The Trippin Mixes, Vol. 32: Evissimax



    The Milan-based artist is the latest to grace our flagship mix series, and she does so with a buoyant and relentlessly hard and fast entry.

    Italo-Nigerian artist Evissimax is a selector whose sound pulls from her African and European heritage, learning towards the former in particular. Her buoyant, slinky and high-energy sound has seen her hold down radio slots on platforms such as Foundation FM and Oroko, powering through with blends of Jersey club, ghetto house and ghettotech, as well as footwork, R&B and hard house. In her X (formerly Twitter) bio, she succinctly sums up her sound as “hot music for hot people”.

    Most recently, she’s released the ravey ghettotech and footwork cut Lowkey Slut via Funclab Records – the second single from her upcoming debut EP REBOOT-Y. Ahead of her first EP, she stitches together a Trippin Mix made up of the sounds she’s currently got on rotation. Below, we catch up with the artist to talk her EP, the Milanese club scene and what the perfect getaway trip looks like.

    Check out her guide on where to eat and drink in Milan.

    Hi Eva. Whereabouts are you now?

    Hiiii, I’m in Milan in my cute and cosy lil kitchen.

    How did you get into DJing?

    About two years ago I attended a beginner-friendly DJing workshop organised by a female collective called Slipmode in Milan. I knew the girls organising it and thought, why not? Just a lil cute, fun thing to do. I never imagined I would fall in love the moment I put my hands on a deck. I literally bought my first tiny controller that same day and felt like it was what I was meant to do. Until that day, nothing in my life felt quite right for me career-wise. I’m a very instinctive person, so I quit everything and decided to fully dedicate myself to DJing. I could really feel that it was what I was meant to do. And now, two years down the line, I can say with 100 percent certainty that it was the absolute best decision of my life.

    Where did you record this mix?

    I recorded it in my bedroom. That’s where I record all my mixes and prepare all my sets. Quite literally the bedroom DJ meme.

    What was your thinking behind the mix?

    I was super gassed about this mix and remade it way too many times [laughs], but that’s because I really wanted it to describe the current me. It's a blend of all the genres I currently love: from Afro to electro to ghetto to hard groove and hard house and techno, a bunch of different stuff mixed together – which is how I would describe myself. Overall, with my mixes, I try to create a space where we’re distracted from the outside world, and we’re all together to dance and sweat away our worries, to go back home happier and lighter.

    Was music around you growing up?

    I’m Italo-Nigerian, so in my household there were a bunch of different influences. My Nigerian mother introduced me to Afrobeat, Afro jazz – with 2Face, P-Square, Fela Kuti and Lagbaja – to hip-hop with Ja Rule (had a massive crush on him as kid), and Tupac, and then all the queens of music from Whitney Houston to Sade. On my Italian dad side, he was into 70s and 80s rock like The Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa and Italian songwriters like Vasco Rossi and Fabrizio De André. So that’s why when I was a teenager I was a lil emo/scene girl living in Nigeria, and would go from Wizkid to Black Veil Brides to Kendrick Lamar in the same playlist [laughs].

    Where did you start off playing and are there any turning points within your career that propelled you to where you are now?

    I was very lucky right off the bat, and immediately started playing in clubs. Living in Milan for almost 10 years now and already being a part of the nightlife (I used to work at a club), once people started seeing I was so serious about DJing, they gave me an opportunity. First and foremost my label, Funclab Records, that signed me, and all my DJ friends that gave me lessons. I was so persistent in learning as much as I could.

    The moment I realised, oh shit I can actually do this, were two gigs I had in the beginning of my career. They were literally my third and fourth gigs ever. One of them was playing for a crowd of around 4,000 people at a small festival in Milan. Obviously no one was there for me, they were there for the bigger artists that performed, but I was closing and at the end of my set, seeing a sea of people applauding was mind blowing for me. I had to slap myself to believe it was real [laughs].

    The second moment was a few days later. I played at this party called Oneshot. I was so, so nervous, but there was a moment where I played a track – it was an edit of My Humps by The Black Eyed Peas – and as I was mixing in the track I slowly start coming of out my nervous bubble and realise that literally everyone in the club was dancing. Then, once the song dropped, everyone went crazy. I couldn’t believe it. I still get chills whenever I think about it or rewatch the videos from that night, but to see everyone so happy and having fun during my set was so heartwarming for me ‘cause that’s literally all I want and all I try to do: create a fun club experience.

