Dave McEvoy - Guitar And Vocals
Thomas Agar - Drums
Pardeep Bhachu - Guitar
Drake Kelly - Bass
In the already rich roster of British rock bands, the rock-act Casino 13 can undoubtedly be considered an added value; their debut album, named after the band and reviewed on our website, has been released not long ago. Let's get in touch with them to familiarize with their world.
Welcome on Aristocrazia Webzine, how are things going over there? Here in Italy the hot weather is killing me...is it the same there?
Dave: Hello and thank you, the weather here in the UK is brutal, wind and rain in July... Probably the worst summer I can remember in a long time... It feels like winter never ended [laughs].
Let's start with the basics; who are Casino 13, why did you choose this name, what are your past musical experiences and do you have any other musical project going on, apart from Casino 13?
Casino 13 is myself Dave McEvoy (vocals and guitar), Thomas Agar (drums), Pardeep "Sunny B" Bhachu (guitar) and Drake Kelly (bass). We were all involved in the heavy metal scene in London previously, I was in a band called Social Head Removal with Drake and Thomas was in a band called Feral... Both bands played a lot of shows in London and the UK and Sunny B did a bit of session work previously and used to come to S.H.R. shows, that's how I met him and he ended up filling in on lead guitar at our last show, that's how we all know each other from the London Metal scene and each others previous bands.
We all wanted to try something different to what we were used to with this band as far as doing something more focused in the standard rock'n'roll genre. The name Casino13 really doesn’t have a deep meaning... I used to get bored and annoyed with all the online Casino web adverts that used to pop up all over everyones computers when I was trying to go online etc., so Casino was in my head for a while... Plus I like “Casino”... It really could describe any type of music, the "13" is silent as casino.com or onlinecasino.com etc were all taken online so for our Facebook, myspace and website etc the 13 is just there for the address to exist [laughs].
Punk, heavy, vintage rock and a touch of southern; apparently your music has many influences. How did you decide that this was the right way to convey your music? Are you inspired by any bands in particular?
Amm... I don't really know how to describe our music properly as I believe it is always up to the listener... I listen to everything from Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Springsteen, Guns N Roses, Social Distortion, The Clash, Pantera, Metallica, Lamb Of God, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams... we are a guitar based band and I particulary like guitar based music but it's all good you know... I think it was Zakk Wylde who said there are only 2 types of Music... Good or Shit and I like good music... we all listen to so many bands they all have influenced us on some level. I have been told we are a Metal band, I have been told we are a Rock band and I have told we are a Punk band... As long as people enjoy Casino and come to our live shows and enjoy them then we are happy.
I find that "Blessing In Disguise" has a vague taste of grunge, and in "Without You" your music travels back directly to the fifties; the central part of your album seems particularly tuned on an emotional key. Has this been your choice since the beginning or was the tracklist modified while your work was in progresS?
That's just an accident then I guess... "Without You" is a slow track and it's the only song on the CD that has a clean guitar sound on it, we all like the song but it just works better at the end of the CD, I was listening to a lot of fifties stuff at the time I wrote it and wanted to have a song like that on our CD as I love that whole era and wanted to salute it I guess it’s our “hats off” to those fifties love songs...
Blessing in Disguise just seemed to fit the middle of the album, I think the structure and mood of any song has to be reflective in the lyrics.... It’s like the opener "Good Friends And Alcohol" has a happy, fun blues rock riff to it, so good time lyrics work best with it... A love song would just not work with that riff (laughs), once the tracks were mixed we all sat in the studio and listened to them one after the other and we all pretty much had the same running order in mind so we went with that.
With so many ideas in your head and so many sources of inspiration, how did you find your way through? In your opinion, what are the best situations to write music and lyrics? Does each member of your band have a precise role in the writing process or is it a collective effort?
Well for me when I am in a good mood I play guitar and when I am in a not so good mood I write lyrics so it goes from there. With the band I will usually bring in a song that's almost done and play it to the guys, they jam on it and we see if it's a song that will work... Once they start putting their marks and touches around it it becomes a Casino song but we are selective, we had 13 songs going into record and 9 ended up on the album which was our choice. We decide if the song will have a solo and the backing vocals etc. and generally tighten the whole thing up, we write very fast so it comes very natural and organic to us. The drums and bass add so much to the track and we work on the feel of the verse and the chorus. It’s a very natural way of putting a song together but it is all about the feel in the room if it gets us all going or interested we go with it and Sunny B’s guitar adds so much to the process, he has a very unique way of adding the other guitar to the song as working around the riffs rather than just copying what is already there plus his solo’s are always so great... He can shred with the best of them but he always does whats best for the individual song.
This impetuous, alcoholic way of making music is somehow becoming popular, and for many aspects this can be seen as positive, for it is still very rare to find a standardized product in this specific field and often you can really feel the passion and the involvement of the bands. Of course you have an inside point of view on the matter, so I ask you: what do you think this trend depends on?
Impetuous alcoholic way of making music, I’m not aware of that trend, I can only speak from our way of making music... In every band I have been in we usually have a few beers at rehearsal and we mainly play in bars and clubs so the alcohol kind of goes with the territory I guess, but not when we record in the studio... Then it's coffee all the way all the time.
