Alan, I’d like to thank you for allowing us to speak with you on behalf of Soulive and the recently founded Alan Evans Trio.
Q1: How did Soulive first come to be?
Soulive really started when I decided to leave Karl Denson’s Universe back in 1998. I was living in San Diego and Neal was attending the Manhattan School of Music. He was ready to move on right when I was moving on from Karl’s band so the timing was perfect. I moved back east and we moved back to Woodstock, NY, a place that we lived earlier in the 90’s with our other band Moon Boot Lover. We originally had a cat playing vibes but he opted to stay in NYC to do the Broadway pit gig. Eric happened to be at the first Soulive show and after I told him about the vibraphonist, he said he would fill in some gigs that we already booked until we found a guitarist. Well, the rest is history….
Q2: What musical artists influenced the music you create with Soulive?
Early on it was obviously a lot of 60’s soul jazz. Grant Green, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, George Benson, Herbie Hancock. But there was a lot of everything that we dig in the music back then.
Q3: This year at Bowlive, the 10-night residency at the Brooklyn Bowl, you guys featured a number of guest musicians including Alecia Chakour, Derek Trucks, Zach Deputy, Lettuce, George Porter Jr., Citizen Cope, and many others. What were some of your favorite moments/collaborations from this year’s residency?
Wow, that’s really tough. Every night was great but there were some special moments for me. Our nights with George Porter Jr. were amazing. We can do anything with him. Playing with Ledisi was insane. She is the most energetic performer I’ve ever had the chance to rock with.
Q4: You recently formed the Alan Evans Trio, featuring Beau Sasser on keys, Danny Mayer on guitar, and yourself on drums/vocals. How did this trio come to be and how would you define yourselves?
Well, I guess initially I got the idea from playing with Beau at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton, MA. I really dig playing with him, he is an amazing musician. While I was out west recording/producing Danny’s bands (OTS) album, I got to play drums with another band he rocks with every Tuesday in Santa Cruz, CA. I knew Danny really well as a friend and musician but he really grew as a guitarist since I last recorded OTS’s first album. I just knew I had to get Danny and Beau in a band with me.
How would I define the band? Well as of right now, the band’s sound is based around a lot of my newest songs which were heavily influenced by early Meters and Booker T. and the MG’s. The three of us really dig that music, this is just our spin on that vibe.
Q5: In addition to this extensive upcoming tour with the Alan Evans Trio, including a stop at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA, you recently released an album as well. How was the response to the album from your fans?
The response to the album has been amazing. I decided to stream the album a few weeks before it goes on sale just to get people hip to the music and I’ve been blown away by the posts and messages I’ve received from people. It’s a great feeling to know that all the music I heard in my head connects with people and makes them feel good.
Q6: Outside of recording and playing with Soulive and the Trio, you also mix music with Playonbrother Studios. What is it like being involved in both perspectives of music, not only writing music and performing it, but also mixing others music?
I love the whole music making process. I was doing a lot of it when Playonbrother Studios was located in Hatfield, MA. I had cats coming from all over the world. As much as I loved working on other peoples music, I realized that I was spending enough time working on my own. So I shut the doors to the big barn studio and built a really nice studio at home. This spot is really for me. I still do a lot of mixing for people here but most of the recording that goes on here is just my music. I think I’ve found a really great balance. I do travel to record bands but I usually bring the music back home to mix in my spot.
Q7: It’s a sunny day, your about to go out for a cruise in your car, you want the perfect music at that moment, what song do you put on?
Hmmmmm, that’s tough. I usually prefer the sound of my engine to music but if I did put something on in my car, it would most likely be Van Halen (the first album).
Q8: If you could create a dream festival of bands that you would love to play alongside, who would it be?
Wow, I guess I’d take everyone we’ve had at Snowlive and Bowlive this year.
Q9: Personally, who was the biggest influence on your musical career?
Q10: If you could pick one track that you’ve written in your life that really sums up your musical career, what would it be?
After Everyone’s Gone – off my new trio album. It has so much of me in that tune. I’m playing drums, guitar, bass, singing. It’s full of my influences and I really love the tune. It just came out so easy, like it fell from the sky. Right now, I’d say that sums up things best for me.
We’d like to thank Alan for taking the time to speak with us. The Alan Evans Trio will be performing at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA on Saturday May 12th at 10:00PM. Tickets can be purchased via www.nbotickets.com.
Check out The Alan Evans Trio on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/alanevanstrio
Check out Soulive on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/soulive