By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Nick Evans’ musical ventures in London have led the ex-boss of Elemental Records (Alabama 3, Rocket From The Crypt) everywhere from a hospital bed for stomach cancer treatment to a yoga mat, all inspiration for his debut album ‘For Morgan,’ recently released under the moniker “Dawn-Song” via Ffynnone Records.
Designed as an time capsule-esque audio letter from a father to his son, ‘For Morgan’ takes the listener on a ride from dark to light and all about finding one’s inner calm.
Evans kept his late father’s small poetry book and always felt reconnected when he views it, so he wanted his own son (named Morgan) to have something to remember him by long after he passes.
The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with him about ‘For Morgan’ and more.
Music Bugle – How did you decide the name “Dawn-Song”?
Dawn-Song – The first incarnation of “Dawn-Song” was called “ghost light & the parliament of birds…” which then morphed into “slow light,” which was taken already by a band from Glasgow, so I asked my old friend David Tibet from Current 93, who is probably my favorite living British lyricist and he suggested a few ideas which he felt reflected my spirit, one of which was “Dawn Song.” I have an early morning yoga and meditation practice which involves chanting Vedic mantras. I’ve been doing this for many years, so “Dawn Song” seems like a very apropos title for the songs that speak to a bright new day.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your debut EP ‘For Morgan’?
Dawn-Song – Really, the goal of the record was to leave a document of my songs for my son. When I’m no longer living on this Earth, I wanted him to be able to hear me sing to him as I did when he was a small baby. My father wrote and published a small book of his poetry before he died and his father published a book about the Aber Valley In Wales before he died, so it seems to have developed into a family tradition which I was happy to continue.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Dawn-Song – I really love all the Aldous Harding records, Lankum, Cory Hansen’s new record and ‘Sing To God’ by cardiacs are my current go-to tunes.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest challenge lately?
Dawn-Song – I think like everyone, we’ve had to adapt to a year of lockdown and Coronavirus worries. We have a yoga school here in Eindhoven and obviously, it’s been closed for almost seven months. Now, it’s reopening and we are trying to resurrect in-person yoga classes and pray we are able to continue teaching long-term. I also haven’t seen my mother in the flesh for over a year. She’s in her 80’s now and I miss her terribly.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Dawn-Song – I have to say I really love the welsh music scene – Gorkies, Cate Le Bon, Huw M, Richard James, to name a few. When I was a kid growing up in Penarth, there was very little Welsh music you could feel proud of. Sometime in the 90s, Welsh music really connected with the mainstream British indie scene and it became hip to be welsh.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Dawn-Song – I’ve been listening to extreme music my whole life, starting with early punk rock and then moving on to anarcho punk Crass, Poison Girls, The Mob, Rudimentary Peni. I got so tired of angry music being the default setting. I suppose my response to that was to make music that was melodic, fluid and uplifting. I wanted to connect to the heart of the listener with as few barriers as possible and I feel as though this record has accomplished that.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Dawn-Song – All the songs came fairly easily in their rudimentary form. I would have to rework some of the songs lyrically in order to ensure that I wouldn’t be cringing in embarrassment later on. As we worked in the studio on the arrangements and layering all the textures, the process became easier and easier, almost as though I was being guided by an intelligence greater than my own.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Dawn-Song – I think the answer is both. It’s great to be able to connect with an audience so easily. Social media makes participating in your favorite artists’ projects more immediate. When I was a kid, to hear interesting bands, you would read fanzines and write letters and get tapes in the post. Now, the internet has replaced that with something that gives you an instant connection, but somehow misses the depth of connection that you could form when you had to write letters and wait for the music for weeks or sometimes months. It’s made things much faster and much more disposable.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Dawn-Song – As I explained previously, it’s been difficult with regards to work. However, in Holland, the lockdowns have been fairly lenient and despite the fact that we spent months and months in the house just in the company of my wife and our son Morgan, we managed to come through the other side without too many unpleasant stories to tell, but yeah, I really miss my mom and can’t wait until it’s possible to travel to the UK without long quarantine times.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Dawn-Song – I’m lucky because I love my work. I teach yoga starting very early in the morning around 5:45, so I go to bed early and I wake up very early and do my yoga practice, chanting and meditation. It’s a very quiet time before most people are awake, so there is a silence that gives me a great feeling of peace and stability, so in a sense, that is my go-to place when life gets tough. If I do need to escape, I ride to the woods close to our house and listen to the birds sing.