Among many things catching my eyes on the Internet was the appearance of the new band out of Arizona, called Evil Saints. With their debut EP coming out on September 27th, I think it won’t be a bad idea to look into the evil doings of those death-black-thrash metallers just a little closer, don’t you think?
Hello, guys, how are you doing these days? First things first, who are Evil Saints and what can you tell us about its beginnings? If I ask you about the influences, what bands would you cite?
Doing great! First-off thanks for the opportunity to answer some questions for your readers! Much appreesh!
Evil Saints began in 2018. A long running band Reade and I were in together (The Phlowers) took a hiatus after recording our 2015 album “…Eh!”. We both bounced around between projects that would start up and eventually fizz out. Reade spent his time creating an art business @FFDcomics. I created a sports-related online app and website. However, music wise I ended up inside a creative vacuum. I had a fully functional practice studio, but since I was the only one using it, it eventually became my office.
Music has always been a constant in my life, and since I play guitar, bass, and a little drums, in the evenings I would jam to some influential old-school albums, piped through the PA. My go-to albums were, Slayer – Seasons In the Abyss, Metallica – Justice for All, Sepultura – Arise, Anthrax – Persistence of Time mixed in with some newer Clutch – Earth Rocker and Melvins – History of Bad Men.
The practice space also housed many other bands. There was this sludge/death metal band next door that would play at all hours of the day, I would literally get there at 9AM and they would be playing. I really dug their guitar work, but I would often blast whatever metal I could as a bit of a reprieve. This included influences like Behemoth – The Satanist, Deafheaven – New Bermuda, and anything by Dillinger Escape Plan or Baroness.
Between the constant sludge/death metal next door mixed with the classic thrash and newer metal influences, it kind of clicked. Just like that I wrote 2 songs in December 2018, and an additional song each month after that. Drumming is not my forte but I know what I like. Luckily my friend Aaron from the band “Sisters Of…” is helluva drummer. I asked him if I tracked the guitar and bass to click and sent it to him, could he track some drums. We’ve played music together since 5th grade, including “Sister Of…”, so of course he said yes. There was no rush since we were both working on other projects.
As I spent my time getting my website and app up and running, I put the Evil Saints album on the back burner. It was around early February, literally right when the pandemic hit, Reade (The Phlowers) and I went to see the concert of a lifetime, Mr. Bungle with Scott Ian, Mike Patton, Dave Lombardo, Trevor Dunn, and Trey Spruance, at the Fonda Theater in LA. They played some of the best old school punk and thrash music ever. Totally in awe of the experience we just had, we naturally started to discuss starting a metal band and I was like, “I actually already have several songs tracked, some needing drums, vocals.” Reade said “f*ck ya!” I think. Evil Saints was resurrected.
Unfortunately, because of the quarantine, were not able to practice together. Reade and I are resourceful so I sent him the songs I needed drums to, he learned them quickly so when we could record it would be effortless. We even jammed the songs separately and videotaped it, posting the edited video to our social media. When it came time to record drums and vox we were all ready to go. Reade quickly banged out the drums, recorded the alternate vocals, the death growls and I recorded the higher vox. After a few hard months of editing and mixing the album and creating promos for both the first single, “Siege Of Caffa” and the EP, here we are!
Evil Saints is currently Reade and I, with Aaron collaborating on the current album and in the future as well.
Why “Evil Saints”? What does the band name signify and what is its importance?
On its most transparent level, it’s about the hypocrisy of religion. When discussing lyrics, Reade suggested, since the band is called Evil Saints, to focus on religion. More specifically, he suggested that throughout history some of the most horrific people and actions could easily hide behind religion. Using it as justification for seriously horrific acts, genocide, the crusades, the inquisition, honor killings, etc.
More subtly, it represents the good and bad in everything, positive and negatives, matter and anti-matter, cosmic duality, yin and yang, etc.
Finally, it’s about us… we are Evil Saints. We have our good sides and our bad… the duality of man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the inherent good and evil (more the evil) within humanity.
Also, with your first single, now streaming, being “Siege of Caffa”, are your lyrical themes inspired by history or are they a mix of various ideas? Who is the main songwriter and lyricist of Evil Saints?
For this release I wrote the songs prior to working with both Aaron and Reade. Reade wrote his drum parts as did Aaron and I wrote and arranged the music and lyrics.
Regarding “Siege of Caffa”, its meaning is multi-layered. On the surface it’s about a historic event, biological warfare at the 1346 Siege of Caffa. Basically, the Mongols were trying to take over a pretty diverse cosmopolitan city, Caffa. They were unsuccessful as most of the army was decimated by the plague. So, they threw a s*hitfit and hurled the plague infested bodies of their dead soldiers into the city by the thousands. Attempting to escape the plague that spread throughout the city, Caffa’s citizens fled to Europe brining plague with them.
