AN INTERVIEW WITH LESSER OF TWO EVILS
Lesser of Two Evils is a duo out of Monterey, CA. Yvan, the front man with iconic locks, and Patrick Kelly, the enigmatic drummer, form this band which has just released their first album FADER, a heavy-hitting album that touches on themes of lust, violence, nostalgia, and every other conceivable emotion the boys feel. The duo has been playing in Monterey for years and are an active participant in the Monterey music scene. Their group of "groms" is interchangeable with "Monterey Cool" and we hope to be seeing more from them soon.
YVAN: Mainly a lot of classic rock, including the big acts because they were expressive. Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Guns N Roses and a lot of psychedelic blues. Some Brazilian influences also come into play because I’m Brazilian.
PATRICK: My mom grew up in LA in the 80s so I was raised on a lot of punk, I really like Queen and Motley Crue. We are very influenced by classic rock. Yvan thinks that my vibe is a lot like that of Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols. We used to jam over them a lot. I’m also very into old school rap like NWA because of the flow. We like to get very lyrical and we enjoy intelligent lyricists rather than straightforward lyrics. We use a lot of metaphors and symbolism in our lyrics and both of us are drawn to lyrical-based music. Yvan and I both enjoy songs with high-energy release because it fits our mood so well, we release a lot of energy when we play because we find it to be an outlet for our aggressions and passions.
SO MANY OF YOUR SONGS ARE SO DIFFERENT - WHERE DO YOU FIND THIS INSPIRATION?
Y: Inspiration comes from being a person, you have highs and lows and you are changing. Sometimes you can be delicate and sensitive and sometimes you are like steel. I would say we are obscure. We cherish our youth a lot as well because we met in our youth and when we first came together years ago that is our idea of youth. Embellishing time and capturing the moment in time is what music is to us.
P: Moody would be a good word to describe both of us and I feel that our music is very “us” in that sense. Looking at our album collectively it starts very bright and happy and then it turns to night, it can get dark really quick when you’re stuck in your own head which breeds discontent. We specifically have a unique outlook on the world and people and so a lot of disillusioned thoughts come out because we exist in our own worlds and the negative things that rear their heads at us. When we first started playing together we developed as people and as musicians together so we have grown up in the music. Through playing we have found a bit more of ourselves and found that music makes us true to ourselves. We used to get a lot of shit for being ourselves in high school and now it’s more a matter of doing it because it keeps us sane.
WHAT DOES THE KILL BILL MENTALITY MEAN TO YOU?
Y: I have always been very interested in fantasy and I think as a musician you have to step outside of your box of a normal person and become someone else to really create. You have to reach inside of yourself and bring something new out and the Kill Bill thing ……. I feel a need to step outside of my box and put on almost a mask just to express myself and Kill Bill is one of those masks. It’s kind of like Halloween where you step outside of your box, but musicians, we have to do it every time we play. I like a lot of the old music we listen to because people like Robert Plant really make me wonder what I’m doing with my life. There is something divine and spiritual in older music whereas a lot of popular music is shallow. We just try to express the beauty we see in the world through our music. The love for music has changed over the times and it’s not the production or the gathering that it used to be, in an almost mass-like collection of people where the energy snowballs. I think the music knows more about us than we know about ourselves.
P: I don’t feel the need to dress up, I feel that I’m scary enough as it is you know? People have told me that I’m an old soul my whole life but I think that Yvan and I grew up differently than most people. I personally have had a lot of family issues from a young age which changed the way I developed. I spend a lot of time with my grandparents which is definitely, taste-wise, a part of why I am drawn to older things. As far as the contemporary era goes I think it’s all fucked, but someone I know who was alive during the civil rights era and Vietnam has said that this is the most interesting time to live in. A lot of people our age contribute to it because of their set of morals and priorities, and the current status quo is that America doesn’t help either. We’re just trying to be nice and respect the game where most people are just trying to be seen. Instrumental music has also made a decline. People get more credit for making a song on their computer than they do for going out and learning all the instruments.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TRYING TO CREATE A UNIQUE SOUND?
Y: For us it’s not about anything other than creating. If you are truly in the moment and giving it your all, I don’t know that it can be anyone else’s. Of course we have influences, but because we create this expression of our feelings from inside, I don’t think there is anyone else in the world that can be another Yvan or Patrick.
P: The way that we play, someone could imitate but it wouldn’t be the same because our heart is in our music. We have big hearts inside even though we don’t show it all the time.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE FUTURE, WHERE IS LESSER OF TWO EVILS GOING??
P: I want everyone in the world to have a GROM tattoo. I mean, I don’t know. For me as an artist I just want to have the message that I deem acceptable as an available plate of food for people to look at and eat. I just think both of us have something to say. I want to inspire other people to make art. I want other people to be inspired, that is “making it” to me.
Y: Ever since I was very young, I’ve thought that I had something to say. I want people to be entertained, to leave thinking “what did I just see?” If music can help someone else, then it’s worth it.
DOES MONTEREY HAVE ENOUGH OF A MUSIC SCENE TO KEEP YOU OCCUPIED?? GOOD LOCAL BANDS?
Y: The Ajimas. There’s not enough venues or really demand for music in Monterey. We put out a lot of energy and older people don’t really like it. A lot of people around here don’t want to see our high energy shows.
P: Moses Nose, The Strawberry Girls, there’s really a lot of cool music around but there’s not many bands. It is beautiful but it’s stagnant. Speaking on the music scene, I would say there is a lack of one. Our concerts aren’t really concerts, I feel that they are more of social events for people to be seen at which is fine but it doesn’t make for a good culture or scene. It used to be better, like when we were 18 it was crazy there were shows every weekend and a shit ton of bands. I don’t know, since I’ve been back I think Yvan and I are the newest band which I think is kind of sad.