Oh, that’s so not English! No. No. No.
DFW Images: I love the fact that the band was intentionally looking for a female drummer. On May 25, 2016, at Rock on the Range, the day that the band accepted the Indie Artist of the Year Award, you were announced as the band’s new drummer. What was it like for you being named as the new drummer for this established, award winning band, that continues on their way UP?
Hayley: It was a bit of a whirlwind at the time because they were really taking a chance on me, and I was taking a chance on them, as well. I was flown from England, jumping straight on the ground at the Grand Rapids, then on a bus, and then to rehearsal. It was pretty awesome when we rehearsed together, and it felt right musically.
DFW Images: You clicked with them not just musically, but also as a group, as people?
Hayley: Yea, at first we really did. And further along, at some point, something happened and it brought us together. It’s just great. I don’t have a bad word to say about anybody: not in the band or the crew. It’s just a pleasure every day, and we spend a lot of time, on the bus, in close quarters. It’s just great. I feel so lucky. I mean, I’m a part of this big, advanced group. It’s mind blowing for me. When it was announced, I felt pretty proud of myself.
DFW Images: You guys are out there headlining the band’s ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NOW TOUR: RIGHT NOW! Please share a bit about that.
Hayley: Yea, the tour is going really well. We’ve got more production, more lights, and the set is great. Everything is just great. Everything has come together, and it’s really feeling good now.
DFW Images: On this tour, you’re promoting the bands fourth studio album UP and the most recently released single from that album, “If Only for Now.” That song strikes an emotional chord with me as I am sure that it does with others. Is there a particular Pop Evil song that resonates with you emotionally and that you love to slay on stage?
Hayley: I’ve got to say that the song that got me initially, before I joined the band, was “Footsteps.” That song really grabbed me. I was like, you know what? A hard hitting rock band that sends a positive message? I want to be part of that! So many songs, now, send out quite a negative message. Just having an uplifting theme to such a hard hitting song really moved me.
Then from there, “Trenches.” I absolutely love playing that song. It makes me feel like fighting. Being a female musician, there are times when you have to fight. I don’t know why there are differences in the way that you’re viewed. I can play the drums just as good as a guy can. It’s not like being an athlete where there is definitely a difference. A girl can play drums just like a guy. It’s about passion, technique, and feel. That’s not brute force. That’s dedication, learning, and having a natural talent.”Trenches” definitely brings out the fight, and it feels great!
“Torn to Pieces” also really moves me. Of course, it’s about Leigh’s dad. I feel that the words resonate for so many different experiences, not just for the loss of a loved one. If I’m missing home, when I want to see a certain person’s face like my mom, dad, dog, or my best friend. Ya know, being away from home, sometimes when I play this song, I get choked up. I love being away from home and traveling, but there are just those days when you’re more tired than others. Obviously, you’re just more emotional sometimes. If you don’t get emotional, you’re just not human. “Torn to Pieces” does, sometimes, get to me on stage. I have to take a deep breath after playing it.
DFW lmages: In an interview that I watched, you mentioned that you had plans to take over the world — world domination. What kind of evil, or should I say POP EVIL, plan do you and your band of brothers have for your takeover in Dallas, Texas on your way to world domination?
Hayley: It’s so funny that you picked up on that! I remember that interview. *said through laughter* I think the way that I view the world at the moment, us that there is so much craziness going on. Whether, it’s about politics and the filtering down to the people on the streets. I feel it’s like a twister. At the top, it’s slow, and as you go down it gets faster and faster. I feel like that’s where we’re at in society and as humans on this planet. We are right at the bottom of the twister, and something has to give. I think people joining together, through rock with an uplifting message, standing together and being good to each other is how we do it. We need to positively influence each other every day. We, as Pop Evil, are doing that through our music. I think other people can use their professions to stand and be better. We’ve got to join together and be nice to each other. We’re going to take over with a message of positivity, and I’ll do that through my playing. If I can inspire people, in our audiences, to be stronger, that’s me doing my job well. That’s all I want to do. We want to fill a room with a whole load of positive energy and make people feel better.
DFW lmages: On your Facebook page there is a pic of you when you were quite young sitting at a drum set. You looked super cute and quite comfortable seated at the drums, so I have to ask who, early on, sparked your interest in drumming?
Hayley: First and foremost it was my brother. He’s ten years older than me, and he plays drums. I used to always say that I wanted to be like him. Then, years later, I experienced looking into other drummers. I’d say Stewart Copeland, of the Police, was a big influence. That was a cassette tape that was always in my mom’s car, so that had a lock on effect. Queen. Phil Collins was a big one, as well. There are also people like Steve Gadd. I’m a bit of a geek. I’m passionate about my rock-n- roll, but I am a super geek!! For practice, I study all of the technical drummers.
My father also inspired me. He’s a bass player. I would always jam with him as a kid, and I can still hear his bass playing. I crave it sometimes. That’s one thing I crave to go home to.
DFW Images: Is there a message that you all would like to share with people in Dallas, your fans and those that will be, ahead of your show? I say will be because the first time I saw Pop Evil, they were supporting Marilyn Manson in 2015, and it was clear that the band could get fans involved, even if they weren’t familiar with the band. It was like a contagion moving through the venue. People were really rocking out and rising out of their seats.
Hayley: Yea, Pop Evil shows are exactly that. DO NOT expect to sit in your seats. Get up and enjoy yourselves. For that one night, just let go! We have fun on the stage, and we hope that’s part of it for our audience. It’s hard hitting rock that’s bomb. I don’t know how to describe it, but it is high energy. That’s a Pop Evil show, for me. The shows are wild, passionate, and ROCK-N-ROLL!
DFW Images: I know that you guys are busy, so we’ll finish up. In Texas, when we are parting ways some say, “Later, y’all.” Others may say, “Later tater,” but this time, I’ll say, wait for it – TOODLE PIP!
Hayley: YEA!!! *laughing* You’ve got it! So funny!
DFW Images: We’ll see if we can get you a huge chorus of toodle pip after your show in Dallas.
For more on Pop Evil check their website at www.popevil.com
For $20 Tickets to Wednesday Jan 25th show click HERE
Stay tuned to DFW Images for the complete show recap and photos!