MetalTalk sat down with Derby based quartet Eva Plays Dead to find out more about them, where they've come from, the history of the band and what their aspirations for the future are.
The first thing I asked them was the inevitable "how long have you been together?", to which I was told the very exacting count of "six months and nineteen days" by drummer Seb Boyse before he quickly adds "(that) with this line-up and name, though, the whole project has been going for just over three years".
As guitarist Matt Gascoyne explains, "I started jamming with a few friends back in school when we were looking for a vocalist. I'd known Tig (vocalist Tiggy Dockerty) for a few years after meeting on a Japanese school exchange, strangely, we didn't get on at all at first! Anyway," he continues, "when she applied, we thought we'd give her a blast! Since the music started changing, we lost members and picked up Zach (bass player, Zach Shannon) first, through a bit of MySpace/Facebook stalking, and when we lost our old drummer, Zach recommended Seb."
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The band were previously called Bury The Ladybird, and I ask them why they chose to change to Eva Plays Dead? "Our music massively changed in a small period of time," confirms Boyse, "and the old name didn't really reflect what we sounded like, so we began to feel uncomfortable playing under the Bury The Ladybird banner, and felt it was time for a change for something better suited to our genre!
So, I ask, how the Eva Plays Dead name come about? "When we decided we needed a name change, and we had a gig in Glasgow back in October 2012", Gascoyne tells me, "and we set ourselves the challenge of coming up with a name whilst we were up there". However as he explains further, plans went somewhat awry when the band "just got wasted – so much so, Seb became a 'drug inspector' at 5.00am at the hotel we were staying at. He disturbed a lot of people that night! When we got back home, we realised we hadn't got a name", Gascoyne continues, "So whilst we were preparing for the re-launch with our record label for the name we hadn't got yet, the pressure was on. We wanted something dark which reflected our music slightly more, but which also portrayed Tig's femininity. We were big fans of a local act called Patchwork Grace, who have now broken up, and they had an awesome song called 'Play Dead' so we thought we'd rob it. Then out of nowhere, the name Eva came to us".
As Eva Plays Dead, I ask what the band have achieved in their relatively short career so far? Again, Boyse is first to answer telling me: "We've done our first headline tour, successfully released our full length album (called 'Guilt Trips & Sins' and is available from the band's official online store or download from all good digital outlets), and we have also released our debut music video for the track 'Secret'. That's still not enough, if I'm honest. We've done a lot of drinking, all over the country. I'd say that's our big one so far", jokes Shannon.
It's always interesting to listen to a band and to try and work out if there are any obvious influences, but with Eva Plays Dead, this isn't so easy to identify. They list bands as diverse as Guns N' Roses, Aerosmith, Black Flag and Rancid amongst their influences, so I ask them about the musicians they feel have influenced them most: "As a drummer", says Boyse, "I'm influenced by a lot of things you'd never guess that sound nothing like us like The Chariot (an American mathcore band from Douglasville, Georgia) and The Wonder Years (an American pop punk band from Lansdale, Pennsylvania). Musically I'm enjoying Monster Truck (a Canadian rock band from Hamilton, Ontario) at the moment. Amazing stuff".
Shannon interjects at this point, saying: "I was the one who said Rancid, Black Flag, etc. as my influences. Personally, I like to think I pull quite a bit of my style from bands like those, but my biggest influence would be Lemmy. I've always loved his playing style, where he plays bass like a rhythm guitar, as well as his tone. Since we only have one guitarist, I have more space to fill up in the mix, so for me, that heavily distorted tone works really well."
When it comes to songwriting every band does it slightly differently, so I ask them how the process works within the confines of Eva Plays Dead: "Matt or Zach will come up with the initial riff", explains Boyse, "then I'll build on it, giving it some structure before Tigg will begin to write some lyrics." Asked about the themes of the lyrics, Boyse replies quite bluntly, "Sex, Love, Hate, Anger!"
As mentioned already, the band released their debut album 'Guilt Trips & Sins' back in March 2013, so I ask the band what the response to the release was like? "It was very good, actually", confirms Dockerty, "including a 10/10 review from one webzine" she adds proudly. When pressed to reveal any other releases that are in the pipeline, Boyse is quick to confirm that "we should be hopefully doing an EP in the near future", with Gascoyne adding positively that they plan to release "a few more singles if all goes to plan".
The band recently released a cover of 'Whole Lotta Rosie' by AC/DC, and I ask if this is something the band are keen to do more of in the future? "Yes, I think we'll also be doing some original acoustic songs later on too", confirms Boyse, before Shannon adds jokingly that "(he's) working on some acoustic arrangements of Slayer tracks for us to cover. I'm still working on that scream from Angel of Death, but I'll get it done!" he adds sarcastically.
With no solid dates for the next few months, Gascoyne confirms that the band are currently "booking some really cool dates for later this year and early next year" which is certainly something to look forward to, and I ask the band the highlights and low lights of being out on the road for a tour.
"We always look forward to playing shows, but the first tour we did beat everything else by miles", says Gascoyne with obvious pride, "because it was all very new and very exciting for all of us. With touring nowadays, though, as well as looking forward to playing shows night after night, hanging out with old fans and meeting new ones, it gives us the chance to remember why we're in the band together - being able to spend proper time together. When we're at home we each have lots of different things going on so it can be hard to hang out as much as we'd like", he affirms. "The only low light so far" he adds, "is that we're normally too scared to fall asleep in the van, knowing we'd probably wake up with no eyebrows!"
Talking of their live show, I ask them what someone who's not seen the band live before what they can expect at an Eva Plays Dead gig: "Very loud noises", says Boyse with a wry smile before Shannon adds "My mohawk slapping them in the face (big pause) Repeatedly!"
Bringing the conversation to a close, I ask the band what the realistically want to achieve to which Dockerty replies: "We want to just be able to have a larger fan base around the country so we can tour more often and play more shows!" Well, that's not asking too much now, is it. Certainly Eva Plays Dead look like they have a bright future ahead, so good luck to them, that's what I say!
You can watch the official video for 'Secret' here:
You can see Eva Plays Dead live here:
Saturday 20 July - Bradford (with Deny the Lie)
Friday 26th July – Rock and Blues fest, Derbyshire
Thursday 1st August – Pre hometown show acoustic set, Asylum (Shop), Derby
Saturday 3rd August – Ynot Festival, Matlock
Saturday 10 August - The Victoria Inn, Derby
Sunday 18th August – The Flapper, Birmingham
Thursday 5th September – Bannermans, Edinburgh
Friday 6th September – Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
Saturday 7th September – Rescue Rooms (Macmillan Fest), Nottingham
MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
Eva Plays Dead are:
Tiggy Dockerty – Vocals
Matt Gascoyne – Guitar
Zach Shannon – Bass
Seb Boyse – Drums
Official Website: http://www.evaplaysdead.com/