Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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Q&A with Evil

By Christopher Treacy & Evil

As a non-binary person of color from a rural area in Virginia, Evil likely came of age with a strong sense that the so-called chips were stacked against them. Their new EP, ‘The Second Death,’ portrays an ideological struggle; the title is a reference to the loss of God’s love after physical death—a brutal, final blow. Taken a step further, it could be conceived as a reference to the idea of spending eternity in hell, banished from the love of God because of behavior (and thinking) prior to physical death.

While these concepts may not be much a part of your everyday life, it’s important to remember that a great many Americans regularly wrestle with them and with the concept of answering to a higher authority. In other words, many folks out there are living in fear of the second death.

As queer folks, especially, we’ve been given a lot of confusing, conflicting information about God. Evil’s ideological standpoint is refreshing within the queer world, becauseif I understand it correctly— it renders God’s love as fact. For a queer artist, this is unusual. In this case, all the questioning, struggle, and debate, revolves around how we relate ourselves to that love. But it’s there.

With titles like “Broken Wing,” “Blood of the Lamb” and “A Child Shamed,” ‘The Second Death’ EP represents a spiritual pilgrimage, and “Wrecked,” our new Song of the Week in the current CQ Roundup, feels like a turning point within the storyline. Taking elements of country and comingling them with an electronic foundation and a subtly funky groove, the song has a strong undertow. Loan yourself to it just a little and it’ll whisk you off.


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

Evil was kind enough to let us probe a little deeper about the song.

“The love of mankind is not unconditional, nor is it everlasting. For if it were, we would not seek outside of it.” Was there something specific you were pointing at, here? Material wealth? Organized religion vs. Spirituality? The weird, unfortunate dichotomy that involves both money and religion?

This is a reference to God’s unending love and the way humanity can taint that. The love of mankind is not unconditional, whereas it does not last forever nor does it accept you fully as you are. Unlike the love of God. Which is why we search, in our own ways, down many different avenues [for that unconditional, unwavering love].

You ask “Have I Wrecked You?” as if you’re posing that question to a specific person. But after letting the song sink in a bit, it seems like you could be you’re posing the question to yourself or a situation, personified. Care to elaborate?

I think it’s a bit of both. It’s a question for myself and also my loved ones. Have I broken myself beyond repair? And you, also, through the destruction of myself? It’s a commentary on the way mental illness can break you down and turn you into a person you’re not.

In the second verse, you pinpoint an almost masochistic tendency, but it seems purposeful. It seems like the wave that destroys the ‘chaotic castle’ you built is cleansinga fresh start. This track seems to zoom in on a recurring pattern that could be perceived as destructive or cleansing, depending on the vantage point. Is there a symbiotic relationship between creating the chaos and then watching it disintegrate?

I think everything has two sides, and you can pick between the two if you’re able to ride the middle. Evil is ‘live’ backwards. There cannot be one without the other. Once something exists the only way to make it new again is to destroy it, and then the cycle repeats.

The third verse depicts a volatile scene… potentially violent. But it also reads like a necessary rite of passage for this particular scenario. Is it a more metaphoric violence?

Yes. “I grabbed the hand that dealt the rod, took the strike in name of love” is a reference to Proverbs 13:24, which states that he who loves his child will discipline them.  In this instance I took the punishment in the name of love to save someone else from pain; I took it on myself.

How does this track fit into the scheme of your new EP, The Second Death?

This one is the triumphant track, I’d say. The rebirth of all that was. With all the brokenness and sadness throughout the rest of the record, “Wrecked” is a declaration that I will be rebuilt and I’ll do it again and again and again, no matter how much work it takes. For myself and for my loved ones.

The way the track is arranged is addictive, not unlike the pattern it portrays. The humid, heady pedal steel, the subtle groove that nudges it along. Were you conscious about matching words and music when you were writing the song?

I wrote the song before the music came along, I’m super thankful to Kieron Menzies and Bill Reynolds for bringing my idea to life. Because of them, it became exactly what I meant for it to be. 

Christopher Treacy has been writing about music and the music industry for 20 years. He’s contributed to The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Herald, Nashville Scene, and Berklee College of Music’s quarterly journal, as well as myriad LGBTQ+ outlets including the Edge Media Network, Between the Lines/Pride Source, Bay Windows and In Newsweekly. He lives in Waitsfield, VT.

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