    Your mixes tend to draw from a range of genres around the world, beyond Milan where you’re based. Which scenes around the world are inspiring you now?

    I’ve always been inspired by Black, Afro musical culture around the world. Coming from an African background I always look for a certain rhythm in my mixes, something that makes you want to move and let go. I’ve always been a big fan of the ghetto house, footwork, juke scene in Chicago. Ghetto house, ghettotech are the genres I feel like most resonate with me; explicit lyric samples from rap or pop songs on fast beats is what I live for [laughs]. Also when I watched the Teklife documentary and saw the dance culture behind it, it reminded me so much of Nigeria. Some of the dance moves are similar and it just kinda felt like home.

    What’s been your most life-changing travel experience?

    I actually haven’t travelled that much. I grew up between Italy, Nigeria and Ghana, but just recently started going to other countries, thanks mostly to my DJing. Going to Finland and Iceland very soon, can’t wait.

    I would say the most life changing was the move from Italy to Nigeria when I was 13. That really made me into a different person, the best experience of my life. Not having to deal with racism, being surrounded by most of my family, being in warm weather, eating the best mangos, eating Nigerian food everyday truly made those some of the best years of my life. Also Nigerians are the best people in world; funniest, insane strength and willpower, and they’re super direct (you really need to have tough skin to live in Nigeria, it’s not for the overly sensitive, I’ve warned ya). I've learned a lot, changed a lot, and to this day, I still thank my parents for making that decision.

    What was your experience of Ghana like and has it shaped you as an artist?

    I lived in Ghana for three years, my parents still live there actually. I feel like growing up a bit there and in Nigeria really shaped my music taste and what I look for when I select songs or prepare a set. I search for a certain rhythm that stems from an Afro background, even when I play techno [laughs].

    What drew you back to Italy, and Milan, in particular?

    I actually didn’t want to move back to Italy, I had all intentions to move to Scotland for university. Don’t know why, but I was drawn [in] by the scenery. For bureaucratic reasons, moving to the UK for uni seemed impossible. My dad suggested I move back to Italy and the only city I would have lived in was Milan, just because it seemed like the most international.

    I have to say that I’m happy I made that decision, probably wouldn’t be here responding to these questions if I moved to Scotland [laughs].

    Is there anything within your surroundings in Milan that’s inspiring you creatively at the moment?

    In Milan what inspires me the most are my friends. We’re all very passionate about music, so just sharing what we’re all really into recently or going to parties that maybe I wouldn’t gravitate towards, is what pushes me the most creatively. Being introduced to new genres and worlds by my friends.

    Milan is a fashion capital. Does style play a role in your artistry?

    Style, I feel like, indirectly plays a role in my music. I come from an emo-Nollywood baddie background [laughs] so my overall aesthetic is a bit reminiscent of that. You can hear it a lot in my overall selection.

    Do you have any party recommendations for Milan?

    I obviously need to shoutout the fam Funclab Records, it’s the label and collective I’m a part of but before being one of the team I was just a fan of the events they organised. I love how they lay out their events, from calling different artists from different parts of Italy and also international guests for both the lives and DJ sets. They offer a full experience for people that enjoy concerts and also clubbing, they don’t stick to a specific genre or type of guests, and that’s very refreshing.

    Spiritual Sauna is also one of my favourites in the city. They offer a safe space for the queer community and honestly just everyone to have a safe and fun clubbing experience. I also love the curation of their events, they call a lot of maybe more “underground” artists for both live and DJ sets from all over the world, so it’s really cool to also discover new artists this way. The vibe is very much rave hardcore fun.

    Gatto Verde is a pretty recent party in Milan, the first party was, I think, less than two years ago, but it immediately became one of my faves. Incredible curation and DJ selection, love the location and the crowd is one of the best in Milan.  Everyone is just there for the music and nothing else, which these days is very refreshing.

