Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Rafferty Swink/Matt Gibbs Of Evolfo

Photo credit – Will Fyfordy. Courtesy of Evolfo Facebook page.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

If one’s company, two’s a crowd and three’s a party, what’s seven?

Composed of members from Pronoun and Acid Tongue, Brooklyn-based septet Evolfo recently dropped their latest LP ‘Site Out Of Mind.’

The new release has been described as an “eclectic psych opus,” comparable to the likes of Thee Oh Sees, King Gizz and Wand, inspired by sci-fi and metaphysical concepts that relate to both the mind and afterlife.

The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with members Rafferty Swink and Matt Gibbs about ‘Site Out Of Mind’ and more.

Music Bugle – How did you get to decide the name Evolfo? 

Rafferty Swink – There’s always been a lot of interest in the origin and significance of our name. Some say it’s a reference to Shakespeare. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. One thing I do know is my Grandmother’s brother was an Italian anarchist named Evolfo Malatesta. 

Music Bugle – What was your goal for the ‘Site Out Of Mind’ LP? 

Rafferty Swink – Our main focus was creative freedom and not feeling on the clock, so I’d say the main goal was to not be goal-oriented! Just to be together, experiment, have fun and worry about the final product later. It’s very easy to impose ideas of quality and purpose on music before it even comes out of your head.

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?

Rafferty Swink – All my friends are releasing amazing music right now, which is exciting and inspiring. Check out NAIMA, Canteen Killa, Babyfang, Matthew Jamal, Ochre, J-Zone/The Durites, Elliott Skinner and Holy Hand Grenade.

Music Bugle – How would you describe Brooklyn to someone who has never been there before? 

Matt Gibbs – The first response that comes to mind is that Brooklyn is a battleground, not necessarily in a violent sense, although it is the location of much corporate and state violence, but in the sense that Brooklyn and the people in it are in a constant battle to defend culture from the tidal wave of gentrification and corporate lame-washing. You can feel it everywhere all the time. Brooklyn’s favorite venues come and go and Brooklyn’s cultural heroes are constantly squeezed out. There is a constant sense of loss, but also a constant need soak up and appreciate those experiences we love because we know they could disappear tomorrow. 

Music Bugle – What is the biggest challenge in being a septet? 

Matt Gibbs – Scheduling and sound technicians who are bugged by our large input list. To any sound techs out there that have welcomed us and been patient with us, we love you with all our hearts. 

Music Bugle – How does Evolfo differentiate from your respective previous projects? 

Rafferty Swink – Evolfo is truly a band. It’s easy to seperate for me because whatever the music becomes, it’s not Evolfo if it’s not the group. Our music is developed together. There’s no front person/backing band dynamic. We all bring something to the table sonically and have spent many years growing together literally and figuratively.

Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music? 

Matt Gibbs – Psychedelic music is an invitation to explore and to play and expand horizons. I believe that if you make psychedelic music, you are obligated to go beyond the sonic cliches we have come to regard as “psychedelic.” I feel we have a duty to the expansion of consciousness. The application of the word “psychedelic” in music absolutely should not imply rock music and rock music alone. Expansion is the key!

Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians? 

Matt Gibbs – It helps in the sense that, theoretically, one can promote themselves and their music. It hurts horribly in many, many senses, spiritually, mental health-wise, etc.. One of the biggest issues is the way people talk about music as “content.” We make music, not content and I don’t care what any lame-wad streaming overlord says. I’m not making music on a schedule that suits an algorithm. I am making my music by riding the wave of creativity and the ears of the people that listen and that wave is very different for every project. If you’re making music content and not just music, then great, have fun and stay on the content schedule! Ride that algorithm, baby! However, that is not what Evolfo does. 

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?

Rafferty Swink – “When you’re ready, say you’re ready. Are you ready? The music don’t make mistake, the music don’t eat beef steak, the music don’t eat fish steak, the music don’t make mistake, the music don’t cry and the music don’t lie, because the music is immortal and the music refuse to die and the music refuse to cry and the music refuse to lie, because the music is not a mortal being. Music refuse to be a human being. Music will never be a human being because the music is the great supreme,” by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Matt Gibbs – I think the negative impacts on me as a musician are obvious, so I’ll focus on one positive spin it had for Evolfo. We had to push our record release back a year and it gave us a chance to collaborate with a couple of bucket list visual artists. We were able to get Robert Beatty to do the album cover and El Oms to make a music video for the single “Give Me Time.” Looking back, I cannot imagine how we were ever going to release this music with this beautiful visual accompaniment. It really brought the music to life. 

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