The Evens: The Power Of Turning Down The Volume

Ian MacKaye, co-founder of Dischord Records and the bands Fugazi and Minor Threat, and Amy Farina, formerly of The Warmers, form The Evens. Their third album together is called The Odds. i i

hide captionIan MacKaye, co-founder of Dischord Records and the bands Fugazi and Minor Threat, and Amy Farina, formerly of The Warmers, form The Evens. Their third album together is called The Odds.

Charles Previtire/Courtesy of the artist
Ian MacKaye, co-founder of Dischord Records and the bands Fugazi and Minor Threat, and Amy Farina, formerly of The Warmers, form The Evens. Their third album together is called The Odds.

Ian MacKaye, co-founder of Dischord Records and the bands Fugazi and Minor Threat, and Amy Farina, formerly of The Warmers, form The Evens. Their third album together is called The Odds.

Charles Previtire/Courtesy of the artist

Hear The Music

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Timothy Wright"
  • Album: The Odds
  • Artist: The Evens
  • Label: Dischord
  • Released: 2012
 
close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Warble Factor"
  • Album: The Odds
  • Artist: The Evens
  • Label: Dischord
  • Released: 2012
 

Over three decades, Ian MacKaye has tested a few possibilities of what punk can mean. His first band to make a national impact, Minor Threat, was a clear outgrowth of the hardcore scene in his native Washington, D.C. His second act, Fugazi, was subtler: four musicians, all songwriters, infusing punk's energy with rhythms pulled from funk, reggae and even classic rock.

Today, MacKaye's main project is his family — which is to say he's in a band with his wife, Amy Farina. The Evens consists of MacKaye on baritone guitar and Farina on drums, singing in harmony and finding intensity in spareness. The duo has just released its third album, The Odds. Here, the musicians discuss their lives at home and on the road with NPR's Guy Raz.


Interview Highlights

On alcohol sales in the live music world

MacKaye: "Over the years playing in Fugazi, it had become increasingly clear to me the irony [that] this was my form of expression, and yet the only venues in which I was allowed to perform it were these venues where the economy is based largely on self-destruction. And I don't think it's evil; I don't think it should be shut down. I just thought was strange, when you think about all the arts, that music — rock music, especially — always gets shunted into the bar scene. Which is incredibly ironic considering just how important a role music plays in 16- and 17- and 18-year-old kids' lives. The idea that these people can't see these bands who are making this music, only because of the fact that they're not old enough to drink alcohol, shows you there's a very deep sickness in that system."

On their 4-year-old son

Farina: "It's hard to have a conversation when you have a loquacious 4-year-old. Especially when both of the parents are the band. It's not like one of us can stay with the kid while the other one goes to rehearsal or something like that. It's logistically very complicated, and we're really fortunate to have family nearby and a kid who's actually really easy to do things with. ... He does like our music; he's also not too shy to critique things."

On quiet shows in alternative spaces

MacKaye: "It's crazy the amount of money it costs to put a show on, so if you're trying to put a show on for a low ticket price, you're up against it. So we discussed finding a way to split off from that system, and one way to do it was just to turn down the volume. Turning down allowed us to play basically anywhere. ... It's so great to play in a barn, or a museum, or an art gallery, or a theater lobby. Quite often, when you put music into an unusual or untraditional space, in many cases, the music really steps up. It's not being filtered through the venue experience as much."

Related NPR Stories

Purchase Featured Music

The Odds

Purchase Music

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • Album: The Odds
  • Artist: The Evens
  • Label: Dischord
  • Released: 2012
 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.