In a turn of very fortunate circumstances, the quartet known as New Evil have found what they have been looking for in their search through the countless posts on Craigslist for potential band mates. What began with vocalist Sophia Anita Reyes and guitarist Ian Bishop; they found Patrick Nagy (drums) and Joe Mitchell (bass) online and solidified their high-energy rock sound. These performers take their craft with a serious but fun attitude. Their live shows instantly make fans of those who hear the raucous and explosive songs such as “The W” and “Ruined and the Rotten.” Reyes’ on-stage antics rival that of Karen O. or Courtney Love as she uses the entire space on the stage to unleash her deadly force. The unstrained raw power this band is known for is what fans come to witness first hand.
Now based in Los Angeles, this ragtag group of misfits rockers are ready to take on the world with a sound unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Their latest EP, II, capitalizes on their expansive range but their story does not end there. We caught up with the band before their show at The Smell to talk about their origins, their plans for future releases and how they plan to fight monsters in the night.
So, New Evil, where does the name come from?
Sophia: it comes from an Anne Rice novel called, The Vampire Lestat. There’s a scene in the book where Lestat finds old-school vampires and he’s kind of taken aback by their old-school style. He says, ‘You guys are the old evil, I’m the new evil.’ So get out of town, basically.
So you guys are vampire fans?
Sophia: Yeah, I am.
What’s your favorite vampire movie?
Sophia: I’m going to have to say Kiss of the Damned. It’s a lesser known vampire movie.
Joe: Don’t say Twilight.
Sophia: Eww. But I also love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s a huge inspiration.
The movie or the TV show.
Sophia: Both. All of it.
Do you have that DVD?
Sophia: Yeah, I have everything.
How did the musical adventure begin for you guys? Where did it all start?
Sophia: I just graduated from college in San Francisco and I came home to Orange County because I just didn’t have any money. That’s where I met Ian. On Craigslist, actually.
Ian: Yeah, we’re a Craigslist band.
Yeah, there’s a lot of them.
Ian: It’s kind of cool when you meet other Craigslist bands and you have that in common.
Patrick: It’s pretty amazing if you actually find anything good on Craigslist. I’ve searched so many and I’ve found so many bad bands.
Have you rehearsed and auditioned with this other bands on Craigslist?
Patrick: Off and on, I have. I’m pretty picky about just in general. I can tell right from the get-go whether I’m going to be into it or not. It doesn’t mean that they’re all going to be terrible. It just means that they might not be the right fit for what I’m looking for and I’m sure the rest of us feel the same way.
Ian: There’s a lot of weird people on Craigslist. I probably played with 15-20 people trying to start a band.
Sophia: I didn’t know that.
That’s a lot.
Patrick: Craigslist whore.
Ian: It was the same thing. I would jam with someone and I could tell that this was not a good fit. You could just tell right away.
Patrick: You ever get that thing where you’re all kind of looking at each other going, yeah, that was fun, I’ll call you.
Ian: Like I said, there’s just a lot of weird people on Craigslist. A lot of musicians are weird anyway.
Sophia: Yeah, that’s true. It’s like double weird.
Ian: It started with the two of us [Ian and Sophia] just guitar and her just writing lyrics.
Sophia: In your garage.
Ian: For like a good couple months. We went through a series of drummers before we finally found Patrick on Craigslist.
Patrick: Well, you found Joe first.
Ian: We started it with no bassist in the beginning. It just was incomplete. Our first demo, we just recorded—
Sophia: We had to have something.
Ian: So we started playing without a bassist and some people were just saying, ‘you should keep doing it. It sounds different.’ But it just adds the right element for this band. It took it to a different dimension. That’s when the band really took shape. Then when we found the right drummer to match with Joe’s style of bass playing it’s all just come together and we’re pretty happy with the end result.
Sophia: We actually found Joe by telling him that his current band that he was in broke up.
Ian: I forgot about that.
Sophia: So when we were like, ‘Hey, you want to be in our band?’ He was like, ‘Wait, what? My other band broke up?’
Joe: I literally rolled out of bed and went on my computer and logged on my Facebook and there’s a message from Sophia saying, ‘Hey, I heard your band broke up. Want to join ours?’ I’m like, ‘What?’
Patrick: It wasn’t a lie, he just didn’t know the news.
Joe: A good bassist is hard to find. You’ve got to be shameless sometimes.
Patrick: By the way Joe, why does it not surprise me that you were the last to know?
