Brooklyn rock band Evolfo plays Ashland
Fun, rambunctious, horn-driven rock rolls out West when Brooklyn-based band Evolfo tours behind its new EP, "Last of the Acid Cowboys," released last Friday on the band's independent label Food of Love.
"We're going for a rock-psyche sound with horns," says singer, songwriter and organ player Rafferty Swink during a telephone interview. "Kind of like The Sonics or The Stooges. It's crazy rock and funk but with the soul still in there. Our shows are always a good time."
"As Evolfo, this is our first official release," Swink says. "It's a restart for the band, musically. It's the same lineup, but the music is different so we shortened the name to Evolfo. The band's sound has progressed since that first recording. We've come into our own a bit more. It made sense to make the switch."
In 2013, under the band's old moniker, Evolfo Doofeht, a single titled "Don't Give Up Your Mind" was released on Capumo Records. "Last of the Acid Cowboys" is the first of two EPs that will be released as a whole early next year on King Pizza Records titled "Golden Curses."
The band will make a swing through Rafferty's hometown of Ashland for two shows on its West Coast tour.
Evolfo performs at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, at Grizzly Peak Winery, 1600 E. Nevada St. Admission is $8, $5 for students. The second show is at 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, at the Talent Club, 114 Talent Ave., Talent. Admission will be $10. "Last of the Acid Cowboys" — and other merchandise — will be available at each show.
"We're going to mix up our material so each show will be fun in its own way," Swink says. "Some friends, Squirrel Soup Duo, will join us at the Talent Club."
Swink and guitarist Matt Gibbs are the principal songwriters for Evolfo. Ronnie Lanzilotta plays bass, Ben Adams is on rhythm guitar and trombone, Jared Yee on tenor sax, Kai Sorensen on trumpet and Dave Palazola on drums.
"Matt and I start the songs then bring them to the band and arrange each one as a group," Swink says. "Sometimes a song will be complete when we bring it to the band. Sometimes all we bring is a riff, a chorus or a hook line to work off of. Sometimes Matt and I go back to the drawing board to work on the lyrics and melody. With so many people in the band, it is difficult to be truly collaborative. It's more like the work is done in stages. More members are writing now, though, and I think that's really cool."
Evolfo's self-booked tour includes additional venues in Oregon, Washington and California, ending with a set on Oct. 1 at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
Swink grew up on Ashland's music scene. He attended Walker Elementary, Ashland Middle School and Ashland High School. After graduation in 2010, Swink headed to Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he met his bandmates. Now he's based in Brooklyn, N.Y., working and playing music.
"I visit Ashland at least once a year," he says. "I love going to Music Coop and hanging out with my old boss, John Brenes. He's my musical godfather."
Swink worked at the music store throughout his years at AHS.
"For my career path, working at Music Coop was far more important than my education, though I liked attending Ashland High School. Music Coop was a part-time job, and I didn't have much responsibility. The first year working at the store, I think I spent all but $100 dollars of my wages on records."
While Swink and the members of Evolfo were trying to make music and meet people, it was Gibbs who suggested they form a band and start playing shows.
"Our band kinda got its start working in very gross DIY venues run by college kids," Swink says. "These are basement venues where kids organize parties. It's not so much like the West Coast. Out here the city buildings have basements. There's a culture of DIY shows."
"It all came together rather quickly," he says. "We still have the original lineup, though we've gone through several drummers."
Swink says he loves to hang out with his family and go hiking whenever he's in Ashland.
"That's the thing I miss most about living in a big city," he says. "It's nice to get home for a little bit and just decompress, walk through Lithia Park, go up to Grizzly Peak, stuff you can't do in a city. Those are the things I really cherish about Ashland."