Evan Jewett is a Brooklyn-based indie singer-songwriter that has a knack for writing sentimental music that induces feelings of isolation and overcoming change. Because his music is lyrically-driven, listener’s benefit from a new experience and interpretation with every listen. Today, Evan Jewett releases his debut EP, Don’t Feel To Work. Streaming is available at the bottom of the post.
Evan Jewett took some time to answer a few questions about his writing process, his many collaborators, and the new EP, Don’t Feel To Work.
I just wanted to start by talking about your background. You dropped out of school at age of 17 – what drove you to make this decision?
I disliked school since 3rd grade. I always did well in classes with teachers I respected but at a certain point in junior high I stopped participating in most classes. I had friends and still hung out with people regularly after I dropped out so I don’t think I missed much socially. After my sophomore year I started going to the local community colleges but that too fell by the wayside once I started touring in my first band. I am very thankful I’m not a victim of the debt curse cast on most students in this country but I wish I could have played a prank on that rotten Dean.
So you make furniture in NYC? What kinds of furniture and how did you get into that?
Before I moved to New York I knew I wanted to get into furniture making. In Oakland, I was a carpenter working on framing new homes and remodels so I had dipped a toe into building things. When I got here I found a guy looking for an intern and helped him at a shared shop in Brooklyn. Somehow over the years I have learned enough to keep myself alive. I make a lot of different things for different people but generally I try to make modest and well thought out solid wooden furniture.
You mentioned somewhere that “The best songs came together with little to no effort. I have little recollection of working on them” Are there any songs from the new record that you feel this way about?
Yeah, most of the songs on the album were written in a very productive period. It all runs together a bit. To counter that though, my favorite song on the album ‘Late Bloom’ was written very slowly. I changed the bridges over and over. I don’t think I was done with it when I started recording it but the process of tracking let me know the song had already been done for awhile. “First-thought, best-thought” is a rule of thumb I’ve been trying to live by with songs. Pink Grout is another example of that. I really didn’t like that one very much. But after a few friends heard it and told me it was their favorite I was proved a fool. I wonder how many golden classics I’ve thrown away.
This album was recorded with Robert Cheek (Band of Horses, Tera Melos), mixed by Robby Moncrieff (Youth Lagoon, Dirty Projectors), and mastered by John Blatchford and Cory Hanson (WAND). How did you get connected with all of these artists?
Robert Cheek recorded my old band’s albums and has been very supportive of my music. I tracked most of the record myself in my different apartments throughout a few years but I went to Seattle for a week of overdubs and general improvements in Bob’s studio.
John Blatchford mastered the album for vinyl and Cory Hanson mastered the digital version. John is one of my oldest friends and the smartest musical mind I know. Cory is good friends with my good friends in Darto, as well as Alec Dartley who runs Aagoo, the label putting out the album.
Robby Moncrieff was a friend from the west coast who ended up living near me in Brooklyn. We mixed the album at a despondent snail’s pace over maybe a year. The album is very badly recorded because I don’t know how to do it a different way but Robby has a very unique ear and was able to make my shoddy methods into a feature of the album rather than a drawback. When you hear it now you think “ok, maybe” instead of thinking “I need to cancel all my credit cards and assume a new identity in order to forget what I just heard.”
Your music is very lyrically driven and each song definitely has it’s own story, so I’d like to get a little bit into that. What are the main driving influences for the new album, Don’t Feel To Work?
I didn’t really plan for it, but in retrospect its a lot about isolation and being disappointed in yourself. It’s a romp.
Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
I have a lot of the same reference points as everyone else probably. I’m sure sharp eared listeners can pick out a few points of theft. I feel that’s best left to the imagination anyway. I wont reveal my exact sources for fear of Spotify stealing my algorithm.
Listen to Evan Jewett’s brand new EP, Don’t Feel To Work, below:
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Support Evan Jewett by purchasing and streaming his music via Bandcamp & Soundcloud.
“Don’t Feel To Work” is available for purchase on Aagoo Records.
Photos Courtesy of Lance Brewer.