‘I’m drawn to the idea of hidden codes and messages embedded in the intricate detail of imagery throughout the world’
Eveson: ever ‘new’ yet a veteran; junglist and also accomplished graphic artist, a digital creative but with a taste for ‘analogue inconsistencies’… time to check the ingredients – pardon the pun – which make him tick, and to check his amazing graphic work along the way.
I feel you are in a busy period right now, yes?
Yeah, I’m getting back on it. I took some time after my album to work on new production techniques, seek new influences and assess where I was wanting to go with my music after that closing chapter. I’ve produced bits and pieces over that time, appearing on a few various artist compilations for V, Horizons, Fizzy Beats and Fats’ album, but this Ingredients record is my first full 12″ since ‘The Last Summer Of Love’ (interview about this period/album)
I’m rolling them out right now, and this year is about diving back in headfirst, both with my Eveson stuff and another early 90s rave/jungle influenced project I’m working on and pretty excited about right now.
Tell us about this recent, quite glorious work for Ingredients? Maybe ‘A Dystopian Romance’?
Well ‘A Dystopian Romance’ was pieced together over some time and picked up by Ingredients who were after a full 12. I’d been meaning to do a collab with Halogenix for a while, as we used to live together but I was in album mode at the time and too focussed on that to experiment on other things. Seeing as I was looking to complete the Ingredients release with something a little more dark and moody than my usual output, I figured this’d be the ideal time to make it happen.
We fired up the Virus, threw a few samples down and the main body of the tune was rolled out in one session. To complement the flip side, I wanted to go in on the detail and arrangement, so I spent some more time on the textures and stabs back in France (where I was living), adding more intricacy… so it works as a headphone tune as well as a dance floor thing. It then got sent back to Halogenix who made some final editing touches and mixed the tune to perfection.
This is the first D&B tune I’d worked on in Ableton, which was still a pretty alien environment for me at this point, so I was glad to have an extra pair of hands and ears to get the mix spot on.
What was the moment you got into D&B? The spark. Taking it back.
There’s a DJ SS mix tape from a ‘Dance Trance’ rave that was always my favourite, I still have the cassette sitting on my desk in front of me, you can find it on youtube right here…I’d say this was the moment jungle took charge over other styles of rave/dance music.
I’m really not sure about an exact moment or tune, as I got into it at the start of the 90s when it was still just called rave music and the term ‘jungle’ or ‘D&B’ hadn’t been applied yet.
It was only years later when I went back in on my history, I discovered amongst the really early stuff it was always the tunes with breaks I was into over the 4/4 hardcore stuff, then I heard tunes like ‘Burial’, ‘Renegade Snares’, ‘It’s A Jazz Thing’ which really got me hooked.
You are known for artwork, something that came to the fore (for me) on The Last Summer Of Love… I think of these things when I see it:
– of a different era
– suspended in time
… So how do you feel about that?
Yeah, I’m down with that, my strongest influences are the Art Nouveau period from the late 1800s and the resulting ’60s psychedelic artwork that was inspired in turn. Add a heavy dose of graffiti/street art style and graphic design technique and that’s pretty much me.
Do you like certain motifs and symbols?
I always had a thing for skulls since I was really young. I think it was pirates and 80s skateboard graphics that instilled that in me, it got a bit played out at some point when skulls became trendy and everything was covered in them, but they’re so nice to draw and it’s a nostalgia thing for me.
And symbology in general… especially the Illuminati/masonic kinda stuff; it’s shrouded in mystery and I’m drawn to the idea of hidden codes and messages embedded in the intricate detail of imagery throughout the world.
Within graphic art, what medium do you work with/on? And what’s a glimpse into the creative process?
I’ve ended up developing quite a somewhat drawn out, multi-staged process. I start inside my head, forming images and building compositions internally over some time before anything goes down on paper. After that, comes the rough sketch process where I doodle variations of my ideas over pages of a sketch book until something sticks.
