Chicago-based collective **Evidence of a Struggle **presents their debut single ‘Do’Oa’, a wonderful fusion of sounds that recall the works of Tortoise and 4AD artist Dif Juz all at once. This spring of creativity offers the first taste of the forthcoming eponymous album, scheduled for release on June 9.
Cinematic, moody and invigorating, this initial sonic sculpture offers a beautiful introduction to the album that follows. The accompanying video was created by Chicago-based artist John Airo, who has been creating videos and album covers for this project, using the music to guide him in this process.
Surrounding the musings of multi-instrumentalist William P C Simmons V a.k.a. Rev. Billy Simmons, Evidence of a Struggle is an evolving group of artists and musicians whose sonic creations may lead you to the center of the darkness or just might unfurl the universe before you with lush, cinematic, beautiful, and sometimes chaotic compositions.
Evidence of a Struggle began in 2020 during lockdowns. This ambitious offering, comprised of 13 songs, sees Rev. Billy play every instrument – guitar, drums, piano, synth and violin – recorded and engineered from his home studio, The Glue Factory. When Covid restrictions were lifted, he began working with Sanford Parker (Voivod, Russian Circles, Yob, Eyehategod, Wovenhand, Darkthrone, Youth Code, Pelican), who helped produce and record the final versions of the songs for this record, as well as mastering.
Shaped by a wealth of records handed down from his older sisters and their boyfriends, coupled with a childhood of playing piano and clarinet until his first guitar acquisition at 16, Rev. Billy was quick to start playing with touring bands. After honing his craft and gaining invaluable experience, he elected to study music performance and guitar at Wichita State University, coupled with two and three-dimensional arts and silversmithing.
Noticed for his unique style and songcrafting, various musicians and labels began to notice Rev. Billy’s talent, and he ultimately had to choose between university and music. Beginning with RCA recording artist Ké, Simmons also wrote songs and played guitar for other artists on major record labels like RCA, Touch and Go, BMG and Universal.
In 2023, Matt Walker (of1000faces, Smashing Pumpkins, Morrissey, Garbage, Filter) became involved in this project, playing drums and helping with production with Matt’s brother Solomon Walker (Morrissey, Bryan Adams, Eastern Shadows, Year of the Rabbit) and Alan Berliant (Chris Connelly, Mavis Staples, Saint Asonia) also contributing bass.
Apart from music, Rev. Billy also owns a salon called Rev. Billy’s Chop Shop, known for its high-quality haircuts, friendly, welcoming atmosphere and inclusive, creative space, which hosts a new artists’ work bimonthly and was declared by Chicago Reader to be the city’s best gallery in 2019. A staple in the Chicago community, Rev. Billy’s Chop Shop is as strong a passion for him as his music.
As of April 5, the ‘Do’Oa’ single will be available from Bandcamp, where the full ‘Evidence of a Struggle’ album (out June 9) can already be pre-ordered. An Album Listening Party will take place on April 15 at Rev. Billy’s Chop Shop with gallery show featuring John Airo – a seeing and hearing experience, art from John Airo and its collaborative relationship with Evidence of a Struggle’s music. Show starts are 6:30, video reveal starts at 8pm.