When quarantine began and all the shows were canceled, Evan ordered a condenser mic and started recording songs directly into GarageBand on an old MacBook Air with a missing “r” key. The result is Spotify is Surveillance, an album that oscillates between lonely bedroom pop and rage-filled punk anthems about transphobia and surveillance capitalism. "Big Tech companies' business models are based in surveillance, and they're fundamentally incompatible with basic human rights and democracy" says Evan. "Spotify likes to present itself as hip and progressive and friendly to artists, but its profit model is based on harvesting our data, monitoring emotions, and using our behavioral profiles to enrich advertisers. The company recently filed a patent for a product that would literally monitor listeners' speech patterns and tone of voice in order to recommend music (and of course, advertisements.) Music should be about connection and collective experience, not surveillance and exploitation.
Production advice from Taina Asili and Anjimile aside, these songs push the limits of DIY while finding togetherness in isolation.
"The Internet has the potential to profoundly transform our society for the better. As a trans artist playing way outside the mainstream, I've seen how technology has the power to lift up marginalized voices and foster community and solidarity amongst musicians, like we've seen with organizing efforts like the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers and their 'Justice at Spotify' campaign," says Evan. "But if we allow a parasitic business model based on surveillance and manipulation to dominate the music industry, it's clear that this will serve to simply reinforce and exacerbate existing forms of injustice in an industry that has long been plagued by systemic white supremacy, patriarchy, and heterosexism.
I titled the album "Spotify is Surveillance" not because every single song is a diatribe about surveillance capitalism or current politics, but because it's a way to raise these issues every time someone clicks play, even if it's just on a love song or a song about missing shows."Tracklist: