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Evolfo

Matt Gibbs

If you wish to get to know one of the best new bands of 2016, just stay on this page and read this interview. Evolfo are a really exceptional and absolfuckinglutely great seven piece band, hailing from Brooklyn NY. They are playing beautiful and inspired 'garage soul' - this is how the guys themselves describe their music. Although the band was formed back in 2009, they gave us their very first single in 2013 entitled Mechanics. One year later they shared the 2-track single FHF/Let's Carry On, and only a month ago they took us by storm with the release of their debut EP Last Of The Acid Cowboys, in which you can find 5 magically crafted stunning songs, with opening track Moon Eclipsed the Sun being one of the best tunes I've heard in 2016 so far... Well, that's all from me, here's the very interesting interview we had with the band's guitarist and vocalist Matt Gibbs.
 

 

The Basement: Hi Evolfo, welcome to The Basement! At first, we would like to know the basics: How did it all start for Evolfo and what’s the line up of the band?
Hello Basement people! Thanks for interviewing us. We formed the band in Boston, MA out of a shared desire to play punk and soul music. Actually our first few shows were in basements in the neighborhood of Allston. There was a really killer underground and DIY scene in Allston that just beat the hell out of the club scene for a new band. These are still some of the greatest shows we’ve ever played. We used to cram as many people on stage as humanly possible. Sometimes as many as 11 people, it was reckless and fun. But now we’re 7 band members. People say it’s a “large” band, I don’t see anything large about a 7 person band.  

Here is the band personnel: Matt Gibbs – Guitar/Vocals. Rafferty Swink – Keyboards/Vocals. Ronnie Lanzilotta – Bass. Angelo Spampinato – Drums. Kai Sorensen – trumpet/percussion. Ben Adams – trombone/rhythm guitar. Jared Yee – Saxophone.
 
The Basement: How did you come up with the name Evolfo?
Evolfo is an interesting word. Sources in the National Library of Congress say that Evolfo was part of an incantation used to evoke the spirit of the Norse god Loki. It also spells “Of Love” backwards. 
 

The Basement: You describe your sound as “garage soul”. Give us some hints about this genre...
Often we tell people that Garage Soul means we’re a garage rock band with a horn section. I guess that is a little over simplified. A lot of people see a horn section and they immediately jump to conclusions like “oh this is a funk band or a jam band or a ska band” and we don’t think those genres work for us at all. I do feel like we’re doing something new but it’s heavily influenced by early James Brown and Al Green and Otis Redding or rock bands like The Sonics or The Seeds. And all of that stuff is rock and soul to us. 
 
The Basement: The band was formed in 2009, but -if our research is right- your first release came out in late 2013 with the digital single “Mechanics”. Why did it take you so long? 
We were having too much fun playing live and it took us a long time to start thinking of ourselves as recording artists. There was a lot of trial and error in the studio and Mechanicals was one of the first recordings that we all agreed successfully captured the essence of the band. There are no deadlines for Evolfo, no one is rushing us so we may as well take our time. Rushing and setting imaginary deadlines is really bad for a band like ours; it hampers our creativity. 
 

The Basement: Then it was the single FHF/Let’s Carry On (2014) and just a month ago you stunned us with your first EP Last Of The Acid Cowboys. Really great! Tell us some inside info about it... How would you describe its sound and feeling to someone that has never listened to it before?
Fuzzy, Lo-Fi, and adventurous. Last of the Acid Cowboys ranges from fuzzed out stoner/caveman riffs to laid back grooves and pretty horn passages. Here’s a fun story about the album: We spent like 5 months trying to get the vocal sounds right, we even tried actually paying for studio time *GASP?!?* to do vocals. Then one day after months of frustration I plugged my dang microphone straight into my guitar pedals at home and boom! that was the magic solution!! That was the way of the EP. We departed from the idea of needing tons of expensive gear and fancy techniques. If it sounded good to us and our producer, Joe Harrison, then we just went for it! Trusted in our own ears.

The Basement: What does the title of the EP imply, what’s the story behind it?
It’s like the first installment in a concept album. Last of the Acid Cowboys should feel a little like a vision quest or an acid trip. It has mood swings; there is so much variety on the album. While writing the songs we became obsessed with this “lone cowboy” scenario: like a lonely cowboy wanders in the desert and does some soul searching. It’s also a somewhat misguided homage to some of our heroes that make psychedelic country/Americana music. Like Townes Van Zandt or Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely of the flatlanders. Those guys were kind of country songwriters with broad imaginations. We find them super inspiring.
 

The Basement: Our team here in Greece is absolutely thrilled with your work. Have you sensed such vibes and opinions from other people too? Are you satisfied with the acceptance and recognition your debut EP gained among music fans and critics?
Thanks! That’s awesome. We’ve been really stoked on how people are receiving the EP. I think at this stage it’s all good feedback because if someone doesn’t like it they just don’t bother getting in touch with us. I’m also excited because I know we have a lot of good songs to follow up with in the spring when we release our full LP. 


The Basement: What about your debut full album? Should we expect it soon?
Oh ya! We're planning a release for spring time so keep an eye out. All of the tracks are recorded and finished.  The full length will carry the concepts of Last of The Acid Cowboys forward on a grander scale.  If you're digging LOTAC, you'll definitely fux wit the currently untitled LP.

 
The Basement: What things inspire you in terms of lyrics and song writing? 
I think a good songwriter willingly allows the music and lyrics to depend on one another. Sometimes when you look at lyrics on a page without the music you’re like what the fuck is this song about? But then when you add the music it becomes obvious. Those are the songwriters that inspire me, like Townes Van Zandt can write that way for example. Also physical places inspired us on Last of the Acid Cowboys. We wanted to tell stories about weird places. We’d add some fantasy to our real life experiences and that would be the beginning of a song.
 

The Basement: What about Evolfo performing live? How would you describe the Evolfo live experience?
Reckless, energetic, dark, and just a tiny bit dramatic. I like to think you can both mosh and dance at an Evolfo show. I also like to go the extra mile with a live show; meaning sometimes there might be crazy shit going on, on stage. There is an aspect of the energy level that is up the audience. We bring 100% when we play but if the crowd gets really into it we can always push it a little further. 

 
The Basement: Which bands or artists would you consider as your main influences?
This may differ from band member to band member but here are several of mine – James Brown, King Khan and the Shrines, The Seeds, the Sonics, Ty Segall.  
 

The Basement: What is your ultimate dream for the band? At which point would you be 100% satisfied with the band’s progress and evolvement?
I would like for there to be enough of a return on our sales and shows that I could make it my regular job just to develop the Evolfo shows and discography. Whatever resources are available to me I will use to keep pushing the live show to new and more exciting territory and to develop our recorded material. We have so many creative ideas for albums and we love working together. We use what time and resources we have now to take things as far as we are able but things need to keep building to the point where we can really play around with our most out-there concepts. If we were to achieve a level of success that put us in larger venues as a headliner I can say with confidence we would only use that position to push the creative envelope further. Forward momentum always, or sideways momentum, like crab style. Hi-ho silver, fools! AWAY!!


Thank you Matt! Thank you Evolfo!

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