Exclusive Interview with Alan “Snoop” Evans

I recently had the pleasure of discussing life and musicality with gospel bassist, Alan “Snoop” Evans, from Detroit, MI. Snoop is a 30 year old phenom that has taken the gospel music industry by storm with his unique approach to playing bass. As is customary in the black church, Snoop began playing drums in church at the tender age of 7 with his mom and dad who are both great musicians, respectively. Snoop quickly began to grow as a musician by watching his uncles and aunts play at his Grandfather’s church, New Christ Temple, in Detroit. Snoop currently plays bass and drums at Open Door COGIC, where his father is the pastor.

Gerald: How often do you practice? What is your practice routine?

Snoop: I practice whenever I get the chance and for any length of time needed. My practice routine varies from day to day. Some days I listen and learn popular gospel songs just to have them memorized. Other days I practice thumping and playing difficult time signatures, I go to sheds as much as I can. I practice a lot of Jazz for depth and Improvisation. I listen to pop music to learn how to simplify my playing and before playing any of these things I practice scales, licks, chops with a metronome which can take hours in itself.

Gerald: How have your practice habits changed as you have matured in music?

Snoop: When I first started playing I practiced all day everyday then as I started gigging more I would still practice often.  The more I played for people it made me practice something different. For the last 2 1/2 years I’ve been working  on my dexterity which makes me practice every minute I get.

Gerald: Describe your “signature sound.” Do you have a style that is easy to identify? Or does your sound change depending upon the music?

Snoop: I try to be versatile depending on what song I’m playing. I want people to be inspired when they hear me so I try to think outside the box on certain songs, but I definitely tone it down when needed cause I never want to come off busy or inexperienced. I want someone to have to check the credits to see if I’m playing a song so I can keep people guessing.

Gerald: What has been your most embarrassing moment as a bassist?

Snoop: My most embarrassing moment was when I was playing for a choir called Power of Praise from Detroit. In the middle of the concert I went totally blank for about a minute and I stopped playing. I could not get my train of thought together (lol).

Gerald: What do you feel has been the greatest moment of your music career?

Snoop: The Greatest moment would be when I played at The Experience in Lagos, Nigeria. Its mind blowing to play in front of 100,000 worshiping Christians, plus an additional 350,000 in an overflow stadium.

Gerald: How did you learn the bass? Did you attend music school? Private lessons?

Snoop: I learned to play bass by ear in church. My dad is an organist so I would try to mimic his foot on bass. I listened to tapes, videos, cd’s and I watch people that  I admire.

Gerald: Who has been your biggest musical influence?

Snoop: My biggest musical influence is Eddie Brown. I’m trying to get to the place where I can play whatever I hear whenever I hear it, no matter what speed, setting or style it may be….. Eddie can do that. He has an uncanny amount of wisdom in music, and he has the discipline of where and when to use it.

Gerald: How long have you played with Fred Hammond?

Snoop: I been playing for Fred for over 6 years.

Gerald: Playing for Fred Hammond, is there added pressure to perform since Fred plays bass?

Snoop: When I first started playing for Fred I definitely felt pressure because of the musical standard he has set, and the top notch bass players he had before me. Now its no longer pressure but I never want to get complacent in my playing.

Gerald: What are the top 3 skills every bass player should have?

Snoop: First and foremost you gotta learn to play with a band. Knowing your part and the role you play in music is critical. Knowing how to play with a band makes you valuable and you will get work. Secondly,  (a)I would say to play from your heart. I used to be so critical of what I was playing until I wasn’t enjoying the music I was taking part in. When you play from your heart , you and the people listening to you will enjoy the music that your making. #2 (b) Learn to think like an Organist/Keyboardist. An Organist/Keyboardist loves to play with a bass that hears different notes in the chord instead of the root note. Your bass note can change the sound of the chord.  Thirdly, I would say to have a basic knowledge of your instrument, such as, knowing your notes, learning the number system, being fluent when it comes to scales and different styles of music and I can’t leave out having a good attitude. You can have all these skills  and no one will want anything to do with you if you don’t have work ethic and a good attitude.

Gerald: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

Snoop: In 5 years, I can see myself doing a cd, or an instructional dvd of some sort. In 10 years I can see myself working more in production aspects of music, but I will never stop playing!

Gerald: Who are the young musicians in your city that GospelChops should look at?

Snoop: Look of for my dude Bernard Bino Brinkley on bass he’s monstrous. Everyone already knows the bass prodigy Brandon Rose. My dude Joe Otis on drums and keys. He’s a freak of nature. And my lil’ nephew Ronald “Too Man” Hill on drums, were training him up (lol).

Gerald: Give some advice to young gospel musicians around the world that want to be in
your shoes.

Snoop: I encourage every young musician to stay humble, and play cause you love it and not to be seen. People see me on stage now, but they don’t see the years of practicing and shedding in my room. There are NO shortcuts. Put in the work and dedication and it will pay off.

Gerald: Do you have any shout outs?

Snoop: I want to give a shout out to my first musical influences, my mom and dad Alan and Shernetta Evans and to the Upshaw family for their musical influence. All my hometown heroes Thomas Whitfield (RIP), Rudolph Stanfield, Dameon Brown, Eddie Brown, Eddie Moore, David Berry, Dana Davis, Vincent Fitzgerald, Ivan Woodard, DeAndre D-Bass Thomas, Charles Volley Craig, Terrence Palmer, Marcus Abernathy, Joe Otis, Byron Stanfield, J Drew, CJ, Bino, Curtis Pearson, Robert Cranford, Ken Smith, Roy Henderson, Reggie Mctaw (RIP), Cordell Walton, HotSauce, Demetrius Paul, Leon Paul, Mike Harrington, Bamm Davis, and too many more to name. Then there’s Joel Smith, Andrew Gouche, Jonathan Dubouse, Spanky Alford (RIP), Hadrien Feraud, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Jaco, Robert Bubby Lewis, Dana Hawkins, Eric Brice, Maurice Fitzgerald, Calvin Rodgers, Phillip Feaster, Lawrence Jones, Darius Fentress, Tony Russell, Rodney Jones, (pretty much every musician from chicago, LA, ATL, Dallas, and Philly  lol). The Bereal, Powell and Tribbett family, Darrell Freeman and way too many more. All these people are influences to me.

Alan “Snoop” Evans’s Discography:

Fred Hammond “Free to Worship” “Warehouse Worship” “Love Unstoppable” “God,Love and Romance” (coming soon)

Deitrick Haddon “Church on the Moon”

James Fortune and Fiya “Encore”

Vickie Winans “Bringing it all Together” “Woman to Woman Songs of Life” “Happy Holidays”

Rizen “Free”

Ron Winans Family and Friends 5 “A Celebration”

The Whispers “Thankful”

Alvin Fruga “Here” (coming soon)

Santiago Fernandez “Ven Y Sigueme, Un Canto Nuevo”

Tim Bowman “This is what I hear”

Calvin Golden and Shekinah “In Pursuit of The Glory”

Rudolph Stanfield & New Revelation “Millennium Praise”

Parks Steward “Heart and Soul”

Bamm Davis “Short Stories”

Lamark Holley & One Accord “What A Friend”

Antwan Stanley “I Can Do Anything”

WOW Gospel  2008

Open Door COGIC Choir “Secret Place”

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