The story of Evangelista

20 Aug

Evangelista has a new album called The Prince Of Truth. Here’s the story of Evangelista, so far. It started as a solo project, Carla doing a tour, playing mainly long improv versions of what eventually became the title song and name of the band, Evangelista, using only samples, voice and guitar. On one of these shows, in Montreal, Thierry and Jessica from Godspeed You Black Emperor/Thee Silver Mt. Zion sat in on the show and Efrim Menuck was in attendance. He expressed interest in recording the project in a more realized form. It was a conceptual piece from the onset, the concept being to deliver gospel and noise in the spirit of sound and love. Carla had been friends with Don and Ian of Constellation Records for a long time and pretty soon the ball just started rolling, seemingly by itself. Constellation Records took the project under their wing in the aforementioned spirit and have stuck by the project ever since.


Figure 1. Carla solo. photo: wolfgirl

After recording the first record known as Evangelista— in an unbridled state of desire— Carla, while playing a show in San Diego, came across the magical pony Tara Barnes also playing that night—-in the truly sick and mystical Business Lady (Load). The bond was instantaneous, shy and tuff conversations accelerated into endless touring and the birth of what would be the title track of the next album, Hello, Voyager. This resulted in taking the name of the first album as a permanent band name based on Barnes’ and Bozulich’s collaboration. Hello, Voyager, contrary to the inward torment of the first album, was more invitational to confrontation and constructive chaos. This also ushered in the beginning of a new type of collaboration for Bozulich. Barnes brought irresistible lyrics to the table on albums Hello, Voyager (Truth Is Dark Like Outer Space)and [forthcoming third album] The Prince of Truth (On The Captain’s Side).

tarcarluminaire2Figure 2. Tara & Carla at London’s Luminaire.

Let’s talk about Dominic Cramp (Borful Tang, Qulfus). Tara Barnes corralled this pony in Oakland, Ca. over a cool beer and a hot band. Dominic is a sound artist and tickles the ivories. After seeing him laying down slabs of atonal drone fever with the trio Modular Set, she felt that his daunting sound and abstract compositional leanings would complement the now juggernaut velocity of the dark ship Evangelista. During constant touring through most of 2008 on various (2) continents, the trio moved towards making the third Evangelista album, The Prince of Truth.


Figure 3. Dom w/Professor Crinkle, the tour-machine

Arriving in Montreal in the dead of winter, the band intended, as in the past, to compose and improvise half the album right then and there in the studio. Several songs were sketched out in rehearsal rooms around the city with the likes of Nadia Moss, Thierry Amar and Jonah Fortune. Ches Smith and Shahzad Ismaily flew in for the occasion. Some songs came together in various whimsical ways. For example, much was accomplished in the pivotal Lisa Gamble’s little kitchen, complete with organ, drums, amps that clip on to your belt and musical saw. The bones of The Slayer, Iris Didn’t Spell, Tremble Dragonfly were all put together there sans Bozulich…. and there is a reason.

Whereas this write-as-you-go approach had worked for the first two records, this time Carla got hella sick, so hella in fact, that it was pneumonia and this fucked up the whole plan. When the band and various cohorts went in to the venerable Hotel2Tango studio with their longtime engineer Efrim Menuck, Carla had to drop out of the session early and the rest of the basic tracks were recorded with Tara and Dominic guiding the special guests. While Bozulich’s input was there for the structuring of the tunes it was absent for much of what was put to tape.

princeoftruth_coverFigure 4. The Prince of Truth cover art: Jesse McLoskey

Carla then took the tracked recordings from the studio to Los Angeles where she joined up yet more fantastical musicians such as Nels Cline, Devin Hoff, and Jessica Catron, and continued working on the album. Much of the album, including vocals was recorded in her bedroom. With Carla in LA and Dominic and Tara in Oakland, the three passed tracks back and forth over the internet as the final form of The Prince of Truth came together. All that was left was the artwork and Jesse McClosky, responsible for much of the art on The Geraldine Fibbers’ albums was recruited. He handed over some beautiful wicked stuff which maybe you are looking at now!

With the release of Prince of Truth there will be a typically massive amount of touring and re-invention as the shows progress. As of now the excellent drummer and Tara’s bandmate in her group Duchesses, Mike Tracy, will be playing with the band on upcoming shows. No doubt new songs will be shaping up as the touring progresses. Constellation Records is at the helm of this project and the shameless band will go anywhere for almost any reason. We shall see what happens. Fun. Sad. Dark. Sometimes, uncharacteristically prim. Evangelista.

eagle tavernFigure 5. Debut of drummer Mike Tracy at SF’s Eagle Tavern, July 17, 2009 photo: Karl Dotter

And now, in closing, a word from the band—:
Like ghost birds in an unfinished form, we offer music that is more than a token of escapism, rather we hover in an intermediate plane, sending messages that take form in the mind of the listener. Messages that shoot to and fro, bouncing off the listener’s own skewed perspective and back onto the imperfect mutating musics, creating somehow an eminent salvation from the demons of the real world, not of God. Creatures- lift your faces to the sound of the sky, defiant and gentle as a kneeling mantis before the kill. Evangelista is a mutable beast, borne from the stormcloud.

