Ah yes, the bass, that’s where it all started for George Evelyn. Raised in Leeds’ inner-city (Hyde Park, Burley), the son of a bingo hall accountant mum and engineer dad, a childhood friend’s older brother was don of the local Messiah sound system. George embraced dub and reggae from nine years old. The first artist he became a fan of was dub remixer Scientist – “It wasn’t just the music, it was the cartoon sleeves,” he laughs, “I was nine years old, after all!” Picking up his father’s appreciation of everything from Duke Ellington to Isaac Hayes to Shalamar, he also built his own home system from shoeboxes and discarded speaker units purloined from a nearby television factory, all attached to a Fidelity record player.
“I come from the city but sunshine is in my music,” he explains, “It was always a natural dream to make music in the sun like I do now. Not to take away from any of my previous music but ‘Feelin’ Good’ is what I’ve always been trying to do. For instance, on ‘Give Thx’ I wanted the message to be a universal thank you for everything. I wanted to get it across in a way that was happy but wasn’t preachy, wasn’t cheesy. I had to manifest it, to genuinely mean it with energy. That’s how I went through the process of making the whole album, really feeling it.”
Nightmares on Wax is an institution, albeit a delightfully different one. The man behind the moniker, George Evelyn, just keeps reinventing – not in a wilful Bowie way, but flowing along, going at whatever speed he fancies to wherever his ideas carry him. For the last seven years he’s lived in an Ibizan farmhouse and, while he’s Warp Records’ longest serving artist – “the granddaddy,” as he puts it – he overwhelmingly focuses on his current projects, letting them revitalize his music.
Setting his sights high, as ever, with a cheery and unpretentious sincerity, George Evelyn continues to carry the original flame of acid house and late ‘80s Balearica, pushing it alive’n’kicking into 2016.