In the world of Evangeline's electronica, metallic ghosts haunt bass-soaked shadows, and everything sparkles with a twisted surreality – but that somehow makes her confessional lyrics even more real and raw. A fan of vintagewear, athleisure and a sneaker tragic, the Melburnian's moody style is as immersive as her sound. We put some questions to the artist about her latest EP, her sneaker collection, and what's coming up music-wise.
Your voice is sometimes mega intimate and raw, but then you warp it with vocoder, or pitch it down (Euphoria) or up (Bad Parties) or both, in a twisting sort of spiral (I Wish I Was Anybody Else). Did you have to learn to get unattached from your natural voice to get into these effects?
That’s such a wild question! Thank you – I appreciate you noticing those sorts of things, because whenever someone listens to your music they’re going to pick up on different elements that they attach themselves to, or enjoy. So it’s always cool hearing those sorts of things.
I started off as a classic singer doing opera, and then I did theatre, and I wanted to do rock. And because my vocals changed so much over the years it did sort of become like this instrument of growth. But I love manipulating vocals... Sometimes you get really in your head and you go ‘Oooh, these people are so much better at singing than I am,’ and one of those really funny things that I personally like with my vocals is, I might not be the worlds best singer, but I like to really portray the emotion through the song. There are so many things you can do in post [production] to mess with the vocals, to really give that rounded, emotional sound. [You] can make a song sound drunk, or sound anxious, or sound overwhelming. It's a tool I really love to use.
When you're experimenting with sounds, how do you know you’ve hit on a great idea that’s worth seeing through? Do you know straight away?
Oh my god, no! [Laughs] I will be in a session with friends, and by the end we’ll be like, ‘Ok cool, we’ve written this song,’ and almost like clockwork I’m like, ‘What have I stolen this from!? This is already a song, isn’t it? We’re going to get sued somehow,’ or ‘Have I literally stolen a lyric?’... And everyone's like, ‘Evie, you need to calm down’!
After the Katy Perry case, I can totally see how any artist would be paranoid.
It’s so wild. But I’m super critical of what I want my songs to be. And I’ve gotten to a point with writing my own stuff, that I’m not necessarily writing for it to be a hit; I'm not looking to be in the top ten or anything like that – I mean, if that happened, then hell yeah! But I just want to write something that’s me, and get back to the core of what I enjoy and why I wanted to be a musician. Sometimes I’m like, this might not be the catchiest song, but these lyrics feel very true to my brain. It’s giving that feeling. I want each song to create that little experience, that's [special to the listener].
There's a real John Carpenter vibe to your synth lines, they kind of curl up out of the dark – really cinematic. Which is apt, because you are interested in film yourself; you've posted several 8mm videos on your Instagram. What do you like about the medium?
I bought the camera when I was travelling a few years ago in LA. I wanted to film music videos with my friends, but then I came out of lockdown, and I just wanted to capture things that I enjoy. What I like about filming with 8mm tapes is that it gives a home-style video sort of thing; it feels a lot closer.
Now I’ve found that medium where I’ll actively film, on my camera [instead of my phone], and then put it away and enjoy the time. I studied photography and videography back in high school and really enjoyed doing that form of visual art, so now I’ve got a hunger to get back into it. I want to do more fashion, and just friends – we all have such talented friends here in Melbourne! I want to video people doing [their thing], and it feels like a very intimate way of filming because we all have access to these high-quality cameras on our phones now. So it’s fun to have it a little bit more rough... that's what makes it special and different.
Let's talk outfits; your Instagram aesthetic is very distinctive. What kinds of outerwear grab your eye?
Well, I do love the colour black. I love vintage. And I'm big on textures – I love leathers and denims. But also – and I feel like everyone felt it during Covid – that athleisure style is so good. It’s comfortable, it’s a little bit androgynous at times, but you can have a feminine look to it. And I love sneakers! So much! Having a great sneaker or great shoe if you want to have a basic outfit... I’m the ultimate outfit repeater, wearing the black basics but then being able to style up with a jacket or some cool shoes.
What’s your fave pair of sneakers in your collection?
I have a pair of... oh gosh, how do I choose? I mean, we’re not allowed to like Alexander Wang because he’s a little bit controversial, but I bought them before the controversy started! They're black sneakers, and they’re an Adidas collaboration. They just look like black clouds. They’re like this big, chunky sneaker that has a really big slopey nose...? I don’t know how to speak in proper ‘shoe’! It kind of looks like a whale, if a whale was a shoe.
And I love collecting Jordans, because they’re just beautiful, classic, timeless.
Where do you shop for clothes and shoes?
I really love travelling, and that’s when I tend to buy clothing; but I haven't been travelling that much of course. Friends and I just swap clothing, like, 'Here is a pile, that’s now yours!' Of course, Finesse for shoes and athleisure, and I’m always down to go op shopping, or those markets that pop-up: 'I’m just going to have a little peruse!'
I do love driving through a rural town and seeing a St. Vinnie's – you just know there's going to be neat stuff in there.
On the north side everyone’s like, 'Go to Salvos'. And I’m like 'No, everyone trendy’s already picked out the good things!' My friend and I woke up on one of those 50% off days, and we drove out behind the Dandenongs, like, 'We’ve got to go out! All these city people are going to go for the same things!' Though, obviously, people are trendy everywhere in Melbourne.
Yes, yes we are. Tell us, because we need fresh blood: What's coming up with your music?
Well, good ol’ Covid... I’ve given him a few shout-outs! I am writing my next project. My big thing is, it always has to be the right story for me. I’m doing a lot of songwriting in the meantime, for other people, and just trying to expand, and pivot; I've tried to take up production and have more control over that; and trying to use this time for upskilling. I’ve gone back to the choir stuff and opera stuff where I’m like, ‘I can write this quite easily for people,’ and it’s so fun to send that to my hip-hop friends in the States, and hear what they do with sampling it for other artists. I mean, the world did not need another lockdown song! We didn’t need it.
It's true it hasn't been the most stimulating time, but as they say, 'Nothing is ever wasted' – anything that you get up and do, even the tiniest thing, it'll come back around as fodder for inspiration at some point in your life. Even subconsciously!
One hundred percent. I think it’s really hard when you’re in the thick of it. I feel we’ve all had those times of 'This isn’t working!’, but then you look back, coming out of it, and you're like, ‘I survived that challenge.’
[Lockdown] was a very chaotic time for everyone, but even if I did something positive, even if it was just a walk, like basic things... or, 'Ok, well I usually might be at a studio session watching another producer work on this, so what if I go on YouTube and watch how producers make this sound?' You could set a goal to write a song a day, and you're going to write a lot of crummy songs, and that's fine! 'Cos it's practise. One day you'll write something and be like, 'Oh... this is golden.'