    I also plan to create my own clubbing experience in Milan and do my part to offer variety and a safe space for the queer and Black community, and everyone else to have a great time. My plan is to make everyone sweat their asses off and go home satisfied about the experience, which is also what I try to do with my DJ sets. So I’m currently also working on that, but there’s already been a lil taste with my street club event.

    What can we expect from your debut EP?

    Expect Evissimax [laughs]. What I mean by that is that this EP, being my debut, is truly me and the journey of who I am and every song reflects a different moment of my DJ sets and of my musical background. The first track, OTT, is a homage to my mother; it’s named after her and has a more Afro-Fersey feel with electro influences. And the last track, DJ LULLABY, is a more trance song – more melodic and dreamy – and in between there’s so much more. Me and my co-producer Ayce Bio worked so hard to make an EP that was fun and bouncy, filled with hard hitting drums and sexy vocals and different genres blending together.

    The whole creative experience was wonderful; writing and singing in all the tracks, except in OTT (we actually sampled my mom <3); working with Ayce Bio who is a phenomenal producer and truly understood my vision and helped me put this whole EP together. I’m so, so proud of what we made and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

    Can you walk me through the track Loud Whisper?

    It started out as a ghettotech homage. I really love the track Whisper Song by the Ying Yang twins, and was inspired by them to make the track. I loved the lyrics and the idea of whispering on a fast paced beat – that’s also the inspiration behind the title. I’m a sucker for a good oxymoron [laughs]. At first, I didn’t think to sing or put my own voice on the track but Ayce Bio suggested it, and once we heard the version with my voice, that’s when we knew we had it. Loud Whisper is what also inspired me to sing in all the tracks of the EP.

    Which artists from which scenes around the world should we be paying attention to right now?

    The whole Brazilian scene is killing it lately, there’s a bunch of incredible producers coming from there. Some of my faves are Cyberkills and Mary D. The new kings of the ghetto, footwork, juke scene in America to me are DJ SWISHA and bastiengoat. The best Afro producer I’ve ever heard from Ghana, Gafacci, he’s incredible. The Georgian ghetto electro scene is underrated in my opinion; there's a great label called Your Character that has some of my favorite tracks and artists in that genre. Also, honourable shoutout to the Milanese club scene that’s growing day by day, mostly thanks to producers and DJs like Miss Jay and St.grimes.

    What’s your best travel story?

    When I was 17 a flight attendant proposed to me on a flight [laughs]. It happened on a flight from Nigeria to Ghana and this grown ass man was deadass asking my mother for my hand in marriage, talking about what tribe he was from and that he would take care of me. He was like 25, I was too stunned to speak. To this day, one of my weirdest experiences.

    What’s your idea of a perfect getaway?

    Any solo trip anywhere. I really love travelling with friends and all, but there’s something about going to a new city or country, not knowing anyone and kind of being forced to go out of your comfort zone, I love it. So my absolute dream getaway would probably be a solo trip to a warm country where I can eat an insane amount of mangos, fish and drink sweet cocktails by the beach.


    Amen the Producer – GET TF AWF MAH PORCH

    Gutta! – Get Low

    Arma – Clap Trak

    Miss Jay – @t the Club

    Wilhelmina – Respirator

    Aloka – Young Mighty

    Yemz – Dolce

    Girl Tool – Move Order

    RAVL – Pondering My Orb

    Lee Gamble – Shards

    Mezer the Architect – RIMTO 001


    DJ Deeon – House-O-Matic

    DJ Swisha – Self Charging

    DJ Fresh – Twerkulator

    Evissimax & Ayce Bio – Loud Whisper

    Mutable Mercury – Lost in Chaos

    HEDO HYDR8 – BLOOD DANCER (Amor Satyr Remix)

    DJ YumYum – Insolent Soundbwoi

    Azan Caro – The Prince is a Chick

    Jensen Interceptor – Half Life

    2AT x Sukubratz – Tu Perrito

    WOST – Teketeke

    Constantine – Assquake

    Andrew Juke – EOS

    We Rob Rave – Bodymotion

    DJ Hess – Uh?

    BCAA – Vorne Links

    Amadeezy – Go Berserk (bastienGOAT Remix)

    HNGVR & UnoTurbo – Washing Machine

    t e s t p r e s s – Love Sosa

    KE-YEN – Push the Button