With a healthy chunk of attitude, a dynamic lead singer and a predilection for rock and roll, Evol Walks have rapidly emerged as a heavyweight contender. Lead by Los Angeles-based Australian singer-songwriter Leah Martin-Brown, these rockers have bagged two EPs, earned plaudits from fans across the world and played across three continents.
Evol Walks are a band who first came onto my radar in 2014 when I heard their single, Heartbreakin’ Woman. From the intro alone, I knew I was in for a good time. Then, came the presence of Leah’s strong, powerful vocals that enabled you to feel the emotions and anger she was feeling. In 2015, Evol Walks’ first EP, The Other Side, was released and put them ahead of the rock genre. I didn’t think they could get any better than this until their latest EP, Our Time Is Now, was released and proved their time really is now.
Leah Martin-Brown (vocals), Dre DiMura (lead guitar), Logan Nikolic (rhythm guitar), Eliot Lorango (bass) and Jimmy Lee (drums), AKA Evol Walks, are the kind of band where if you’re not in the loop, you’re truly missing out. Together they’ve proved to the skeptics that rock and roll well and truly is alive and is nowhere near the verge of dying, as others may say.
After a well-deserved four-year break in EP releases, frontwoman Leah Martin-Brown said she felt both relieved and excited to have it finally wrapped up. “The songs on that EP, such as Burning in Silence, I wrote in 2016. The other stuff, I wrote in the studio in 2017. We recorded it in 2017. The newest song on there is actually The Fire, which we did in the end of 2017 and recorded in 2018,” Leah said.
“We’ve been putting off this release for so, so long now that I’m really relieved to have it out. But, we haven’t released it for so long as well, that I thought, ‘Oh, maybe it’s not that good. Releasing it and having everyone like it so far has been really, really positive and I’m really, really excited because it’s been such a long time coming.”
There’s no better way to celebrate a new EP quite like performing at The Viper Room and watching the crowd sing along to your hard work. “The pre-launch was fantastic. L.A. is the kind of place that people don’t come out when it rains. It was pouring rain that night and we still had about 150 heads through that door. It’s about a 200 capacity venue, so we were really excited about that. We’ve been playing the songs live for a fair while now, just so we could settle with them by the time its’ release was there. We were very surprised there were people singing along in the audience and everyone had told us, at least, they liked the songs. That’s the main thing.”
When writing and recording the Our Time is Now EP, Leah said she wanted to go to the overall feel and channel that pretty reckless kind of vibe, while still remaining quite modern, which is why you’ll find the EP has a lot of different things happening on it.
“The lead track, Our Time is Now, is definitely a very endemic song, so I hope people listen to it and they feel pumped up and they feel emotion. I’d like them to be inspired and happy, but also ready to take anything on,” she said. With the current global events that have been happening, Leah went on to explain why exactly our time is now.
“Globally, the youth especially, I feel is very disenfranchised. I mean, not just youth, but especially my generation and the generation below me, we’re feeling disenfranchised. We feel like the politicians, the government, the people in power, are really out of touch with us. They don’t represent what we want and what we need, and they don’t get it. I feel like it’s getting to the stage that a lot of us have been able to vote for about 10 years now.
“The generation under me is starting to come in to vote. These people aren’t gonna be around for much longer. We are the future, The kids are the future, so we are coming into our prime and we need to start realising we have power and we have a say about that. I feel like we’re old enough now to understand. We’re not just kids or we’re not fresh out of high school. We’re out there and we can make a difference if people understand it.”
Gaining inspiration from the likes of Janis Joplin and AC/DC, Evol Walks has performed and recorded various rock covers including Norman Greenbaum‘s Spirit in the Sky, AC/DC‘s Highway to Hell and Metallica‘s Enter Sandman. They’ve even added their own touch to DJ Snake and Justin Bieber‘s Let Me Love You as well as Adele‘s Send My Love to Your New Lover, showcasing their cross-genre capabilities Leah introduced back in 2016 with her own ballad, Without Me. While she has had the opportunity to experiment with Evol Walks’ sound over the years, Leah believes she can see what direction it’s heading in.
