Dave Grahs


The last time I seen Pop Evil was about three, maybe four years ago when they supported 3 Doors Down at the O2 Academy Birmingham. That was my first time seeing Pop Evil and still to this day I remember the energy the band had that night and their interactions with the kids at the show; I even recall Leigh getting one of the kids up on stage and getting him to sit next to Hayley’s Drum kit while they played a track before returning him to the barrier to his parents. I can honestly say I’ve seen no other band be that interactive with such young fans at their shows so I was looking forward to the next two days.


I arrived at the o2 Academy Birmingham for about 3:30pm as the band was setting up ready to sound check. I met with Shelby and he introduced me to Davey and Nick as I set up my lighting in their dressing room. I was later introduced to the rest of the band before doing a couple of individual portraits and some BTS shots in the dressing room. I was amazed by how quick Matt could solve a Rubix cube no matter how much I mixed it up he solved it in minutes; now if that was me I’d be there for hours trying to figure that thing out. As I headed out to Front Of House (FOH) I could feel the heat! That room already was so warm and sweaty but then again what do you expect from a sold out show! The night went well and considering the restrictions of shooting (mainly room to move about) I was happy with the results I managed to get.


The next day I caught the train down to London arriving for near three o’clock in the afternoon, I made my way to Islington then found a cafe to refuel in and do a few more edits from the night before. I headed to the venue for about 4:30 then hung out backstage till Leigh had finished with his interviews then we headed out around the surrounding area to capture some shots before heading back to the venue to shoot a couple more.

I then bumped into Hayley in the hallway and mentioned to her the day before that if I brought one of my drum sticks would she be able to sign it for me; as I collect drum sticks. So luckily enough I remember to pack one in my bag and Hayley signed it for me. This meant a lot to me as when I started to have drum lessons when I was about 16, there wasn’t any (not that I can think of) female drummers in Main Stream music apart from Cindy Blackman. The drummers I looked up too were Travis Barker (Blink182), Zac Farro (Paramore) and Aaron Gillespie (Underøath). So fast forward a few years its great to see so many amazing female’s behind the kit and I just feel so lucky that i’ve got to work closely and shoot Hayley herself and recently Kortney Grinwis (Chapel). Its amazing to see so many females coming forward now in what was a male dominated sector and it makes me want to start my lessons again and really learn about drums to eventually get behind a kit one day.

I then headed back to the dressing room where I left my equipment to prep what I needed for the show and then headed straight up the stairs, pretty quickly as I forgot show time was earlier then the previous night. I headed out to FOH to start the night off, there was plenty of running around from FOH, Onstage and too the balcony above but as you know heat rises so the floor was pretty slippery up top and there were a few near slides across the floor but luckily I managed to stay on my feet.

The two days I spent with Pop Evil was an amazing experience and I’d like to thank them and their crew for being welcoming. Thank you to Hayley for your kind words about my photography it honestly meant a lot to hear that and to Leigh for sharing your knowledge and insight. Im grateful to you all and your team.