Estonian artist EVESTUS is a man on a mission. He is an entertainer and an artist 24/7; a very busy man and a well needed injection of fresh blood into the sinking ship that is the music of today. CRITICAL MASS' Kristian Kotilainen got in touch with him at the end of last year to talk about his latest release “This Is Dramacore” and his thoughts on modern music. It’s taken a few months but here are the answers we've all been waiting for, his words of wisdom relevant as ever.
You've been making music for about seven years now. How did it start, who is EVESTUS?
– Yeah, well, actually I've been involved with music since I was about 14 years old and I started as a drummer but eventually I became a frontman for this metal band SOLWAIG in 2001. Simply because I wanted to be closer to the audience and express myself more “vocally” if you can say that. EVESTUS got started in 2003 when I felt like I had to do something else but the message was unclear. It is now, almost ten years [and three albums] later, when it's all starting to come together. So now, looking back, “Destiny in Life” [the debut album from 2004] was titled like that because then I realised that I have a destiny that I must fulfill, EVESTUS says.
“This Is Dramacore” is your third album after “Destiny In Life” 2004 and “Wastelands” from 2006 and you worked on this album for about four years. What took you so long?
– Well, I had been making instrumental music for some years and it just felt like it was time to move on plus I really wanted to take my music on stage and with no compromise. Therefore these years were spent on putting a [7 piece] live band together and writing music from a very different angle plus the compositions are insane. If you listen to the record, you'll understand why it took four years, he laughs.
The music you do is industrial but more complex with big productions and a lot of orchestral elements. If you had to label yourself what would you call your music?
– I call it dramacore. That’s because it's very dramatic, orchestrated, but edgy at the same time but ultimately it's just rock'n roll in a new disquise, he says and smiles.
The first two albums were one man projects but you now have a live band. Do you do everything yourself in the studio and then just use your band for gigs or are you working as a group?
– For “This Is Dramacore” I wrote everything myself and called some guys in to record cellos or guitars et cetera but I am aiming to introduce the group more to the creative process in the future. I am very strict with how I see my creation so maybe it won’t work out. We'll see soon enough.
When I think about EVESTUS I don’t just see the music but the whole package with the visual artwork and the videos as well. The fantastic artwork on "This Is Dramacore" was made by your long term partner Grete "Stich" Laus and she's also directed your videos ["Sacrifice" made it to number 12 on MTV Baltics Top 20 in May 2008 and “You're Not Good Enough To Be My Enemy” was number 4 in November of the same year]. How important is the whole image to you with the musical and the visual aspects combined?
– Well, it's like a movie for me, the experience comes from the audio and video. Performance and concept and even the environment in which you experience it affects how it all works on you, you know? So it is everything, it has to be, otherwise I'd be like a guy who makes music for TV commercials. That's not me. I'm an entertainer, I'm an artist, 24/7.
You haven't been playing live that much and mostly in Estonia. Have you gotten any plans of doing a bigger tour?
– Actually, we just did some shows in Latvia, Lithuania and Finland and we're planning for a small tour in Finland in March and another one in Poland in May but it is not easy for such a big team. And I don't want to give a show when I'm not sure that it will work out 100 percent and I can give the audience a worthy performance! As mentioned before, every detail around my creation is extremely important to me. For a proper show I need a proper venue, sound, light, etcetera. If my demands are not met I'm not giving a half-assed show.
I may be wrong but I can’t think of much Estonian music, what is the music scene in Estonia like? Do you think you can build a career and still live there?
– Estonia is, well, it is a country, sure, but it's more like a little spa or a holiday resort than a country. You can chill here, what most people do, but you can't really make it as an artist. And I'm not even thinking in these terms; I'm a European from Estonia. And I don't care how I make it in Estonia as long as I make it in Europe, he smiles.
What do you listen to? What inspires you and what do you think about the music of today? To me personally it's like a sinking ship with very few glimpses of hope but I get the feeling you want to pump some new fresh blood into the scene.
– The thing is that these days I actually listen to more and more pop music, because artists such as Britney Spears and Kanye West, or their producers, actually evolve and take the music forward, unlike anything that is happening in the alternative music scene where everyone still sounds exactly like they did ten years ago. It's a pity that metal hasn't really changed at all since the whole metalcore thing came out, which was basically nothing more than a safer and more approachable version of eighties heavy metal. And industrial music has been quite dead for almost 15 years now. Thank God SKINNY PUPPY decided to release a few new albums which showed people how industrial music can be made today and that it can be good and modern at the same time. All in all, I guess what I'm trying to say here is that the alternative scenes are disappearing because there is now new music to fuel this lifestyle. And to be honest, Adam Lambert is far more scary than COMBICHRIST these days, even though they sound pretty much the same, he says and laughs out loud.
Finally, any words of wisdom that you want to share with the world?
– I personally think that a lot of people are really scared to express themselves these days, everyone is so fucking safe and politically correct and that doesn't mean that people are actually nicer. It means that they are keeping so much more shit bottled up inside that they're able to and once that gets out it's going to be really ugly!
For those of you who don't know about EVESTUS, do check him out.
EVESTUS Official homepage
EVESTUS Official YouTube channel