Dylan Evans, who operates under his middle name, LAVIER, showcased his talent for creating silky sounds Sept. 17 at Black Cat.
His latest EP, released in January, “CHAI TEA//TAI CHI,” shows how he harmoniously blends copious music genres such as jazz, dubstep, soft ambient and psychedelic rock, creating an overarching velvet ambiance for the listener.
The release of “CHAI TEA//TAI CHI” solidified his strong focus for creating music.
“I got into production my senior year of high school,” he said. “I spent a solid two weeks messing with the production on my computer. Then I realized that I could take this project somewhere, eventually conceiving what is now ‘CHAI TEA//TAI CHI.’”
But the conception of the EP evolved from a period of temporary disarray for Evans.
“A lot of the writings for my ‘CHAI TEA’ album were written during a weird time in my life,” he said. “I took a semester off after I graduated high school, and this was strange because most of my friends moved away and I wasn’t even sure where I wanted to go school. Coincidently, I was going through a very tender relationship with this girl that I was serious about.”
His disorienting endeavors, however, imbued the EP with becoming musical ideas.
“Looking back, that did a lot for my creativity,” Evans said. “It’s funny because now when I listen to my old stuff, I try and capture that mood. But it’s almost impossible because that came from a bad place in my life.”
And while there is this overarching ambiance in his music, there is no specific formula to Evan’s songwriting process.
“Sometimes, I’ll have nothing in my brain, he said. “I’ll sit down at the piano and mess around. I think some of my best songs are created when I methodically think it out though. This way, the workflow is at ease.”
Evans uses minimal yet mellifluous ornaments to make his sound lilt.
“The morning after a crazy concert experience, I listened to a German duo called A/T/O/S,” Evans said. “Their music really affected me at that moment in time. Their instrumentation is minimal, yet it hits the synapses hard. That ended up being a big motivator for the creation of ‘CHAI TEA,’ because I didn’t want the album to be musically overbearing or harsh.”
There are skeptics, Evans said, that say electronic music is an entity in which talent is not needed, considering the majority of the music is solely computer generated. However, he believes this perception is false.
“I hate entertaining that kind of argument,” Evans said. “The stuff I try to write is deeply rooted in jazz theory. Although the synths are computer generated, it still takes a lot of time to harmoniously blend the sounds together. I’ve put more thought and time into LAVIER than any other band I’ve played with.”
Evans set consists of a complex APC40 with 64 buttons, knobs and faders synched up to the program on his computer that houses his sounds, in addition to a small keyboard and his guitar. He hopes to eventually expand his project in the near future by adding more instruments.
“It would be cool to have an entire ensemble eventually,” he said. “I’ve thought about having two people playing synths, with one synth base, a trumpet and a saxophone, perhaps. I love having the drums in the picture as well. Drums can create flows of energy that can’t be captured with anything else.”
The Pittsburg native immersed himself in music at a young age, beginning to mess around with the guitar on his own, which led to him to take formal lessons.
“Eventually, I got a really good guitar teacher,” he said. “That’s when I got serious about music.”
Evans has no desire to take a break from creating music. The artist has a supportive local fan base in Boone that grows with every live show, he said. For him, LAVIER is a musical project that shouldn’t be put on the back burner – this is just the beginning.
Story by: Abi Shaki, Intern A&E Reporter