Have an interview today w/ Brooklyn based garage sextet Evolfo. The guys are gearing up to hit the Mid East Upstairs later on tonight with Major and The Monbacks and Los Elk that will allow you cool off with some scorching tunes from a wide musical palette to choose from. I talked about the show last week in my preview, and I commented on how the guys have that certain edge to them and a harmonically charged persona that will make them the star attraction of the night, and one that people will be paying a great deal of attention to. The guys were nice enough to take some time out of getting ready for the show to do a quick chat as we find out more about them, their creative process, and what it was like to put together their brand new EP "The Last of The Acid Cowboys". Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your names and roles in the band?
Matthew Gibbs – Guitar/Vocals
Rafferty Swink – Keyboards/Vocals
Ronnie Lanzilotta – Bass
Angelo Spampinato – Drums
Kai Sorensen – Trumpet
Ben Adams – Trombone/Rhythm Guitar
Jared Yee – Tenor Sax
How did the group form and where did you guys all meet?
I (Matthew Gibbs) started the group when I was in high school in 2009 as sort of a joke and a fun way to start playing shows, except for myself, the band currently doesn’t share much in common with those beginning days. The current iteration of the band was put together while I was a sophomore in college in Boston in 2011. Everyone mostly lived in Allston and we were playing in various different groups when I approached them about joining my band. At first we played a lot of basement shows and parties in Allston then gradually moved on to venues. Another fun fact from the beginnings, we used to be called Evolfo Doofeht (The Food of Love spelled backwards), but that name was too dang long and we got tired of it being misspelled so we are just Evolfo now. The band has gone through several minor lineup changes over the years but this current lineup has existed since about 2013 when we made the move to Brooklyn.
Take us behind your musical influences and how they all influence the sound of the band?
I hate being one of those dudes who’s like “I like everything!” cause while it is true, it seems everyone likes a little of everything. So I’ll try and narrow it down to be more exciting. As far as older stuff we love soul music, like Stax and Hi Records recordings. We’re super into Al Green for example, because it’s groovy while the songwriting and arranging remain tight. Also that dude makes the best use of a horn section. The other half of our influences come from 60’s garage rock and rockabilly, we draw from bands like The Kinks or Television but we also have a thing for current psych bands like Ty Segall or the Black Lips. We love pulling from bands that put on great shows, ones with a glammy or weird edge. It’s cool when reality and fantasy get blurred in music, that’s where the exciting stories are for us.
Getting started in Brooklyn, how vibrant is the music scene there and what have you learned from growing up there?
Acutally we met in Boston and for various band and work related reasons we moved to Brooklyn once everyone was out of school in 2013. We didn’t know each other until college actually, we grew up all over the country. What we’ve learned about Brooklyn over the past 2+ years: it seems people can sense bullshit from a mile away. It’s really tempting to try and fit yourself into one little “scene” or another but it generally won’t go over if you’re forcing it. People will give you more credit if you just let your freak flag fly. We try not to get taken in by whatever style of music brings the biggest or coolest crowds, if we don’t like the music, forget it there’s just no reason to force it.
Let's go behind the creative process with your music and how you guys all manage to come on the same page musically, how does it happen?
Very, very generally the process breaks down into roughly two parts. Part 1 is somebody brings in a song to the group, and part 2 is the band runs with it and contributes parts. When filling out the arrangement and the different instruments usually there’s a moment when something will just work and everyone agrees, or maybe somebody has to compromise a little bit.
What goes into your stage presence at live shows and what do you usually do to grab the audience's attention?
What we give on stage has very much to do with what we get from the audience. There are varying levels of absurdity our show can get to depending on what we’re being handed by the people watching. Whatever they give us we’ll take it one level higher, and through all our shows we haven’t topped out yet.
What was the recording process like for your upcoming EP, "The Last of The Acid Cowboys?"
The process took about a year and a half and involved a whole bunch of different stuff. We didn’t limit ourselves in any way, For instance we recorded mostly to tape but we did overdubs in lots of different ways. We just trusted ourselves and our producer to decipher what worked and what didn’t. And we certainly didn’t limit ourselves on time. We tracked the basic elements of the rhythm section and then after we were done with that we just spent as long as we needed on overdubbing guitars, horns, vocals, keyboards. Rushing things had been a mistake in the past, there’s just no reason for us to rush right now.
Who is one dream act that you admire that you would kill to share the stage with?
That’s a tough question because it might change month to month! But for a current artist we would love to play with King Khan and the Shrines and for a retro act the Seeds back in the 60s
What's next on the musical agenda for the rest of the year, any more shows planned?
We have a tour coming up this fall! We’ll be on the west coast September 22nd – October 3rd, several shows in Oregon and several shows in California, we should be making a big announcement around August with all the details. As far as new music, “Last of the Acid Cowboys” is actually part of a longer release plan. That EP comes out in September but we recorded a lot more than 5 songs over the last year and a half and we plan to get them out there over the next year.
Lastly, how have you guys all bonded since forming the group?
We’ve had so much fun together through hours and hours in the van or in the studio. I think we’ve shared some serious highs together and probably a few serious lows but our friendship is made thicker by all of it. We couldn’t be closer. It goes beyond just getting a long and generally enjoying each other’s company now. We argue and joke like brothers. We have our ups and downs and every now and then somebody doubts why we’re even doing this but every time we get through it we’re just having more fun than ever.
Thanks once again to the fellas for being so kind in taking some time out to do this interview. If you're excited as I am for tonight's show, you'll definitely be feeling the kinetic energy emanating ever so strongly from these guys, and you just might find your new favorite band in the process! Tickets can be purchased online in advance at this link here, and for more on Evolfo please 'Like' them on Facebook over here and peep their official website right here.