It’s a daunting thing for any musician to join an established band, but when Hayley Cramer joined Pop Evil in 2016, the band was on the verge of a huge tour and about to begin work on its self-titled, and fifth, studio album.
“I’m a great believer that if you get thrown into the deep end and you can swim, great — it’s better to do it that way,” she told KTW.
Cramer joined the band just before it went on an American tour with co-headliners Disturbed and Rob Zombie. She also recorded her first album with the band — its self-titled, which was released in February.
But maybe her success in joining the band was no surprise. The England-born drummer has been swimming before. Cramer used to play in McQueen, an all-girl rock band from her hometown Brighton, England, that saw success with its debut album and toured with bands like Velvet Revolver.
Her time in McQueen had run its course and when she saw Pop Evil was looking for a drummer, she seized the opportunity. After interviews by video chat she flew to the States to spend a few weeks with the band.
“It was such a good transition,” she said.
For the weeks Cramer was in the States, she played soundchecks with the band while previous drummer Chachi Riot played the shows. At a certain point, there was a mutual decision and she joined the band permanently.
The band, fronted by Leigh Kakaty with Nick Fuelling and Dave Grahs on guitar and Matt DiRito on bass, is all men, other than Cramer. She said that despite being in an all-girl band previously, she’s used to this — although she does see the industry changing, and thinks there are more female drummers now than when she started.
“My general life and career has been more male dominant,” she said. “A musician is a musician to me. I don’t care if you’re female, male, alien, whatever, if it sounds good I’ll drum along with it.”
She’s had plenty to drum along to, so far. The band’s self-titled album was the first that wasn’t written while on the road.
“Most others have been written whilst being on the road, recording done in gaps between gigs and all that. This album we took the time, came away from the road and focused on making the songs we wanted to make,” she said.
The band’s next stop in the tour is here in Kamloops on Friday where Pop Evil will be joined by Royal Tusk for a show at Cactus Jack’s Nightclub, 130 Fifth Ave. at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 and available online at kamtix.ca.
The tour continues with three more Canadian dates in the prairies before heading south of the border for a brief stint before Christmas break.
Over the holidays, Cramer said she plans to spend some quality time with family back home in England, but still plans to play a few shows at home “just to keep fresh.”
For Cramer, the drums are hard to step away from.
“Every day I get to play my kit is a good day. It’s kind of what I was born to do,” she said.