If you recognise this face, you'll know it be the friendliest, chattiest, funniest face of Tom Beaufoy, aka EVL Tom, and alongside equally talented Pat Pardy, one half of award winning breakbeat LEGENDS Evil Nine. Strictly speaking, Tom isn't one of our artists, but he's one of our dearest pals and the only man who could kick off the tunes at our grand opening in 2018.
Tom wears many hats in the world of creativity. He's not just a talented musician and DJ; he's a thoughtful composer and producer, who has a knack for artistry that goes beyond sound. Lately, he's been wowing his digital art wizardry, and you can see his talents on full display in the cover art for his latest solo single, "The Heathers," and the upcoming album, "Absolute Melt."
I’m going to keep this all as brief as possible as there’s too much to tell.
My journey with Tom dates back to the early 2000s when I packed my bag (yep, just one one) and moved into his abode, alongside another legend by the name of Stig. Back then, Tom and Evil Nine were signed to Adam Freeland's illustrious Marine Parade Records. He was a whirlwind of energy, tearing down clubs and festivals worldwide. His residency at Fabric was the stuff of legends which lead to the release of their Evil Nine Presents Y4K, part of the Fabric Live series. Their debut album, "You Can Be Special, Too," launched them to breakbeat stardom, clinching the Breakspoll award for the best album in 2004. He’s collaborated with some of the best, such as El-P (Run the Jewels) Aesop Rock and Danny Brown (look this one up. Absolute filth!) and has been featured in some big release movie soundtracks.
Whenever he was away on tour, Stig and I made sure he returned to an absolute shit show - blaring music, booze, weed, and an unholy mess, but he always got stuck in with us even after a 10 hour flight. I'll never forget the night before he jetted off to the US for a tour with Carl Cox; Stig nearly set our house on fire. He was understandably pissed, but Tom always had a knack for finding humour in our chaos. That's just the kind of guy he is. If you want to know anything beyond the aural delights of a wide range of music such as art, culture, music and especially film, he’s your man. And he’ll talk to you for hours if you let him (or even if you don’t 😉)
Now, I’m no music critic, so this will be my muddled version of a review. I’d heard an early version of the Absolute Melt album, and to be honest The Heathers didn’t really register with me. A prayer was the stand-out track and I played it on repeat. Now fully mixed and mastered, I can assure you that The Heathers is an absolute banger. It’s been on repeat very loud this morning, giving my speakers the workout they deserve while the neighbours are at work. Tom has knack for drum production. Evil Nine were known for their percussive and post-punk driven breaks, a tradition which I’m happy to confirm continues on the this heavily psychedelic, 90’s dance music inspired slab of electronica - think Pacific State by 808 State and Papua New Guinea by Future Sound of London. The Heathers builds on a chiming hook and gentle waves of synth, while the percussion assembles in the background, fooling you into a chilled out vibe before the drums quickly gather to make their first appearance, in that rattley, loose live kit sound that you'd expect from Tom. That snare is a real treat and the overall production is totally on point. It's all the components of the past making a product truly of the now.
I didn't think I'd hear a tune this year that would anywhere close to competing with Hudson Mowhawke's and Nikki Nair's Set the Roof but this is it. I can't wait to hear the rest of the album, and if it's as tuff as this it could be an early contender for my album of the year.
Tom, we’re so proud of you. We know how long in the making and what a struggle it has been to make this and get it out into the world, but all the effort has been worth it. Big love, my man.
The Heathers is out now on Out Yer Box records, the sister label of Jack Said What (headed by Irvine Welsh no less) and you can listen to it here. Absolute Melt will be released early 2024. If you can’t wait until then, check out The Evil Tom show on radio 1BTN. Or maybe you’ll see him live at the NS birthday party in November. But shhh, that’s a secret at the moment.