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Sep 9, 2013

Brooklyn recording artist Evan Russell Saffer releases EP on Swedish electro label Uberstrom


How are you liking your new home with Swedish electro label Uberstrom??

So far so good.  This came together rather quickly when the album was in final mixing stages.  I sent it out to a bunch of electro and dance labels and Substream was immediately interested.  The owners of the label said they had been wanting to create a sublabel or imprint that would match my style for several years.  A label devoted to the marriage of Dance with Rock and Metal that would break new ground.  So when I came along that was the birth of Uberstrom which means "over-current" in German - to help define the label and the new music that I am putting out.  That sparked a dialog which was rather frequent with me sending the rest of the album, within 2 months we had a deal signed and were laying out the release schedule.  I like that kind of work ethic and commitment to communication from anyone I work with.  The album has been released exclusively on Beatport and will be available everywhere mid September.  

Did you start writing your new CD "Opponent" before or after you we're signed by Uberstrom??

Waaaay before.  I pretty much sent them the final product what you hear now.  It was completely tracked and mixed (seehttp://www.ersband.com/ for full album credits) - Hakan Ludvigson at Substream did the mastering and voila - The Opponent!  I am always writing, I'm writing even now for the next album.  The first bits of the Opponent came together on my couch with Eric "BiPolar" Bair on guitar during the touring period of Neon Gas (Naysayer Ent. 2011).  He contributed some monster riffs that led to songs like Beautiful Stranger and Best In Me.  We worked through different vibes and he's great to bounced rhythms and vocal patterns off of and then he magically turns them into riffs and arrangements.  I always have a pocketful of lyrics and strange melodies floating around until they land somewhere, we're still writing that way now.  We jammed out the songs with the lineup of ERS at that time (which was much more schizo-rock oriented).  Towards the end of a year of touring I got into some really makeshift studios, literally sitting in someone's bedroom laying down these guitar parts and scratch vocals.  That took about 2 days.  After that I moved the project to a better studio in the lower east side NYC and put it together over another 8 months with engineer Tommy Sica, adding electronics and arrangements where possible.  It really was very rocking but just another rock record, it didn't have that electro dance vibe I was looking for - something fresh and new.  That's when I started working with producer Kase Reese out of his home studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (he's now in the much more hip Bushwick area) who did the final mix for Scarecrow.  We were making some new sounds and developed the record a little further until I got an email from Martin Kestner.  Martin is a DJ/Producer from the UK who has been following my career since he saw me performing with my band Fixer at CBGB in 2004.  We clicked immediately.  I sent him some songs I was struggling with and he nailed it.  We continue to have an incredible working relationship with excellent communication.  He is full of fresh ideas including dub and house along with chops in rock and metal to help execute anything I can think of, so we started (almost) from scratch again and produced the rest of the songs on the album together.  Martin and Eric both complete my live lineup and are in the studio and on the road with me now.

What influenced you for your new CD?? 

I kind of just dove in at the beginning because I liked the songs we were writing, however, as the record progressed I was disenchanted doing just another rock record.  So I really started leaning towards incorporating electronics.  Even then I didn't know what I wanted until I met Martin at the tail end of the process.  I re-did  this record about 3 times before release with the M.Kestner sessions and the track from Kase Reese being the final time.  Martin and I were really seeing eye to eye on the music we were listening to, new records from Skrillex, Deftones, Korn, Garbage, NIN, Device, Deadmau5 but also still loving the songwriting and passionate hooks of older bands like Queen and Def Leppard....I kept finding random beats/DJs/artists online and sending him ideas that inspired me.  We really came together on the final sounds describing The Opponent as "Massive-Dub-Electro-Dance-Metal".

Is there a tour in your near future??

I have several agents that are willing to work with me, and that's a hard thing to do.  The road is so exciting and I've always been addicted to live performances/drama/theatre and my new live show is explosive rock with rave-esque dance beats brings down the house...however.....the road is not very effective for everyone...here is why:  It's incredibly expensive even though I'm only a three man band (more money and less expenses for everyone) and with all the tricks that I have learned (like sleeping on floors with fans instead of hotels, eating one meal a day which you hope is included in the tour rider, bringing as little gear as possible to reduce gas and wear and tear on your vehicle) it's still not effective in building a fan base.  People aren't going out to shows randomly anymore, they are surfing the internet and trading music online.  Therefore that's where the marketing has to go, that's where the content is and once something starts buzzing we can set up a more successful tour where people will come out to play with us.  That said, I am touring but not as much as we could.  We're doing regional dates, keeping it close to home and really working 4-5 markets heavily like Mass., Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey with an occasional festival run to Michigan and Ohio.

Where can we catch your show here in the states??

My upcoming tour dates are listed on http://www.ersband.com/
I have dates in Brooklyn, NY/Providence, RI/Boston, MA/New York City all coming up in September and October 2013.

How about over in Europe??

Touring in Europe is a dream of mine that we'll be fulfilling very shortly.  I spoke to Uberstrom about this and the goal is to put our efforts into the marketing and distribution of this album and with some good momentum bring us over to tour in Sweden and do some European festivals in the summer of 2014. 
thanks for the interview!  ~Evan Russell Saffer

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