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INTERVIEW: EVAN STANLEY – MARCH 2021

| 17 March 2021 | Reply

 

According to a recent press release: “Evan Stanley (son of KISS’ Paul Stanley) has become known for his unique pop sound. He has quickly grown a devoted fanbase with the release of several singles, a catchy acoustic cover of The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” and most recently a cover of “Memories” by Maroon 5 alongside a video featuring acclaimed actor Bryan Cranston. Today, he has released “El Camino,” a brand new original single released with a video. A saccharine yet breezy love song, “El Camino” transports listeners to a warm night driving with the windows down, with upbeat melodies that channel the excitement of a new relationship.” We were able to grab some phone time with Evan to discuss new music and more…

Toddstar: Evan, thank you so much for taking time out, man.

Evan: Oh, man. Thank you so much for having me, seriously. Thanks for giving me that extra couple minutes there.

Toddstar: Oh yeah, no worries. We’ve all got lives, right?

Evan: I appreciate it. I was up very late last night in the studio and everything got a little thrown off this morning, so I was just getting dressed when you called. I lost a little bit of a track of time there.

Toddstar: No worries. You mentioned that you’re in the studio; you’re putting stuff together. What can you tell us about the stuff you’re doing and also the stuff you are readying for release? What can you tell us that fans of yours and other projects you have been associated with about the new music that they may not pick up on the first or second time they listen through some of this stuff?

Evan: Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest thing is I was in The Dives, and I love the guys in that band and had a blast playing and touring, but that really wass my first band, really. I was always the guitar player in a lot of bands and that’s kind of what I grew up doing. So The Dives was the first band where I wrote the stuff and was singing and fronting it. And, I think people would seem them and go, “Oh, this is Evan. This is it.” And for me it was really a great experience and definitely part of me, but The Dives was just a sliver of me and what I’m doing now is really the whole thing. So I’ve kind of always been into a lot more than that. I grew up listening to, whether it was the Beatles or Blink-182 or the Temptations or Tears for Fears. It was a little all over the map and that’s something I wanted to bring with me and something that when I was in The Dives, the longer we went on, it was hard to pull some of that stuff off live and just different tastes and different end goals. So for me, when I left, it was like, let me do the most me I possibly can. So what I’m doing now is, it’s really me, and that’s what I’m so stoked for is it’s a little bit of everything that adds up to who I am.

Toddstar: It’s funny because the first thing that really hit the spot for some people with you is a cover you released a couple of months ago, “Memories.” “El Camino” is taking off. My son, who grew up listening to classic rock, but listens to that, rap, and everything in between, told me he’s jealous that I’m speaking to you because he loves “El Camino.” What is it about a song like “El Camino” that you think appeals to everybody that has a wide range of musical tastes?

Evan: Well, thanks. That makes me so stoked to hear. That’s what I got in it for. Music was my haven and connecting with it, there’s nothing like it. And to have that happen with my music for other people, is the best thing possible. It’s the best feeling. I think with “El Camino,” that was a really quick one. I had just met my girlfriend and we’d gone on our first date. And it was so fun, but ended with cops getting called on us and some just ridiculous shit and I was in the studio the next day with this dude, Brian, who I had never met at that point, now we’re tight, but he was a guy that a lot of my friends knew. My buddy was like, “You guys got to write together. You can really do something.” So I get there. And within the first 15 minutes we just jump in. I’m telling him all about my life, this girl I just met, all of this and just very quickly, the song kind of just fell out. I mean, within four hours of meeting each other, we had the song and track done. We really just kept vibing off each other and we grew up listening to a lot of different stuff and both of us came up on different stuff. So I think that mixture was something that really brought something special.

Toddstar: It does bring something special – from the musical component, the lyrics, and your delivery. I listened to this and I love it, but I also like couple other songs that came out earlier. I’m hooked on “Leave This Love.”

Photo credit: Todd Jolicoeur – @toddstarphoto

Evan: Well, thanks man.

Toddstar: There’s something about that track. It’s just contagious to me. How is it you go about structuring songs in a way that they’re hooky yet you’re able to maintain who you are throughout the piece? It’s not like you’re trying to replicate what you’re hearing on the radio or what you know might put out as a single. How is it you divide that line and kind of just write for you, yet keep everything else intact?

Evan: My favorite stuff, whether it was labeled as rock, or singer-songwriter, or pop, or anything old, it was pop. It’s the song at the end of the day, because that’s what kind of sticks with you. No matter how amazing the guitar player or a drummer or a singer you are, the song is really what sticks. So for me, that was always the foundation. When I first got really into playing guitar, my favorite band was Green Day and they’re the kings of that. They have attitude. They’re like the OG pop punk. It’s punk, but with real songs, real hooks. I think that thread is what holds it all together. I always try and start out with, what am I trying to say? What am I trying to get across? And then everything else is just to serve that, you know? That’s the toughest part. As soon as you figure that out, then you’re like, “All right, as long as we use that as a map and then you’re good.” You just want to serve the message and serve the vibe.

