EvilGiane is leading America’s cutting-edge rap scene

The Surf Gang producer talks cooking, roller coasters and pouring his emotions into his mixtape.

For Brooklyn producer EvilGiane, growing up in New York City was an invaluable education in music. I think it fully shaped my sound,” he says, Zooming in from a flat in Stratford, east London, while he visits the capital and buys lots of random Britain merch”.

Everyone comes to New York; there are so many styles and sounds that you’re exposed to.”

Over the last few years, Giane has become one of alternative rap’s most well-respected figures, not least because he founded the NYC-based collective Surf Gang in 2018. Starting out as a sprawling band of rappers and producers, its members met via skateboarding, channelling their gripes and angst at the world by landing tricks and sharing beats. Around three years ago, after throwing their first headline show, Giane realised they might be onto something. When people were putting us on their bill, nobody was coming to see us,” he says. Then when we put on our own show, hundreds of people showed up – it was in an abandoned lot, in the rain, and they still came. I was like, OK, this might be it.”

Surf Gang has since shed many of its members and remodelled into a producer collective and a label, releasing records by the likes of London poet-rapper John Glacier and Detroit electroclash duo Snow Strippers. Giane has been making beats for many years – having initially been inspired by seeing his dad making R&B and rap songs in his home studio – but it was in 2023 when things took a turn. He produced Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem’s Bon Iver-sampling track The Hillbillies, as well as Earl Sweatshirt’s atmospheric tune Making the Band (Danity Kane), on top of scoring collabs with Bktherula and PinkPantheress, to name a few.

To this day, collaboration is central to Giane’s practice. His latest mixtape, #HEAVENSGATE VOL. 1, includes a whole host of artists who are experimenting with rap flows, from Milwaukee rapper Durkalini to the cult LA artist 03 Greedo. Bursting with energy and challenging sonics, Giane’s production is always distinctive, yet he carefully pairs the beats with each artist’s individual style.

There are many different influences on this project,” he says. I made the songs over two years, and they represent me going through different phases of what I was fucking with at the time: happy beats, sad stuff, angry stuff, electronica. It’s a real mixture of my feelings.

It’s all about passion and willingness to experiment with sound,” Giane says. I don’t make other people type beats. Sometimes that makes collab’ing hard, but it’s worth it.”


What kinds of emotions and experiences influence your music?
It really depends. I make a lot of music when I’m upset, that’s when I’m the most motivated. I used to have anger problems, and I’d take those out with skating. Once I focused on music, that shit made me feel better. Making a fire beat, that’ll completely flip my mood.


What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?
My mom telling me: Whatever you wanna do, just do the fuck out of it.” Don’t half-ass shit. And if you do, you better finesse that shit. Word!


If you were cooking to impress someone, what would you make?
Bolognese. That’s my specialty. I can fry chicken, but I can only really make like, two different meals, for real.


What’s a bad habit you wish you could kick?
Paying attention to people’s opinions.


You rule the world for a day. What goes down?
I’d make food free, honestly.


What’s your earliest memory?
Going to Disney World and being hella young. I forget why we went, I think it was around Christmas. Walking in, seeing the magic castle… I loved it, even though I don’t remember much from that day. I’m not much of a rollercoaster person – I went on one the other day with my friends and it was scary as fuck, I was screaming and all types of shit. I thought I was gonna die. But after the fact, I felt alive.


Love, like, hate?
I love music. I like it when my friends succeed, that always makes me proud. I hate when people be talking shit about each other. That is annoying to be around. Unless you have a valid reason to talk shit, I don’t wanna hear it. Everyone likes a little gossip sometimes, but…


Favourite song of all time?
Right now, it’s gotta be Fat Albert by Veeze, for sure. Of all time, though? Grab Tha Gauge by Three 6 Mafia.


What’s the last lie you told?
Probably the other day, when I told my homies I would link up with them but I was hella jetlagged so I went back to sleep. Yeah, yeah, I’ll pop out in a couple hours, I’ll hit you up!” But I was knocked out.


What can artists do to help save the world?
Encourage more people to make art, no matter what type of art they’re trying to make. It makes everyone else happy. A lot of people are angry and take it out on others because they can’t express themselves. Art is the easiest way to do that.

Catch Evilgiane playing Trance Party on 1st March alongside Snow Strippers, Woesum (who’s on the tape) and loads of other great acts. Tickets here!

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