Sweet Eve is a strange hybrid of thrash metal with pop sensibility. Singer/guitarist Tony Francis is lyrically manic, some songs have the storytelling sensibilities of Billy Joel that talk about life and love, others are influenced by bitter feelings and vulnerability. The latest batch of Sweet Eve songs seem to be coming from a new place- rage that is manipulating Biblical passages and the speeches of Italian Patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi to warn America about the dangers of radical Islam. Needless to say Sweet Eve is an eccentric band that also includes the musical talents of composer/bassist Ian Shea whose metal riffs contributed to the song’s dark atmosphere and Russ Knight who was not only the drummer but also served as the producer and engineer.
Entertwine: How did the members of the band meet and begin writing music and performing together?
I met Russ in 2012 as the original Los Angeles lineup was falling apart. We were the only two guys in the bar and we started talking about Metallica & Power Rangers. He was doing sound for the Atlas Shrugged film at the time and I’m a pretty big Ayn Rand fan, so musically and personality wise we just clicked. When we decided to form a band and go on tour, we posted an ad on craigslist looking for someone who was into all the same stuff we were and we found Ian who is also from New England…so it’s cool to have another guy around that understands the whole New England thing.
Could you give us some insight into each member’s musical background?
We’re early Millenials. When we were kids there was a lot of skater music and hip hop on the radio and we just gravitated toward the heavier stuff and at the time Metallica was releasing songs, Ozzy had a TV show and Marilyn Manson was pissing off our parents so it seemed like the obvious direction we would go.
What is the significance of the band’s name?
Our logo is the Lilith who according to jewish folklore was the first wife of Adam. She was made from the same dirt, but she was too promiscuous. She’s the one you blame for wet dreams, she is said to be the consort of Sameal the angel of death. I always looked at the Lilith as being the powerful sexy woman that Adam just wasn’t man enough to handle and so he was given poor Sweet Eve. Thus the name.
What is the metal music scene of Los Angeles like?
Los Angeles is so huge that it is not a singular scene. You’ve got West Hollywood where you still have bands doing the glam thing from the 80s like an Epcot version of a decade. You have other bands that play down there for various reasons (releases/opening for major acts)You have clubs and bars scattered everywhere from the valley to Long beach that are the same as the dive bars you’d find anywhere in the country but there happens to be more of them. LA is so eclectic and the bills vary greatly and unless you set it up yourself there isn’t much consistency in genre but there is a lot of artistic appreciation.
Could you tell us about some of the most exciting and interesting live performances the band has been a part of?
Best story was in Newton, Ill by a creek where the bar was an old box car and they had the old Farm Aid stage set up. Epicly wild time.
Tell us about your new album “The Immortal Machine”; when will it be released? Could you walk us through each of the featured tracks?
The Immortal Machine is a layered title. When our bassist quit the band a week before our first tour I said to him something like “we can’t do this without you man please don’t do this to us.” And he said to me “Sweet Eve is an Immortal Machine and it will keep moving on until it becomes successful.” So after I quit playing music for a year – and when I say quit I don’t mean I was taking a break for a year I mean my heart was broken and I was done – I had to consider if I was going to start playing again as Sweet Eve or something else. I had never fired anyone from the band it was all just people moving on with their lives and I just couldn’t put music down even though I really did try. So when I decided to start the band again with Russ and Ian the name “The Immortal Machine” just struck me as fitting. As for the music, I started out playing angry music and when I moved to LA our first manager told me when we went into the studio in Burbank that I needed to stop being so angry and pointing my finger and raging on other people and politics and that I needed to write more personal stuff to sorta wear my heart on my sleeve. That created a problem for me because I am either a very happy person who wants to party and be the center or attention or a genuinely angry person, if I get depressed it usually transitions into rage pretty quickly. I don’t have a whole pallet of colorful emotions that I deal with daily. I didn’t have a bad childhood, I was a fat kid and people picked on me but all that gave me was thick skin so not a lot bothers me. I was also afraid to show my political stripes in Hollywood for fear of being ostracized. So I wrote a lot of four chord pop songs which made DJs and magazines bash us. People who know me, know that i’m a card carrying conservative and not the Christian/Limbaugh kind…i’m a history teacher, a student of economics and I understand macroeconomics very well and can demonstrate how liberal policies hurt the middle class. When I would have long political conversations with people at the bar they would shake their heads and say “I can’t believe you write love songs when you could make an awesome political record.” So when writing the record I wanted to draw on social and political themes for inspiration. Looking to the Middle East and the conflicts going on there it was very easy to blend it with paraphrased biblical texts and extreme nationalism.
Is ‘Children of Babylon’ the album’s lead single? How will this record expand on or differ from your debut self-titled album?
Yes it is. Musically we’re doing something completely different from the last album by letting Ian lead off the writing process. Our styles are similar but our approach is different so instead of me starting out with the music and showing it to everyone it is Ian who comes up with the music and I simply add to it which allows me to focus more on the lyrics.
-How will you market “The Immortal Machine” once it has been released digitally? What else does 2015 hold in store for Sweet Eve?
If I said the same way as before i’d be either lying or crazy. I can’t give you any specifics but we’ve been tossing around a few ideas. As for the rest of 2015…we’ll see how it goes.