Evelyn Jane Mason and Jeremiah Klein may come from the Vancouver DIY scene, but their music sounds anything but scrappy. As Evy Jane, they create an intoxicating mix of yearning R&B and minimalist bass, late night introspection blues for the post-dubstep generation. We first encountered them two years ago with a sultry 12” released on Canadian indie behemoth King Deluxe, featuring the melancholy diptych of SAYSO and OHSO. This week, the duo released the Closer EP, their debut for Ninja Tune. It’s got the same entrancing haze as their early singles, with a newfound polish that accentuates Klein’s slow-burning production. We chatted with the band about their music making process, hometown pride, and their recent tour with inc.
How did you guys meet?
Evy: We met four years ago and we started making music just after that, collaborating on some things. I had this fledgling project with the same name, Evy Jane, and I was looking for someone to produce or someone to help me produce the songs that I had written. Then I met Jeremiah. We did a show together and it was cool to perform live together so we started doing that all the time and made a band out of it.
On many songs you guys have a minimalist, spare sound. How does that play out live setting?
Evy: When we’re jamming, we do it in such a way that we could perform it live exactly as we wrote it. It is written for soundsystems but we like the feeling of being limited to a few different instruments, that being a Juno-106 synth, a Prophet and drum machines. It’s nice as an electronic performer to have your instrument and that’s what you play and it makes the sounds it makes. You’re limited by that in a way that actually makes you more creative in the end. We try to approach everything in the most natural way.
Jeremiah: I do sample though, also.
Evy: Yeah, live we do more sampling and play off each other. We go with whatever’s happening. It’s more fluid.
How do you guys create songs together?
Evy: It’s been different for different songs but lately and for this new album we started to jam everything out in the moment and refine from there. With most of the other songs, the ones that are on the EP and SAYSO and OHSO, I’d written the song then Jeremiah built production around that.
Lyrically, your music is pretty figurative. How do you translate the real-life stories behind the songs into poetic mode?
Evy: I love reading, I love poetry and I get excited about words. I try to be aware of the play between form and pure expression, just the way that those things can tell a story together in a way that feels real. It is based on things that I’ve read. I love cerebral writing, like Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, but I also love stuff that feels more raw, like rap. I try to keep that balance between form and wildness.
What’s the deal with the album? Is the EP a teaser for what’s to come?
Jeremiah: The EP shows different influences that we have in our music. I think the LP will dive further into that. Hopefully it comes out sooner than later. We’re getting close to completing it, getting ready to do final mixing and stuff like that.
You’ve recently been performing with inc. on their European tour. How was touring with them?
Evy: It was really fun. Not really long enough. We were just starting to get into it! It was really nice because we both make quite sensual, dreamy music so it was nice to be in that kind of atmosphere.
Jeremiah: And they’re really sweet dudes.
Which was your favorite city to play in?
Jeremiah: That’s tough. Our show in London was really great. We had a show with inc. in Paris and we also had our own. I feel like the vibe for our show was more vibey.
Evy: We played a fun show in Paris after our show with inc. It was in a dingy kind of cabaret, I guess. I like that feel where everyone’s just thrown into a dark room and anything can happen. It was a bit more wild than the ones that we did where we up on a stage. I was a little bit nervous for those ones because we come from more DIY scenes. It’s nice to get into a kind of venue where you can be wild and do whatever.
Jeremiah, you used to organize raves in Vancouver. Is that still possible while touring as Evy Jane?
Jeremiah: I actually haven’t been able to. I used to do it with some friends and we haven’t gotten it together. Evy and I started throwing our own party then we stopped for some reason. We’re thinking about going back to Vancouver soon and I want to set that up again because it’s fun.
What’s the Vancouver scene like right now?
Evy: I think it’s awesome. It’s really small and everyone knows each other. Everyone’s supportive so if we ever want to do a party or whatever it seems really possible. It all has to be really underground because there are really strict laws in Vancouver but almost because of that it can thrive in a way that’s really jubilant and thoughtful.
Apart from Evy Jane, who are the best artists coming out of Vancouver right now?
Evy: We love the Mood Hut boys. They make really good music and throw really good parties. I love anything on 1080p, this tape label that I actually just put out a release with my side project on. Regular Fantasy is my BFF. We have a project together and she’s the shit.
It seems like you guys have so many side projects going on. How do you balance them all?
Evy: In my experience, doing the side-project with Regular Fantasy helped me understand Evy Jane more. Before Evy Jane I didn’t understand album format but once I made an album with Bobo Eyes, my other project, I was able to apply all of that hands-on learning to this one.
The EP’s out this week and you’re wrapping up your tour with inc. What’s next for Evy Jane?
Evy: After this tour I’ve been feeling really inspired. Having hands on experience performing the songs and performing new songs got me really inspired to pump out this record.
Jeremiah: We wanna get our LP out, throw some shows, make everyone happy.