Interview: Evian Christ
Has anyone found the Tri Angle producer's bag? Be a saviour and return it
Words Jack Steadman
Photography Ross Trevail
Joshua Leary is a trainee primary school teacher from the Wirral, but you wouldn’t want his future pupils to hear the sounds rattling round his skull. On the standout track from his mini-album debut as Evian Christ, ‘Fuck It None Of Y’All Don’t Rap’, a slurred sample plays out repeatedly over a stutter-gun drum sequence, air thick with menace. It’s totally nasty, and totally brilliant.
Even by today’s light-speed standards, Leary garnered attention quickly. Barely a week passed between the 22-year-old producer uploading songs and the coverage starting. “I was overwhelmed at the time,” he says. “A lot of people making music do it with a view to getting released and being a superstar, but I’ve never had those aspirations — never sent music to labels. Music was just a hobby of mine.”
Hobby or not, Leary’s sparse, textural beats attracted plenty of suitors. He felt Tri Angle, home to the likes of Clams Casino and Holy Ghost, suited him best, and in February they released those eight tracks as mini-album Kings And Them.
Leary is in his final year of studies, and had put the music-making on hold until he found himself with two free weeks last Christmas. “I was looking for a capellas online to work with, and that Tyga track [‘Snapback’s Back’] just happened to be available in high quality. But it wasn’t supposed to be released as eight-track project, I was just experimenting with these sounds I had… like that 808 drum kit that I use on every track.”
As far removed as the original sounds from the Kings And Them track, the manipulated samples of ‘Snapback’s Back’ provide the work’s best moments, from the heavy rhythms of ‘Fuck It None Of Y’All Don’t Rap’ to the urban eeriness of ‘MYD’.
Since Kings And Them, Leary’s output has been limited to a stellar remix of Marina & The Diamonds’ ‘Primadonna’.
“I’ve not had time to make too much music because I’m studying,” he says. “And I can’t comprehend how much time I’ll have to sit down and do things properly in the future.”
Leary is also frank about where he’s at artistically, admitting even he has no clue what’s in store for Evian Christ: “I don’t know what I’ll do next yet — EP, LP, with vocalists, without vocalists… it’s all up in the air at the moment.”
So up in the air, in fact, that at the time of writing, Leary has just lost his bag on the way back from his third-ever DJ gig in Amsterdam. “If anyone finds a blue bag with some flags on it and some nice headphones in, and about 20 of my songs, I’d really appreciate having them back. There’s a chance I left it on the Gatwick Express.”