Toddstar: That said, how has the pandemic and lockdowns and everything else that’s going altered the way you approach the writing, the recording, the production? How has that side of your life changed since the pandemic hit?

Evan: It’s weird because in a lot of ways it’s gotten great. I’ve been so lucky where I’ve been able to kind of lock in with a couple of my dudes and just work all the time, which is amazing on one hand, but nothing’s really happening. So it’s kind of hard to pull from stuff. Because you know, I’ve always written really from experience or, at the farthest disconnect, a friend’s experience that I was there for heard enough about that I connected with, but if you don’t really have input, it’s a little hard to have output. So, that, I think, is the biggest, kind of challenges. There are days you wake up and it’s like, “Oh, it’s an amazing day. It’s a good vibe. We’re going to write. We’re going to get something great.” Then there are other days that, you got the exact same set of parameters, but it’s just, “Ah, shit. Nothing’s going to go well today. I’m not going to do anything. I can’t do anything.” So I think it’s definitely become a little bit more about just grinding it out. The one thing that’s kept me sane is just the consistency of doing it every day and having faith that, yeah, some days are going to be really shit, but then maybe the next day is the one where you write that song. And, just having faith that everything will get better and stay consistent and that’s all we can really do.

Toddstar: So true. Once everything does start opening up and everything else, how do you see being able to bring this and perform it and translate it for your fans? Do you see this being where you kind of put together some of your buddies and you go out on tour as a band, or do you see yourself grinding it out as a solo artist – just you, a guitar, and maybe a machine and cranking this out?

Evan: I mean, it’ll definitely be a lot of playing live as soon as I can. I’m dying to get back there. I mean, that’s what I miss the most. Just being able to stand in front of people and connect with people. It’s like I’m starved for it, but it definitely won’t just be me and a guitar. I love playing guitar and I love that vibe, but there’s a lot more I want to get across. So it’ll be a band, but definitely a solo project. I don’t think there are any more bands, really, in my future in terms of forming a band. Do you know what I mean? But playing with a band live, for sure. I think there’s nothing better than a great band playing live. So, that I’m really excited for.

Toddstar: The one thing I realized, and speaking about it now is just kind of refreshed my memory, I mentioned I saw you in The Dives and you guys were opening for the Dead Daisies at the time and you played a small club in Detroit.

Evan: I remember that show.

Toddstar: That show was amazing.

Evan: Thanks, man.

Toddstar: The amazing part to me was watching you control the flow of the show without saying, “This is the Evan Stanley show.” You actually made it a band show, but you, as the front guy, you kind of controlled the flow. How important is it to you to make sure that you’re not only bringing across the message and the music, but that you’re actually connecting with the fans when you’re in front of them?

Evan: To me, I think that’s kind of everything because that’s what initially brought me to music and I think most people is it unlocked something in you and it allowed you to connect to something in a way you hadn’t before. So I think sharing that and connecting with the people… they’re with you, it’s kind of everything. That’s, to me, the passion behind live music is that connection. So that’s what I always want to do when I play live. That’s everything to me.

Toddstar: When it comes to stuff like this… we have talked about your music – you did the cover and you’re writing your own stuff – the thing that instantly crossed my mind when I heard “Memories” was what other songs were churning through your head that you thought, “I could cover A, B, or C ” but you chose “Memories.” Were there other songs under consideration or was it something about the song that cried out to you?

Evan: Truthfully, at the time I was dying to get something out. I’d been waiting and I was about to release a bunch of original stuff, but it got pushed because of the pandemic. Then it got pushed again because of the election. So that was more me going, “Shit. I really need to just get something out for my own sanity’s sake,” and as a listener at that time, I know I wasn’t ready for a new artist. I wasn’t ready to discover a new artist. Whenever shit gets really bad or weird, I kind of go back to what I love and what I know, what I grew up on. That’s, musically, kind of a safe spot. And I think a lot of people are the same. So I thought, “You know what? Let me cover a few songs that I really love that I connect with, that hopefully people can connect with too and they’ll at least get to start seeing me,” because I don’t want to be hitting people over the head with new music if that’s not what people want. And I think there was a lot going on in the world at the time. Doing my spin on some songs that people already know and love was the best way, at that moment, to start to introduce myself. And “Memories” and “Blinding Lights” are just songs that I really vibe with. I just love the songs and they were songs that I would play on acoustic in the studio. So I figured, let me just track them. Why not?

Toddstar: When it comes to songs when you’re writing stuff, who’s out there that you want to collaborate with, Evan? Who do you want to write with? Who do you want to record with? Who are those guys out there that are on your bucket list?

Evan: Oh man. That’s so hard. There’s so many people that I absolutely love, everyone from Post Malone to Japanese House to the Internet Money guys to Earth Gang. It’s kind of all over. It’s changing every day because something new will really get me going that day, but there’s so many, so many people that I would kill to collab with and that’s something that I’m really hoping to get into as soon as the world starts opening up a little more. I think that’s part of it, too. Just getting in the room with new people is, it’s electrifying when it’s right, when it works. There’s no better feeling than meeting someone you had never met or worked with before, and then it just clicking. That’s everything.