Joe: I’m always the last to know about everything.
Joe: He was giving me crap because I ask a million questions. I asked like three or four questions today before the show.
Patrick: It’s always the questions that we’ve already gone over quite a few times. What time are we playing? Where’s it at? Who are we playing with? Am I still in this band?
You guys seem like you’ve found what you were looking for and it feels like it’s a family. How do you handle disagreements, if there are any, with regards to the direction of a song, the band or lyrics?
Patrick: A lot of texting.
Sophia: We do group texts.
Joe: We stay up all night texting, basically.
Ian: We all feel pretty equal in this band and we all feel like we can speak up if something’s not right.
Sophia: We all write our own parts. I write the melodies and all my own lyrics. Everyone writes their own parts. We don’t tell each other what to write.
Joe: Everyone voices their opinions but it’s usually very respectful and we try to do it respectively without commanding. It’s really a democracy. If three people are into something and the other person isn’t, then we usually go with what the other three people are into.
Ian: Majority rules.
Joe: Yeah, I’ve never been not okay with that.
Patrick: It usually starts with Ian. He writes a lot of the rhythms and he’ll send us different parts that he’s working on and then we all start kicking that idea around in our heads. We practice weekly, at least, to stay pretty current with everything and make sure that we put on a good show and really good performance and make sure our music is where it needs to be. That’s really where we kick around a lot of the stuff that Ian’s been working on. It usually comes around, ‘Hey, let’s work on those two songs I sent you,’ and we just go from there. Sophia’s always writing her own ideas while were sitting there patching things up.
Ian: iPhones are a godsend. It’s really easy to record one little part and send it right away.
Patrick: This would have been more difficult in the 8-track days.
Ian: It makes you think in the old days you had to just do everything organically. And that’s kind of cool too but I wish we could do that.
But it’s so much easier now.
Ian: Yeah, exactly. It’s just the reality of how we’re all so busy. The band really is like a second job on top of already having this other life. Yeah, we just record things and send them back and forth and we rely a lot on media to stay connected as a band too.
It seems like you guys like horror movies. What horror movie would you have loved to have done the soundtrack to?
Sophia: Oh damn, these are good questions. I don’t want to go first, you guys go first.
Patrick: We do have a song called “Beetlejuice” that I’d like to get on the sequel soundtrack. I really don’t know if Danny Elfman is going to let us get away with that but it’d be cool.
Ian: The first thing that came to my mind is They Live but I don’t know that that’ a horror film.
Sophia: Oh no, I love that soundtrack. Actually, I listen to a lot of movie soundtracks for inspiration. Just like aesthetically, I really like the Grindhouse movie soundtrack. It’s amazing. I think if I could score any horror movie it’d probably be Pet Cemetery.
Patrick: That’s a good one.
Sophia: That’s a good movie but I think if you put hard rock in there, it’d be way more.
Patrick: They had The Ramones on the soundtrack.
Joe: Maybe like, Barbie’s Dream House.
Joe: That’d be a good one to do the soundtrack to.
Ian: Wait, what do you mean.
Joe: That’s such a broad question—
Patrick: Joe’s in left field, man.
Ian: Is that a real movie?
Joe: Or is it Barbie’s Dream Date?
Ian: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Joe: My sister had it on VHS.
The song “The W” is such a hard-hitting and badass song that opens up the second EP of yours. What is that song about?
Sophia: Have you seen the music video?
Yes, I have.
Sophia: This has nothing to do with what the song is about.
Joe: Forget everything you saw.
Sophia: The song is about me basically meeting somebody that I really idolized. I kind of approached it in a way as to kind of play it cold, kind of pretending I didn’t know who they were. Basically what ended up happening was this person invited me to meet up with them again and they didn’t show up. It was a nightmare. So that’s what that song is about. Not a lot of people know that. And it’s funny too because I actually won first place in a dance contest and he was one of the main judges. So it was kind of like a smack in the face. Kind of like I won and he lost. That’s what it’s about.
Patrick: Yeah, we don’t know what most of the songs are about. And when I do actually figure out the lyrics sometimes, I’m like, ‘Wow, this is dark.’
Sophia: Yeah, no one really asks me what he song’s lyrics are about. I don’t mind. As long as nobody tells me what to write, I could care less if they ask me what the song’s about.
Patrick: When it comes to lyrics, we pretty much leave it up to Sophia unless she starts going off the wall and saying a certain group of people should be massacred or something like that, but that’s never happened. So I think we’re okay.
