Last month we were sent the work of Philadelphia based Ryan Evans. Ever since, his LP ‘Here’ has had us in some sort dreamy trance. It’s clear on first listen that Evans doesn’t worry about fitting into a certain genre bracket. He has rightfully been compared to the likes of Clams Casino, Keyboard Kid and XXYYXX in the past, but when you listen to ‘Here’, you realise that it’s his project, his vibe and his passion, and that’s what you hear when you listen to this absolutely stunning six-track LP from the New Jersey born artist. On Evans’ Bandcamp page, it reads “I’m here. I don’t want to hide. I have confidence in what I create. I am not a producer nor an instrumentalist. I am an artist. This is my art. It is here for you to critique. It is here for you to love. It is here for you to hate. To feel. It is Here, I am Here.” – and it just so happens we love it. Download and stream ‘Here’ for free here. AO-AO managed to catch up with Ryan Evans a couple of weeks back for an unconventional interview. Firstly, Evans had to download Skype, secondly he was on his phone in a lecture and lastly, we were thousands of miles away. How beautiful is technology? Check the interview and stream Ryan Evans’ ‘Here’ LP after the jump:
AO-AO INTERVIEW WITH RYANS EVANS:
AO-AO: Yo what’s good Ryan? Are we all in this chat? Let’s go.
Ryan Evans: Yoo! Yes we did it!
AO-AO: That’s the power of the internet right there. Are you in school now?
Hahaha it’s a beautiful thing, it’s also pretty great we did this while I’m still in class. I’m in college I go to art institute in Philly for web design – I definitely love the art school experience and just being around creativity. Besides that it’s kind of my back up plan if producing doesn’t work out.
AO-AO: Definitely man, its all within the same realm of creativity so at least ideas can bounce off each other all day. How old are you by the way?
Exactly I actually just started designing my own artwork for album covers through what some dudes taught me at school. A lot of people have creative outlets outside of their majors which is refreshing and reassuring for me. I’m twenty-one sorry haha!
AO-AO: Yeaaa I’ll bet it must be pretty stimulating for productions to be around other creatives in a setting outside of music too, if you surround yourself in that circle you’re just always gonna be inspired. What’s Philly like man? I have no idea what it’s like apart from cheesy CSI shows and shit.
Most definitely I’m also lucky to have two best friends that are really creative in their own right. My one friend Jared is actually finishing up his first novel and we’re always having deep conversations about creativity and growth. My other best friend Tim has also been helping me with this music stuff spreading it to people and helping me get the sound out there. Haha Philly is a great city it’s very similar to New York but less busy. You’ll come across a lot of people that are more relaxed then larger cities. I actually live in south jersey about fifteen minutes outside of the city, but I’m definitely there most of the time for school and my girlfriend is looking for a place there now.
AO-AO: I love ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ too.
Hahaha I’m in love with that show. They definitely show the city for what it is flaws and all.
AO-AO: What do you listen to outside of production, what are you enjoying at the moment?
Ive always been a huge hip hop fan for sure. I’m always trying to pay attention to new artists for possible contacts and opportunities to send my beats out. I’m listening to a lot of Isaiah toothtaker. He’s crazy dope. I love artists that can constantly put out new material and the sound is always different and experimental. I’m also listening to the new MF doom collaboration JJ DOOM I’ve been a doom fan since 8th grade. As a instrumentalist how rappers sound sonically is a big part of why I like them. MF DOOM has the best voice in rap for sure. And sadly I’m listening to my new project a lot haha. I’m really happy the way it’s coming out so far so I’m always listening to it to see how I can improve.
AO-AO: You can definitely tell that from your ‘Here’ LP. I remember thinking that it could have so easily have had rappers/singers flow over almost all of the tracks on there, but I thought it was really interesting/admirable that you decided keep the tracks together and put them out as instrumentals. It worked really well and as a unit the tracks seemed to make more sense. I’m sure many artists would kill to get on them either way! Also, I love the grittiness of DOOM’s voice. It perfectly compliments his beats. No combination like Madlib and DOOM. Do you see yourself working with any vocalists/rappers in the future?
Totally I have Madvilliany on vinyl hung up on my wall. It’s one of my favorite albums ever. One of my biggest inspirations. I’d love to work with a vocalist in the future, that’s a big dream of mine. Tim (my Manager) and myself are always sending out production to rappers trying to get placement on as many albums as possible. It’s tough sometimes when there’s so many amazing producers doing their thing. A lot of these guys have buzz on their own. Thats why I’m trying my best to put out some projects and build a following.
AO-AO: From listening to your projects the first thing that stands out is that they definitely have that ethereal feel to them that many instantly attribute to the rising “Cloud Rap” scene (People like Squadda B, MondreMan, Ryan Hemsworth, Lil B etc) . I’m sure that you’ve been compared to Clams Casino a lot in the sense of your sampling style and huge airy, reverberating productions and it’s pretty interesting that youre both from Jersey (Must be something in the water!), but I was wondering to what extent do you affiliate yourself with the whole “Cloud Rap” scene?
