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    "Instruments Are Like Family Members"

    Interview von Anne
    08.10.2020 — Lesezeit: 9 min
    Deutsche Version lesen

    Do you know Heavybird? Evan Glenn Adams is the man behind this name.  He is the picture book example of a multi-instrumentalist. The creative musician from Woodstock, New York masters numerous instruments – in a virtuoso manner. He also works as a sound engineer and is involved in various music projects.

    Heavybird is Evan's latest solo project. He is currently putting his heart and soul into his second Heavybird album, which he plans to release in spring 2021. I had the great honour to be one of the first to hear the songs that will be on the record. Afterwards, I arranged an interview with the artist.

    Anne: Hi Evan! Thank you very much for taking the time for this interview! How are you doing these days?

    Evan: Hello Anne! Thanks for making time for me! I’m feeling really fortunate lately, despite everything going on. I’ve been unemployed since April due to the pandemic, but I have a roof over my head and a place to record and play my instruments, so I’m super grateful for that every day.

    "The songs are a part of me"

    Evan Glenn AdamsEvan Glenn Adams

    Anne: You are planning to release a new album with your project Heavybird next spring. I feel very honoured because I was one of the first who was able to listen to the songs, which you are planning to finish in November. Even if they are not finished, yet, I have to say that I love them and can't wait for the record to be released. Thank you so much for giving me these precious insights! It means a lot to me! Besides the final mixing: What else needs to be done before the release?

    Evan: Thank you for the kind words! I put a whole lot of myself into these songs and a whole lot of love and care. This is honestly the deepest I’ve gone into an album before, and I’m really excited to be able to unveil it. For the most part, it is just mixing that needs to be done, although I may end up recording or changing small parts here and there.

    One of the main reasons I do everything myself is because it gives me ultimate flexibility. Like, for example, I had a track that was needing more energy, and I ended up recording a shaker halfway through mixing the song. Had I had someone else mix the album, I might not have noticed the issue until it was too late to do anything about it.

    Anne: Do you already have a name for the new record?

    Evan: I do: "Pine Trees & The Faint Sound Of Buzzing.”

    "Pine Tree & The Faint Sound Of Buzzing" will be released in spring 2021"

    Anne: I find that very well chosen. I like it a lot. It sounds some kind of mysterious and calming at once. Do you want to reveal its meaning?

    Evan: Thanks! I'm glad it brought out those feelings for you. I wanted something that reflected the album, and mysterious and calming are definitely elements of it. As both a spiritual person and an environmentalist, I really wanted to bring elements of earthiness to this album, and the album artwork and title were an important part of it.

    The image on the cover is of sequoia trees. When I visited Sequoia Nat'l Forest, I remember the feeling of standing in awe below the ancient giants, the air still, the strong smell of conifer, and the only sound I heard was a bee flying in the distance. I wanted to bring that feeling in, so that's how I chose the title. I also use a lot of earthy tones on the album and have lyrics that range from presenting my deep despair around our current ecological crisis to presenting the hope and love and Oneness I experience when I connect with Nature.

    Anne: Wow, this sounds quite empathetic to me. Thank you very much for your detailed answer on this one. Do you already know the release day of the album?

    Elements of earthiness

    Evan: I’m planning on March 1st. I chose it because it gives me time to promote the album and launch a Kickstarter campaign in advance of the release.

    Anne: As a musician, audio engineer, and composer you are spending a lot of your time on music. Has this always been your dream? Since when have you been making music?

    Evan: It definitely has been my dream, although it has been through a lot of iterations. At an early age, I started playing the drums. I always loved it and I knew I wanted my life to revolve around music, so I went to college for it. But then I got pretty confused as to where I was going and what I was doing. By that point, I had learned several other instruments, learned about audio engineering, and played with a handful of bands, but I still couldn’t figure out how I was supposed to make it work for me.

    I actually ended up selling my drum set in 2012 and barely touched an instrument for three years; I had decided I was done with being a musician and I was going to be a novelist. When I started Heavybird in 2015 I was thinking I was just going to write a singular album with acoustic guitar and electronic drums, but it ended up becoming much bigger, in parts due to my love of the process, and in part, thanks to the great support of friends who have (and continue to) lend and gift me both instruments and gear, and their time.

    Anne: You are a multi-instrumentalist, playing several instruments like the guitar, drums (which you studied for 20 years), percussion, and keyboards. Which instrument would you say do you fancy the most?

    "I have an obsession for guitar pedals"

    Heavybird – "27:27" (EP)Heavybird – "27:27" (EP)

    Evan: Hm, that’s a bit of a hard one. I feel the most comfortable on the drums, although the guitar has become a close second. I feel like the instruments are family members, and I love them all despite their different personalities. Because I produce the songs almost entirely myself from start to finish, I’m always thinking about the bigger picture, so for example I’m considering mixing when I’m choosing instrumentation. So I often think about how the instruments work together for the final production. I’d have to say that one of my favourite things is tone, which is why I have such an obsession with guitar pedals.

    Anne: You've been on tour with many bands over the last few years. I can imagine this as very educational. Was it? What did you learn from it?

    Evan: It’s constantly an educational experience. what to do, what not to do, what works, what doesn’t. But beyond learning within the framework of trying to be a successful musician, I also learned so much about other people, and so much about myself.

