I exclaimed with a jolt of shock as I accidentally burned my hand with my own cigarette. Kristian Eveleigh was stood by the kitchen counter making coffee, but managed to distract himself from coffee-making duty and laugh at me nonetheless as I shook my hand vigorously. He didn’t bother asking me if I was alright, instead he responded to my outburst by asking how many sugars I took with my coffee. But hey, it sure as hell didn’t matter to me that night.
Great kid, Kris. Great fucking kid. One of the happiest, smartest, and most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of calling my friend. Neither of us were drunk or high that night, just lively. It had been a long day, and I think both of us really needed to let loose, not with drugs or lagers, but with a familiar environment and good company (and the freedom to smoke indoors). For the most part of that evening, we spent it in his girlfriend’s kitchen drinking coffee and smoking rollies while listening to techno music coming from upstairs where everyone else in the house was dancing. The room was dimly lit, and ripe with a strong smell of cigarette fumes blended with day-old cat food, but none of it mattered to us. For what seemed like a few minutes (which turned out to be a few hours) we talked about music. More specifically, Kris’ music. Krist Eveleigh is one of the loudest noise makers you’ve unfortunately never heard of before, and he’s only 16 years old.
“Look out! They’re lively!”
Before joining college, I had no real interest in listening to local Soundcloud musicians, even though many had told me that the music scene in Portsmouth was supposedly popping like November the 5th. It was only after being introduced to Kris that I actually set up a Soundcloud account, at first just to support whatever he released. Kris has a Soundcloud page that he uploads his solo work on; every song on there was mostly acoustic, recorded using the microphone on his mum’s iPad and mixed using GarageBand in his bedroom, but you honestly wouldn’t be able to tell whether or not it was recorded in a studio or in the same room as his pet rat, Spud. The first song he ever played for me was his cover of Archie, Marry Me by Alvvays; it was at that moment as he played it for me, I rediscovered what it was like to fall in love with a song. And then when he released Japanese Celebrity, it happened again. Over and over again. I loved that song so much that I actually dyed my hair pink in honour of its infamous lyric “Dye your hair pink”.
Within Kris’ music you’ll find something new (a fresh young voice with a fresh young mind) layered delicately onto something old (the grunge rock genre). Combustions of passion condensed into three or four minutes a piece; songs rich with original chord progressions, hypnotic guitar melodies, and smoky vocals that sound suspiciously similar to that of Kurt Cobain himself, something thats seriously lacking within today’s music industry. Coyote Call, Kris’ most recent release, springs to my mind; the music is played softly with two guitars seemingly layered on top of each other – one playing the chords and the other playing the primary melody – smothered with just the right amount of reverb. The song is haunting and abundant in emotion, emanating the raw talent of a boy with soul-splitting passion. The stirring melodies of Kris’ voice fused together with his guitar makes you wish the echo of his reverb would never leave you, and when it does you’re left in silence. Complete silence.
“Livelier than you know”
Behind Kris’ vocals, you can almost taste a sense of desperation; you HAVE to listen to what he says or you’ll fucking regret it for the rest of your life. But he’s not angry at you, music is never angry at you. Its almost as if he knows you’re listening. Kris suggested that the song is about classic alienation. However, he goes on to say:
“Its really not a fixed theme, I mean I had to write more lyrics for it while I recorded it just so it (Coyote Call) was bearable to listen to”
Would you say its personal?
“I think it can be personal, only because its so pulled from thin air. I could find pretty much any meaning I wanted out of it. I think I write more through the perspective of people rather than purely myself. I’m not interested in myself, I’m interested in observing. I’m a social observer more than anything. Its always been about abstract mostly”
So from that I gather you put less effort into lyrics than you would when composing a guitar part?
“Thats usually the case, I’m much more focused on melody and sound rather what I might or might not be trying to tell a celebrity craving audience (giggle). But when I do write the lyrics I want them to be good; its like choosing the colours I’d use on a painting, its all the same really”
What does music really mean to you?
“Well, since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a commercial artist. Now I’m here. I’m becoming more interested in the theatre of it all, the influence of it socially. If I perform, I give myself totally to that performance; theres no embarrassment or fear, its all right in front of me and I can do what I like. Music is very much a Dionysian art for me; vulnerable energy and utter joy. It seems to me there is certainly a breed of young people who really understand what they like to hear and see, there’s a lot of hunger for trend. I hope to satisfy it by enjoying live bands that really stand out to me, and writing music how I like. Writing a song is like taking a photograph of the things and people around me, whats going on, who’s looking fresh or whatever”
Funny, actually; it was in Kris’ girlfriend’s kitchen, as we smoked our rollies and sung our own rendition of “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?”, that I realised I was best friends with a real life rockstar. But what was even stranger was that he didn’t act like one; he didn’t talk like a rockstar, he spoke like a mate. He didn’t dress like a rockstar, mind you he always looked like the illegitimate son of Kurt Cobain. Kris didn’t wear his status like a hat, and didn’t go around telling people about his Soundcloud, and how its the greatest thing in existence. Something about the boastfulness among musicians really irked him. The best thing? Kris actually knows what the hell he’s talking about. He’s smart; as soon as you ask him anything about music, you realise that this boy’s not pissing in the wind, he’s a fucking genius.