Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Feel Good Music: Nightmares On Wax’s Favourite Albums

Following the release of his new album Feelin' Good, NOW's George Evelyn distils his crate-digging exploits into 13 top records

"I’m a music fan first and foremost," chuckles George Evelyn, aka DJ EASE aka Nightmares On Wax, in his thick Yorkshire brogue over a dodgy Skype line from Santa Gertrudis, the village in Ibiza that has been his home for the past few years. Evelyn’s Nightmares On Wax are the longest serving act on the Warp Records roster, starting out as bleep-techno pioneers with friend and fellow breakdancer Kevin Harper in 1990. Their first single, ‘Dextrous’, is a seminal British dance track, selling more than 30,000 copies and making the Top 75. Harper left after the release of their debut album, A Word Of Science, to concentrate on DJing, leaving Evelyn to take Nightmares On Wax into more laidback territory with a series of album releases over the past 20 or so years that have incorporated the sounds of hip-hop, dub, reggae, funk, soul and trip hop – influences that are reflected in Evelyn’s choices for his Baker’s Dozen.

The latest album, Feelin’ Good, is the first NOW release for five years, and is a subtle evolution on his soulful excursions, with the contributions of the German jazz drummer Wolfgang Haffner (who Evelyn met when he was playing percussion on the beach in Formentera) taking it into more cosmic territory. Evelyn is clearly in a very good place now having made Ibiza his home. His daughter goes to school in the village and as well as continuing his recording career, Evelyn runs the renowned Wax Da Beach party and a club night called Wax Da Jam on the island.

For Evelyn, Feelin’ Good is not just the title of the album; it is a state of being that he is keen to expand on. “Making this album has been a much freer experience and, musically, I think this is what I’ve been trying to say all along. I’ve really put myself on the line with my heart and my soul,” he explains. “I’ve found out so much about who I am. I was really nervous delivering it to Warp, but it’s great to feel like that! It feels like the beginning, though I don’t want to take away anything from what I’ve done in the past. I’ve been reflecting on certain aspects of my music and my career and remembering, ‘Shit! When I made that song I was feeling amazing! I was feeling good! Do you remember when we did that show? And do you remember when we went out and partied and heard that record?’ And I was like, ‘These are all moments of feeling good.’ So then I started thinking about how feeling good is so important. Feeling good is a state of being. Some people might think that’s a bit cheesy but I don’t care! I’m being honest. I’m buzzing off this record."

And it’s not just his new album that Evelyn is buzzing off – it’s obvious that compiling his Baker’s Dozen has been a joyful experience and you can hear the enthusiasm and love in Evelyn’s voice as he talks through his choices. “It was actually really great to do, even though it was in the midst of me being really busy,” he explains. “As I started going through it, I realised what certain albums meant to me. If I’d had a bit more time, I could have gone a bit deeper, but this is what I’ve come with.”

Feelin’ Good is out now on Warp Records. Nightmares On Wax play The Scala in London on November 7 and the Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds on November 9; for tickets, head here. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through Evelyn’s choices

First Record

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