To put it bluntly, you can’t bring up the current climate of SoundCloud without mentioning Scandinavia. With Drain Gang’s influence the past few years, there seems to be a bit of influence sprinkled into nearly every creative’s sound. Whether they wear that influence on their sleeve is up to the listener, however.
Boysnightsout, a group from Sweden has edged their name into the books as well. Separating themselves from Drain Gang with their more atmospheric, arguably consistent futuristic-esque sound. For those really in the know, Lil Galaxy, Lil Mazda, Tonser, and the producer Bizarius have been an absolute blast from out of Denmark.
But on the far end of the map, presents us with Evan Wheel out of Finland. While not a particularly unknown creative, his unique approach to songwriting, melodies, and beat selection make him a blast for any first time listener.
What’s it like living in Finland? Have you lived there your whole life?
At this moment, I have lived in Finland for over seven years after I moved from Russia. It’s pretty nice and safe to live here. I also managed to learn the Finnish language quite well during these years. I just moved to Helsinki a month ago. Before moving, I was living in Vantaa, a city close to Helsinki.
Did you play any instruments growing up or come from a background that was involved in music?
I went to a music school for a while in Russia and I have always played guitar since I was nine. In high school, I enjoyed playing drums too. As a kid, I sang in a choir. There are not many musicians in my family, but my mom studied in a music academy and now she is working in another music academy.
Did rap or electronic music have a prominent impact on your life? Or were you listening to other kinds of music?
It depends. At some point, I listened to more rap and at some point, more electronic music. In general, I do not put the music that I like/listen to in a certain framework. But still, I have always enjoyed these two genres the most.
How’d you find yourself in this specific music scene? Was it per luck or had you been seeking out underground music?
Working hard at the right time and in the right place probably what brought me here where I am now. But still, I think it’s not enough to reach my goals.
When it comes Scandinavian SoundCloud, or even just European SoundCloud, it's hard to deny the impact guys like Yung Lean and Bladee have had on this community. As a creative making the kind of the music you are, it's probably tiring getting those comparisons day on end, or at least being grouped with them. Do you see it differently, or do you tend to just do you and let your audience make whatever assumptions they want?
I don’t really mind if someone might associate me with other artists because everyone has their own unique sound and voice. I do not deny the influence of Drain Gang on me and the industry in general, but this does not prevent me from creating something of my own. Inspiration stemming from artists that you enjoy is a normal process between all the artists to create something new. Without it, the industry could not evolve.
With BNO coming out of Sweden, Tonser and Bizarius doing their thing in Denmark, and you being in Finland, do you feel like you put on for where you're from in that sense?
Maybe yeah, I might be the one that guy from Finland since there are not a lot of guys who make something like this. But I think the location doesn’t really matter anymore since everyone is creating their own product and gaining an audience through the internet regardless of the country they live in.
Are there any other artists in Finland or the surrounding areas people should be aware of? Is there a part of the underground scene most people aren't aware of?
I'm aware of a couple talented guys here that are doing their own style, but the scene in general is kind of small I would say. The reason might be that the local independent artists don’t get enough support to be heard here because in Finland, people do not yet listen to this kind of music a lot.
You have a very prominent following on VK, a Russian social media platform. You also speak Russian on there and on your Instagram stories occasionally. What's the scene like there?
Basically me, wast3r and the guys from abyssangels were the first ones who started making this sound in Russia, so we found our own audience quite fast. Over the year since we started, I see people trying to sound and make music like us which I think is completely okay and some of them sound quite good in my opinion. I could also mention an artist arch1t3ct who has been making kind of similar music like us for quite some time already before us.
You're in abyssangels, a group primarily from Russia. How'd you guys all find each other?
Abyssangels is a group of beat makers and rappers with a similar sound and vision. We found each other through the internet. They invited me to join them after I released my first EP “distance” that I made with wast3r, whom I met randomly through the Instagram. Also, the majority of the EP was produced by abyssangels members. That was the first time I started making music in Russian because of wast3r who asked me to do that.
What's your creative process like? How do you like to approach making music?
The whole process is quite basic, I just do everything at home. Usually, I start by playing some beats and just trying to find something that I like and write some lyrics over it and then I'm recording, mixing etc. If I lack ideas or inspiration, I usually go for a walk outside or watch movies which helps me to catch some feelings to write about.
How do you blend your personal life and your music?
Since I always tried to be good in school and combine it with my music, I think my social life might struggle because of that in some way, but I'm completely fine with that. I still have time to see my friends sometimes. I think you could not reach your goals without sacrificing some aspects of your life. And a while ago I moved in with my girlfriend, so we live together now. She complains to me sometimes when I record, she says I’m too loud.
With the pandemic in the background of everyone's thoughts at the moment, how do you stay motivated?
It affected me a lot since my first live show with my friends in Moscow was canceled because of covid which made me unmotivated for quite some time. But I'm glad I got enough support from my fans and people who enjoyed my music to get back to work, without them I could not create. Walks and my internet friends are great motivators to me.
Who'd you like to work with moving forward?
At this point, I would really like to work with some beat makers like Opal, Bizarius or Skressa and vocalists from BNO, I think they all are extremely talented. Also, I would like to make one more song with Nosgov.
Is there anyone in particular that you'd like to shout-out?
First of all, shoutout to my girlfriend who helped me a bit with English for this interview, since my English suffers a bit because I’m dyslexic. Second of all, shoutout to all of my internet friends who make music. Never quit doing what you are passionate about.
Stream Evan Wheel on Spotify