Gumbaynggirr rapper Tasman Keith is back with his second EP titled 'Evenings', this time collaborating with Stevie Jean, an Indie Rock singer from Darwin, Northern Territory.
The two met at the 2018 Barunga Festival. Tasman told NITV, "she actually got up and sung ‘Divided’ with me on the second day of knowing each other and smashed it, that progressed into a strong friendship and eventually turned into the EP, 'Evenings'".
The project took six months to create the first official EP studio session, but Tasman told NITV that the title track was written back in December 2018.
"It started with the chorus from the title track ‘Evenings’ and a few studio sessions to see what we could make. That along with James Mangohig’s genius idea of creating a full project and Papertoy’s crazy production saw us do sessions in Sydney and Studio G (Darwin). A lot of late nights shut off from the outside world, delirious discussion, and going down a rabbit hole of inspirations played a major part in what you hear today".
The project comes as a follow up to their single 'Prey' which was released earlier in the year which soared to the top of Triple J's rotation in May and reaching nearly 200,000 streams on Spotify. The 'Evenings' EP consists of 8 songs exploring the narrative between two individuals who came together for one night and all the emotions that surround the encounter.
"Every track on this record is special to me, each one has a separate story. Personally, I love listening to albums front to back, so a lot of thought went into the ordering of songs on 'Evenings', said Stevie. One track in particular, 'Σε θελω (I Want You)', is the first time Stevie Jean has released a song in her family's language, Greek.
"As a proud Cypriot woman 'Σε θελω (I Want You)' means a lot to me and my family, especially my father", said Stevie.
For Tasman, ‘Evenings’ delivers an amplification of emotion. “‘Evenings’ is an extreme representation of emotions. Moments like 'MM' and 'Prey' show confidence, while 'Angels & Evil' and 'Evenings' show insecurity", said Tasman.
Tasman told NITV that all the themes explored in the EP resonate with him personally.
"They are all themes I’ve experienced directly and indirectly. I think that’s what makes the project so believable and special, its a concept that stems from experiences whilst maintaining a story throughout".
The lead single from 'Evenings' is 'Bliss'; a delirious dream that follows a relationship from dusk till dawn. "We wrote Bliss in the early hours of the morning in Studio G. The three of us were pretty delirious by the end of it, just running on espresso shots. I remember feeling like I was in as trance.
"There's this juxtaposition between the chorus and the verse, where the former feels like open communication and the latter embodies all the things you wish you could say, but you don't", said Stevie.
"'Bliss' touches on depression, and how it can be a beautiful disaster. The chorus is a balance of making depression a relationship while continuing the overall theme of the project. There's lines there about the relationship between depression and the relationship between the characters in the project, it's up to the listener to figure out which lines relate to each theme", said Tasman.
This isn't the first time Tasman has explored the theme of depression within his music, with tracks such as 'Might Snap', 'Divided' and 'The Rope'. He told NITV that it is an important issue to him and it is a goal for him to break social stereotypes and make it an easier thing to talk about.
"I understand the masculinity mindset that we always have to be strong and not show emotion, I’ve been trapped in that before. But it is important to discuss these things and if me putting myself out there helps other people relate and feel inclined to talk about what they are going through, that’s more than I can ask for.
Tasman said after this collaborative project, the duo will go back to their solo careers, "I’ve got a bunch in store and I know she has as well".
If you'd like to see Tasman perform live, he said he has "Bigsound and FOTSUN coming up which Stevie will be around for, so it's only right she joins me on stage for ‘Prey’. But if you want to catch the EP live, we have a special one off set at 'NYE on The Hill' that we are currently putting together".
'Evenings' is available now on all platforms.
Grayson McCarthy-Grogan is a Digital Producer for NITV and also Host on NITV's music show "The Groove". You can follow him on Instagram @graybear19.