We had the good fortune of connecting with Eva Walker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eva, how do you think about risk?
I like to take risks, whether that’s musically or visually (album covers/photoshoots etc). When I think about taking a risk, it doesn’t start as that idea, it starts with “wow what a really cool thought, how can I pursue this!” Then while we are pursuing whatever the idea is and adding elements then I wonder what the reaction will be. First and foremost, the idea of risks is relative. What may not seem like a risk to you maybe for someone else. Individuality, your history and experiences play a big part in what a risk may look like to you. Usually when I tell people to take risks, I make sure to say “whatever that looks like to you”. Risks don’t JUST mean going out and wearing an outrageous outfit, or playing a guitar solo while dangling from a chandelier. A risk can be many different things. Musical risks like going to that 7th chord the listener was not expecting you to go to, or talking to that radio DJ you’ve been too intimidated to submit music to. There’s many ways of taking risks, getting out of your comfort zone to elevate yourself and your work. I think of risks as necessary, hard and diverse moves every artists will need to make at least a handful of times in their careers. Be authentic, you’ll know what risks are worth it for you.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am the front-woman and principle songwriter of the Seattle based band The Black Tones, on air DJ at KEXP as host of Audioasis, and co host and co producer of the Seattle music video television show Video Bebop.
One of the things that I’m most proud of is how much we’ve been able to make this a family business. Yes, a rock band as a family business is AWESOME! When most people think of playing music, they’re hoping for a large fan base and of course that’s something The Black Tones hope for as well. But more than that, what’s important to us is a strong family base, because it’s from there that all significant things have come for us. The Black Tones was started by my twin brother Cedric and I rehearsing songs in our grandma’s basement, then playing several shows a week and maybe leaving with $20 from the door ticket purchases. We did shows just about everywhere we could, farmers markets, dive bars of course, basements (some of our favorite memories were basement shows), living rooms, backyards and even in a mattress store downtown. We said yes to everything!
This work is fun, empowering, uplifting as well as hard, tiring, exhausting and sometimes discouraging. You have to take it all if you know you love it enough. The grind and the hard work sometimes comes harder than other career fields when pursuing something like art and entertainment. The hard moments have been worth it for me.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Seattle has some really cool spots for sure! I love eating so let’s start there. Places we would eat throughout the week include Island Soul in the Columbia City neighborhood, Ooink is a tasty and unique ramen spot in the Capital Hill neighborhood, The Gerald in the Ballard neighborhood which has some of the best Korean dishes in the city and Billiard Hoang in south Seattle which is my husband and mine’s favorite Vietnamese spot.
Now for entertainment and hang outs, we of course would have to visit the historic Pike
Place Market, so many awesome local own businesses and delicious foods, the KEXP station (where I work) located by Seattle Center. Before the pandemic, you can see and hear the DJ’s live from the Gathering Space through a window as they spin music live on air, grab some coffee at the cafe and if there’s a live band recording an in studio that day, we have a viewing gallery for guests to watch the performance. As one of my coworkers put it, “it’s a radio disneyland!”. We hope to get all that going again on the other side of this pandemic. Another destination if you love museums is the Northwest African American Museum next to Jimi Hendrix Park, the Henry Art Gallery and MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture). Check out the local music scene and see shows at the many small to medium sized music venues to experience the local scene.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have quite a few shoutouts! Here we go!
*My twin brother, because The Black Tones would not exists if it wasn’t for him. He invested in me and my artistry and trusted and believed in me. He is the reason this whole thing is happening.
*My maternal grandparents for being such an important influence.
*My Mom who has always showed so much love and support in whatever it was we wanted to pursue.
*My sister who knew I wanted to sing, and invested in that and is always so loyal.
*My high school teacher Peter who put a guitar in my hands for the first time and taught me 0-5-3-0 (the blues).
*To Steve of the Seattle Drum School who let my brother and I practice at the drum school for free when there was an open room because I could no longer afford drum lessons, but he didn’t want that to keep me from playing drums or having access to the school.
*And I will end with the most recent addition to my support team, that being my husband Jake. Jake has done so much for me and my projects. He is always finding ways to support and network. When he sees there’s something I want to do, he’s always there to see how he can contribute to the goal. I love you sweetie!
Instagram: The Black Tones
Other: We have an 8-bit video game where you can play as us fighting hate groups. Based off our song The Key Of Black: www.theywantusdead.com
Photos taken by Danny Denial