Eva Lazarus Parades Her Soulful Voice At Island Vibe Festival

Published in Music  
Sporting big hair and an even bigger voice, UK singer Eva Lazarus is a diverse and exciting artist whose works runs the gamut from reggae and hip hop to drum & bass and beyond.

This year has seen Eva dominate the festival circuit back home, hitting up stages at BoomTown, BoomBap and Glastonbury. In August she released her 'Amsterdam' EP with Mungo's Hi Fi and is currently woking on an album, which she has financed through crowdfunding.

Eva brings her high fashion, super funky stage show to Island Vibe Festival (SE QLD) and we catch up with her about what she has planned and how to make festivals more environmentally-friendly.

You're in the middle of the summer festival season in the UK; how was Boomtoom and Fieldview festivals?
As always Boomtown was amazing. That festival is unlike anything I have ever been to. It feels like home. I have no trouble choosing a set-list for that festival: you go big, go bassy, bring vibes, give people the dance-off they came for haha!

It was my second Fieldview Festival and it was even better the second time around. It's a small festival with plenty of diverse bookings; what I loved about the day I played that headliners were all women. That's a new experience for me.

You're headed to Island Vibe Festival in sunny Queensland… what do you have planned for the festival? A normal show (with your trademark props and confetti cannon) or something a little extra special for your friends down under?
Well, I might have to switch it up for this show. It's difficult to have all of the goings on with just [my DJ] Chris Munky; usually that show comes along with Naomi and Ngaio on backing vocals too, however a little something extra in the way of visuals is something that is very important to me so Munky and I can work on spandex jumpsuit upside down twerk routine to 'Dutty Wine'. It will be breathtaking.

By set's end, how sweaty do your crowds get generally? And do you enjoy seeing an interactive crowd?
Sweat level ten and I want the crowd to match it! Interaction with the crowd especially for this kind of thing is so important. If you can connect with people on a call and response kinda thing it's an unmatched feeling.

The festival is located on a beach; packing your bathers no doubt for a little swim in the ocean?
Yeah, but I swim in chain mail and armour only. I'm always prepared for sharks.

Island Vibe have a strong focus on the environment and eco-friendly services… is this a fit for your own outlook on living and the planet in general?
I'd like to think so, but I could always do better. With my show, if I'm playing outside the confetti I use is biodegradable. But I still cover my life in plastic glitter at every festival through summer. It's important to be reminded to be eco-conscious, so Island Vibe are doing amazing thing and these lessons really stick with you.

At Shambala in the UK there are no plastic bottles on site. Everyone re-uses the same flask or bottle all weekend; it's the first time I ever really paid attention to the reality of how much waste that saves. [Island Vibe have employed a similar service for many years]

As travelling musicians, do you enjoy indulging in tourist activities when the time/ opportunity arises? Any memories that stick in the mind?
Yes. It's amazing to get to see where you are in the world. The last time I was in Australia we visited my friend's family in Canberra and went to the National Gallery of Australia. I cried when I saw Monet's 'Water Lilies'; as a kid I'd only ever seen it on postcards or in my mother's art books. The size of that painting in real life, the detail. Incredible. We also went to Kingsley's Chicken. I think they only have it in Canberra. It was great. Chicken salt is great.

On-stage fashion… do you put a lot of time into what you wear and accessories when performing?
Yes I do. I'm a creative person, but I've not always known what suits me. It's taken me awhile to put myself together. I feel like I'm starting get it now. I express myself through my hair, the colour or the style, the clothes, the make-up. I genuinely enjoy choosing all that stuff. My on-stage appearance is like the bold part of my personality, but magnified. I'm not that extra all the time though, it's too much work.

Your bio states you are about 'big voice, big bass and big hair'; that's pretty good criteria to live by… what are some of the influences that seep into your own creative endeavours?
The list is endless. My mother's taste in music is a big factor in why I love what I love! Mama is a junglist, so she raised a junglist. In our house it was art, fashion, dancing and music, from classical music to hip hop to reggae and book shelves full of consciousness. I guess that's the basis of some of it.

You've played some major festivals in front of massive crowds… do those situations still feel surreal to you?
Yes, although I know I'm supposed to be there on stage at this amazing place doing what I'm doing. The desire for the show to go well coupled with the head spin of so many people being in front of you is always going to be a little strange to me. I don't know, ask me in a few years maybe it will change. I hope not, weird is good.

You ran a crowdfunding campaign last year to raise funds to record your newest EP… which is 'Amsterdam'. Happy with the results of the EP?
'Amsterdam' EP is not my crowdfunder record. My crowdfunder is to be released next year. I'm still in the studio with it. The 'Amsterdam' EP is a collab with Mungos Hi Fi who I have been working with a lot over the last two years. Incredible crew, wicked productions, killer sound system and it's an honour to write with them.

I am so happy with the EP and it's been received well on radio as well as in the dance. Buzzing from it to be honest, it feels really good.

How does this collection of songs showcase Eva Lazarus?
I think the 'Amsterdam' EP shows three different styles of writing from me and I haven't done that on one record before.

How much love did you feel with the amount that people donated to the campaign?
So much. Running the crowdfunder was emotional. I nearly didn't do it because I was scared it would flop, but the response was amazing and I honestly cannot thank people enough for backing what I do. It's difficult because I don't want to do just one thing to find a label who understand me as an artist. That's not a complaint, I get it. It's hard to market someone who wants to do everything, so people backing me and just letting me go and create in return for the actual record cuts out a lot of stress and pressure. I'm really grateful.

You've worked with a host of talented musicians/ singers during your career… any collabs that stand-out (why)?
The two from this year. Gardna X Kreed 'My Show' featuring Inja, Jman, Parly B and yours truly. It stands out as such a dope run-down of my sound system family going in on the Barz over heavyweight production; also the video by Chris Lucas (not that one) was the perfect mood for it.

And the there was the collab I did with Gentlemen's Dub Club and Parly B 'Fire In The Hole' is such a killer even if I do say so myself; the writing skills on that band, wow. We played the track on Sunday evening at Boomtown and it was the perfect way to close out the festival.

Next 12 months for Eva Lazarus… what is the plan?
See more of the people I love. Drink more water. Finish my crowdfunder record. Release aforementioned crowdfunder record. Release the mad colLabs that are waiting in the wings. Play a heap of quality shows with quality babes. Be happy.

Eva Lazarus with DJ Chris Munky play Island Vibe Festival, which takes place 26-29 October at North Stradbroke Island.


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