The son of U2’s The Edge, Levi Evans, logs onto his computer while sitting in the comfort of his home in Los Angeles, California. Just wrapping up his month-long tour as one of the opening acts for Little Image’s Self Titled tour, he’s taking all of October to enjoy the luxuries that come with being at home. In just a couple of weeks, the musician will leave for another tour as one of the opening acts for Atmosphere. However, this time around, he won’t be a solo act—his nine-artist group NoFun! will share the spotlight with him. As we sat down and talked, time flew by as we conversed about what Levi’s life was like growing up, his milestone of completing his first tour ever, and his new single “Complicated” that comes out October 20th.
Levi Evans via Spotify
What was life like growing up for Levi Evans? I can’t begin to imagine how difficult moving from Dublin, Ireland to Los Angeles, California was during your teen years. Would you say that you’ve always been open-minded about change?
L: I think I was 14 when I was transitioning from Dublin to L.A. Around those adolescent years, I had a hard time with my identity since I grew up traveling so much. I got into some trouble in Ireland, nothing too serious, just that teenage angst. When I moved to L.A, it was definitely hard for me to accumulate. It took me a couple of years to make friends, and L.A. is such a big city. I struggled with my identity for a long time, but I came out being quite durable when it comes to change. Now, I’m settled here, and I’m happy where I’m at. But it took some time to reach that inner peace, and I’m still far from inner peace.
Being the son of U2’s The Edge, it’s fair to say you’ve been engulfed in the music scene your whole life. Did you always want to be a musician growing up?
L: It’s actually pretty funny. When I was younger, I always played instruments and was constantly traveling with my parents. Back then, I wanted to be an animator. I didn’t think of music as a career until I moved to L.A. I randomly decided to take a music production course at the first high school I attended, and started playing around with Garageband. At the time, one of my only friends when I first moved here would always play 90’s music. He basically took over my aux cord for the first two years of my life in L.A, and I just listened to whatever he listened to. When I first got into music, and was creating music myself, it was more in a hop-hop direction. I wasn’t following what my dad was doing. I think a lot of kids look up to their parents and want to steer in their own direction, especially during those rebellious years. Now that I’ve grown up, and I’m starting to sing more, I would say it’s more along the lines of what my dad is doing. But it is funny that my introduction to creating music was totally different than what is expected. When I was 16 I wanted to be a rapper, which is crazy to look back on.
While we’re walking down memory lane, do you remember what your first live performance was like?
L: OH MAN…well it depends what we’re talking about. When I was doing the rapping thing at like 16 and 17, I did a couple of live performances. I mean it was just a lot of friends that would come out to shows. It was very casual and just for fun. I also did some hip-hop shows in Dublin. But for my first “Levi Evans” thing, I did acoustic stuff. I remember my first full-band performance was with NoFun and we did our first ever show before we were an artist group. We started NoFun for the sole purpose of hosting events. Our first event was in our friend’s backyard and it was a Halloween show two years ago. It was the first time I had ever played with a full band. I remember being so nervous, and drinking a little too much. I went out there and definitely gave it my all. It was a good time. I’m still a baby when it comes to this live stuff.
You do solo music and are also part of a nine-artist group called NoFun! Would you say it’s like a ‘Brockhampton’ approach where everyone has their solo stuff, but are also part of a group?
L: Yeah that’s how we like to describe it too. It’s cool, but it’s definitely more hip-hop/alternative. Out of the 9 artists, there’s 4 rappers and 1 of the artists is the main producer. We all produce some work on the tracks, but I definitely tap back into my hip-hop roots through NoFun!
I couldn’t help but notice how different your discography and NoFun’s is from one another, but I think it’s so sick when artists have the ability to be versatile with their sound. What’s it like distinguishing your sound from NoFun’s?
L: Most of the time when I’m in the writing process, I listen to a piece of music and I just see what comes to my head. I think having that hip-hop background when I’m specifically writing for NoFun is still quite easy. I think because everyone listens to so many different genres now, everything is becoming this melting pot. There’s country songs with trap drums, and then there’s the Post Malones’ out there that are ranging from a bunch of different genres. As artists, it’s in our vocabulary to have these different voices. But as of now, it hasn’t gotten in the way yet and flowing between the two has been easy.
How I heard about you is such a domino effect. I did concert photography for Colony House when they came to San Diego, and I left the show as a new fan of Little Image. Then, when Little Image came back to San Diego for their headline tour, I left as a new fan of you and Hastings. I vividly remember looking at your merch at the show, and noticing your doodles were displayed. Is there a deeper meaning or story behind your passion for doodling?
