Evan Riley is a Philadelphia based Trap/ Future Bass DJ & Producer. From what used to be a passion with Emceeing has brought Riley a very large and fast-coming presence in the Philly EDM Scene. Having played alongside some pretty large and respected clientele in the Electronic community during his short time within the Scene, at only 19, He’s played with the likes of Yellow Claw, GTA (Good Times Ahead), Seven Lions & Many more that we wish we could name. I was able to catch up with Evan Riley recently and interview him. Can’t wait to see what more he has to offer to the electronic scene.
Q: What made you transfer from Hip-Hop to electronic music?
A:“Hip-hop was really cool and it was awesome, but I think it was a phase for me. See, I wanted to get serious and see myself realistically working out in the end. I wanted to identify my confidence within my own voice. I would rather not put out music, than put out music that I’m ‘satisfied’ with. I care a lot about my music. I was into the rave scene in high school. Concerts were where majority of teens in the schools near me would go to have a good time. I have always been a fan of electronic, it was easy to like it. I carpooled with my best friend Charles to school, everyday, 7:35am.. I always made mixed cd's. I made 5 song mini mixes that helped me work on transitioning stuff. I got better and better over time. I have always had a strong interest in expanding those little free time mixes into something real.”
Q: How did you get to where you are today?
A: “Sound Garden Hall, a venue in Philadelphia, posted looking for local artists. There were a ton of responses. I was about 500 people down on the list and one day I got a Soundcloud message saying, “Hey give us some more info, we want you to play a show.” I was so excited that they actually took the time to look through all of those posts, but I was even more excited about the opportunity that was yet to come. I was able to not only play a show on my birthday, but I was opening for Yellow Claw. No one knew who I was. When the set started, there was no one there, and it ended with a room full of people. This was the first time I cried out of happiness. The manager of the venue said he’d never seen anyone do that before. He ended up keeping me around. I have now played shows with GTA, TJR, Jauz, and Seven Lions. The owner patted me on the back and said, “This kid will be big one day.” It was weird to hear so early on in my career.“
Q: DO you fan girl?
A: “No because I learned early on with Ground Up and OCD: Moosh & Twist that they’re just people.”
Q: Why didn’t you choose a stage name?
A: “Because that’s not what I want to prove. I don’t need to put on a mask. I want this to be real, I want this to be me. I think you get more out of it and I feel more humble and grounded when using your true identity. Your past life is attached, the good and the bad. I like that you can grow from an identity, and I want to carry it with me. I want to be approachable. I'm just a nerdy white kid from Havertown, PA that just wants to do music. I want to be keeping it personal. I don't want to seem intimidating...and I also promised my mom.”
Q: I remember you tweeting about becoming closer with your father… has that inspired you in any way?
A: “I was rapping at The Theater of the Living Arts with OCD: Moosh & Twist and Ground up. I thought my brother and sister would be there. I got off set and security had actually let my dad through. I saw my dad and he had tears in his eyes and so I hugged the dude. My dad and I didn’t have the strongest connection, we fought a lot when I was growing up, and he was very demanding, I felt like I couldn’t fulfill the things he asked of me. That moment, seeing him there, cancelled out everything bad I had with him. That was the start of the incline, he said, “I’m going to support you and I see how much it means to you. Anything you want to do I will do for you.” This allowed our relationship to regrow. I am thankful for that.”
Q: I see that you have a lot of energy at shows do you think that impacts the audience?
A: “Yes, definitely. The way I see it, I’m a fan of the genre and always will be, I as a fan know what gets me excited, so if it gets me excited, it will get other people excited. If you want the crowd to be hype, you have to be hype. Just because I’m an opener right now, that doesn’t mean I can’t give you one of my best performances.”
Q: What’s next?
A: “What’s next? Damn. I want to stop making remixes and I want to start making originals. Hopefully this summer I can bust my butt and put out an EP. I would love to play a show outside of Philadelphia. Getting off my controller and learning CDJ’s…to be more professional and overall better would be cool too.”
Bass Feeds The Soul is lucky enough to be releasing Evan Riley's monthly series mix! The mix is located above.
As stated by Evan Riley:
“You don’t have to run up the whole staircase to get to the top. You can go up one step at a time and make it.”
*None of the photos used in this post are property of Bass Feeds The Soul, and all credit goes to their rightful owners.
Written by Benna Coben