The evolution of a musician is a funny thing. The more I talk with people who create music for a living, no matter the genre they count as their specialty, it always seems to lead back to being a kid. One way or another, their love for music was planted inside them at a very young age, often by some unknowing parent who was simply going about their own music-filled life. Australian-born, Vancouver-based DJ Evan “Slynk” Chandler is no different. “My dad had a huge music collection, growing up as a kid. And he didn’t just have the collection; he’d play it all the time. I’d be in my room doing whatever kids do and shit, hearing this stuff in my room. He played lots of funk music and then there was the “dad rock”—Metallica and shit like that. But he’d also be playing Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and stuff like that. It was just planted into my head at a young age,” recalls Slynk, talking to me from a friend’s house in Amsterdam on his debut European tour.
Now is the time in the story when most musicians tell me about how their parents bought them a guitar because they didn’t want their child banging drums, or how the kid down the street started to show them some chords, but this story is different. This is a story of a young man in the digital age. “My dad bought me this PlayStation game called Music, where you could just make your own music,” describes Slynk of this new magical key. “It was kind of like, ‘Here’s the building blocks, just rearrange it.’ It was really fun and I played the shit out of it. Then there was the sequel, Music 2000, where you could actually take the game disc out and put a music disc in so you could take a sample from another CD. It was all very fucking slow.”
“At this point I had six of those PlayStation memory cards full of songs. I was like, ‘I really want to get these songs I’ve written onto my computer so I can email them to people.’ It was a real mission to figure that out. How do you get the audio out of your TV? Then eventually someone showed me FruityLoops (Famous mixing software, renamed ‘FL Studio’ after a dispute with Kellogg’s) and I was like, ‘It’s like Music 2000 but for the computer,'” says Slynk of his entry into the unknown world of production.
“I didn’t even know what I was doing was called producing. Back then I was messing around, making beats and found out it was called producing. Basically I started having house parties when I was 18, 19. We decked out the garage with couches and stuff, put lights up and had these huge parties, then it occurred to me that someone’s gotta play the music and I started to research how to do it with just my laptop. I had Traktor and a mouse and I would just click the buttons. It was pretty fucking lo-fi back then.”
How does one go from being a house-party DJ in Australia to a funk-ambassador based in Canada playing shows and festivals all over the world? The Internet of course! “I got on with Goodgroove Records, by basically spamming their MySpace page. I would literally just make a beat then go to their MySpace page and post a link to it. Then I’d go to (fellow DJ) Featurecast’s page and post a link. I spammed everyone on the label. Then eventually Featurecast put in a good word and Slim from Goodgroove got me to do an EP and that was it. I’ve been working with those guys for awhile now.”
As Slynk’s name spreads further and quicker with each passing month, so too grows the pile of work in front of him. A new year brings no new plans for the man they call Slynk to slow down. Slynk says, “I’m teaming back up with Crazy Daylight to do a remix for Adapted Records. It’s a remix of—I’m not going to say—but it’s going to be cool. I got a remix of a Stickybuds song I’m going to start working on when I get home. There’ll be a cool rerelease of “Bouncy Bouncy” with Klab as well. I’m also working on an original glitch-hop EP. I got a lot of songs already made that I haven’t released yet. I’ll be giving away tons more songs before the end of the year. I like to just give away songs because…why not?”
Winter Funk Jam w/ Slynk, Featurecast & Neon Steve, Thursday, December 5, Club 9one9, advance tickets $15, available at Lyle’s Place and online at blueprintevents.ca.