Alt Revue Interview - Evan Sites

(Photo Credit - Matt Albani)

My good friend Evan Sites is back with some new grooves to please your ear holes during these troubling times. I previously interviewed Evan back in August 2019 for the release of his EP “What, Me Worry?” and, always antsy to create, Evan has now released two new tracks he made with all his good friends, complete with a silly but genuine music video. The two new songs, “Chump” and “Mexican Lager,” hit streaming services under both the monikers Sites and East of Youth on March 20th 2020, the day before Evan birthday, and the music video for “Chump” graced the Internet as of yesterday March 27th 2020.

Holed up in our respective Brooklyn and Columbus apartments, Evan and I caught up about life and his music. Here’s another conversation with my friend.

1. “Chump” and “Mexican Lager”: What was your inspiration for these latest tunes? What was the writing process like for the two new songs?

“Chump” has been around in various forms since 2014. It was The One That Got Away back when Adam Rich and I were still actively working on East of Youth songs. After I moved to New York we’d find ourselves drawn back to it and try off and on to finish it remotely but it just didn’t happen.

Finally, when I was back home in Columbus in October we played a show and dusted it off for it. The spark on that song was genuinely really exciting and when we dug up the recordings we realized that the recording was mostly done. So I ran over to my mentor Aaron Bishara’s recording studio and knocked out the drums for “Chump” and “Mexican Lager” in one quick session. I did final vocals in the closet I call a bedroom back in Brooklyn soon after.

“Chump” is heavily influenced by The Smiths and The Cure. Those are two pretty massive influences on Adam Rich and I. We’re all about the jangle! I think I did my best crooning Morrissey bit on this one. It also might be my most personal song yet between the reference to my actually non-color-registering-eyes and those horrible brick streets of Athens, Ohio. That back half of the second verse is probably the most direct lyrics I’ve ever written. It’s that feeling that you’re with someone, but they’re not with you. It’s that sobering mindset where you understand the relationship more than the person who pushed you out of it.

With “Mexican Lager” I was really into that band NE-HI for a while. It started off as a tribute to them but then it turned into a weird Craig Finn-Replacements thing. I’m not entirely sure what this song is supposed to be haha.

This song is a documentation of a normal day “in the life” and how even the most busy day can be screeched to a halt by self reflection.

Also, I love Tecate. I would like to be sponsored if someone can make that happen?

I usually play all the instruments in my recordings, but I like to think I’m pretty good about recognizing my weaknesses. “Chump” wouldn’t be what it is without Adam Rich on guitar. The same goes for the guitar solo at the end of “Mexican Lager” played by my good friend Zakk Sandler. Zakk and I come from very different musical backgrounds (that dude likes bands with genres that end in “core”) but the second I recorded the breakdown I knew he would be able to do something so much more than I could. I love that boy. Shout out to Luke DeMuro for mixing “Mexican Lager” and playing a little guitar with me on the chorus. I should mention that Luke also engineers 90% of the things I record nowadays.

2. How was it having the “gang” back together from “East of Youth”?

It was good and it was really quick haha. Adam Rich and I work really closely on everything I do, he’s just more hands off with the stuff I put out under my own name.

A lot of East of Youth songs start with either Adam Rich writing a guitar riff, or me busting into a door (or a text message) full of caffeine just foaming at the mouth with whatever weird kind of noise I want to make and we go from there.

There’s a lot of:

“So, you want to do a spoken word song over a bass heavy driving riff?”

“Yeah and I want there just to be walls of feedback”

“Uh, alright”

“And I want to talk about brick streets”


For finishing “Chump,” once I had the drums and vocals done, it was finished pretty quickly. We had worked off and on this song for so long we had probably 30+ guitar takes to pick and choose from haha.

I love working with Adam Rich and I have a feeling there’s going to be another East of Youth project sooner than you think (INSERT WINKY FACE)

3. You just put out your EP “What, Me Worry?” in August 2019, with these singles close on their tail. Any long term goals after this little release or are you just keeping the wheels greased?

I love greasing wheels! These are just one offs trying to keep up the momentum and try some genres and sounds I maybe wouldn’t have before.