I wrote the lyrics during the initial weeks of quarantine. There were some similarities to our current situation in the US. For example, there was a rumor that coronavirus was a biological attack. There was also deliberate spread of virus within cities by a skeptical, angry, misinformed populace. It was like their own mini Siege of Caffa…
Additionally, there was another mass shooting here in Arizona around the same time. A guy who identified himself as an ‘Incel’ or involuntary celibate, (basically a male who thinks he is owed attention from women and lashes out angrily because he does not get it) shot a few people. I was seeing similarities between that ideology, which is spread online, and plague.
Your debut EP is being released on September 27th, can you tell us something more about it? So far I know it will contain 5 songs, can you tell us more about these?
Isaac: Yeah definitely!! Themes include historical events and figures, false ‘prophets’ of yesterday and today, revenge, the Inquisition, space and celestial bodies, biological warfare, and plague.
The track listing is as follows:
1. Olga – 6:32
2. Blood Soaked Savior – 4:24
3. John XXII – 5:09
4. Absence – 6:40
5. Siege of Caffa – 7:29
Musically, Aaron played drums on Track 1 and 2, and Reade played drums on Track 3, 4 and 5. Vocally, Reade provided the low growl vocals while I did the higher vox and provided the guitars, bass and mixed the final EP.
If I am not mistaken – my guess is based on the cover image of your FB page – you are just a duo of musicians…that kinda prevent playing live (not that it is a real option nowadays with all this stuf going on), but anyway, do you think of presenting your material live at some point?
Isaac: For sure!!! This project seems to be happening organically now more than ever. In respect to having 2 members, like other bands in the past, musically we would be in control of the music, and when the opportunity arrives for us to play live we will reach out to other musicians to fill specific capacities depending on location of the venue.
What I would like to do is just play “one-off” shows here and there. My ideal lineup would have Aaron on drums, Reade on vox, and me on guitar. And maybe Aaron and Reade could switch with Aaron providing some guitar work live (he’s a killer guitarist as well as drummer).
Aaron lives in Missouri while Reade and I live here in Phoenix, so to execute that would be, well, another thing. We’ve actually never played these songs live together. But, we all have had a lot of experience performing. Reade and I have played together for years as The Phlowers. And Aaron has toured and performed extensively with bands like Reggie and The Full Effect and Appleseed Cast. I think with a little prep time we could pull off a show here and there.
Besides Evil Saints, are you active in any other bands or projects worth noticing?
Reade and I still play in the The Phlowers. It’s an experimental punk/funk/metal/surf band. We will be working on a covers album soon. We have 3 albums and 1 single available. One album, “…Eh!” is out on all major platforms. You can find all our albums on Bandcamp (https://thephlowers.bandcamp.com). We most recently released a cover of “You’re the Best”, the song from the Karate Kid All-Valley Tournament scene. I’m a huge Karate Kid fan.
Aaron’s post-metal band Sisters Of… has released an EP and album on the label Crowquill Records. I’ve collaborated with him on a few songs over the years and will continue to do so when needed.
With material for the EP being finished, have you already started to work on any new material? If so, can you share with us some info about it? What plans do you have for Evil Saints for the rest of the 2020 and beyond?
Right now the focus is on getting the album released and promoted. Reade has been messing around with a few ideas and concepts for future albums and Aaron has brought a few more ideas to the table as well. I also probably have a few ideas on my phone that could develop more. Any time I am playing guitar and a riff clicks, I record it on my phone. Then I forget about it for a few months until I sit down and listen. Occasionally there is something worth developing on there. Like I said earlier, this project seems to be happening organically now more than ever. I am certain you will get more Evil Saints in the future.
Where can our readers listen to your stuff? Will you offer any merchandise along the online streaming of your music?
We are on all major online platforms as well as some random ones. (see links below). The album comes out September 27th. There could be another surprise along the way as well!
Reade, in addition to being a killer drummer and vocalist, is an excellent visual artist. He does all our logos and graphics and many of our videos. So he is designing awesome merch to sell online now.
Also… when the demand is there, we plan on releasing each song as a physical single, either CD, vinyl, or both. With that, there will be some packaged collectors’ items and perks. All featuring Reade’s artwork.
Any final message to the readers?
Isaac: Well if you managed to read this far, you are obviously an amazing person and we would love to connect with you online. Hit us up on all our social media and let us know where you heard about us. We’d love to hear about where you are from, what music you are into, what you’re into creatively or in general. Really anything you want. Thanks so much for checking it out. And thanks to RubberAxe for the interview!
Evil Saints Online:
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/evil-saints/1529693538
Listen to Siege of Caffa on:
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/siege-of-caffa-single/1529693537