EVVAN has finally been able to affirm themself as non-binary, and celebrates the affirmation today with the release of the single “Craving”. It is about dysphoria and the struggle to come to terms with it, letting go of your own expectations of yourself, and just being who you really are. EVVAN is a folk musician, who pulls a few surprises on you through the listening experience. Today we wish to acknowledge all non binary persons, you are loved, and we are here waiting to hold you in our arms.
Jeremy Hinks: Hey EVVAN, thank you so much for taking the time.
EVVAN: Glad to be here.
JH: So I see lots of hats on the wall behind you, that white one, is that the one from that really messy fun video?
EV: Yeah, that’s the “I’m Not Done Yet” video we shot that video last year, we used powder paint, and I don’t think I was supposed to swallow, but…. All for the art right?
JH: Yeah it reminds me of elementary school, we started paint fights with that stuff in the art room. Juvenile, thanks for the memories.
EV: Yeah, at least we brought back memories.
JH: Today is one of those days I can say I love my job, I got to see your video before anyone else did, cause it has not been released yet (Comes out today, check it out). The video had some serious some of the 80’s ‘Flashdance’ was pulled into that.
EV: Yeah, a hundred percent…
JH: HA, I knew it, there you were getting your Jennifer Beals on in some Chuck Taylors.
EV: Yeah, was great to shoot.
JH: It was probably the easiest to shoot compared to your other ones.
EV: Yeah, I really wanted to bring that 80’s pop across into the video. Somehow it blew my expectations out of the water. I had this vision, I directed it myself, so even down to the colors we used, because those are the colors of the non-binary flag, which is the message of the song in general. SO having that with the nostalgia of the ’80s vibe, we wanted to mix it all together and put a few messages out.
JH: There was a lot in there, the lines “I’m in a woman’s blouse in high waisted jeans, Chelsea boots, what’s wrong with me?” That was about craving change and conversation. Was it about your dysphoria?
EV: Yeah it was. Thanks for catching that.
JH: I saw it as your take on Melissa Etheridge’s “Silent Legacy” do you know that one?
EV: Yes I do.
JH: Yeah, her line “Your body is alive, but no one told you what you’d feel, the empty aching hours trying to conceal”. That was her saying that she was gay, and how it felt inside. A wonderful song, and, well, I felt the same idea from this one “Craving” so well done. I’m colorblind so I didn’t notice that in the exquisite corpse clip of the video of you doing the same dance in a different frame. BUT, was it you, in each frame doing the same dance each with a different “Identity”?
EV: Yeah, that was it, it’s getting through, good.
JH: Great, I caught that, AWESOME. So, I went through the catalog and LOVED IT. Your song “Falling Over You” took me back to the late ’90s early ’00s of just great vocalists, like Jewell, Emily Richardson, and Kathy Fisher, just a great time for music, and capturing those moments. There was the line “Are you the drug I’ve been looking for” and “How do I reach down inside to capture this?”
EV: Sometimes you’re really going through it and can relate, but for that song, there was a point in my life where I was so under the spell of this person, and I was so blinded by the toxic environment that she gave off and it was very unfortunate because now we’re friends and she is this great person but at that moment I was thinking “do I have this addiction to you? Are you the drug that I have been looking for, in life to be able to follow?”. There are so many meanings in that line and so many thoughts at that point, that line spewed out of me and made the most sense for that pain and confusion I was feeling.
JH: Then “how do I reach down inside to capture this” I guess you were trying to get a hold of the feelings. That song hit me and took me back to this time when I was in a very bad relationship, I thought she was the end of the world, and moved across the country to marry her, but like that song by The Stranglers “You’ve got to beware of the skin deep”.
EV: Yeah I think we’ve all had that same person in our lives.
JH: Yeah I would curse the day she was born, but we had the same birthday. But I found out who she was, the hard way. She knew how to say the right things, I never did figure out what the hell she wanted, but that was all captured in that song, all that same feeling, and in the sound in that song.
EV: Yeah that song has this sort of ocean crash toward the end that I was trying to capture, cause we all know relationships are full of just waves, ups, and downs, and it could be very turbulent, so having those waves crashing in a very percussive way I thought really would capture the highs and lows I was feeling in that brief moment that I had in that relationship.
JH: Well, I guess we both got out of that one with some scars, but you wrote a great song about it. So something good came from it. So I prefer to listen and then dissect all the music before I read anything about you. Your song “Hurricane” was this total Fleetwood Mac vibe, I mean you totally killed it on that one.
