iSing: What set you off on your musical path?
Mo Evans: Well I suppose growing up in a studio and being around such a musical environment was my first incentive. Most others my age had TV and computers to fill their time at home with, however my sis and I were quite literally left to either a load of fields, outside or the choice of a load of instruments. It’s quite obvious what we would have gotten up too. There wasn’t really much choice! On the contrary I can never recall making the decision that I was going to be doing the same thing, It just sort of happened.
iSing: Coming from a well-known musical family, do you feel any pressure to be successful as a musician/artist?
ME: The expectation certainly feels pretty high, but I know my family would have supported me in anything I would’ve chosen to do.
iSing: What are the advantages and disadvantages of having parents (singer/songwriter, Sam Brown and producer, Robin Evans) and grandparents (Musician, Joe Brown and session singer, Vicky Brown) in the music industry?
ME: The first and most appreciated advantage is the relationship with my parents I have been blessed with. It’s given us a connection and a way of communication not many sons can boast about. The most obvious and also something that I have not taken for granted Is the contacts in the industry my parents have given me. I won’t deny that if it wasn’t for my background things most definitely would have been a lot harder.
Best of all the sound advice I’ve been given from my family along the way. Both musically and general knowledge of the business, they’ve helped me to understand it all. A strong disadvantage I would say is the doubt of feeling like you haven’t done it all off your own merit. Although I will proudly say I’ve put a lot of work into myself as an artist; there will always be a part of me that wonders how I would have gotten on if I wasn’t born into such a musical family.
iSing: Describe your style/vibe?
ME: This is always the hardest question to answer! My style changes on a regular basis depending on whom I ‘m listening too at the time. I suppose a lot of my songs have the acoustic singer/songwriter element to them, purely because I play acoustic guitar. Production and writing influences in the last few years have ranged from Bombay Bicycle Club, Justin Vernon and Ben Howard to Martha Wainwright, Fleetwood Mac and Crosby, Stills and Nash, too name a few. The truth is I wouldn’t know what category I’d put myself under. I’m writing towards an album at the moment, and there are so many elements of different genres and inspirations. Perhaps the album will determine where I sit musically, but right now I am still discovering new ways to write my self.
iSing: You do a lot of writing in Scotland, what is it about this place that inspires you?
ME: Tpot Studios in Scotland is where I grew up and discovered my interest in music. And it holds so many memories for me; I suppose that would be the first. The place in its self is like no other, the views, the peace and quiet and general atmosphere makes it hard to feel anything but inspired.
iSing: You used to write songs with a band mate, Tom, do you prefer writing collaboratively or on your own, and why?
ME: I treat collaboration and writing on my own as two totally separate things. When I write on my own I am writing for myself. It’s my release and my way of getting something off my mind. But writing collaboratively requires you to let go of being precious about your songs, which sometimes I am not willing to do. I learnt a lot from writing with Tom (Jones). When we started writing together I started to take music more serious, I explored writing with a more experimental attitude. We were young. And we wrote cheesy pop songs mostly, but we had such great fun doing it. Sometimes you find a musical connection with someone that just works, you develop an understanding of each other not just musically, but personally. The ideas and music flow, everything is easy and even more enjoyable and there is nothing more satisfying than that. My answer is I have no preference; I enjoy doing both for different reasons!
iSing: There’s a strong blues tradition in your family, how has that influenced your style?
ME: The blues tradition in my family has certainly influenced me in my playing and the way I sing. Regarding my writing I don’t think there is a distinctive blues style, but mixed with the way I play and sing perhaps it pokes through! The more I’ve progressed in my playing and singing I’ve noticed that blues is one of the most comfortable genres for me.
iSing: Who gave you your first instrument?
ME: My parents brought me my first electric guitar when I was nine. But by that time I had already made the decision I wanted to be a drummer. And was practising most days.
iSing: How did you learn to play it?
ME: I learnt to play drums and guitar by sitting in and watching the bands in the studio. We’d obviously get a lot of drummers and guitarists in and out on a regular basis. I’d sit and watch them play, and occasionally I’d be lucky enough for them to show me a few new things. I think that’s what kept me so determined to learn, A cool new band would come in to the studio and I would idolized them in the same way a kid would a band on the TV. Only I got to talk and play with them and let them inspire me.
iSing: Do you play any other instruments now?
ME: In the last five or six years I’ve also taught myself piano, I was very surprised at how quickly I picked it up.
iSing: What is your practice routine? want,
ME: I don’t really have one. I play when II sing when I want and I write when I want. And that is usually every night.
iSing: How do you go about finding gigs?
ME: At the moment I have just been taking gigs as and when I come across them. I have venues or promoters contact me quite often. I have been focussing on writing mostly at the moment so I haven’t pushed for many gigs.
iSing: Describe the typical kind of gigs you usually do right now?
ME: I decided to stop performing with my band as much as I felt It would be more useful to me to become as good as I could get at performing and playing on my own. Since I made this decision I have been playing most of my gigs in small acoustic venues.
iSing: Do you sustain a living from music yet? If not do you have a set goal for when you want to be earning from music full-time?
ME: I don’t sustain a living from music yet unfortunately. Ideally I’d like to be earning money from being a performing artist within the next year.
iSing: What has been your most memorable musical moment to date?
ME: I’m not sure I could give you one musical moment. Nothing specific comes to mind! When I was young every now and then my sister and I would be lucky enough to stand a long side my mum on stage with Jools Holland and his big band. That was always quite fun! Or the early morning recording sessions we get up to at Tpot. They will always be fond memories.
iSing: What do you think are the benefits and disadvantages of being in the music industry today?
ME: I’ve become aware that there is a lot of capitalisation on what will sell to the general public in today’s business. Everything has to be polished, unnaturally in tune and usually quite characterless. The fact that the industry is being run by businessmen rather than music lovers is the biggest disadvantage. I believe this because there are people that put blood, sweat and tears into their music, and most of it won’t be given the time of day, because there is a set formula that those business men have found works. If we don’t fall into that category, we are immediately cast away.
I’ve tried to think about a significant benefit to the music industry today. But if I’m totally honest I don’t really feel like there is one. The Internet is a fabulous thing, and has given everyone the opportunity to share his or her music with everyone on an extreme level, and I suppose that is a benefit. Although at the same time it means that music is diluted, and less appreciated!
iSing: In an ideal world where will Mo Evans be in 12 months time?
ME: In an ideal world, in 12 months time I would like to be touring the country, hopefully with a healthy bunch of fans that love what I do. I ‘d also like to have my first album out by then.
Gig at The Bedroom Bar on the 21st of October. Working towards Debut album for mid 2016.
SPILLED MY LOVE _ MO EVANS