As members of Muet, the newly reformed Chemlab, and with a long history in the Chicago underground music scene, ReGen speaks with the trio of Daniel Evans, Vince McAley, and Mike Love.
An InterView with Daniel Evans, Vince McAley, & Mike Love
By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Daniel Evans, Vince McAley, and Mike Love have been among the busiest musicians in the industrial scene. With both individual and collective experience in bands like Cyanotic, Die Warzau, GoFight, and Cubanate, they made up three/fourths of Dead on TV, with an electro-meets-punk/rock style that made the band one of the most virulently energetic and exciting in Chicago. When guitarist Corey Devlin passed away, the band was effectively placed on permanent hiatus, but creative minds always find avenues to cope and continue creating. In 2018, Evans, McAley, and Love could be seen on stages around North America as the new lineup of a revived Chemlab with front man Jared Louche, unleashing a newly polished take on the glam and grit of one of coldwave’s most celebrated acts. On top of that, Evans and McAley hooked up with another veteran of underground music, Steven Seibold, for a new band called Muet. Post-punk rock stylings filled with somber emotion and dark lyricism, Metropolis Records offered us the Muet debut album in March 2019; that same month, the new Chemlab contributed a cover of The Pixies’ environmentalist anthem “Monkey Gone to Heaven” on Riveting Music’s A Riveting Protest compilation. Having completed a tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of Chemlab’s Burnout at the Hydrogen Bar album, and with the band to perform once again at this year’s ColdWaves VIII, Daniel Evans, Vince McAley, and Mike Love spoke with ReGen Magazine about their musical partnership and their involvement with rivethead royalty, complete with some insights into their activities outside of music.
The three of you have worked together for quite some time with Dead on TV, GoFight, and now as the new live incarnation of Chemlab. Obviously, you all have fun playing together, but would you tell us about what it is that you feel drives your creative partnership beyond that? Or is there anything more than that?
McAley: It helps that we’re all very close friends and hang out a lot. There’s always some sort of project in the works pretty much at all times, whether it’d be writing songs, recording, producing videos, or working on a live set for the next gig or tour. So, when things get busy, we’re around each other constantly. It’s like a family. At several points of playing with these guys over the years, we would have three or more bands’ full live sets memorized and could play whatever song at will, constantly touring and juggling multiple bands.
Love: For me, I really just don’t want to work with anyone but this crew. I have been in bands now for years and I have never clicked like I do with these gents, as well as Xmas Smits from Dead on TV and Die Warzau. When you find a team that works, you just stick with it. I trust these guys with my life. They are family.
As Chemlab is a band known for its ever changing lineup, can you tell us how you came to be involved in this current incarnation? How did you first meet Jared, and what led to you finally working with him in this legendary band?
McAley: I first met Jared at the first ColdWaves after I finished our GoFight set and we briefly talked. We had more time to hang out the following day when everyone got to relax after the fest. Fast forward a few years and Dan and I did a remix for a Prude song. We’ve kept in casual contact over the years and he reached out to us, asking us to be his band for the Burnout at the Hydrogen Bar tour. We were beyond excited and honored and started working on it right away.
Love: I met Jared on the 1999 Pigface tour. He walked right by the line and I said, ‘Hey, aren’t you Jared Louche?’ He stopped, we chatted, and then after the show, he pulled me backstage. I probably chatted his head off like the 19-year-old fanboy I was. I even got that jerk Siebold to sign a CD I bought that night. Joining? I saw my phone ringing – it was Vince. I’m sure like the most of you, calls are almost a thing you do for emergency reasons. So, I pick it up and Vince asked if I wanted to be in Chemlab, and now, here we are.
Dead on TV had an unbridled punk rock energy to it, while GoFight had its own funky groove to it, and Chemlab almost seems to be somewhere in the middle. What sorts of challenges did you feel – both individually and collectively – in bringing your synergy as band mates to such a well-known and classic coldwave band?
Love: Honestly, there were no challenges. I was a bit intimidated with the unknown of how working with Jared would be, but instantly on our first rehearsal, we all clicked. The whole tour felt so natural and easy.
Having toured with Chemlab in 2018, are there any particularly fond or crazy memories of that tour that you’d like to share?
Evans: The Metro show at Chicago ColdWaves was some of the most fun I’ve had with some of my clothes on. But really, the whole tour was a flying circus. It was pure comedy watching the four of us walk into airports or hotels after an hour or two of sleep, crazy eyed with nerves ablaze.
Love: I had a blast in Dallas. Dan and I rented some of those electric scooters and tore ass though downtown Dallas. We found a bar to hang out at, a nice little dive called the One Eyed Penguin and we all got to just hang out together without soundcheck, gear, tons of people, or having to play. The next morning Vince and I made breakfast and shared stories.
Oh, and stage diving during FLA’s L.A. set.
What were your favorite song(s) to perform? Did getting to play them live give you a different perspective on them as opposed to when you’d have just listened as a fan?
McAley: Your perspective of a band’s music will always grow and change once you break down the instrumentation and figure out how to interpret the songs with your fellow bandmates. Does this part work better in the backing track? Or should it be played on a bass, guitar, or keys? How am I going interpret the electronic drum parts into acoustic drum parts? We comb the material over and over until everything sits well together. My favorites to play are ‘Chemical Halo’ and ‘Rivet Head.’
Love: I loved ‘Suicide Jag,’ ‘Rivet Head,’ and ‘Summer of Hate.’
Daniel and Vince are now working with Steven Seibold in Muet, which released the ‘Muscle’ track almost two years ago, and now has an album on Metropolis. Would you tell us how this band came to be, and in what ways it contrasts with your other musical partnerships – how do the working methods, songwriting and production styles differ, that sort of thing?
Evans: It’s pretty funny how Muet came to be actually because it’s pretty much the same story as Chemlab. I met Seibold briefly at the first ColdWaves; nothing more than a handshake. Again, we found one another on the internet and he told me he loved Dead on TV. Dead on TV ended up playing a few shows with Hate Dept. and we all got along so well that we thought we should try to get together and play some music. Mike was initially involved too – he actually came up with the name Muet and contributed a bass riff to the record, but playing bummer songs wasn’t where his head was at. Not long after those initial Hate Dept./Dead on TV shows, our guitar player, Corey got diagnosed with cancer.
Love: I was there at the start, but had to bail for personal reasons.
Are there plans to perform live with Muet in 2019?
Evans: We will definitely be playing some Muet shows this year.
McAley: Yes, we are currently booking and working out the details.
Daniel, I’ve seen you behind the soundboard at a few shows. Vince, I know you’ve done some direction for music videos and such. Mike, I expect to see killing the competition at the Tour De France any day now. What can you tell us about your activities and other creative endeavors outside of music?
Evans: For me, music is pretty much all I do. I do live sound for a living, and in my free time, I try to make as much music as I possibly can.
Love: Yeah, 2019 for me is nothing but bike racing. I missed a lot of races in 2018. It was worth it, but I’m ready to suffer in ’19.
Anything else you’d like to talk about? Any other plans you’d like to reveal for 2019?
McAley: We have a bunch of things in motion for Muet. We’ll be talking more about that as the year goes on! Other stuff as well.
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