“The sound that we had in the last EP was raw. It was Aussie rock. I was very young. I hadn’t even lived in America when I wrote that last EP. I was 22. I was just finding my new sound and developing as a songwriter. This EP, I wrote when I was 24, 25 and 26 and had more of an understanding. I worked with people in the industry, so I think our sound has developed as I’ve developed. I think it’s pretty safe to say that this is going to stick being our sound. I’ve been writing a lot lately and it’s going more towards what I think of a loop style, but still not, so I think it’s coming this way.
“I used to be in a band in Australia from the time I was about 14 or 15 called Lily Rouge. That was kind of my project. Then, I became a really weird electronic goth band. I don’t know. We don’t talk about that stage. I started doing this stuff and I got pulled over to America by a company who wanted to work with me. They were saying that my old stuff was cool and so, that was great, but it didn’t have much growth. That’s when I started Evol Walks. We’ve been working on our sound since then. I feel like we’re just going to keep writing and touring until we become close to public as it is possible to become in my genre.”
Produced by Erik Ron (Godsmack, Motionless in White, Slyer, New Years Day), Our Time is Now features co-writes from Jake Pitts (Black Veil Brides), Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel (Arteyu) and Tim Henwood (The Superjesus, Rogue Traders, Palace of the King).
“They are people who I’ve always wanted to write with. I was a fan of Atreyu for a while, but I was doing a lot of co-writes with a lot of different people. But, when I got into the studio with Dan from Atreyu but also Jake from Black Veil Brides, I knew we were going to use the songs. When you write with big co-writers who are already very established in their own progress sound, and because other artists are not paying attention to what you are doing, you just think, ‘Oh, I have this. I have this. This is what we’re doing.”
Originally from the Gold Coast, Leah headed to America to chase her dreams and put her work out to a wider audience. “Obviously, we have a rock scene [in Australia] and it exists, but it’s just such a small thing, you know. Over here there’s just so many more people. There’s more people in the state of California than there is in the entire country of Australia. There’s so many different niche markets. In Australia, there’s a monopoly on what kind of songs get played on the radio. Over here, you have so many different branches. I think while Australia has these amazing rock bands and these amazing things coming out of it, they don’t necessarily get the amount of chances to showcase that work as a professional musician as America does. In Los Angeles especially, because I’m in the best place for it, on any given night of the week, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Sunday or a Wednesday, there’s literally over 50 different rock shows going on in all these different places and I can go to all of them. That’s the difference. I think there’s bigger volume here and there’s more demand for it. There’s a big enough demand that people are putting money into it and doing it. Whereas in Australia, there’s a demand for it, but there’s just not the right kind of avenues that there are here and I think that’s definitely just a population issue,” she explained.
The only current issue Leah can see with the rock scene is the misinformed judgement that rock is dead – it definitely well and truly is alive, it just needs greater support. People need to get out of their bedrooms, attend shows and support the hard-working musicians who put their everything into the art. Leah recommends starting with Fara, Dead Sara and Don Broco. “They are so fantastic. They’re phenomenal. My friend showed me their YouTube videos first, because they’re insane. They’re the craziest videos. I’m like, ‘What the fuck is this?’ The music’s so dope and I absolutely love it.”
According to Leah, rock is an extremely honest genre which is why it will never die. “There’s some genres that people are just talking about all this shit that they don’t go do. Whereas, with rock, I feel like it’s very real and very passionate. People are playing rock and roll because they love it and because people are constantly saying, ‘Rock is dead. Rock’s this. Rock’s that. You have to really love a genre to keep going in it if people are constantly telling you it’s not going to work. I hope that, if we were to leave a mark on the music scene, people would remember us just from being very honest, passionate players and that our music’s made them feel something.”
It is safe to say Evol Walks are about to blow up. Expect big things from these electric rock and rollers.