EV: That is the highest compliment really, thank you. Fleetwood Mac is my favorite band.
JH: So, is that why you got that Stevie Nicks hat going on?
EV: Sort of, the reference track to that was “Little Lies” which is one of my all-time favorites, so we used that, I recorded this in L.A. with the band, and when we were mapping that out, we said “This song is the Fleetwood Mac vibe” so that hat was, in fact, part of it.
JH: So, it was in the DNA of the song then. Ye know, Stevie Nicks and I went to the same high school, I mean, she graduated 20 years before me, but yeah man, Skyline High in Salt Lake City Utah.
EV: Oh No WAY, you got all the little stories, that’s wild.
JH: So, lyrically “I was in a hurricane with you, we were blinded by truth, what are we supposed to do?” there is that, which I can see that you understand the tumultuous business of the relationship, but then “I hope you’re happy in your new relationship, and your new lover doesn’t have to deal with it”. Is that a “Fuck You” song?
EV: You know, I don’t swear, but that song is 100% exactly that.
JH: HIGH FIVE!!!!
EV: It has a negative and positive connotation where it also shows that not forgiveness, but revelation and acceptance where “I want to be the bigger person” if you are in a new relationship, cool, just don’t screw over that person as you did me. That mean’s I’m doing my job right if you are getting them, that is the beauty of art, so many different perspectives.
JH: So, your song “Sideshow” the music in that, reminded me of when I was living in Montreal, and we drove out to Prince Edward Island, the furthest east in “The Canadas” and hung out then drove up through Quebec city, and that song just nailed that feeling of the long road trip song. Great feelings all brought back. Then I had to piece back together, of what was thinking the song meant. There was your line “Where do we go from here, it’s a steep cliff, I don’t want to be the sideshow”.
EV: The word “Sideshow” in that perspective is that I don’t want to be this person on the sidelines of your life, I want to be in a relationship with you, and have that balance. I don’t want you to say you only want me at certain times and kick them to the curb until you need to use them again. Where do we go from here, do we stay in this relationship, do we change it? I want to conquer those fears to speak up and say I don’t want to be the sideshow, I want to be the main event in your life.
JH: Right, can I get over my fears. There was a lot in there, you handle relationships rather intensely I’m suspecting. I had a friend in Montreal, she was gay, and this danger-loving, one of the most extreme people I have ever met, she lived on the edge all the time. She told me about “The Albany Experiment”. That was all the women who were “questioning” themselves that lived in Albany would go up to Montreal, cause it was close enough, but still another world away. But these women would go up and meet her at a club, whatever, and when she said “I’m from Albany”, she knew that the woman was there, just to try being with a woman. Cause they could go to a gay bar in Montreal knowing they could experiment. She knew they weren’t there for anything real, or long-term. I kind of got the same thing I was getting from your song, “Am I really hear for you?” or being the side relationship you can keep secret.
EV: Yeah, being used for their personal gain. That is a cool connection, a similar perspective.
JH: SO, let’s get to “Craving” which was your dysphoria song, your quote, “I want to tell those who don’t experience it themselves about the real-life difficulties in understanding how the world isn’t as simplistic as man and woman. The spectrum is much more expansive and not only involves gender but gender expression and sexuality.” That was very well said.
EV: Yeah with dysphoria, you don’t just say “Ok, I’m over it”, it took me years to first of all understand, second of all to accept. With all the things I say now, I take that moment to think about it because I have such a different perspective now, so every time I speak like that I want to make sure that I express myself in the way that I mean to, and in a way that will resonate with somebody as specifically and as clearly as possible.
>JH: Right, I had heard the term “Pan-sexual” thrown around, then I asked a friend what it meant as she identified as such, and she said, “If I was bi-sexual I could fall in love with a man or a woman. Say that I meet somebody that is non-binary or trans. I could fall in love with that person too, that’s all it means”. It was a little anticlimactic, but, cool, I get it, you can fall in love with anyone on the gender-sexuality spectrum.
EV: There was a scene in that show ‘Schitt’s Creek’ where the character David was explaining his interests, he uses this metaphor that he’s not into the label, he is into the wine itself, so give him any bottle of wine, it doesn’t matter what label it has, he is into it. I’m not interested in the equipment, I’m into the person in general. There are a lot of different ways to explain it, I like to keep it as simple as possible.
