Few styles of music captivate an audience quite like psychedelic rock. The soundscapes, expansive structures and sound quality can feel like a trance to the listener — a musical approach epitomized by Brooklyn-based Evolfo, who comes to Cafe Nine in New Haven on Thursday.
Local indie rock bands The Tines and Bajzelle will start at 8 p.m.
Before the show, I spoke with Evolfo guitarist and vocalist Matt Gibbs about the band’s latest album, the sci-fi influence, and being in a band with lots of members and a new EP. on the way.
DR: Evolfo’s second album, Site out of mind is partially influenced by science fiction. So were there any specific movies or books that played a part in the writing process and the overall aesthetic of the record?
MG: I’m a big sci-fi fan, so I’d say one moment on the record that’s most related to that is the ending of “In Time Pt. 2 & pt. 3”, which in itself is sort of a cosmic odyssey. At the end, the lyrics kind of remind me of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s kind of like the time when you can’t really tell what’s going on with the main character but you see him flying through time with all the trippy imagery and stuff. It might be a direct correlation, but some of the things ended up in a sci-fi sound, I would say. The song “White Foam” is more of a ghost story or something, it’s kind of a sci-fi “what if?” where you are caught in a sort of limbo. This song is interesting in that regard, it’s a song that tells a story.
DR: How long did it take you to turn your attic in Brooklyn into a recording studio before making the album? Was it a difficult process or did you already have a good idea of dealing with acoustics in the room and things like that?
MG: We kind of reduced it over time. Man, I wish I could show you a picture of the attic because it was this crazy angular space but I think that’s part of the reason it sounded so good. All we really did was nail square pieces of sound deadening foam to the ceiling. I remember the seven of us got together there one day and just started nailing moss everywhere. I bought velvet curtains on the internet and stuff like that, I should have taken more pictures but it didn’t take long.
It was actually easy. Part of the fun was soundproofing the space as a group and I think our bodies did a lot of the soundproofing as well. Each of us was absorbing the sound of the drums and seven of us were taking up all the space, touching each other almost all the time.
DR: It must have been a unique experience with you all close together. Did you aim to do anything different with the album compared to your 2017 debut Last Of The Acid Cowboys?
MG: Yeah, totally. It was 100% done in-house until it came out for mastering. We decided we wanted to make a more cohesive album. Rafferty Swink is the keyboardist and vocalist for “Zuma Loop” and “Let Go”, he also produced the whole thing while being a member of the band. We wanted it to feel like a full album, I would say that’s the most important thing rather than focusing on what’s the single or what’s the song that’s going to get people hooked. We wanted it to be fun to listen to from start to finish as a big thing, each song is an important piece of the puzzle. I actually think it’s pretty rare these days, not to honk your horn or anything, but I just think it’s so cool. If you’re going to make an album, then make an album. Don’t just build a collection of songs that sound great, they have to correlate and that’s the fun.
DR: I definitely get the vibe consistent. You want to experience it, you don’t
make you choose one song from a bunch. It’s much more pleasant that way for the
MG: Yes exactly. The goal was vinyl, so we wanted someone to drop the needle on it and
make the whole trip.
DR: It’s rather rare these days to see a band with more than four or five members and earlier you alluded to the fact that Evolfo was a seven member septet. What do you think is the biggest advantage of being in such a big group and what do you think is the biggest challenge?
MG: The biggest advantage is that we all blend into the sound collage on stage or sometimes in the studio. I think there are so many textures and it’s so much fun to be part of the big picture with seven people. There are so many benefits, but this is the first. I would also say the downsides are pretty obvious, it costs us a fortune to do anything. For example, when we played The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn recently, it was this whole bunch of us trying to fit in on stage even though the stage is huge there. Spacing and budget issues are the obvious downsides, but I love being part of this giant sound collage, I think it’s so cool and everyone has something interesting to say. I would put 14 people on stage with me if I could.
DR: It is also a more collaborative atmosphere with several members than a trio or a quartet. What are Evolfo’s plans for the rest of the year? Have you already started working on your third album?
MG: We have an EP coming out this fall. It’s not announced yet, I think it will be officially announced in September, but there’s definitely new music coming out later this year, that’s for sure. If the album is a novel then this EP is kind of like a sequel, it’s five songs and it’s gonna be great. These were some of the more upbeat songs from the initial recording process that didn’t match the sequencing. They’re garage rock bangers that sound just as good as their own little record, so it’s coming in the fall. We’re in the studio all the time doing various things, we’ve been working on a collaboration with Ben Pirani and we’re thinking of making an improvised record. We have our own little studio in Brooklyn so we can keep busy. There will also be a lot of touring and I’m kind of horrified because I keep getting coronavirus every time we go on tour, but I just have to try at the old university.