While most teenage bands abandon their pipe dreams for white-collar life, Zurich artist Evelinn Trouble recently released her second full-length album Television Religion, at the fresh age of 21. Eight years of creating music within those formative teenage years has meant that the Trouble of yesteryear is now buried in adolescent memory. A drastic musical change is evident on her latest release, showcasing her rather sharp progression from youth to young adulthood. Some may be shocked; she is unfazed.
We talk to the pensive singer about the claustrophobia that inspired the album’s title, her self-diagnosed allergy to mimicry and the upcoming UK tour dates that almost never were. Oh, and she has some caustic remarks for a one time tour mate…
You’ve been making music for a while now with your first official release in 2007. For those who don’t know too much about Evelinn Trouble, how would you introduce yourself?
Well, I’m a young singer, a troublemaker from Zurich. In 2006 I named myself Evelinn Trouble and have since produced records and performed under that name. My influences are many and change along with the tides. I started out solo and then went on a long journey to find like-minded musicians; I’ve had more than 6 bands in 3 years but now I have this wonderful trio, which I’ll (hopefully) never part with. I write songs about the universe and the state of things. My aspiration is to surprise myself and my listeners, I am allergic to mimicry and predictability in music, it’s all I despise and therefore avoid in my song writing. That enough?
You’re only 21 and you’re already on your second full-length album. When did you first start making music and who were your inspirations?
I formed my first band when I was 13. It was called “LORRY” and we were three girls playing mostly grunge songs, which I wrote. Inspirations then were nirvana, placebo and a little Marilyn Manson. But I’ve always listened to old music, Janis, Jimi, Beatles, so I guess they were in there somehow, too. We split in 2005 and after that I became Evelinn Trouble and started playing solo.
Your sound has changed quite a lot since your first LP, Arbitrary Act. What inspired this change? Was it maturity, meeting new people etc?
Arbitrary Act is clearly the work of someone I was in the past. There are songs on that album that I wrote as a 15 year old. Naturally I had different concerns back then. My world was smaller. Burning love for someone who does not love you back was about as serious as it gets! I was young and carefree. Also, I did the whole album myself, while my latest release Television Religion was co-produced with my bass player Flo Götte. He has influenced me a great deal. He has a ‘prog-rock’, ‘experimental’, doom kind of musical background, so it has all become darker, the way it should be!
How do you think the fans that fell in love with you with Arbitrary Act will react/have reacted to this new change?
They might be a little startled I guess. Some might even dislike it. But that’s not my problem, I’m afraid. You can’t keep anyone or anything from evolving, right?
As of yet, you haven’t played a show in the UK before. How do you feel about coming here and what should your British fans expect from your shows?
I’m psyched; the UK has a longer, more open-minded tradition in music; I think they might actually understand and enjoy what we’re doing. Whereas at home the compliments I get are like “you have a nice voice but you’re songs are weird”.
As to what the audience might expect from us, we’re a forceful power trio. I am something like a female Mick Jagger on stage, restlessly moving, while the boys back me up with a loud and groovy wall of sound… and our songs are very psychedelic. Watch this…
You’ve supported Beirut and Joan as Police Woman, amongst others. Who has been your favourite artist to support?
Joan is a bitch, well at least towards me, Beirut were really nice. They are quite a big combo, all New Yorkers really into what they’re doing. But I guess my favourite band I played before at a festival were Wildbirds & Peacedrums ’cause I was a huge fan at the time, and what could be better than sharing the bill with your idols?
Tell us a bit about the creation of Television Religion?
We recorded it in a studio in Brussels, it was 10 sleepless nights. We didn’t have a drummer then, it was just me and Flo, so all beats are done with an MPC. Then we added some percussion and cymbals to make it all come to life. I usually did all the keys and some guitar, Flo took care of bass, solos etc. The work was a lot of fun, we did a lot of unnecessary overdubs, haha.
What inspired the album’s title?
Television Religion describes a feeling that I had at the time, I felt paralyzed and trapped. My surroundings depressed me; I felt all was dominated by technology and devoid of meaning; everywhere I looked there seemed to be a screen with commercials telling me how to live and what to buy. It made me feel powerless and uninspired, as if there was nowhere to go. It makes sense if you read the terms in the following way: television = technology, our society trapped by it, religion = ‘mightlessness’, dependence, know what I mean?
Finally, what do you hope for Evelinn Trouble in the future?
I’m writing these answers from a hospital bed where I’m recovering from a burn that I got cause I climbed on a train and touched a high voltage wire. In fact I’m lucky to be alive and recover before my London shows. It’s divine timing! So I wish for myself in the future to maybe do less shit like that and become a more disciplined musician instead.
Evelinn Trouble will be performing at the following London shows.
07 August, Zurich Sounds – House of Switzerland, London Bridge
08 August, The Good Ship, Kilburn
09 August, Club Fandango @ The Bull & Gate