A York musician sat down with The Press to talk about the local music scene, where he finds inspiration and his new EP.

Rowan Evans moved to York two years ago from Coventry and since then has played at various venues in the city and formed a band, Rowan and Friends. 

He describes his music as ‘folky pop’.

The 25-year-old cited folk musician Richard Dawson and lo-fi indie band Neutral Milk Hotel as early influences.

More recently Rowan says he’s been inspired by indie bands The Mountain Goats and Big Thief.

He spoke to The Press two months after Rowan and Friends’ first EP 5 Golden Greats was released.

York Press: Rowan Evans Rowan Evans (Image: Dylan Connell)

“It was a good experience – they’re all songs I really like and the band likes to play,” Rowan says.

The EP opens with Skeldergate, a track telling the tale of a pair discussing “wasting their life” on the “most miserable street in York”.

Rowan admits that he doesn’t have an issue with Skeldergate, instead the lyric comes from a friend’s guide to York book.

In it an architect calls Skeldergate the “saddest street” in the city.

“He really hated (Skeldergate) because they knocked down lots of buildings,” Rowan says.

'It’s quite chaotic – that’s the only way to do it'

Passing conversations and books are some of the things the musician takes inspiration from when writing songs.

But Rowan says the main thing driving his songwriting is everyday life.

“It could be anything – it’s just being open to explore anything,” he explains.

For songwriting, Rowan says he has no set process – sometimes he starts with lyrics and other times it’s a melody.

“It depends on the day,” Rowan continues.  

“It’s quite chaotic – that’s the only way to do it.

“You’ve got to be ready for the ideas whenever they come.

“My phone is disgustingly full of notes and I have scraps of paper everywhere – there’s no organisation but it works.”

'It all centres around The Golden Ball'

Rowan spoke to The Press in The Golden Ball where he performs every month with his band.

He hails the Bishophill pub as the beating heart of York’s music scene.

“It all centres around The Golden Ball – a lot of us all come for the open mic night,” Rowan says.

The pub’s open mic night takes place every Monday from 8pm.

“It’s a weekly event that you know will be there – you know you’re going to hear something new and exciting,” he adds.

Rowan met most of his bandmates at The Golden Ball.

York Press: Rowan Evans on stage at The Crescent Rowan Evans on stage at The Crescent (Image: Rowan Evans)

Since then, they’ve performed headline shows at The Crescent, and gigged around England, including in London, Brighton, Manchester and Coventry.

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On the shows at The Crescent, Rowan says: “It was really great – it’s probably one of my favourite venues.”

He describes the venue as a “home spot” as it was the first venue he performed at when further down the bill.

Looking ahead, Rowan and Friends plan to release their first album in February.

To keep up with the band follow them on Instagram (@rowan.and.friends).