A lot of my work is based around geometry and symmetry, and sits in frames (a nod to the likes of Alphonse Mucha), so the next stage is to design the layout of my idea on the computer and put together a rough version of my sketches, using found imagery to build a kind of digital collage. This then gets printed out so I can do a rough trace of the shapes, design and any lettering I’ve included.
Once I’ve got the basic line work and outlines of the main elements down, It’s time for the most laborious part of the process where I fill in the design with my own style, content and line work based on my initial sketches, first with mechanical pencils, then over again drawing pens and markers to create the final inked drawing. After this, it’s scanned back into the computer.
For me, the analogue inconsistencies are integral to the overall feel, which is why I’m adamant my final line work is done with pen and paper and not traced on illustrator, and I leave all the small mistakes such as ink blotches/scratches etc in the final design.
If the design is to be printed digitally, then that’s the final stage, but a lot of what I do these days means I go on to screenprint by hand which is a whole other process with its own quirks and inconsistencies. A ‘real’ screenprinter may not agree, and insist it’s got to be perfect.
I’m particularly fond of the way this process echoes the way I write music, where it goes full circle from analogue – with sampled instruments and breaks, through a digital composition and arrangement process, then back to analogue again when the tracks are pressed to vinyl as a finished product.
You can check out stage by stage pictures of the process here
Do you have a regular studio as such?
I move around too much at the moment to have a permanent studio, so for the time being I’m working from wherever bedroom happens to be at the time, which isn’t exactly ideal. I managed to stay in one place long enough when I lived in London and was working out of a converted tube train on a roof in Shoreditch for a couple of years, with a shared screen print studio in Hackney Wick. It was an amazing place to work and that’s where I created all of my album artwork.
After my LP I took a bit of a break from everything, and concentrated on running and DJing at my club nights in the French Alps (Morzine), only doing bits and pieces of work here and there to stay practiced, and fitting in the odd screen print session when I was back in the UK.
I’ve got the itch to be fully submersed in creative projects once more so am looking to set myself up again in Bristol with some decent studio space and a new spot to screen print. I can write tunes in the bedroom all day/night long, all I need is a laptop and monitors, but having a dedicated space for art is definitely preferable, it just puts me in the right state of mind to get involved without distraction.
How do we buy it?
I’ve got a big cartel store at alexeveson.com where you can pick up art prints and occasionally t-shirts, although they tend to sell out really quickly so you’ve gotta be on that.
Merging the two worlds, if you had to play in an unusual environment – not a club for example – what sort of set would you play?
I like the idea of creating an environment, somewhere that takes you into another world, using set design like the fringe late night arenas at Glastonbury.
I’m always in awe of what the Arcadia guys do with their giant mechanical fire breathing spider, I’d love to play a set from that monster. In that situation, I’d just want to go dark, full on moody techno and dark side tech step D&B would have to be the one. Most of the sets I’ve seen there have been more steered towards ravey party beats which I guess works the crowd, but how could you be in that thing and not just want to scare the f*ck out of people!?
To finish, could you tell us some music you’re checking?
Totally non genre specific, these are simply some tunes I’ve been loving…
Grenier meets Archie Pelago ‘Swoon’. Absolutely stunningly beautiful, rich, orchestral house.
Jamie XX ‘Girl’. So sexy, would make an amazing visual compliment to the film ‘Drive’.
Fracture ‘Loving Touch’. For me he’s consistently making the most interesting, experimental D&B, doing new things with the genre whilst simultaneously never sounding in anyway whatsoever pretentious or beardstrokey, it’ll get both hardcore D&B heads and clueless punters dancing just as hard: a pretty hard thing to achieve I think!
Josh Wink ‘Are You There’ Ben Klock remix. Gully as f*ck rave techno, hold tight for the amen.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds ‘Higgs Boson Blues’. This is just amazing in every way, the organ at 02:00 gives me shivers.
Jungle ‘The Heat’. Smooth organic future soul/funk with two dudes dancing in bauer turbos, Pimp music.