Interview with Alan Evans of Soulive
Can you give a brief history of the band and how you guys came together?
The band started in March of 1999. Neal and I originally had a vibes player but he only played one gig with us. Eric happened to be at our first show and sat in. After the gig i told him we were looking for a new guitarist and he said he would fill in on some gigs until we found the right cat. So he came down to our place outside of Woodstock, NY and we ended up recording our first EP “Get Down” and the rest is history.
Who are your greatest influences?
That is a really tough question to answer. Pretty much whatever we have listened to in our lives and whatever we are listening to now. We have no favorites, it all influences us in some way.
How does your songwriting process work (collaborative or on your own)?
Every tune starts off different. One of us may come to the table or with a complete song but in the end, all of us add our own personality to our songs and that’s how they become Soulive songs.
What kind of music is on in the tour bus?
Hahaha, honestly we usually end up watching a lot of American Chopper if we’re on a tour bus. It always works out that way.
Growing up, was there a lot of music on in the house? If so, what genre? What effect did that have on the music you play today?
Neal and I were exposed to all kinds of music growing up. Jazz, funk, rock, classical, country and western, etc. It had a huge influence on how we write and play because we really don’t care to box different “styles” of music in little boxes. It’s all music and either it does something for me or not.
What is your favorite festival to play?
Hmmmmm, tough one. Bear Creak would be at the top of my list.
What was the impetus behind starting the Bowlive series?
Our good friend Pete Shapiro said that when he opened Brooklyn Bowl he wanted us to play 10 nights. We thought we was a little crazy but it worked out great!!!
The band frequently plays with a lot of special guests, as a trio, is it easier to work them into the fold? What kind of dynamic does adding a guest do to the band?
I wouldn’t say it is easy all the time. We are fortunate that we are a band that can easily work with guests but we do put in the time to work things out as much as possible. Our biggest asset would be our ears, we really listen to whoever is on stage.
Who is your favorite guest to play with?
Really can’t answer that one.
How have you embraced the new forms of social media as a business tool?
The greatest thing about the new forms of social media is that you can really converse with your “fans” (I’ve never liked that term much). It’s great that we can give instant updates as to what we have going on, what we would like to do and in turn, we can get instant feedback from people. It’s great!!
Where do you see the music industry going in the next 5 years? 10 years?
Honestly, I have no idea. Part of me likes to feel that we will stay on top of it or even ahead of the curve. Part of me just wants to focus on music and not really think about that at all. I’m always torn.
In 10 years, where do you see the band?
Around a table somewhere in the world eating food together, drinking together, having fun…
Be sure to check out Soulive on their upcoming 2-night run with Karl Denson in support of their new album Spark, which revisits the celebrated career of Melvin Sparks.
For Soulive tour dates, live video and more visit www.soulive.com
Photos courtesy of Nick Fitanides