There is something wonderful about an artist who instead of writing a novel, can convey an eclectic array of emotion in a sentence.
The same can be said for Frederick-Based Singer and Songwriter Jarik Hieroynums, who under the moniker “Evvy Shark” released “Ms. Liza’s Psychic Hotline” in March through Grimalkin Records.
Its runtime is about 10 minutes, but within are sex-crazed electronica, broken-hearted folk numbers and psychedelic instrumentals that can make you want to dance and cry your eyes out at the same time.
Shark’s humor is evident throughout the album, as evident in the title track—a love letter to late-night television psychics. “Ms. Liza can you hear me/the psychic link between us,” sings Shark. “I’m crying out to love and be loved/I swear it’s written in the stars.”
There’s a universal loneliness conveyed here through the chuckles of falling in love with the “Miss Cleo” type, that only a songwriter mature enough as Shark can pull off.
The instrumentation of Psychic Hotline is reminiscent of early Dan Deacon records, or even ‘90s video game arrangements.
“Squeezed Like Grape” sounds like it could be the background music to the Beach Stage in Streets of Rage 2. This is not a put-down, as for one, Streets of Rage 2’s soundtrack slaps, and it plays into a certain nostalgia that works in the song’s favor.
As equally impressive as the record itself, is that Shark has music video accompaniments to every track on the album. The videos are surreal, and feature Shark in bloodied-up clown makeup, cigarette butts, flowers and other surreal, captivating images.
There is an option to listen to the music by itself, but the listener would be performing a disservice to themselves, as watching the videos while listening creates an experience they probably won’t be able to replicate by any other medium.
We recently caught up with Shark.
Q: It’s quite an eclectic record lyrically and musically, if there was a common theme throught the record you wanted to convey, what would it be?
ES: There’s more of a feeling I’d like the record to convey than a discernible theme, which is a feeling of random and successive thoughts, like when a mind is racing. The record happened because a friend of mine was sending me song titles to write songs for, and I just ran with the first ideas that popped into my head. The songs on the album were the ones that took shape effortlessly, and felt like they were being channeled from some “other place”, like a psychic premonition that flitters through your head for no reason.
Q: What’s your favorite track on the album and why?
ES: I think “Weight (A Minute)” is my favorite. It came from the sadder side of nostalgia. I wrote it before COVID hit, and I think the words have taken on a greater meaning throughout the pandemic – we’re just now seeing live music starting to make a comeback, for example. And it also feels true in my own experience of sometimes being unable to express an important thought or feeling – searching for the ability to say what’s inside trying anything to put you in a vulnerable mindset to push past whatever is holding you back.
Q: You’ve played in Franklin County before – how was that show and how are Franklin County audiences compared to other parts of the state?
ES: I’ve played twice in Franklin County – the first time I was performing under the name Sun Dogs – I call it an Evvy Shark prototype. It was kind of a disaster. I was incredibly nervous and messed up throughout the show. The people there were so kind and wonderful to me – they didn’t care at all that I messed up so bad – they were just happy for the music. The second time was one of the only Evvy Shark shows I played, and it went much smoother – people were dancing and really hanging on every second. I don’t experience that too often – it was rad.
Q: Who are some musical artists you admire, both on a local and national level?
ES: I really, really love Artifact Youth. They are such a talented and beautiful person, and an amazing collaborator. Everything they touch is fantastic. On a national level, the artist WORMMOTHER is absolutely amazing, I had the privilege of editing a music video for her, she’s a harsh noise/experimental rapper from NJ, a really powerful performer and an even more powerful writer.
Q: Anything you want to add?
ES: Check out Grimalkin Records on bandcamp.com – they have released the work of so many different artists from all over the world. Their catalog is incredibly diverse, and they don’t miss ever. You’d be hard-pressed not to find something you love in their catalog.
To listen to Ms. Liza’s Psychic Hotline by Evvy Shark, please visit https://grimalkinrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ms-lizas-psychic-hotline.
Ethan Larsh is a local songwriter, musician and journalist who has played his original music across the country. His work has been featured in “Glide Magazine, Tinnitist” and numerous other publications. If you are a musician and would like him to feature your work in Local.News’ Music Monday, contact him at [email protected]