Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Greg McEvoy

Greg McEvoy
Photo by Jason S.C Photography

Toronto folk-psychedelia artist Greg McEvoy releases his EP Sea of Yards on September 17th. The release show is on September 18th at the Dakota (7-9 pm show, 7:45 pm set). With upcoming gigs in Ontario and the EP release under his belt, there couldn’t have been a better time to introduce everyone to Greg. Have a look as we talk about the EP, his upcoming release show, and his love of harmonies!

AMBY: Hello Greg, what have you been up to lately?

Greg McEvoy: I’ve been spending a lot of time on my couch surrounded by my cats, working on my laptop, booking shows, general day-to-day self managed musician stuff.  Been writing a lot lately too, as has been the case for the last few months, things are just kinda flowing.

AMBY: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with your music?

Greg McEvoy: I’d say my sound is kind of ‘neo-Neil Young-ism’ via the solo music of John Lennon AND George Harrison.  A bit grandiose.  It’s folk rock I guess, you guys.

AMBY: Your EP Sea of Yards comes out on September 17th. Which songs are your favourite off of the EP?

Greg McEvoy: I actually love them all, I don’t ever finish writing a tune unless I love it.  I’m really proud of ‘Someone Who’s Around’.  There’s just something about the way I managed to say what I was really feeling at the time, and for it to translate the way it did musically with that, it just feels good to me.

AMBY: What’s the significance behind the EP’s title?

Greg McEvoy: I think it’s a bit of a reference to me feeling like so many of my recalled memories are situated in people’s yards or my yard, and that I’ve been kind of swimming through these yards for years.  But then there’s the reference to yards as a measurement, and I kind of like the idea that we can step over oceans with relative ease nowadays, where as a couple of hundred years ago you’d spend a significant amount of time doing that, and the oceans must have seemed so much more daunting back then.  For some reason I seem to reference the ocean or the sea or bodies of water in a lot of my songs.  I’ve been telling people for years that I need to move to the coast, a coast, any coast.  I also want to buy a boat and sail around in it.  Working on that.

AMBY: All This Time is probably my favourite song of the EP. What inspired it?

Greg McEvoy: That’s really cool that that’s your favourite.  That song is about my brothers.  It’s about love.  And it’s about getting older with them.

AMBY: You have five Ontario shows coming up, including the EP release gig at The Dakota on the 18th. What are you most looking forward to?

Greg McEvoy: I’m really looking forward to just getting on the road to be honest, I love being in a new town every night.  But for sure the EP release show at the Dakota in Toronto will be really special for me, playing for familiar friendly faces, people who’ve been around me for years.

AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you at a gig?

Greg McEvoy: When funny stuff happens at the gig, it’s usually a bad thing.  The funny stuff is best saved for after the gig. I can tell you the funniest thing I’ve encountered on the way to a gig, though.  I met a wonderful guy in Ottawa recently who was walking along, well dressed, in brand new athletic socks, no shoes.  He told me ‘I don’t fancy wearing shoes, but I don’t fancy going barefoot.’  He was completely serious.  Didn’t seem nuts, just didn’t dig shoes.  He also told me he’s a percussionist.  He plays the tambourine at open jams.  Our conversation went on for another 5 minutes so you can imagine the rest.  I really hope I’m not the only musician he’s stopped on the street out there, because this guy deserves recognition, at least locally.

AMBY: Where do you feel your love of harmonies evolved?

Greg McEvoy: I think growing up listening to the Beatles all the time helped some, and I did sing in school choir when I was a kid.  But how can people not love harmony?  Even if you don’t know its name, you still feel it.  There will be a lot more harmony vocals for sure on my next record.  A lot of the songs on ‘Sea of Yards’ were written straight up solo acoustic, and I was only performing them in that manner for some time, so we came up with all the extra vocals in the studio.  I think I’ve been changing a bit, in that I write with harmonies in mind now a lot more since I’ve been playing live with the full band and/or with a backup singer.

AMBY: What’s the best song of the year?

Greg McEvoy: I’m not really qualified to say what’s ‘the best song’ because I haven’t become an accredited ‘music industry expert’ yet.  That takes a few more years and at least a bit of success and some hamster-wheeling.  But, my favourite song is probably ‘I Should Live in Salt’ off the National’s new record…or that song with the dude from the Strokes off the new Daft Punk record.  No idea what it’s called.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Greg McEvoy that nobody knows yet?

Greg McEvoy: That I can never remember the name of songs and album titles of the music I like, or the people that sing them.

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Thank you Greg, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout

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