QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Joey Draper (South of Salem)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hey Joey. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days, are you alive and well? How are the other guys of South Of Salem?

Joey: Yeah, all alive and well. The guys are doing good. I think we’re all just raring to play some live shows again and properly tour the album.

Pix666: Your band is still quite new – you formed South Of Salem in 2018.  Please introduce your band to the readers in a few short sentences. How did you get to know each other as a band?

Joey: We’ve all known each other for over a decade. Mostly through the local music scene, but also from working on various musical projects together. South Of Salem was the first to have all 5 of us together and it just clicked. We’re a mixture of heavy metal, hard rock and gothic horror.

Pix666: … what was your inspiration to become a musician in general? What are your personal favourite bands?

Joey: My whole family is into music. I was taken to a lot of live shows as a kid and always wanted to be a performer. I think music, especially the lyrics, can be so personal and connect with people like nothing else. My favourite bands are Guns n’ Roses, Alice Cooper, KoRn and KISS to name a few.

Pix666: What did you do musically before you founded South Of Salem? What have been your best experiences and adventures as a musician so far?

Joey: I’ve been in a few bands over the years. I tried to vary my vocal style and learn from every experience. I spent many years trying to find myself or where I fit in music. I feel like I have found that in South Of Salem.

Pix666: You released your first Album ‚The Sinner Takes It All‘ in September 2020. How were the fans’ reactions to your album? Were you able to play the album live in front of an audience or was Covid faster?

Joey: The fans have been incredible and the response to the album has been truly overwhelming. We as musicians have never felt so supported. People have really connected to the lyrics and that personally means more than anything to me. We managed to play one full capacity show and a socially distanced one, so we are desperate to get out there and tour.

Pix666: Have you already made new tour plans – are there already new tour dates or festival dates?

Joey: We’ve recently signed with the awesome TKO booking agency, so we have lots of shows in the pipeline. We will be making some festival appearances too, including Call Of The Wild and the incredible Bloodstock Open Air.

Pix666: You have also released a lot of cool video clips. Where did you shoot the clips and were there any problems during the shoot due to Covid19 restrictions?

Joey: All of the videos after ‘Let Us Prey’ have had to work around Covid 19 restrictions, it’s been a challenge but we’ve powered on and created some cool stuff. We do everything ourselves so most of them were filmed in venues or locations around our hometown. ‘Cold Day In Hell’ was partially filmed in Burley, famous for its connection to witches.

Pix666: I’m a fan of statistics of all kinds. What about you? Do you look at the numbers of streams, the views on YouTube, or do you know, for example, in which countries the people who listen to your music live?

Joey: I’m pretty terrible with technology but the band often tell me how well our album and videos are doing. We’ve been truly overwhelmed by the response and how fast the band has grown. We’ve reached so many countries and the videos, especially ‘Demons Are Forever’, have really connected with people.

Pix666: Another question… are there any big problems for British artists after the UK leaves the EU? At least I can imagine that it won’t be as easy as before to deliver merch to the rest of Europe.

Joey: It’s all a bit crazy and ambiguous at the moment. We’re not sure what kind of negative effect it will have, but it definitely won’t make it easier. We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.

Pix666: What do you currently have in your shop, are there some clothes that the fans should definitely wear in summer?

Joey: Our album is available on CD and limited edition blue vinyl. We also have a selection of t-shirts, hoodies and some cool extras such as facemasks, badges and patches. Everything is black, so not ideal for summer but the UK weather is pretty unpredictable.

Pix666: Social media and music streaming are both a blessing and a curse for bands. From your point of view, what are the advantages and disadvantages of this development for your band. How much do South Of Salem use social media and where are you represented?

Joey: Social media has been a godsend for us, especially during lockdown. We’ve been able to connect with so many people, from fans (via our Facebook fanpage, The Coven) to promoters, to groups such as the New Wave Of Classic Rock. The sharing of our music has been integral to our success so far and we love that social media allows people to come on that journey with us. I think the only downside for me personally is that bands don’t have that mystique that they once had. I loved that back in the early 2000s no one knew what Slipknot looked like. I like quirky things like that and I’m not sure that could exist nowadays.

Pix666: As a musician, you surely spend most of your time creating music – but what else do you do in your free time when you want to distract yourself – are there any interesting hobbies you pursue?

Joey: I love drawing and digital design. I’m always doodling creepy little cartoons and do all the artwork for South Of Salem. I’m a total horror movie nerd. I also studied film-making so ended up making all of the South Of Salem music videos too.

Pix666: Do you have any other news about your band that you would like to share with the fans?

Joey: We have a new music video coming for ‘Pretty Little Nightmare’ very soon, plus loads more shows to announce. Thank you for your support and we can’t wait to see you on the road.

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck and stay healthy!!!



photos © South Of Salem