A sudden influx of Twitter accounts declaring “Fuck It None of Y’all Don’t Rap” at the end of 2011 led us to a mysterious YouTube channel where Joshua Leary aka Evian Christ had uploaded eight tracks that fused together elements of weirdo drone and thug hop. Released as a free download entitled Kings and Them (via Tri Angle Records), each track used cut-up vocal samples from rapper Tyga’s “Snapback Back” paired with dark drugged-up beats, hypnotic synths, haunting percussion and deep, rumbling bass.
I made a few tracks when I had some time off over Christmas, put them on Youtube, did nothing to promote them, and here we are now two months later
In the current issue of Dazed & Confused, we talk to the 22-year-old producer for his first UK interview as he spliced together some strange samples for his follow-up.
Dazed & Confused: Do you feel like the religious connotations of your moniker are reflected in your music?
Evian Christ: Maybe – I hope so. I’m basically just taking cues from rap music and trying to put an otherworldly spin on things with drone music samples and weird pads I’ve made. It’s interesting though, because there is a quasi-religious theme running throughout the Tri Angle roster. The label has a really strong image and aesthetic so it’s nice to feel that I fit in with that.
D&C: What’s the story behind the title to Kings and Them?
Evian Christ: The release was sort of like a deconstruction of the ‘Snapback Back’ acapella, which I used in pretty much every track. So the name was taken from a line in that song: ‘Last kings and them Ti$as yeah they sell like crack…’ Obviously I didn’t originally make the tracks with a view to compiling and releasing them, but in the end that was the string that tied them all together, so I titled it accordingly.
I quite like the whole regal thing anyway, it works.
I’m basically just taking cues from rap music and trying to put an otherworldly spin on things with drone music samples and weird pads I’ve made
D&C: Are you trying to stay anonymous?
Evian Christ: Honestly, I never really understood the whole anonymous thing. People were speculating that I uploaded the tracks as some sort of contrived PR stunt, or that I was an established artist trying to create attention for a new project; all sorts of stuff, and it was never like that. I’m just new. I made a few tracks when I had some time off over Christmas, put them on YouTube, did nothing to promote them, and here we are now two months later. They just caught people’s attention and the momentum kind of built naturally, which was cool.
D&C: Do you think Tyga would enjoy your creative re-workings and use of his voice? How much do you hate his voice now?
Evian Christ: I think he’d find it interesting. I know he likes The Weeknd and stuff like that so he might be into it. Obviously I know every single word to Snapback Back now and I am kind of tired of hearing it, but I still love Tyga’s voice. It’s perfect for sampling.
The release was sort of like a deconstruction of the ‘Snapback Back’ acapella, which I used in pretty much every track...
D&C: What are you working on now?
Evian Christ: I’m trying to focus in on a theme for my EP – listening to a ton of strange music, collecting samples, starting to make tracks. I’m going to buy some more analogue gear; big old keyboards and stuff. I’m really excited about everything actually.
D&C: Who are your 5 favourite rappers of all time and why? And if you were locked in a room forever with only one hip hop song on loop, what would it be?
Evian Christ: Busta Rhymes, Raekwon, Cam’ron, Method Man, Pusha T. (Because they are all insane.) That would be Raekwon – North Star (Jewels).
Photography Michael Mayren
Taken from the April Issue of Dazed & Confused, out now
Follow Flora Yin-Wong on Twitter here @petitflo