Bozulich, Barnes and Cramp.

People that have been caught in the net of Evangelista shows/recordings since we joined forces with Constellation:

Adam Baz .. drums
Agathe Max …..viola
Alberto Fiori .. keys
Allesio Boasi .. drums
Andrea Serrapiglio .. cello
Anni Rossi……viola
Ava Mendoza .. guitar (Mute Socialite)
Becky Foon–cello (Silver Mount Zion)
Bobb Bruno (Polar Goldie Cats, Goliath Bird Eater, a million more)
Brooke Crouser .. organ (Hrsta, Jackie-o Motherfucker)
Carla Kihlstedt (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, 2 ft yrd +++)
Ches smith (Xiu Xiu + Every band and collaboration in the world),
Chris Corsano…drums (Bjork)
Corey Fogal…drums (Gowns)
The Dead Science persons– Jherek, Sam and Nick
Emily Beezhold ….organ (Timmy Straw)
Ezra Buchla…viola, voice (Gowns, Mai Shi, exploratory sound weirdo)
Francesco Guerri .. cello (classical improviser from Bologna)
George Chen …guitar (K.I.T., Chen Santa Maria, 7 Year Rabbit Cycle)
Glenn Kotche (he’s in Wilco and he’s a remarkable percussion improviser/composer)
Ian Ilavsky…bass (Sofa, Silver Mt. Zion)
Jason Van Gulick …drums (Dega)
Jeremy Drake….guitar (Eleni Mandell, undergound improv soulja in L.A.)
Jessica Catron…cello (The Night Porter, Voco)
Jesske Hume…bass (a great los angeles improviser)
Jessica Moss …violin (Silver Mount Zion)
Jim Brown…contrabasso (Holloy)
Lisa Gambletron .. drums, ideas, scurryings, crittering (Clues, Hrsta +++)
Luca Bernard .. contrabasso
Luca Tilli…cello
Madigan Shive….cello (Bonfire Madigan)
Marika Hughes (2 ft yrd, Charming Hostess)
Mike Tracy …drums (duchesses)
Mikeal Jorgenson (Wilco)
Mirko Sabatini….drums (infamous Italian improvisor)
Nadia Moss …..organs (The Witchies, Franki Sparo)
Nate Wood….drums
Nels Cline….guitar (The Geraldine Fibbers, Scarnella, Nels Cline Singers, Wilco)
Okkyung Lee amazing cellist and hater of adorable nice cute people who smile at strangers and love everything that is total crap
Sarah Bernat….coronet, voice(Limosine, Work, 16 Bitch Pileup)
Shahzad Ismaily…everything (Secret Chiefs 3, Marc Ribot, 2 ft yrd, Lou Reed, Lori Anderson, 3 Dog Night)
Sophie Trudeau….violin (Godspeed, Silver Mt Zion)
Spencer Yeh…. violin (Burning Star Core)
Steve Noble …. drums (a bad ass UK luminary)
Thierry Amar….contrabasso (Godspeed and A Silver Mount Zion)
Todd Sickafoose (a great jazz and pop contra-bassist and composer–Todd Sickafoose Group, Ani DeFranco)

plus a bunch of people that randomly joined us on a song or two from the opening bands or just some cool person from the city we were playing….

Catron, Drake, Gamble, Cramp, Barnes at the smellFigure 6, At LA’s The Smell: Another extraordinary line-up. (going clockwise in a circle from the left side) Ezra Buchla kneeling with viola, Jessica Catron – cello, Jeremy Drake – guitar, Gambletron – drums, Tara Barnes – bass, Dominic Cramp – samples and keys, Bobb Bruno – drums, Carla Bozulich laying on the ground singing

Thank you to Tara and Carla for supplying this wonderful story.


3 Responses to “The story of Evangelista”

  1. Michael Zelner August 20, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    Hey, nice photo of the band, but it’s not mine. It’s by Karl Dotter:


    My Eagle Tavern photos are here:

    Karl’s are much better — I had to stay on the side, where I was recording Evangelista. The good news is that you can listen to the complete show here:

    • Queen B August 26, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

      Great photos Michael.
      Thanks for the tip off too.
      – Lauren Barley

  2. carla bozulich May 9, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    As usual, what an honor to be documented. I’ve not seen this re-printed anywhere and wasn’t sure it was ever sent into the ether….

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