A couple of songs from your new album are particularly fit to be broadcast by radio, and I'm thinking specifically to "Dragging It All to the Grave", with its convincing and captivating chorus; have you tried to spread your music through radio stations? Here in Italy, unfortunately, the quality of the main national stations is quite low, and, were it not for a handful of local stations or web-radios, it would be very hard to listen to any music beyond the concept of "hit parade" or "mainstream pop".
Funny you picked "Dragging It All To the Grave" as we hope to do a proper music video for that song very soon but right now we put up some live footage of it on our youtube page... We haven’t tried with UK radio as the stations here are the same as yours, it sounds like all Hit Parade, X Factor Pop stuff or all the auto tune R&B stuff... The Rock scene in the UK is suffering right now which is a shame, it would be nice to be on radio I guess we will see.
I've got to know you through Sam from Catfight (now Gasoline Thrill); you are friends, is that right? What's the relationship between your bands? Is it frequent for you to play together?
Casino are big fans of Gasoline Thrill, both bands work well together and both our crowds seem to get on and dig each other etc, we toured with them in January and it was a great tour, they have just released their debut album also which is fantastic.
What can you tell us about the music scene that you're part of? England is, traditionally, one of the most significant countries when it comes to Rock music, has the situation remained the same since the golden years or is now music following trends and fashions?
Oh no it has not (laughs), there are good bands in London right now like Gasoline Thrill, Kopperhed, Drilling Spree, Love and Bullets, Casino etc, but there is no support from the industry right now, they are more looking for R&B and Pop music now as it's cheap to make and sells... The talent show X Factor era has been such a blow to the music industry as its turned it into a variety family tv show which I think is wrong as they are shooting themselves in the foot with that way of thinking... I never watch that crap as I’d rather play real music, with England’s history of the bands it has produced I think it's shameful that people watch and support those shows and buy the cover versions they release as singles... But we in the UK rock scene ignore all that and do our thing.
What are your thoughts about the music scene in general? What are the major pros and cons of the modern record industry?
The music industry is getting smaller and smaller with record company’s folding and the existing ones being very slow to sign new acts unless the bands or singers are chart busters... The "take a chance" or "this is art" era is over I believe so it has made life much harder for up and coming bands to get noticed.
The process of digitalizing music seems to be advancing incessantly; is it really useful to reduce music to a series of numbers, or is mankind simply becoming so lazy that everything is needed to be at-hand with the minimum effort?
For everything good that the internet has given us it has always come with something bad (laugh), the main problem is that now music is so easy to obtain and so easy to dispose of the value on a CD has been taken away as now it is just seen as WAV or MP3 file and not something to cherish... I used to love buying vinyls and tapes and CDs but downloading devalued it I believe... The one good thing it has brought is that it’s easier for an unsigned band to release downloads on itunes etc as now we can have our album on sale on line all over the world, but everything is digital now with smartphones and ipods etc and it has made people lazy to shop or want to own something physical like a photo or a movie or an album, it's just all on digital format now which I think is a sad loss.
Let's get back to your album; what was the reaction of all those fans who had already been following you for a long time, and, on the other side, what kind of feedback did you get by those who heard your songs live for the first time, not knowing you?
They all loved it... Our fans were waiting nearly a year from our first gig to our album being released so yeah, it has been great, we have only heard good things.
Can you tell us your best and your worst experience on stage? Has it ever happened to you to receive "strange" requests, for instance to be asked for money in order to gain a slot in a live event? Does the scourge of "pay to play" extends to England too?
In Casino we have had no bad experiences as of yet... I have had plenty on other bands I was in, they usually involved too much alcohol or being booked in small towns when no-one showed up etc [laughs]. Oh yeah it exists here too, Play To Play, or buy all that tickets for a show then sell them to everyone to make the money back, or buy a slot on a tour or festival... We have never done any of that...Fuck Pay To Play.
I'd like to ask you what meaning you give to a series of words: "rock", "freedom", "rebellion", "art", "visibility", "success", "dignity", "music".
Rock: Led Zeppelin.
Freedom: artist, alcohol,.
Rebellion: Hank Williams, Elvis.
Visibility: stage lights.
Dignity: true to yourself.
Music: addictive but only good music.
What are your passions, apart from your musical activity? Do you still dream to have the chance of living of your own music, or do you consider it an utopia, enjoying what you have and following the "carpe diem" philosophy?
I love playing and listening to music, if I could make a living off of Casino that would be a dream. When I’m not with Casino I play a lot of acoustic gigs, I have always done that,I think it's in my blood but I love playing acoustic sets in bars. I will always be playing gigs... Music industry or no music industry.
Can you name three bands that you'd like to play with as a supporting band, and, on the other side, three that you'd like to be your opening act?
Any band can support us, we have only been around for a year and a half so I don’t have a list of three... Anyone (laughs)... As far as us supporting 3 bands... How about Social Distortion, Bruce Springsteen or Metallica, would be nice... Can you make that happen?
What do you have in mind for the future? What are your plans?
We just did our album launch in London on July 12th so next a small tour will follow, we will be doing a music video and looking at plans to travel outside of the UK so we have just started out now really... There is a lot more to come from Casino13.
I guess this is the end of the interview! I thank you for your time, I'll leave you the word one last time to close the interview as you see fitting.
Keep on rocking in the free world and not through the reality tv world...