Joe: It hasn’t happened yet.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
Sophia: Oh shit.
Ian: For one night, I worked at Pavilions as an overnight liquor clerk. I had to just stock liquor bottles on the shelves.
Sophia: For one night?
Ian: Yeah, it was a graveyard shift. I was in a bad spot and I really needed a job and I took this job and they trained me how to do it. It was a mindless job and I’d put the bottles on the shelves and make them so the label’s facing out and that’s really the only two parts of the job. So I was my job and that morning when the store had opened up and there were people in the store, the manager of the store was in there and he sees me in the aisle and I had already stocked all the shelves and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I kicked ass. I got everything done.’ He goes up to one of the other guys working there and he goes, ‘What the fuck is this guy doing here?’ And I look at the guy and I’m like, ‘What?’ The manager’s like, ‘What is this guy doing over here?’ I’m like, ‘Oh hey, I’m Ian. I’m the new liquor clerk. I’m facing the bottles because that’s what they trained me to do.’ He gave me a look like, ‘What the fuck?’ This is the manager of the store and he was just a total dick. I was like, ‘What? I didn’t even want this job. Fuck you.’ So I walked out.
What was his deal?
Ian: I have no idea. I think it was because it was very first day and he never met me. He didn’t hire me, someone else did. But just his whole demeanor. That was the one time in my life where I was like, ‘Fuck you.’ It felt good.
Sophia: Good, I’m glad that you did that. I’ve been serving restaurants since I was 16. A couple months ago I twisted my ankle so I wasn’t able to be a waitress anymore. That was kind of like a wake up call and I just quit. But being a server is probably the hardest thing a human being could ever do, I think. It was such a nightmare. I would have one table that couldn’t pay for their food, another table that returned all their food, another table literally asking what corn was. Anything that you could imagine. I have so many horror stories. But I hopefully will never do that ever again.
That sounds annoying.
Patrick: I have a list of bad jobs. I’ve done a bunch of stuff. I worked in an ice cream stand in a renaissance festival, I was a knife salesman, I was a ditch digger, I was a busboy and a dishwasher, I was a car messenger in Los Angeles, which was terrible because I hate driving and I never knew where I was going.
Ian: But what was the worst one?
Patrick: They’re all the worst ones. They were all horrible. What would be the absolute worst one? I don’t know. I’ve had some bad ones. Maybe the renaissance festival maybe because people annoy me at renaissance festivals.
Sophia: Yeah, I don’t think I could handle that.
Ian: Like, ‘Yay, me lord, give me thirty skimps of an ale.’
Patrick: Imagine being bitched at by a manager try to do a British accent.
Patrick: It was not the best way to spend a summer.
Joe: I guess mine is a two way tie. Either the second time I started working at KFC. I worked there when I was 15 and I left and I lost my other job.
Patrick: Yeah, but do you know the secret recipe?
Joe: No, dude. They literally just label it: Secret Recipe.
Patrick: Aww, that’s cheap.
Joe: I’m like, ‘I don’t even know what’s in this. I don’t trust it.’ That one and this other place where I was working with mentally handicapped people as an assistance group therapy director. It was basically a babysitting a bunch of kids and they wanted me to do psychoanalysis on top of that. Then they fired me out of the blue. But that’s what I was going to school for and that’s why it was so bad. It was an eye opening experience.
Patrick: I remember one more that I had. I sold classified ads to psychics for a couple of weeks in the back of the LA Weekly. I only ended up selling one ad and then it was impossible to collect money from psychics.
Ian: That’s because they know when you’re going to call to collect payment.
Patrick: And I remember being up on the second floor of the LA Weekly and watching someone trying to park just smashing into my car over and over and I couldn’t get down there in time to do anything about it.
Joe: What? So you just stood up there?
Patrick: I was, ‘Noooo.’
What has been your greatest rockstar moment, so far?
Sophia: I don’t want to go first.
Patrick: Greatest rockstar moment? I don’t have any crazy rock and roll story at this point. It’s just cool talking to people and having them say, ‘I really dig your band and music.’
Joe: I have a good story but it’s kind of sexual, though.
Sophia: Okay, I’ll go first. I had someone come up to me on the street about a week ago.
Ian: When we played at the Whiskey Kiefer Sutherland briefly walked in.
Patrick: Before our set even started we were, ‘Hey, there goes Kiefer Sutherland. Did he like you guys? He didn’t eve see us.’ It was awesome.