L: I have pretty bad ADHD and I always found school so difficult because of my lack of concentration. I would just cover every assignment handed to me in doodles, and I think that’s where the animation thing came from. Between the ages of 9 and 10, I got into claymation. I was doodling and drawing all the time, and that’s how I would express my artistic voice. I thought animation would be a cool thing that I was interested in. As I got older, I realized my attention span is not the best because you have to be so patient. My doodling stems from my love for it as a kid.
Let’s talk about what life is like on the road. I know when we briefly talked on Instagram, you mentioned that you had just finished wrapping up tour with Little Image, and that you were going to go back on tour in November. I said something along the lines of how you never stop touring, and your response really stood out to me—“Hopefully, I never stop”. A different city every night is a type of adrenaline rush I can only imagine. How do you find a sense of home while touring?
L: A big thing that helped me was having a sense of purpose. Being at home, the ability to have a routine keeps my head on my shoulders. On the road, you don’t have a routine. This is going to sound extreme, but you do switch into this sense of survival mode. You’re rolling with the punches, going with the flow of things, and it’s so hectic and chaotic. You eat when you can and sleep when you can while on this crazy schedule. What kept me sane, especially being such an animal of habit, is having a purpose and feeling that purpose. At the start of the tour, I was working out, meditating, and stretching. Then, I broke my foot a week into the tour. I stopped doing those activities that felt homey to me and just wanted to get as much sleep as I possibly could so I could heal. Nothing felt like home, but having that sense of purpose kept me going.
Was the Little Image Self-Titled tour your first official tour?
L: The Little Image Self-Titled tour was my first tour ever. This NoFun tour coming up is going to be our first tour ever, making it my second tour.
Wow! Two first tours for two different musical groups, back to back! Traveling in a big group like that is going to be chaos for sure…
L: Oh yeah 100%. There’s going to be like 12 of us traveling. We got 9 artists, our tour manager, manager, and other creatives like a photographer and a sound guy. It’s going to be crazy. We rented a sprinter van to travel across the country, but I’m taking my car and we rented another car. The first drive is 22 hours, so I think that about sums up how chaotic it’s about to be.
On that note, your new song “Complicated” comes out October 20th. What’s the song about and what was the process like, from beginning to end, creating it?
L: The song is actually about losing a loved one, or someone who is important to you. When I was writing it, I actually had a friend who passed away. Death was on my mind at the time. I wasn’t really thinking about it too much, but when I started writing, that’s all that was going on in my head. It’s about someone wanting to bring someone back, but it’s complicated. On top of that, the juxtaposition of the song is that it’s very upbeat and happy. Once you listen to the lyrics, there’s talk about lighting candles for a seance and knocking down the candles to burn down the wood building. A lot of the time when I’m writing, I’m not thinking about it too much. It’s once I look at what I’ve written down, I write these stories. I think it just comes out of the ether. They’re pulled from very personal things like having a friend pass away. But also, I’m thinking of someone who had a loved one they were living with pass away, and they’re staring at the front door waiting for them to come home, but they’re not going to.
One thing I love about music is the fact that there’s artists out there who can take how I’m feeling and articulate into song perfectly. It’s honestly beautiful how you can write a song about one thing, and it can resonate with somebody else in a totally different manner. Art is up to interpretation. How would you say music has impacted you as a person?
L: I was definitely that kid who would listen to music that associated with how they were feeling. When I was bummed, I would listen to sad music, and when I was happy, I would listen to upbeat music. Music has helped me through some difficult times of dealing with emotions. A lot of us have hard times. I feel emotions very intensely, and I still get overwhelmed by them. Now that I’m making music, I listen less. I’m trying to fix that. My friend put it a good way—if a football player is watching football, they’re always going to analyze what the other players are doing, because it’s their job. With music, I study and listen to a lot of music, but it’s more from the eye of trying to figure out what is going on rather than passive. I create songs that no one will ever hear too, because they’re so personal and I don’t think it would resonate with anyone. Music is like a diary. The songs I think will resonate with people, I release.
To end off, do you have a message for any aspiring artists out there?
L: An important thing to do is to listen and copy. That’s how you really learn. When it comes down to honing in your voice and what makes you unique as an artist, a lot of the time it is easier to copy people who have done it and have a strong voice and foundation themselves. They’ve worked on it themselves. To be unique, you have to trust your voice, because it’s going to start off weak, because you’re trying to do something that has never been achieved before. Just have confidence in that, and exercise your unique, creative voice. Know that eventually your voice will be as strong as the voice of other artists you look up to. Stay on that path, and try to be as unique as possible.