A new vibe

Singer/songwriter Derrien brings together up-and-coming local acts with Goodforthesoul productions

Singer/songwriter Derrien.

For the local music scene in Chico to remain vital, there has to be new blood injected from time to time. There also has to be a handful of people who are putting energy into keeping the happenings happening, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness the moment when a young instigator’s efforts break through, creating a new a new vein of possibilities for them and the scene. Derrien Evans appears to be on the cusp of his moment. The singer/rapper/songwriter—who goes by his first name only on stage—has been cultivating something new for the past two years, promoting his own music as well as an eclectic roster of young artists via a regular series of shows and mini-festivals under the Goodforthesoul banner. Earlier this month, it was a 12-act marathon hosted by Idea Fabrication Labs, and this weekend it’ll be a seven-performer bill at Coin-Op in downtown Chico (Saturday, April 27, 5 p.m.).

The artists on the bills range from DJs and rappers to rock bands and budding pop singers, many with names—People at the Grocery Store, Naked Racoon, Popular Noise—that are not-yet-familiar to local audiences outside of college parties.

Evans moved here (from the Los Angeles harbor city of Carson) in 2019 to attend Chico State, and last week the CN&R sat down for an interview with him to find out more about the 23-year-old media-arts major who has been making so much noise since he’s come to town.

CN&R: Why Chico?

Derrien Evans: My drama teacher in high school graduated from Chico, so he gets everyone who comes through his department to apply to Chico. I had friends who [visited Chico], but I missed the trip. Everyone I talked to said it was really nice up here. I just kind of winged it. No one warned me about the heat!

Were you making music before you moved here?

No, [not until] I came up here. I had roommates who would do music, so I would just watch them do it for a bit, and finally threw myself in there. It just, kind of stuck. I’ve always wanted to do music, I’ve just never known where to start.

On one of your social media pages you say, “I’m not a rapper; I’m an artist.” What do you mean by that?

I do have rap songs. I just don’t want to put myself in a box, because I do have, like, country songs that I want to make. If I do do that, I don’t want everyone to be so shocked.

Do you find audiences are open to that approach?

It’s a little harder. But once you find your crowd and your people who are open to it, I feel like you can’t do any wrong.

Tell me about your new single/video, “Find a Way to be Happy.”

We did the video in the Chico State photography basement. I did [the song] in my closet. We used to have a studio we would record at. It was called The Kitchen, over on Salem Street. It closed down. So, back to making music in my closet. That [song] is more of the stuff I want to start doing.

How did the Goodforthesoul productions start?

All my friends in rap, we started a collective called Sin City Records. We threw one party one night, and it turned out pretty good. I wanted to another one, and no one wanted to work on it, so I was the only one putting it together. When I finally did it, I called it Goodforsoul because I had an an EP [of the same name] coming out the week of the party. It was a great turnout, we had a lot of people come through, a couple of bands played for it. So, I just kept on going from there. Something about the name just stuck—Goodforthesoul.

Anything you look for in the acts you book?

I just try and find a couple headlining bands—whatever band is poppin’ right now. I like getting indie artists, solo artists, sometimes rappers. Every once in awhile, I’ll do an all-rap show. Those are fun.

Online flier for a 2022 Goodforthesoul show.

With so many young acts playing on the Goodforthesoul bills, do you feel like a scene is developing?

I’d say so. We’ve got our own crowd of people for sure that I’m starting to notice. When I first started doing it, I was just hoping people would pull up. Now I feel like there are dedicated people who I know will come. I like where we’re heading right now.

So far, what’s your favorite show you’ve put on?

I had one in August, [during] Welcome Week, and that one was pretty good. We had a good turnout, and probably the most amount of vendors I’ve gotten to sign up, too. It just looks really nice. We had the bands going on one side, and a whole bunch of vendors on the other side—like a festival dynamic. I was just sitting back and looking at it. This one felt really vibe-like. That’s the thing I’ve been trying to do, so I feel like it’s finally starting to take off.

The next Goodforthesoul music fest, with seven acts, Saturday, April 27, 6 p.m. (doors at 5 p.m.), at Coin-Op (229 Broadway). All-ages until 9 p.m. No cover.

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