|Jennifer Evans - Photo by Karolina Urbaniak|
The following article was published in the 18th June 2015 edition of Cork's Evening Echo.
Jennifer Evans has a perfect opportunity to skip out on our conversation before it even begins. Thinking I’m off “to bare all in the woods” rather than the Laois music festival, BARE in the Woods, I assure her naked forest frolics are not part of my usual Saturday outings. “Ah right!”, is Jennifer’s relieved reply, surprisingly still in contact via email. “I thought it might have been some sort of craze. It sounds kind of cool and pagan so I’d be into that!” The naked elephant in the room now fully dressed, we agree to chat on Sunday morning, starting with the origin of the title of 2014 record, Works From The Dip & Foul.
“It comes from working with a compass,” explains Jennifer from her bass player’s London flat and temporary abode. “You have your compass and you know where you’re going but sometimes, due to natural phenomena, you still end up somewhere else. That happens with compasses, so you have to compensate for the natural dip and foul of the needle. It’s a little bit like that grey area of life, going off course but figuring out something you weren’t intending to figure out in the first place. You have your ways to measure the world but things don’t always work out like you planned, no matter how prepared you are.”
Receiving plaudits from national newspapers upon release, Jennifer’s first album arrived a full four years after her début release, 2010 EP Salient Point. “I’m a really slow worker. I guess I’m kind of happy that at least I’m aware of that and don’t put myself under pressure to be prolific - it just takes me ages [to finish recordings]. I think I’m getting a little quicker though - we’ll see how long it takes to get the next album out!”, laughs Jennifer. “I wasn’t very sociable a few years ago. I didn’t go to the pub and meet people but if I had maybe I would have been quicker. Maybe I could have done with that pressure.”
From social to professional pressure, the success of Works… has yielded some high profile support slots recently, namely Villagers and Micachu & The Shapes. It’s interesting to see if Jennifer approaches such sets differently to her own solo shows. “With the Villagers gig in the Olympia I only had my drummer with me in so we were just too busy working hard to make the songs sound as good as possible so we didn’t have time to think about it too much. There might have been a little bit of pressure or uncertainty wondering whether people are going to like it but that’s there all the time anyway and when you work so hard you work the worry away so all the stress went out the window by the time we arrived.
“With Micachu it was such a dream come true because I love her music and she’s been a bit of a musical aphrodite for me. I love the energy that she uses and she’s so playful with music. The thing about that gig with Micachu was the venue, The Windmill in Brixton, is really punk. It’s like your mate’s shed but it’s bigger and smells terrible! It’s got this makeshift thing about it but the vibe is real friendly so it’s not daunting or prestigious, unlike the Olympia, which is the real opposite. It was a bit of a paradox because there was no pressure but at the same time lots of pressure, my own pressure.”
The video for Colour of Bruises depicts Jennifer as somewhat of an an aerialist, albeit a reluctant one. “Oh I’m not an aerialist at all! I did do acrobatics for a while when I took a lot of time off music when I was going through a phase of being scared of the stage for a while; I was just too sensitive to handle an audience. I really enjoyed doing a lot of acrobatics in Dublin before Dip and Foul came out. I worked with an aerialist, Emily, but what I was doing was shibari ropes: Japanese rope bondage. It started as the Japanese used to tie up prisoners in ropes in different ornate ways depending on their crime/punishment. That turned into a kink, like how S&M people turn torture things like gas masks into pleasure items. Then I found this dancer called Dasniya [Sommer] somewhere in Berlin where she was doing shibari rope bondage. Normally you would have a guy tying up a girl but she was tying herself up and was in the process of exploring movement with it. I was more a rope suspender rather than an aerialist. If you want to suspend from them like I was doing it’s tricky as the ropes are unpredictable and they really hurt! I definitely wouldn’t call me an aerialist. I was just a messer in the ropes really.”
For more on Jennifer Evans visit:
- Jennifer Evans and The Great Balloon Race play Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh on Saturday 27th June
- Doors are 8.15pm and tickets are €12 and available via the box office (021 4813790) and online at www.siriusartscentre.ie
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