Photo credit: Todd Jolicoeur – @toddstarphoto

Toddstar: When it comes to the music, what’s your typical process? Do you kind of start with the backstory or is it more about the melody and the groove for you and then you figure out a way to drop lyrics on top? What’s your typical songwriting style?

Evan: It’s always a little different, but I think, generally, it starts with the music or some sort of vibe. Like, if I’m in the studio, I’ll usually start with a track or a guitar part or some sort of music and then kind of mumble singing over it until a phrase or a melody comes out like, “Okay, that’s it.” And then you fill in the blanks. But I think a lot of my best ideas and my favorite stuff usually comes when I’m just out and about, like a melody line with lyrics will just pop in my head for… not usually a whole song or anything, but a couple of lines and I think, “Oh, shit. There’s a new song. There it is.” And you just got to grab it and run with it. I think that’s usually when I get the best result too. Something just kind of hits and you grab it and then you go to the studio and kind of pound away until it’s until it’s right.

Toddstar: You’re on the upswing of your career. You’re just kind of kicking off, especially as Evan Stanley, standing there with your name and face on the line all the time. But with all the interviewing that you have done, what’s the one question you’ve always wanted an interviewer to ask that they haven’t?

Evan: Huh. I’ve never gotten that question before. So, that’s a good one. It’s an interesting thing because, to me, I want to connect with people. So my favorite question is whatever it seems like is the one that gets the interviewer most going and that’s different for everyone. Like, I was talking to a buddy of mine, Todd, the other day, and he’s a great, great musician. We were doing an interview and he talks to a ton of amazing musicians and he’s been in it for a long time and that was much more music and playing music kind of oriented thing. And he wants to know about a lot of the technical stuff and a lot of that side of the process and I love that and he was so about it. So I got so, so into it too. And then there are other times where an interviewer just wants to ask a lot about how it started, what was growing up like, and where did that love begin? And that seems genuinely super interesting. So for me, it’s much more about feeding off the energy that I’m getting. So if it’s really anything with passion behind it, I’m about it. That’s where it’s at for me.

Toddstar: That’s the reason I do it. Evan, I know you’re busy and I don’t want to tie you up all day. Speaking of passion, what’s that one album or that one song, throughout the history of time, that you’re so passionate about it, it means so much to you, that you’d like to go back and be a part of it? Whether it’s playing a note, singing a background vocal, helping with a lyric, or even just being in the room when it was recorded, what album has struck you so importantly that you wish you were just there in that moment?

Evan: Man, that’s a tough one. There’s so, so, so many, but I think either Rubber Soul or Pet Sounds. There’s so many… maybe the first Crosby Stills & Nash record. There’s so many, so many records that have really done it for me over the years and really gotten me going, but I think those three are kind of what I always go back to. Anytime, any day that comes on and I’ll sit down and listen to the whole thing and pause everything else that’s going on because I still get that feeling that I got the first time I heard them. And the fact that that doesn’t go away, I think says a lot.

Toddstar: And you couldn’t have picked three albums that were more diverse either.

Evan: I love those records, man.

Toddstar: From a production standpoint, I think there was a lot put into all three of them, probably where they’re equals, but sonically, they just have different vibes in my opinion. Evan, I really appreciate you taking time out. I can’t wait until you can do something live again. I was lucky enough to photograph you and see you once as a Dive. I can’t wait to do it when Evan Stanley’s out there touring with a band that he’s putting together for a project. But let’s end this with your recording. You mentioned you were in the studio last night. When can we expect to see some more singles or some more songs drop and any thoughts or plans so far for an album? I know it’s kind of a dying breed this day and age for albums, but any thoughts on your end?

Evan: Yeah, for sure. I mean, well, one, thanks for having me, man. I’m always so happy to talk music and I’m stoked to get a chance to do it this morning. So I appreciate you taking the time. But, a lot, a lot, a lot of music is coming. I have so much stuff that I’m sitting on at the moment and it’s just a matter of time, but it’s soon. In the next few weeks it’s going to be the next single. And after that another and then another and then another, and I’m just going to keep cranking out singles every few weeks for a long time. I’m so antsy. I’m sitting on so much stuff that I’m so into, that gets me going, and that I want to get out in the world. I love albums and the album as an art form is something that I’ve always been passionate about. But in this day and age, I think you got to get to a point where people want that first. So, for now, it’s just going to be a ton, a ton of singles. And then when the time’s right, I’ll absolutely get to an album, but for now it’s going to be a lot, a lot, a lot of music, just one after the next.

Toddstar: Awesome. And I look forward to each one of them. So again, thanks for the time. Can’t wait to see you on the road. And I’ll definitely make sure that we hook up and, and I thank you properly for the time.

Evan: Well, thank you so much, man. I look forward to it. Talk to you soon.

EVAN STANLEY LINKS:

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Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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