    Anne: After so many years on tour: Would you say that you like life on tour better or do you prefer working in the studio?

    "Being in the studio is magic"

    Evan: Oh I’m such a studio rat. My ideal would be to only tour for a week out of the year and to spend the rest of the time recording. I find something really magical about being in the studio, whether it’s my own space for Heavybird or someone else’s studio for a different project. I love recording myself and experimenting with spaces and techniques. Touring definitely has its allure, but I’ve lived out a van for way too long for it to be magical anymore. I’ve become pretty fond of keeping a routine and sleeping in a bed.

    Anne: You are now working on your personal music projects like Heavybird which you established in 2015. What has happened since then? Besides the releases of three great EPs and two not less fantastic albums?

    "For Heavybird I've focused on recording"

    Evan: 2015 was a real turning point for me, so much has happened since then. I’ve recommitted myself to music, I met my soulmate and we got married, and I’ve worked a variety of musically unrelated full-time jobs through it all. For Heavybird I’ve mostly focused on recording, and the few shows I have played have all varied pretty wildly in how they sounded. Just in this past year or so I’ve done three releases of ambient music under the name "soft static,” recorded drums for and toured with my magical friend Luis Mojica, contributed drums to an upcoming album by Sheepish Wonder, and got through the second draft of a novel. I tend to keep myself pretty busy.

    Anne: Are you collaborating with other musicians for Heavybird?

    Evan: In the past I hadn’t, and originally had a friend mix my albums. For my newest release, I’m doing all the mixing myself, but I’ve brought on a bassist, a viola player, and a cellist, who have all contributed beautiful things that I never would have imagined myself. I’ve also had some great input from some musician friends that have definitely helped me take these songs to another level.

    Anne: Which artists inspire you the most? Who had the greatest impact on your music?

    "Good music inspires me"

    Heavybird – "Smile Beautiful You Are Free" (EP)Heavybird – "Smile Beautiful You Are Free" (EP)

    Evan: Mm that’s such a hard one. I need to say first that there have been just as many friends and fellow musicians who have had a massive impact on my music as there have been famous musicians. My biggest influences, rapid-fire: The Beatles, The Beach Boys, July, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, The Velvet Underground, Radiohead, Tame Impala, My Bloody Valentine, Autolux, The Clientele.

    I may have missed some big ones but there are just so many artists who have so much to offer. Lots of times I feel like it’s more of the less obvious stuff, like Leonard Cohen has been a huge inspiration, he takes such care with his lyrics; they’re poetry. And sometimes I’m inspired by something specific like I hear an interesting song structure or keyboard sound that I want to emulate, or other times I just listen to good music and feel inspired, even though my genre isn’t anywhere similar. Lately, I’ve been pretty obsessed with Susumu Yokota, and Micachu & The Shapes, neither of which I sound remotely like, but I always feel inspired after listening to them.

    Anne: Will there be occasions when we will see you back on stage again?

    "I want to go back on stage"

    Evan: Definitely. Once live shows are happening again I want to get back out, although I’m still not sure exactly how it will be. It might be just me, it could be a full band, it could be really stripped down acoustic or immensely loud and spacey. I have some experimenting to do.

    Anne: Tell me more about your Moondance Sound Healing project.

    Evan: That happened very suddenly and organically. I’d been listening to a lot of guided meditations and I wanted to make something for people to be able to relax and de-stress too. I recorded a shamanic drumming piece and did a trance-inducing synthesized piece. I plan on returning to it and adding more someday, but I’m letting it happen naturally and keeping my focus on Heavybird for the time being.

    "Everything I do is a contrast to everything else"

    Anne: You are also performing live with Luis Mojica on drum set and percussion and recorded his most recent record "How A Stranger Is Made" with him. This is quite a contrast to the Moondance project, is it?

    Evan: I like to think everything I do is a contrast to everything else. I usually start or get involved in a new project because there is some part of me that is not being communicated musically because of the confines of the uniformity of a project. I love working with Luis because he is a wonderful human and a great musician. He’s very prolific and very pure with his creative process. It’s really refreshing for me to be able to have the artistic freedom he allows and to also not have to be in the driver’s seat all the time like I am with Heavybird.

    I don’t have to deal with the business end of things either, and can really just enjoy being in and a part of it. I’m actually producing Luis’ next album, for which I recorded the guitars, percussion, and some other instrumentation for that should be out early next year as well. I love working on Luis’ music because it can be very orchestral, and it’s also very deliberate. There’s a kind of precision that I employ when I play the drums for him that I don’t use when it comes to more straightforward rock music, and there’s a kind of theatrical flair that is a lot of fun to embody.

    "I have more projects on the backburner"

    Anne: Are there any other projects you are working on that you would like to mention in particular?

    Evan: Besides Heavybird and Luis Mojica, there’s soft static, my ambient stuff, and Sheepish Wonder, which is my friend Matt Brady who does some really great jangly indie folk-rock. He brings in a lot of influences to make something that is both pop-oriented and still has great substance. I have even more projects on the back burner, but if you follow my website1 I’m sure to post anything new in the music section.

    Anne: Thank you very much for your time and for this interview! I wish you all the best for the release of your album!

    Evan: Thank you! I had a lot of fun doing it. I can’t wait for everyone to hear my new album!

    "Caged Animal Blues" von Heavybird

    1. Homepage Evan Glenn Adams

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