Interview by Sam Metcalf.
Evans the Death make frenetic and infectious punk pop and are one of the most refreshing and exhilarating new groups around. Influenced by the lyrical dexterity of Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker as much as the melodic exuberance of the Pixies and Pavement, the band effortlessly blend precocious musical literacy with the kind of unerring self-awareness which makes for a perfectly pitched pop sensibility. Named after the undertaker in Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, the band’s 2012 eponymous debut album saw critical acclaim from the likes of Q, Uncut and Artrocker as well as radio play on BBC Radio 1, BBC 6Music and XFM. Expect Delays, their second album for Fortuna POP!, was released in March this year and has been praised for its “modern alternative pop anthems” by Neon Filler and its “bruised vitality and pleasing lyrical spikiness” by Uncut magazine.
What have been your favourite Indietracks memories?
Dan Moss: Well, we’ve only been once, when we played in 2012. It was great but very hectic, I think it was part of a small tour we did, so we turned up, did some interviews, played our set, more interviews, played an acoustic set in the merch tent, went to go and see Lan play with Joanna Gruesome, and had to head off soon after. I expect it will be much the same this time round as we’re playing in Coventry the night before and in London the same evening. It was a blast though, lots of friendly faces and we drank some nice drinks.
Katherine Whitaker: It was the first time we’d ever played a stage that big and I thought I was fucking Jagger.
What should we expect from Evans the Death this year?
Dan: Mainly a mix of ‘Expect Delays’ stuff and brand new stuff, a couple of old ones, maybe a surprise or two. It’s also a different lineup to which played last time – James Burkitt joined on drums in late 2012, Daniel Raphael joined on bass early this year.
Karen: I’ve written a disco song!
Do you think festivals like Indietracks are important, given the huge gulf between the likes of Glastonbury and the DIY scene?
Dan: As long as there are DIY bands and enough people wanting to see those bands then festivals like this will be important. It gives a sense of much-needed unity to the DIY scene and offers smaller bands the experience of playing a festival, which is an exciting thing to do, and best of all it’s an alternative to commercialism. However we’re not a band whose biggest goal is playing Indietracks, we want to reach as many people as we can, so for us it’s important to try and do the bigger ones too.
Katherine: I don’t think there’s any point pretending we wouldn’t love playing somewhere huge like Glastonbury. I’ve only been to like, two big festivals and one was about four years ago and the other was Primavera which I got so drunk at I don’t remember playing. But Indietracks was a fantastic introduction to playing festivals and it’s definitely important to have a proper larger-scale event for the DIY scene.
Tell me a bit more about the new album? It sounds more rounded to me, but without losing that raw pop edge. Am I talking nonsense? Probably. Tell me what it’s all about.
Dan: ‘Expect Delays’ is much better than the first one, much rawer and more adventurous. It’s kind of intense, it was easy to actually make but it came out of us all having a shit time, but yeah it’s still poppy, I’m not sure we can help that. To be honest it feels a bit old to us now, we finished it nearly two years ago, so we’re very focused on the next one, which we’re doing in September. I think this one will have a different feel to it – very austere and angry but also danceable and diverse.
Katherine: Agreed; it took such a long time for it to come out that we were already starting to work on new stuff by the time it did. Most reviews of the album have said that it was about us having a really shit time and I think that’s definitely what it’s about, but I think the album is still definitely able to be enjoyed without feeling too directly depressed as a result.
Who else are you looking forward to seeing at Indietracks this year?
Dan: I like Feature a lot but I think they start during our set, hopefully we can catch the end of theirs. I would really like to see Laetitia Sadier and Euros Childs as I’m a fan of their respective former bands but unfortunately we’ll be in Brighton by then.
Katherine: Feature actually start a tad before our set so hopefully we’ll get to see a little bit of them.
Is Sean Price looking after you well?
Dan: Very well, yeah – as long as we keep delivering the hits.