Legendary UK rapper Tommy Evans is back. He has appeared on over 40 releases. Collaborated/performed with multi-platinum and underground artist such as, DJ Kool Herc, De La Soul, Corinne Bailey Rae, Neneh Cherry and Doc Brown to name a few. On November 22nd Tommy released his long awaited comeback album Antifrgaile. We talk to Tommy about his time away and his new release.
Tommy Evans – a multidisciplinary artist based in West London. The rest? Ask Carlos!
After appearing on over 40 releases over the years you took a hiatus from music. In that time you wrote a book and gained a PhD. Why did you decide to take a break?
That’s a long, long story. The best (musical) explanation can be found on the tracks, I Used to Love H.E.R. (Things Fall Apart) and The Eternal Mortal. But even those songs just touch the surface. However, whilst taking a break from making music I didn’t take a break from creativity.
Amongst other things, I penned a book and PhD thesis simultaneously. As well as producing, directing, editing and acting in short films plus touring extensively performing spoken word and writing for Afropean.
For the youngers out there wanting to listen to your music, what would you tell them to check first?
That’s so hard! My current favourite track is Catch. But that’s completely unlike anything in my catalogue so it might give a slightly misleading impression of the genres I usually operate in!
On Friday 22 November you released your new 14 track album, Antifragile produced by DJ Agent M. How long did it take to put the project together?
From recording to release: one year. However, a number of the verses pre-date the album and can be found in a different format within my debut poetry collection: Medusa Wore a Weave (Or: In the Absence of Magic). The adaptation process was a unique and enjoyable challenge taking words from the page and housing them within the architecture of a song replete with bridges and choruses.
What was it like getting back in the studio and recording again?
I’ve been recording spoken word for a number of years so the studio wasn’t exactly a long lost friend. However, to be back in the studio making music: that was – and continues to be – an absolute privilege and delight!
Why did you choose the title Antifragile?
It’s a reference to the modern classic by academic, economist and philosopher Nasim Nicholas Taleb (he predicted the global financial crisis before it occurred in his book The Black Swan). It’s a phrase I felt it best encapsulated the qualities of strength, stoicism and sensitivity alongside a survival spirit anticipating my second coming.
Tell us about the album. What can people expect to hear on there?
Soulful hip-hop with elements of spoken word, jazz, trap, grime and house!
You just dropped the third single Memory Lane. Tell us about the track.
It’s a homage to my days growing up in Leeds which is where DJ Agent M comes from too. He’s actually the first music producer I worked with so there was a beautiful synchronicity in collaborating with him once more on Antifragile.
What’s your favourite track on the album and why?
As stated earlier: Catchy. I found it the hardest track to write to because of its deceptive lyrical simplicity. I love the overall structure and movement of the track as it builds to its climax. My favourite verse is the one I wrote on M.E.N. (the remix of M.A.N. found on the CD version of Antifragile and to be released as a single on 10/1/2020). In which I deconstruct toxic masculinity with able assistance from Micall Parknsun and Genesis Elijah.
Where can people go and cop the Antifragile album?
It’s on all digital platforms and also on CD via Bandcamp.
What are your socials?
Tommy thanks for taking the time out to do this interview. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for your support!
Interview by Jai Boo