Pop Evil singer Leigh Kakaty is taking a break from the rigors of music to spend time with his family before embarking on a world tour.
As the phone rang for an interview, Kakaty was playing videogames with his kids in his Grand Rapids, Michigan-area home. But he’s never too out of pocket to speak about his forthcoming self-titled album, due out February 16.
The collection was inspired by Pop Evil’s recording sessions in Nashville, a city Kakaty was nervous about visiting, he admits.
“It reminded me of our youth when we partied a lot,” Kakaty says. “There’s a lot of temptation in that city. Because of the strong music influence, though, I wanted to give it a go.”
Pop Evil’s producer, Kato Khandwala, suggested they record in Music City and wrap up in Los Angeles.
“It’s similar to Grand Rapids in that it’s a city on a river,” he says. “There was just always something that was relatable to being back home. Nashville is a big city with a small-town flair. We took part in things that are truly Nashville—a show, a monster truck event—to really allow us to taste that culture. That spilled over into the studio for us as well. It’s hard not to fall in love with that city because there’s so much to do.”
Pop Evil is the follow-up to Up, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Independent Albums chart, and No. 25 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Up produced four top 5 singles with “Footsteps,” “If Only For Now,” “Ways to Get High” and “Take It All.” “Footsteps” was Pop Evil’s longest No. 1 track.
Although Pop Evil is five albums in, the band decided to dub its latest effort self-titled, as the musicians feel rejuvenated.
“Being in Nashville was a new awakening for us,” Kakaty says. “We have a single new member—(drummer) Hayley Cramer—who happens to be a female. She’s the heart and soul of the band in the rhythm section that lays the foundation for us. When you hear these recordings, they destroy everything we’ve ever done. The low end is so quality.
“We’re at that pivotal point in our career. We’ve had success. We’re definitely happy with the things we’ve done, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Finally, this album is giving us the opportunity to do those things. It’s so refreshing to have a new outlook on this business and our career. Self-titled was the way to go.”
Although enjoying his time at home, Kakaty is looking forward to hitting the road.
“This is the longest we’ve been able to work on a recording in our career,” he says. “I haven’t been thinking about music, though. I needed to clear my mind and recharge those batteries before we tour again and think music 24-7. I’ll be refreshed and ready to go.”
Pop Evil w/Palaye Royale and Black Map, Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress Street, Tucson, rialtotheatre.com, 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 2, $21-$26.
Pop Evil w/Palaye Royale and Black Map, The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren Street, Phoenix, TheVanBurenPHX.com, 8 p.m. Saturday, March 3, $22.