Review Fix chats with Evolution Beat vocalist and guitarist Garrett Stevens, who discusses the band’s debut EP, as well as their goals for the future. A collaboration between Jennings and well-known producer and studio musician Kerwin “Shooter” Williams, Evolution Beat has a unique ska sound that’s cool enough for the underground scene and groovy enough for dedicated fans of the genre.
Review Fix: What’s the band’s creative process like? How does it all come together?
Garrett Stevens: As the songwriter/guitar player, I usually happen across some cool chord structures. If I find them interesting enough, I play them with a drummer or machine to induce a melody line. The melody line and the lyrics seem to come out of my subconscious mind. I usually do the chorus first…something like a sculpture with a blank stone to carve and an image seems to manifest itself as the carving continues. I don’t try and push the sound or the music it has to be organic and true to itself. After the song has been completed we break it down in the studio for recording. My producer Skooter Williams adds his touch at this point including bass lines changes or small adjustments to words which adds a different beat or color sound within the context of the song.
Review Fix: What are your live performances like? How are they different from the studio work?
Stevens: Live performances are energetic and about the most fun you can have on any given day. The exchange with the audience and the ability to move and release all the physical energy while singing and playing brings the music to its highest form. Live performance is real and intentional… its magic. Studio work it is just that…work. It’s really breaking the song down line by line, music track by track… finding the best delivery/performance of a line…doing multiple tracks of the same lyric line, overdubs to just to make it right. Then all the raw material has to be reworked / engineered for any flaws, remixed and then mastered. The process is somewhat tedious but very rewarding in that, as the artist, you start hearing the nuances in your voice such as diction and voice deliveries, tonal qualities.
Review Fix: Who inspires you guys musically? How does it play a part in your musical identity?
Stevens: My musical roots run deep in my family who are of Irish/Scottish decent and play Country Western. I find that a song inspires me when it touches an emotional note within my body and soul. I have never been a hardcore follower of music. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy certain artist. I’ve never wanted to have influences creep into my psyche. I always try to search for originality. Bob Marley, older ska bands such as English Beat for example. I listen to a lot of different genres. We opened for a band out of New Zealand called Sola Rosa and they were really cool and I was intrigued by the synthesis of electronics and traditional Funk / Soul sound they put out. That really sparked my interest in seeking an newer sound.
Review Fix: How was “Love Me More” written? Is there a story behind it?
Stevens: I worked on “Love Me More” for about three years. It came together slowly but organically. It was written about a past time when I was in college days in San Francisco… There was color and a visual story I started seeing in my mind and just kept coming…it was slow.
Review Fix: What do you think makes the band special?
Stevens: I think that EB is an original band. I feel we have merged reggae, ska and pop to get an original sound that is distinctively ours. I do not write with a concept of “this is going to be a reggae song” in mind. The songs fall somewhere by the nature of the chords into a genre, but overall we don’t go traditional.
Review Fix: How do you want this EP to be remembered?
Stevens: Fun, Emotional, Real , Original , Colorful, Soulful, did I leave anything out? Maybe Danceable?
Review Fix: What are your short and long-term goals for the band?
Stevens: Short term, we are finishing up our EP and hoping to complete our video. We will be getting our live act back on the road as soon as we’re finished. Long-term will be doing live shows and continue writing new music.