Sophia: When someone came up to me when I was having lunch with my friend on the street outside and he was like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re New Evil. I saw you guys play. You’re great.’ And the first thing I said was, ‘Sorry.’
Sophia: Because I remember when he came to that show the sound was so bad. So I was like, ‘Sorry about that man, the sound was really shitty,’ but then I was like, ‘Did I just say sorry?’ I don’t know. I’ll probably not do that again.
Joe: My rockstar moment was when I bought this girl a drink at Boarders?
Sophia: Was this when you were in our band?
Sophia: Oh my God.
Joe: I bought this girl a drink and I don’t remember what conspired between us but she was kind of a bitch. So I kind of just left.
Patrick: This is one of your best stories?
Joe: No, just wait, just wait.
Sophia: This story ends in a sexual favor?
Joe: So then I buy this girl a drink and she was eyeballing me at the bar and she was with this other dude which was kind of weird at first. So anyway, long story short, I get up on stage and we rocked that set. Then I get down on off the stage and the girl pulls me into the bathroom. That was fun.
Sophia: What? You’re a liar.
Patrick: It’s funny, probably some of my best stories is having someone buy me a drink but it’s always dudes. But hey, I’m just psyched to get a drink. ‘Hopefully there’s no roofies in this.’
What do you want future generations of musicians to take away from you music?
Ian: Rock and Roll is alive and well. I think there’s sort of a mentality that rock is dead. I want people to know that you can create something organically and make something beautiful. You can create something from nothing. You can create something from guitars, someone singing and drums. It’s such an indescribable feeling when you create something like that.
Patrick: Especially in a world right now where DJ’s are the highest paid musicians on the planet.
Ian: Yeah, there’s definitely a shift away from live music.
Patrick: In a world of electric music, obviously we still use electric guitars. Instruments we can play mic’d up or not mic’d up. It’s learning how to play classic-style rock instruments and making it happen.
Sophia: It’s funny when we get to venues people are like, ‘Hey, what do you have? What do you need?’ We’re just guitars, bass, drums and vocals. We don’t know need anything else.
Patrick: ‘Where do you put the turn-tables?’
Ian: Yeah, that’ll be the next album.
Sophia: What I would want people to take away from out music is that I hope it inspires people and it makes them feel powerful. If anything, after people watch us play and want them to leave feeling inspired and motivated. If we can do this, they can do it. That’s what my goal is. Just to empower people and inspire them.
What is next for New Evil?
Ian: Working on a new record.
Joe: We’re going to do a Kickstarter.
Sophia: Yeah, we’re going to do a crowd-funding which is kind of scary for us because we were a little hesitant at first but it seems appropriate now. So we’re going to try to record a studio album and hopefully make some more videos.
Ian: We’ve got a really good crop of songs that need to get recorded. Our sound has kind of shifted in a certain direction and it’s sort of reflected by our past recordings but there’s a couple that need it. As well as re-record some old tracks that were from the original demo with the right drummer and with a bassist.
Patrick: We’ve got a lot of songs built up right now and we play them all the time and I’m like, ‘God, I want to get this recorded.’ I want to get this done right and be able to put out for everybody to hear.
Ian: Hopefully this summer we’ll have a new album out ready to share with the world.
Patrick: I would say some of our kickass songs right now aren’t even recorded.
Ian: Yeah, definitely my favorite song is not even recorded.
Sophia: Yeah, but that’s usually how it goes.
Patrick: More music videos, new album and just keep building.
Joe: From the business side, once we’re done recording, seeking out management. That would be nice to have.
Sophia: Yeah, someone to get us more shows.
Ian: Yeah, that’s one of the things when you’re a new-ish band. You have to do all this stuff yourself. There’s certain things that people are cut out for and certain things that aren’t.
Sophia: I would honestly, way in the future, love to make a graphic novel. Even like a cartoon.
Ian: That would be sick.
Sophia: Like we’re a band but then at nighttime we fight monsters.
Patrick: Oh, like KISS.
Joe: Yeah, just like KISS.
Patrick: Have you ever seen those KISS comic books?
Sophia: No, do they fight monsters?
Patrick: Yes. They even made a movie.
Sophia: I didn’t know that.
Patrick: It was KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park. It’s so bad.
Sophia: Okay, let’ do that. That’s good.
Patrick: You’ve got to watch it.
Becoming Part 1
Possum Kingdom (Toadies cover)
Ruined and the Rotten