I really love a lot of the cloud rap artists for sure. I got introduced to it through Main Attrakionz and Lil B. I actually saw Lil B in Philly and it still goes down as one of the greatest live shows I’ve ever scene. I don’t mind being affiliated with any movement or genre. I make the music so I can hear the opinions of others. Some people have said ambient, cloud, trap, etc. I don’t really classify it into one genre or try to define it by one word but I love hearing how others interpret it. I’m all about fusion in my music. I want to take a simple hip hop style beat that people are familiar with and try to experiment as much as possible with the samples and instrumentation. I want to know the rules well enough to break them and give the listener something new.
AO-AO: I like that man, it’s one thing to educate yourself in making a rap beat, but it’s something else to readjust what you know and bend the rules enough to make something new, without veering too much away from the fundamentals. Also, we need to see Lil B live. I heard from someone who went to a Lil B show that he was giving out hugs to everyone when he wasn’t performing.
After the show he literally waiting so he could greet every individual that came and took pictures with everyone. My friend even had him his hat and he wore it for the second half of the show. He was funny, kind, and gave advice during the show. It was seriously amazing.
AO-AO: That’s damn value for money. Music AND life lessons. I actually heard the term “Cloud Rap” was coined when Lil B pointed to a picture of a castle floating in some clouds and said “I want to make music like that”. He’s an innovator I swear it. Just going back to what you were saying about your music, there seems to be such an openess to your approach both musically and mentally . I remember reading on your Bandcamp ” I don’t want to hide. I have confidence in what I create. I am not a producer nor am I an Instrumentalist. I am an artist. This is my art. It is Here for you to critique. It is Here for you to love. It is Here for you to hate. To Feel. It is Here, I am Here.” and I just thought that is the realest shit!
Thank you! Yea I know I wasn’t always like that. I think with being an artist there is always some type of fear when it comes to releasing or showing your art to someone. It literally is apart of you so when you’re showing someone what you’ve made you’re terrified they’ll hate it. I’ve gotten to the point were I’m confident most of the time haha. I love what I’m creating and how I’m doing it do I feel pretty good about it.
AO-AO: You’re music is sounds really rich and emotional, does this come naturally or is anything needed to get into your zone?
I don’t know I think sometimes I sit down and it works and other times it doesn’t. I wish I could bottle it. Some days I can sit and make three amazing songs in a row and other times I’ll finish something really great throughout a week. The hardest part is just making sure I don’t slack I try to get in front of my computer at least once a day and that could be making a drum pattern, finding a sample, making a song. Anything musical and I’m happy.
AO-AO: Dope work rate, respect for that! It’s the only way.
Hahaha thank you, it’s tough but I think that’s the way to the best results. Especially when there’s a lot of people out there that are probably working harder and making moves I have to keep up.
AO-AO: Exactly man, such an amazing attitude, you just always have to imagine someone somewhere is putting in more hours than you and making moves so you gotta keep it up ! (But then somedays you just gotta lay in bed all day and watch ‘The Wire’)
Hahaha again referencing another amazing show I just started watching that a few months ago. Whenever I get into a show I usually finish a season in like a week it’s pretty sickening but I get addicted. We all need those kind of days.
AO-AO: You recently produced Michael Francis’ “Egyptian Eyes” which is serious dope track. And I was stoked to see you hint at working with DreamCollabo (I know of their work through stuff they have done with MondreMan and they have a mixtape from 100s, featuring like Squadda B, Chippy Nonstop, Shady Blaze and a bunch, coming out today I think) How was it working with these guys? And do you have anything else in the pipeline you could perhaps hint at?
Yea that Michael Francis track was the biggest thing I’ve done to date, I’m really in love with that song. That track will be on his upcoming album “Cold Heart Chronicles”. I’m sending a bunch of stuff to Shady he’s one of the most talented dudes out and is seriously so down to earth. He’s someone I wouldn’t think would be open to an unknown producer and he shows mad love. We have a few reference tracks together that he’s finishing up. I’m also sending a lot of stuff to isaiah toothtaker and he’s been really loving my beats which has been pretty unreal. A lot of these guys put out projects all the time so I don’t know when our stuff is up next. I’m finishing up an 8 track project almost a sequel to Here called “broken axioms” which will probably be out soon featuring a track with isaiah toothtaker. I’m really excited for it and I will be sure to get that to you dudes early to check out.
AO-AO: Man, looking forward to the Shady Blaze stuff! He did some stuff with our boy Uptown Greg which I dont know if you heard? Reaally good stuff! Your beats will be in good hands there serious!
I kinda geek out whenever I see an artist hit me back and say they like my music. It’s always exciting especially when it’s artists that I listen to. I don’t think it will ever get old.
AO-AO: We’re the same man, I think we’re all fan-boy’s at heart!
Yea it’s an amazing feeling. I pretty much used to just play my music for my two friends and my girlfriend so any other love I get is always unexpected haha. I think the fan boy shit is totally true. I think a lot of people want to hide it to look more legit or tough but I can’t help it haha.
AO-AO: Yo Ryan are you still in class man? We didn’t realise how long we’d been talking! We best let you get off, your Tutor will be going crazy.
Thank you guys this shit was fun as hell haha thank you for the support! You guys will be hearing from me soon.