>JH: Right, I met someone who explain herself as “Demi-sexual”, that was a new one, but it also made sense.
EV: Yeah, I’ve met a couple of demi-sexual people too, you have to learn new terms.
JH: Yeah it was very revealing, like the Alanis Morrisette video “Thank You” there she was naked, saying “Here I am, not hiding, anything, no secrets”, well done.
EV: Yes, and I am releasing the video on June 14th non-binary day.
JH: So your song “Wolf” with that steel string guitar, that was awesome.
EV: That was Sean O’Brien he is amazing.
JH: Yeah, I don’t get to hear that very often, done very well. So when I heard that, I knew “Ok this is great” then I realized I was not paying attention to the lyrics, your vocals were beautiful, and your singing became an instrument, then I had to ask myself “What is she saying?” I do not know what this is about. All that I got was “What will you do when the wolf comes out of you?” that was all I got.
EV: I’ve heard so many different perspectives about what the song meant, so much that I can’t remember what I was thinking when I wrote it. I think there is a wolf or something in it howling somewhere. I think I was interested in the social structure of the pack, then there is that lone wolf, so in my mind, at least right now, “What would you do when the wolf comes out in you”, would you fall into everybody else’s thoughts and ideas, or will you be the lone wolf and think for yourself. When you howl at the moon, will you speak up, and go against the grain?
JH: Very interesting point, I mean I had to read so much about wolves, and the stories of being raised by wolves, but all the songs about wolves have the similar point, “What are you going to do when you have to do the right thing?”. Let’s talk about “I’m Not Done Yet”, a wonderful song, I had listened to it half a dozen times, then watching the video, the powder paint, was fun. BUT, first thoughts, “A Clockwork Orange”, everyone was in the white outfits, with the black combat boots, then the people in the masks, in the faceless suffering. That was what I got from that, that everyone was “We are the same, white, plain boring” with these emotionless faces. Was that representing the faceless people suffering from dysphoria, not being seen by the world?
EV: I don’t think you are getting the tally mark this time, I won’t say you are off, but the people in the suits are the ones that the world wants to mold you into this very specific type of person. Male or female, they, unfortunately, enjoy white folks, better than any other POC. So I wanted to represent the adversity that any kind of person who is not “That” cis-gender, straight, white person, so if you see me, I’m wearing a different jumpsuit, without the mask, this is me shouting who I am with every part of my body. Then you go through that chasing scene…
JH: Right, there you were making eye contact with them, and they were “I see you, I’m trying to” there was the trying to connect and still not working. Then they dragged you off to the wall for the paint execution.
EV: Pretty much (Laughing).
JH: Then I’m hoping she knows not to breathe, but it must have been a mess to clean up, I was cheering you on. I got that part, “They say stay in the dark, my cover is blown, they say come back another day, they say I’ve got to prove it” that was pretty obvious there “IM NOT DONE YET”. Those were so powerful.
EV: I am not being done who I am, I still carry that with me, and you’re not gonna be able to take it from me, then those verses are actually things people have said to me, essentially “hide yourself, we don’t want you like this, this is not the game we’re trying to play, keep it under wraps, never speak of it”. As if speaking is a “Sin”, there are just so many different ways you can reference that, so I tried to use as many ways as possible, because I have heard pretty much every single line that I’ve written thrown back at me.
JH: Your song “Warrior” was intense, heavy, and felt like what you would hear in a film while the Hell’s Angels come riding into town.
EV: That was about taking the abuse from people on the street, or whatever, getting beat up, that I am a warrior, I can take whatever abuse, I am going to come out the other side.
JH: Did you get beat up a lot?
EV: I was a scrawny kid, but yeah I got bullied for not wanting to wear dresses like the other girls, but it’s also metaphoric.
JH: Any future work we can talk about?
EV: Craving is part of a 4 track EP, they will all be out within the year, I like to spread them out.
JH: Final question what would you say to the young queer kid who is afraid, in the closet who is in that vulnerable state?
EV: I would say find your people, you may not have them close to you, but you will find people who will support you, and understand you, and you will understand yourself. Also, just look stuff up, so many subreddits online, just say “Hey I’m feeling this, I don’t know what’s going on, can someone talk me through it”. And find your people and express yourself loud and proud.
JH: Thanks Evvan, I wish you all the best with the new music.
The full audio of this interview can be heard with all the useless ADHD Tangents here.