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Interview: Leigh Kakaty of Pop Evil on Eddie Vedder, Soulful Rock Music, and Switching Things Up

Our next featured guest is a singer, songwriter and musician helping to maintain the tradition of great rock music. He’s the lead singer of hit-making, globetrotting band Pop Evil; their new single “Waking Lions” is out now, their highly-anticipated new album will be available everywhere February 16, 2018. Please welcome to…Leigh Kakaty! Dude, we love “Waking Lions”! It’s so energetic and aggressive. But let’s talk about those soulful nuances you add to Pop Evil’s sound. Was that something you had to work on or did it come natural with you being from Michigan, the birth state of Motown?


Leigh Kakaty_crowd shotLeigh Kakaty: I think it’s a little bit of both, man. Being where I’m from its infused in you, but still you’re either born with it or you’re not. When you think about all the soulful rock singers who’ve come along, they all had “it”. They had that “something special” characteristic. And people are drawn to them. Tell us a soulful rock singer you’re drawn to.


Leigh Kakaty: Man, my idol, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. He’s been that for me since the 90s grunge movement when I realized I had a shot, and that my dream could really happen. I got the chance to meet him while we were in Seattle. Leigh, what type of artist were you when you first heard Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam?


Leigh Kakaty: I was still finding out who I was. I played my acoustic guitars. That was the one thing I loved about Pearl Jam was they fused electric guitars with acoustic guitars. Growing up in Michigan on the Great Lakes you can’t always bring the electrics out. So I always had an acoustic in my car or truck; when we’d be on the beach I’d pull it out to try and impress the ladies or whatever. What was it about Eddie that impressed you?


Leigh Kakaty: That soulfulness Eddie Vedder had just captivated me. He just seemed like it was all or nothing, and he had nothing else in life besides singing – singing for your identity. I think that’s what affected me most. It wasn’t just about the soul, it was finding your feelings. I grew up a minority in western Michigan; I’m half Canadian/half Indian, grew up in a conservative Dutch community, with a band called Pop Evil. There were so many variables against me! But when I was singing and performing it was like I was shooting bullets. I was shooting to find myself. Once I heard Eddie I was really struck by his passion. It was contagious. With all this respect you have for Eddie, what was it like when you met him? How’d he treat you?


Leigh Kakaty: Eddie invited us out to his house! He loves our song “Footsteps”, which is currently the biggest hit single we’ve ever had. He gave me the tour of his compound and kind of gave me his blessing. We got to talk, and it was amazing to hear his stories. It was very inspiring. It was also cool to find out how similar we were. It was a good tip of the hat to know we were in good company. Leigh, have you run into this issue: You’ve written a song, you go to arrange it and it sounds a little too much like rhythm and blues than rock. So then you have to modify it.


Pop Evil_promo (2)Leigh Kakaty: Yeah, and I write differently. I’m very open when I’m writing with the guys, but also it’s different when I’m writing by myself. When I’m writing with other people I try to be very open minded to let the ideas come through. When we’re demoing, I’m not so worried if it’s going to be rock or too pop or too bluesy or too country. Once you have a concept, lyrically, you can really dive into the concept and let things like its sound fall into place. And if other bands are doing that, then we don’t want to do it. If it doesn’t sound like what other rock bands are doing, we want to take a chance on that. And those chances you’re willing to take are paying off.


Leigh Kakay: Yeah! People are going, “Wow, Pop Evil doesn’t sound like anything else we’ve heard at Rock radio!” Radio has been good to us, so we have to give something good back. We don’t want to do albums that sound the same because we had success with it. |

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CREDITS Written by Mr. Joe Walker | Photos – Search Engine Exploration | Leigh Kakaty – as Himself | Producer – Liquid Arts & Entertainment | Creative Director – The Liquidation Committee | Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Copy Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Site Editor – Doug Sims | Webmaster – Doug Sims | Twitter – @LiquidAEMag | Instagram – @liquidmagazine

Liquid Arts & Entertainment is committed to presenting engaging conversations with top artists. We hope you enjoyed this interview with Leigh Kakaty of Pop Evil.

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