Interview: Evile’s Ol Drake talks new album ‘The Unknown;’ discusses track inspired by Robin Williams

Posted by on August 4, 2023

photo by Steve Dutton


English thrashers Evile have unleashed their sixth full-length effort, The Unknown, on July 14th via Napalm Records (order here). We caught up with Ol Drake to discuss the record, looking back on 2013’s Skull and more. 


What was the writing process like for The Unknown?

The writing process was the same as most Evile albums have been. Songs start with a seed (often a riff) and I obsess over building the song to completion. The whole band has input and say in the progress. The new song “Monolith” wouldn’t exist without Adam’s main riff, and the bassline of “Beginning of the End” is Ben’s, which then turned into the finished song. It’s a process I’ve/we’ve perfected over the years.


How would you compare the new album to 2021’s Hell Unleashed?

The Unknown is Hell Unleashed’s polar opposite. We didn’t want to release the same album again and pander to the expectation/criteria that an album is “thrash” or not. If Hell Unleashed was 80% thrash and 20% heavy, The Unknown is 80% heavy and 20% thrash.


What themes and emotions are explored in the song “The Mask We Wear”?

The Mask We Wear deals with depression and the face we often have to put on in public to hide that we’re not doing well. I suffered (and sometimes still suffer) from depression growing up and it is all about my experiences of dealing with and living with it. Robin Williams was an inspiration for the song as he’s a perfect example. He was the happiest, funniest guy on the surface.



Can you talk more about the song “Monolith?”

Monolith was a riff Adam sent me which became the song you hear. Lyrically it deals with a recurring nightmare I used to have when I was young. Long story short, at the end of the dream I would be at the foot of a tall, dark monolith with 2 eyes at its lowest point, staring at me. I had the nightmare for a few months when I was 8 or 9 and I can still vividly see all of it in my head to this day. Luckily it hasn’t visited since.



Which track was more challenging to write?

“When Mortal Coils Shed” took the whole time between Hell Unleashed and The Unknown. There were finishing touches being made a few days before going into the studio. I obsess over the structure and feels of songs by listening to the ideas hundreds and hundreds of times while driving to/from work. I challenged myself to make a song with a pre chorus and a chorus, and figure out a way to switch them later in the song and make the pre chorus the new main chorus. It took a lot of trial and error.



While Evile has gone through significant changes over the years, this year marks the tenth anniversary of Skull. Can you talk about any fun memories from creating this record? 

Skull was a challenge as everything was leading towards me not being happy with the band and the music industry in general. Skull is a hugely underrated album, and a lot slower than people seem to remember. Russ and I (as we always did) would sit and work until late on tiny details, and he’s a master of this. He really delves into the songs beyond simple producing.


Do you have any plans for this year you can share with us?

We have a UK/Ireland tour coming up, but that will likely be it beyond getting on festivals for 2024. I don’t see us/myself starting to write any new material yet as I’m simply burned out by it all. We’re really trying to get back to North America, Europe, South America, and beyond, but it will most likely be for festivals due to family/work commitments.


Is there anything else you can say or add about the new album?

We hope you like it as much as we do! If you like what you hear please do pick up a copy of the CD or Vinyl as it helps bands more than people know. Thank you!




Tags: ,

Categorised in: Interviews