A tell-tale sign of a truly great album is the ability to create emotion and feelings through music, and a sign of a great artist is one who is able to create soundscapes and melodies that take listeners on an unparalleled audial journey. Evoke, whose names draws from his ability to evoke emotion in his listeners, hails from Boulder, CO, and his debut album Withdrawal is a masterful blend of pop and neuro-bass that enchants listeners and brings them into an ephereal trance.
On top of not only creating this new album, the talented producer also also featured his vocal work throughout the entire compilation. The opening track of the album “Endorphin” kicks off the album with an entrancing vocal hook with poppy undertones and future bass elements, reminiscent of something off of Porter Robinson’s Worlds album or Madeon’s upcoming album Imperium. From there, the album carries you through a roller coaster of emotions - happy, uplifting, and exciting to daring, dark, and mysterious, the album even creates an inevitable feeling of comprehension and resolvement. The last track on the album, a remix of Savant’s “How I Roll,” is truly a treat to the rest of the album, as it is a hard-hitting, grimey electro track filled with hints of dubstep and glitch hop roots.
Withdrawal not only delivered from a musical standpoint, but it also allowed Evoke to showcase his genre-defying talents. The album undoubtedly prevented his entrapment from a single genre and it allowed him to successfully experiment with his unrivaled sound.
EDM.com caught up with Evoke about his debut album as well as his goals for the future, and check out the exclusive interview below:
Where did Evoke come from?
The name Evoke actually stems from what I perceive to be the objective of an artist or musician. My goal as a singer/songwriter/producer is to really translate the emotions, ideas, and experiences I have to others; I'm always trying to evoke these same experiences in the listener, so the name is really meant to sort of skip all the nonsense and get right to the point. I only intend to evoke.
Withdrawal is your debut album - what does the title mean to you and how did you approach this differently from your earlier EPs?
Withdrawal is the first album of mine wherein all the tracks adhere to a conceptual theme, and it's also the first album that features vocals on every song. The songs on this album are really tracks that are from a deeper part of me, especially because of the lyrical component. The title has a bit of a dual meaning in that it refers to withdrawal from drugs and withdrawal from relationships. I've been clean for 2 years, but in the past I've struggled with substance abuse, and often times for me heartbreak and craving go hand in hand, and so the album is meant to use heartbreak as a metaphor for literal substance withdrawal. Most of the time the "you" in the songs is referring to my former drug of choice.
You've successfully combined your voice with your productions on nearly every track within the album and more - what is the songwriting process like for you? Where do you draw your influences?
Songwriting for me is a very fluid process, but it typically starts with fiddling around on my guitar and finding chord progressions that I like, then figuring out the most interesting way to integrate those with the rhythm track. Sometimes I start with the beat; sometimes I start with the chords. It varies a lot from track to track. Lyrics almost always come naturally, I rarely have the concept in mind when I'm writing the first stanza of any track in particular, but after I've written something out, usually I'm like "Holy shit, this is about X or Y" and then the rest of the song basically writes itself.
My biggest songwriting influences are probably Muse, Radiohead, and SOHN. I love songwriters who can take very basic form and create something really interesting and inspiring out of it. I also keep tabs on pop music because I know that there are often entire songwriting teams behind that stuff, and even when they mess it up there's a lot that can be learned there.
You feature one collaborating artist on the entire album - what was it like working with Mason James?
Mason was actually a friend of mine for a while before we made The Day the Rain Came, and so it was really easy to work with him. I had already made the basic beat for the track when I hung out with him one day. We were in my car and it just started absolutely POURING down rain. We hurried back home to my house only to find that water was coming in through the window in my basement and into my studio. We rushed everything upstairs into my kitchen, and--because I was worried everything might not work--we towel-dried anything that had gotten wet and set up shop in the kitchen. We wrote the track out and recorded it in like an hour. He's a very talented vocalist and songwriter and so it's always a pleasure to be able to work with him.
Looking ahead, what are some of your biggest goals for 2015?
This year I intend to bring a ton of quality music to people, and to really dial in my sound. I'd love to start playing more shows, and so I'm really practicing the live performance and integrating live vocals into it. I've also got some tracks with Laura Brehm that I'm really excited about. Basically I intend to really show people that I mean business this year, and I'm putting in as much time as I possibly can to be the best Evoke I can be.