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TRACK BY TRACK: Ben Evolent On How The Northern Territory Helped Shape His New Album

9 July 2020 | 4:58 pm | Ben Evolent

North Territory artist Ben Evolent (aka Joshua Tarca) dropped his new album 'Wanderous' last week. Here, he shares how his home state helped shaped the album.

There are always those moments in life where you sit and wonder ‘where the hell am I going? Where the hell will I end up?’ Then, while you are living out those moments, wondering, questioning, you have that incredible whole body shiver that just reassures you that you are where you’re meant to be. 

Wanderous is the culmination all of this. It is the product of years of meandering, and the influence of my eventual home – Australia’s Northern Territory.

It is here that I stopped for a breath. And although Wanderous is about the wonder of wandering, it is also very much an ode to here. It was written in the room of my home I like to call ‘the music room’ – or at least it was before it was hijacked, by my two children who came into the world in the room next to it.

The Territory is so very diverse. It’s a melting pot of culture; it’s weather changes at a frenetic pace on the daily… and the landscape changes every time you look out the window. This diversity is present throughout the album in each of the songs; an ode to what its like to live here in the tropical north from the monsoonal rains to the long dry days.

The lead track Hotel Shelter is definitely the monsoonal rain. I was inspired to pen the track while doing a small photoshoot in a derelict building for my EP, Next Time. This was a place which, in its former glory would’ve been bustling with people and business, but was now sitting somewhat dormant amongst the graffiti, dust with an even greater purpose: providing some much needed shelter for the homeless. A hotel of shelter.

Golden Age and Wander are definitely the beautiful dry season. They are the glory of taking the road less travelled. They are sitting, watching the sunset fall on over a billabong, in complete contentment. Both songs speak to the traveller and the beauty and simplicity of simply being. The Territory is a bit of an unknown to so many and gives you this feeling of discovering something for the first time. That’s the feeling I wanted to capture in Golden Age.

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Cards is the succession of rainy days – like when a good monsoon hits it lasts for several days. It’s a song that comes from a deep sentimental place. I remember quietly fingerpicking this song as the rain fell outside thinking it was simply too simple to get on the record. But with the gentle 'pitter patter', my mind went deep into a hole, thinking of the struggle and heartache of finding oneself. I always find myself in a state of reflection when the rain hits, it reminds me of the years spent living in a tent and the will to go on and survive.

The cyclone is White Lillies. Although only having lived through one cyclone (Marcus in Feb 2015), I have felt the precursor of stillness, the anger and the aftermath. This song is ferocious and lyrically the words I find hard to vocalise in conversation.

Your typical Mitchell Street madness inspired Casanova. It represents the male and female quest for Saturday night hook-ups. This is the build up season. When it looks 100 percent like it will rain, but alas the only place it rains is in your pores as humidity creeps to 90 percent.

Territorian’s, I think, are at their happiest when they see the dragonflies come out. It signals the start of the dry season – and a whole lot less sweat. This is Happiness, the result of some very and hard emotive work. It’s the oldest song on the record and it’s a song I still love to sing for its sentiment - "If happiness is more or less / Our lives you won’t have to swallow it whole". And that is where I’ll leave it.