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Revival Season

Brandon 'Bez' Evans
Jonah Swilley

Foreseen by oracles and foretold by angels, the coming together of rapper Brandon “BEZ” (B Easy) Evans and beatmaker/producer Jonah Swilley was, by their own admission, a divine appointment. Both halves musically and spiritually forged in the twin flames of Georgia׳s Pentecostal churches and grassroots hip-hop scene, Revival Season tell straight-shooting tales of our golden age — chop, cops, badass bitches, self-snitches; drug-dealing and revolution — chronicling and critiquing the culture over baselines and beats that kick squarely in the teeth with a platform boot.

Having finished recording 2022’s Georgia Gothic with Mattiel Brown in their co-fronted rock’n’soul/garage outfit Mattiel, Swilley was looking for new collaborations, reaching out to friends who were making music. The pair already somewhat acquainted through the Georgia music scene, “B was the first person to hit me back with no questions asked.”

All four feet in with little hesitation, Revival Season unrolled beneath Evans and Swilley as if of its own accord: an instant rapport and creative chemistry — that unknowable, undefinable thing that flies between the most beautifully matched of songwriting duos — immediately giving rise to great music. Taking cues from Dan the Automator & Prince Paul’s Handsome Boy Modelling School and Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique — records which “showed me you can incorporate rock’n’roll with rap and it not be like Linkin Park” — Swilley’s dynamic, ever-shifting production is the force that suspends Evans’ words in flight, sharp and precise as an arrow straight from the lips.

“We kinda worked backwards, reverse-engineered a lot of songs”, explains Swilley. Taking the approach of a remixer, he would be sent isolated vocals, written by Evans to music his counterpart would never hear, “…and I’d build a track around what he was doing vocally, kind of fill it out rhythmically, using his vocal as an instrument, seeing how I could accompany that musically and make it serve the vocal.” 

Each element expertly balanced on the other, each creator an equal half of the whole, The Golden Age of Self-Snitching thrums with the fervent energy of creativity in perpetual motion, its sound constantly evolving — sometimes aerodynamic and slick (‘Last Dance’), sometimes jolting, glitchy and stuttering (‘The Path’), sometimes surprisingly jangly (a punk bass riff pops out of the slowly built ‘Look Out Below’ like a jack-in-the-box), and sometimes with a rattling, syncopated beat (‘Message in a Bottle’) — but never at a still.

Much in the spirit of Swilley’s teenage bedroom beatmaking, The Golden Age.. was pieced together largely self-sufficiently, written both remotely and in person, and recorded between a temporary studio space in a health centre and an ad-hoc setup in Swilley’s dining room. A skeleton team of outside musicians contributed additional parts — with Jordan Manly [Mattiel] and Rupert Brown [Roy Ayres, Raf Rundell] on drums, Shaheed Goodie on guest MC vocals for the jagged, spiralling ‘Pump’, and Raf Rundell [The 2 Bears], with whom Revival Season had previously made the Outernational mixtape (“equal parts Prince Paul and King Tubby”) on hand as “vibe consultant”, bringing additional production to a handful of tracks.

Rather than go with the flow, Revival Season have chosen to be bastions of the pioneering culture and sound which evolved around them in the mid-to-late nineties in the Southern States. “What I came up listening to turned out to be so pivotal” says Evans. “I was in Georgia during the time of Dungeon Family coming up, and that turned out to be a big shifting point in hip-hop. We heard a lot of this stuff before the world, the way of thinking, the way of dress, the movement, the sound, we were there for it…Prior to that the South was really gated out, and as time has progressed it’s become more of a dominant sound, where almost everything in the genre comes from that time period and the sound and the attitude that was built there. All that stuff was on the back of really strong principles, on the back of the home-cooked, country-fied, soulful background that was added into the hip-hop formula from the South.”

“Dungeon Family, OutKast, CeeLo, Organized Noize”, concurs Swilley, “…they kind of allowed for us to exist. We feel comfortable to do what we do now because of people like that, and I think we’re just trying to carry that torch.” Evans counters: “We are the torch!”

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Revival Season – Outernational (a mixtape)

Produced by Raf Rundell & Jonah Swilley
A mixtape hosted and mixed by Raf Rundell
Heavenly Recordings

“Good morning cold world, this is Revival Radio coming at you live with all killer and no filler, broadcasting live from the Bermuda Triangle…giving it to you just like you need, baby this DJ B EZ and I’m dropping another one with that hot funk for you right here on Revival Radio…”

Picture the scene. Three men – rapper BEZ, producer Jonah and vibes provider Raf are on a fishing trip in the Bermuda Triangle. They become shipwrecked and their SOS broadcast turns into something more like a pirate radio operation. Contained within their transmissions to the outside world are salty versions, unreleased freestyles and wide open seas of echoes. Maybe the heavy energy of the sound they’re creating will be enough to get their boat moving. Until then, they are outernationals, borderless in their pursuits. Tune in and become a castaway yourself.

Outernational is a 28 minute mixtape that’s equal parts Prince Paul and King Tubby; a royal smash up of loops, riffs, rhymes and riddims written by Revival Season and assembled by Raf Rundell (O.M. Days/The 2 Bears).

Revival Season released their debut single Iron Warrior in the summer of 2021. Like that track, Everybody was recorded and produced by Atlanta based musician Jonah Swilley. Jonah has worked with Curtis Harding, Night Beats and is a founding member of Mattiel’s band. He also makes music for his own production label, Sugar Records. Raf Rundell previously produced a set of dubs for Mattiel, released as the Georgia Gothic Dubs EP in spring 2022.

Words: Diva Harris.


Golden Age Of Self Snitching
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Revival Season