Ross Evans - the dependable DJ whose party-loving spirit and beaming smile can’t help but endear you to him – is also quite the prolific producer. With over one hundred original tracks to his name and right in the middle of another purple patch, he seems practically giddy about the next few weeks. He has good reason to be.
I’ve been best friends with Nic Fanciulli for 10 years now and his team is very much like-minded. It’s great to work with people who think in the same way...Following a celebrated release on Mobilee, he now turns his attention to his long-standing partnership with Saved Records where he will now release “Super Skank”, an intense and groovy EP just weeks in advance of playing the label’s ten-year anniversary party, A Decade Of Saved.
If there’s ever a man with enough energy and commitment to stay at ten throughout this period, then it is surely the amiable Welshman that I Voice has down the other end of the line.
Chatting about his relationship with Nic Fanciulli, his formative years in Wales and the future, we get an insight into the fast-moving world of Ross Evans.
It seems you have a flurry of new music on the way. Did you consciously decide that you needed to get more music out or did things just naturally take off in the studio?
It usually happens like this with me - nothing for 6 months and then a surge of music. It’s a combination of being too busy at some parts of the year like summer and New Year’s, where I rarely get chance to make music, and being creative in certain periods when I’m in the right frame of mind.
What do you put the increase in creativity down to?
I’ve made over 100 tracks so it’s more difficult these days to think of new ideas. I used to go into the studio with so many ideas lined up but now I really have to be inspired by something - usually other tracks or a DJ set that I hear, or even a movie or TV show. It’s still in there - it just has to be coerced out!
How would you describe your upcoming EP for Saved Records?
I wanted to get a balance on this EP of one driving groove track and another more melodic to appeal to different artists. I think I did that, and then Cuartero came in and put the cherry on the top with a monster remix to complete a nice EP.
You have a long history with Saved. Does it always feel like a family reunion when you hook up with Saved?
Yes definitely. I’ve been best friends with Nic Fanciulli for 10 years now and his team is very much like-minded. It’s great to work with people who think in the same way and most importantly, we always have fun which is the whole reason why I got into this in the first place.
I know that it sounds biased but I do think that for my style of music, Saved is the best label...Why do you have such respect for them as a label?
I know that it sounds biased but I do think that for my style of music, Saved is the best label. They have a knack of spotting the hot young producers before most people. If you check some of the artists that are blowing up right now, they had tracks on Saved years ago before anyone knew them.
What did you learn the most from Nic whilst touring with him for so long?
I think I learned a lot of things from Nic over the years without even realizing at the time, but one thing that I like his ability to go into a club with a commercial crowd and teach them a lesson in underground music while keeping them interested, which is not easy and that is just one skill that I learned from him.
I played for so many years warming up for the big DJ’s that it’s drummed into me to keep the groove going and to build the vibe up and up...Where are you most looking forward to playing in the coming months?
The obvious one is the Saved 10 Years Anniversary at Fire on 7 November. We did it back in January and it was a total roadblock so we are looking forward to more of the same. I haven’t been to the States since before the summer and I can’t wait to go back there for a winter tour.
What is your aim when you’re behind the decks? How do you see your role there?
I’m all about the groove. I played for so many years warming up for the big DJ’s that it’s drummed into me to keep the groove going and to build the vibe up and up. I don’t enjoy the parties so much where you have to slam it from the start until the end, I love building up and making a journey.
Which were the influential clubs in Wales where you first connected with club music? What were those early experiences like?
My first ever-proper club night was on my 18th birthday at an event called Time Flies in Cardiff. It was in the amazing City Hall, and it’s safe to say that this night changed my life forever. I saw Ashley Beedle play and then Sasha at the after-party at the Hippo Club and I remember watching them and thinking to myself ‘this is what I wanna do.’ Within weeks I had bought decks and a mixer and started promoting my own parties.
The scene back then in Wales was wild and people like us used to drive up to four hours to a party and back again...I used to go to Lakota in Bristol a lot which was about a one-hour drive away. Me and my friends used to go with £20 in our pockets and somehow pay entrance, fuel, drink water all night and drive home at 6am.
I remember one time we got to the Severn Bridge and didn’t even have £3 between us to pay the toll so we had to sell our drinks and chewing gum to other ravers in the cars behind to get home!
The scene back then in Wales was wild and people like us used to drive up to four hours to a party and back again. You don’t see that these days with people preferring to stay in their own towns but I used to love the whole road trip adventure of a night out.
What new music have you got on the way?
The next release will be on Hot Since 82’s label Knee Deep In Sound. I love what Daley does and it’s a perfect match for me to be on his label. After that look out for a new track with Kate Elsworth - the follow up to Deep Water and this one is very special, thanks to her amazing vocals.
What direction are you heading with your next releases?
I’m trying to make tracks with more melody and more of an organic feel - the type of tracks you can listen to in a few years’ time and they don’t get thrown away after a few weeks as ‘just another groove track.’