Evolfo Takes Cafe Nine To a Totally Other World

Evolfo (Credit: Wil Fyfordy)

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Few styles of music captivate an audience quite like psychedelic rock. The soundscapes, vast structures and sonic quality can be trancelike for the listener — a musical approach embodied by Brooklyn-based Evolfo, who are coming to Cafe Nine in New Haven on Thursday.

Local indie rock acts The Tines and Bajzelle will start things off at 8 p.m.

Ahead of the show, I talked with Evolfo guitarist and vocalist Matt Gibbs about the band’s latest album, about the influence of science fiction, and about being in a band with a lot of members and a new EP on the way.

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RD: Evolfo’s second album, Site Out Of Mind is partially influenced by science fiction. So, were there any specific films or books that played a part in the songwriting process and overall aesthetic of the record?

MG: I’m a huge science fiction fan so I’d say one moment on the record that’s most related to that is the end of “In Time Pt. 2 & Pt. 3”, which itself is kind of a cosmic odyssey. During the end of that, the lyrics there sort of remind me of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s sort of like the moment where you can’t really tell what’s going on with the main character but you see that he’s flying through time with all the trippy imagery and stuff. That’s maybe a direct correlation but some of the stuff just ended up in a science fiction sound I would say. The song “White Foam” is more of a ghost story or something like that, it’s sort of a science fiction “what if?” where you get caught in some sort of limbo. That song is interesting in that respect, it’s a song that tells a story.

RD: How long did it take you to transform your attic in Brooklyn into a recording studio before making the album? Was it a difficult process or did you already have a good sense of managing the acoustics in the room and things like that?

MG: We sort of chipped away at it over time. Man, I wish I could show you a picture of the attic because it was this crazy angular space but I think that’s part of the reason why it sounded so good. All we really did was nail some square pieces of soundproofing foam to the ceiling. I remember all seven of us got together there one day and we just started nailing foam everywhere. I got some velvet curtains from the internet and stuff like that, I should have taken more photos of it but it didn’t take long.

It was actually easy. Part of the fun was soundproofing the space as a group and I think our bodies did a lot of the soundproofing as well. Each of us were absorbing the sound of the drums and seven of us took up all of the space, we were basically touching at all times.

RD: It must have been a unique experience with you guys being all close together. Did you aim to do anything different with the album compared to your 2017 debut Last Of The Acid Cowboys?

MG: Yeah, totally. This was done 100% in-house until it went out for mastering. We decided that we wanted to make an album that was more cohesive. Rafferty Swink is the keyboard player and the singer on both “Zuma Loop” and “Let Go”, he also produced the whole thing while being a member of the band. We wanted it to feel like a complete album, I’d say that’s the most important thing rather than focusing on what’s the single or what’s the song that’s gonna get people. We wanted this to feel fun to listen to from beginning to end as one big thing, every song is an important piece to the puzzle. I actually think that’s kind of rare these days, not to toot our own horn or whatever, but I just think it’s so cool. If you’re going to make an album, then make an album. Don’t just make a collection of cool sounding songs, they should interrelate and that’s the fun of it.

RD: I definitely get the cohesive vibe. You want to make it an experience, you don’t want to
make it where you nitpick one song out of a bunch. It’s a lot more enjoyable that way for the
listener.

MG: Yeah, exactly. The goal was vinyl, so we wanted someone to drop the needle on it and
take the whole trip.

RD: It’s kind of rare these days to see a band with more than four or five members and ealier you alluded to Evolfo being a septet with seven members. What would you say is the biggest benefit of being in a band that’s this large and what would you say is the biggest challenge?

MG: The biggest benefit is that we all blend into the sound collage on stage or in the studio sometimes. I think there’s so many textures and it’s so fun to be part of the big picture with seven people. There’s so many benefits, but that’s the first one. I’d also say the drawbacks are fairly obvious, it costs us a fortune to do anything. For example, when we played The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn recently it was this whole clusterf**k of us trying to fit on stage even though the stage is huge there. Spacing issues and budget are the obvious drawbacks but I just love being part of this giant sound collage, I think it’s so cool and everybody’s got something interesting to say. I’d put 14 people up on stage with me if I could.

RD: It’s also a more collaborative vibe with multiple members than it being a trio or a quartet. What are Evolfo’s plans for the rest of the year? Have you already started working on your third album?

MG: We have an EP coming out this fall. It’s unannounced yet, I think it’ll be officially announced in September but there’s definitely some new music coming out later this year for sure. If the album is a novel then this EP is sort of like a sequel, it’s five songs and it’s gonna be awesome. It’s some of the more upbeat songs from the initial recording process that didn’t fit within the sequencing. They’re garage rock bangers that sound awesome as their own little record, so that’s coming in the fall. We’re in the studio all the time doing various things, we’ve been working on a collaboration with Ben Pirani and we’re thinking of making an improvised record. We have our own little studio in Brooklyn so we can stay busy. There’s also going to be lots of touring and I’m a bit horrified because I keep on getting the coronavirus every time we go on tour but I just gotta give it the old college try.