We catch up with the rising star ahead of the release of his new album, 22nd Chances, under his Marjorie W.C Sinclair alias
A good origin story is hard to come by these days, but Evanora: Unlimited’s entry into music is one of biblical proportions. The Oakland-born artist, real name Orion Ohana, wasn’t born in a manger, though he did spend his infant years, from as early as six months old, sleeping in a dog bed behind the speakers of a jungle rave. Born to DJ and producer parents, it was during this time that he would adopt his first nickname, House Pet, which would later become his first producer alias. At six years old, he was already producing remixes of children’s song “The Cat Came Back” on Ableton, though it wouldn’t be for another decade until Ohana’s journey really gets started.
Now 22, Ohana is part of a younger generation of artists taking over the global underground with his nihilistic take on rave music. Having garnered a reputation as one of the internet’s cool kids, he currently has no permanent address, instead travelling from city to city, scene to scene, like a modern-day troubadour for the information age. Often spotted with blood running down his face, his fashion taste sits somewhere in between a mediaeval peasant, eurotrash and an extra in a slasher film. The aesthetic feeds into his provocative live shows, which combine hardcore, punk and rap with a raucous on-stage persona that’s so engrossing that when he climbs down onto the dancefloor, it‘s not uncommon to see audiences encircle him, intently watching his every move.
For Ohana, Evanora: Unlimited isn’t so much an artist alias as it is an ideology, or cinematic world. Inside this world are recurring characters, one of them being Marjorie W.C Sinclair, the artist’s randomly word-generated rapper alias – though in reality, can be heard playing everything from Jay Sean techno remixes to reggaeton tunes. “Marjorie is anything that’s not Evanora,” Ohana confirms. “It’s like how Akira isn’t actually a person in the film, but an unseen zeitgeist, and then Tetsuo is the archetype who finds the power and then goes insane on an infinite quest.”
Listening to Evanora’s music is a disorientating experience. Whether it’s screeching industrial production on “Lustful Expanse” or the slightly spaced-out guitar on recent single “Age of Information”, there’s a ketamic dissociation to the songs that feels bittersweet, akin to looking at the past through a fogged-up window pane. “I feel like I’m not the best at words in person, so I try to make up for that in music,” he says. With mentions of canola oil and broken memories, it taps into a generational zeitgeist, where youthful hedonism and online discourse rub against feelings of alienation. “Sometimes I have intended meaning in my art, but for the majority of the time it's subliminal and the meaning is added later.”
The music videos, usually self-directed and made up of archival footage from nights out and intimate moments with friends, also embody this breaking down of innocence. As if plucked from the dark recesses of old Tumblr, they’re intentionally dark and, at times, include uncomfortable shots of blood-soaked faces, strangulations and assault rifles. In “Eldest Sister”, a row of television screens flash sporadically and invoke surveillance state-grade paranoia. “I feel like I’m not in control of any of it at all,” he says. “Even when I have an idea for my videos, they end up being completely different. But they always end up perfect in the sense that I couldn’t imagine them to be any different.”
His latest release 22nd Chances under his Marjorie alias features 15 tracks, written during Ohana’s travels. Delivered in Marjorie’s instantly recognisable, monotone style, the tracks are hyperactive and disjointed, with sun-soaked samples and euphoric anecdotes of misadventures spent crossing Europe. He concludes, “I’m on this infinite quest to find out what is just me and myself, like I don’t know what it is yet.”
22nd Chances is out now