When I arrived at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival I had some time to kill before Huntress was slated to start at 1:30 in the afternoon. Next to their set-up, on the Musicians Institute Stage I heard these sounds…pummeling…thrashing…pounding…screaming…IN-YOUR-FACE-METAL!!!
Who was this making such wonderful sounds at 1:10 pm? Why none other than Thrown Into Exile, from Los Angeles, CA! They aren’t signed yet, but they very likely will be soon, possibly by the time you read this, if the Heavy Metal Gods deign to step in and do what’s right. I knew NOTHING about these guys, but when I was asked if I’d like to do an interview I jumped at the chance, because they impressed the hell out of me.
Founded in 2011, Thrown Into Exile is made up of Evan (vocals), Mario (guitar), Colin (guitar), Erik (bass), and Chase (drums).
Evan sat down for a few minutes with me to talk about life on the Mayhem tour as a new band, and some of the fun and crazy things he got to see and experience along the way. He was such a nice guy, and even signed a CD for Mini-Amps. Check it:
Amps: “Not Alone” is some pretty heavy stuff, and you’re getting some serious rotation on SiriusXM Liquid Metal. How’s that feel?
Evan: Well we have no record label, no booking agency, so to be on satellite radio is a pretty big deal for us. We’re a DIY band, always have been since day one.
Amps: Now that we’re at the end of the tour, how has it been playing Mayhem?
Evan: It’s been amazing. For an unsigned artist, first tour to be Rockstar Mayhem Festival is pretty amazing. We’re out here with bands that all have record deals and have toured the world numerous times. So to get the love and respect from all those guys is really cool. A lot of the bands that we’ve shared this tour with wanna take us out with them, which is great, we couldn’t ask for anything more. And the crowd response, we’ve gone over better than we anticipated. We’ve moved a lot of merch these past few weeks, and it’s been a blessing.
Amps: Well if this afternoon’s pit was any indication, you seem to be doing just fine with the crowds!
Evan: Yeah, most definitely. You don’t usually see kids with a huge circle pit goin’ on at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, second or third song into the first band, you know? But we come out guns blazing at 100 miles per hour, especially being the last day of the tour. We wanted to go hard for everybody coming to check us out.
Amps: When do you think the full-length CD will be out?
Evan: It’ll be early next year. That’ll be our main focus when we get off the tour and back to Los Angeles. We’re gonna get back in the studio with Michael Spreitzer. He plays guitar in Devildriver, and he produced our 4-song EP (available on iTunes), and he’s gonna do the full-length with us. We got about seven songs deep before we came out to Mayhem. Three of the songs are re-mastered, and we’re shopping them while we’re out here. So, maybe we’ll have a record label coming off of this tour, or maybe we’ll find a private investor, some guy with a lot of money that wants to do it too (laughs), because that seems to be the way to go. Find someone who believes in what we’re doing. In fact our video for “Not Alone” was shot by 9-time Emmy winner Fabio Jafet. He shot our video for a zero budget. He’s a really, really nice guy, and he really believed in what we were doing and was cool enough to cut a video together for us.
Amps: Last year you won your slot for the San Bernardino Mayhem show. This year, you’re a mainstay.
Evan: Yeah, we beat out a dozen other bands at the Key Club last year, and we were able to open up that first day with Slayer and Slipknot, Motorhead, and Anthrax. That was really cool for us, and this year we teamed up with the Musicians Institute to come out and do the whole tour. Our guitar player Mario, he’s 22 years old, he graduated from there with a business degree in 2009, worked for ESP, Peavey, been around for a while, and now he’s actually back at the school, 22 years old as an Industry Relations Coordinator. Our drummer Chase, he graduated from the MI program in ’06, so we have two band members who are MI alumni. The Vice President of the school really loves the band, loves metal himself, and they’ve always been a big supporter of Mayhem, so they decided to put up some money and put up a second stage right next to the Jagermeister Stage, so you can go back and forth. When one stops, the other starts. Plus, with the Sumerian Records Stage, you’ve got great music all day long. We worked out a deal with MI that we’d work their tent every day educating kids about the school in exchange for opening up the entire festival.
Amps: So as a newer band, and getting on this Mayhem tour, what have you learned from it?
Evan: You know, a lot of the time when you first start the tour as a band you find out who’s really green really quick. Maybe not used to touring so much, so I guess the best thing to do, especially in the festival world is just kind of keep your mouth shut, and open your eyes and ears. Pay attention to people who have been doing this for a while, that have been doing festivals year after year. Mayhem’s in its sixth year now, and there’s people that we’re working with every day out here that have done it from day one, so it’s yesterday’s news to them, they’re used to it. And they can see people who are new a mile away. Another great thing to do is go around and talk to everybody, everybody that’s on the staff, in the back of the house, behind the scenes. Go around, introduce yourself to people, and make friends with everybody, man.
Also the other bands you’re on tour with as well, you know. I definitely learned to just get out there, shake a hand and say, “Hey, my name’s Evan”, shoot a smile, and have a beer with somebody. Even the Rockstar Energy guys working that tent all day, they love to hang out! They’re like, “Evan, come over tonight, have a beer with us, come on the bus!”, so just be social, be friends with everybody, this is a festival, you’re supposed to be out here meeting people and hanging out. That’s definitely what I learned, is to get out there and hang out, man. After we play, I walk around in the crowd all day except for when I come to the press tent. I love meeting kids, taking pictures, signing autographs, selling CDs, hanging out with everybody, I really enjoy it.
Amps: What’s your best memory of this, your first Mayhem tour? First of many, I’m sure! What will you take away?
Evan: Well, here’s a crazy one. We were about three shows in and a guy asked me to punch him in the face. He had never seen us before, and he really liked the music and everything like that. He got a CD, he got a shirt, then straight up looked me in the eyes and said, “Can you punch me in the face?” I was like, “Are you kidding me? Nooo, bro. I’m not gonna punch you in the face. That’s not happenin’. I’ll give you a hug; we can hug it out real quick”. So, that was really weird. Also, we have Metal Mixers almost every other night of the tour, which are hosted by some of the bands that are on the tour. I think the best one was John Reece’s birthday (founder and creator of Mayhem), but it was Prom Night revisited. I got a great picture with Robb Flynn, John Reece, and myself. Both of ‘em have dresses on, and it was a lot of fun, lotta cross-dressing goin’ on that night! We go on first every day, and it’s important to me that I’m ready to perform, so I had the discipline enough to not really drink on this tour, except for that night, since we had off the next day. We had a fuckin’ HUGE ice sculpture, a Jager Luge that was awesome, so I tied a good one on that night.
Amps: Evan, I want to thank you for spending some time talking to me. I wish you and all the guys the best of luck, and I can’t wait for the full-length album.
Evan: My pleasure, Damian. Hope Mini-Amps likes the CD.
Thrown Into Exile are primed and ready to make a crater-sized impact in the Metal World. They may be new now, but if Evan is any indication, they carry themselves with the class and the know-how of seasoned veterans. If you don’t know about them, educate yourself. And do it quickly.