Teacher music Q&A: Jason Evans

Sophie Chappell, features writer

This series of articles will contain the musical interests of four teachers at KHS: Lisa Hellmich, history teacher, Jason Evans, history teacher, Cindy Kohler, French teacher and Adam Rowland, English teacher. TKC asked about each teacher’s five favorite songs right now as well as their general taste in music.

Jason Evans:

Evans primarily listens to hip-hop music because it’s his favorite genre. “I tried to pick songs that were a blend of stuff I enjoy,” Evans said. “Like [with] Gambino, that song is not new, but I really like it; it fits a lot of feelings, moods and that’s what went into thinking about the playlist.”

Five current favorite songs:

  1. Come Back to Earth”- Mac Miller
  2. If You Know You Know”- Pusha T
  3. Girl“-The Internet
  4. One up”- Childish Gambino
  5. Glass Flows”- Smino

Why he likes the songs:

E: Sometimes it’s a lyric, sometimes it’s the beat, sometimes it’s the overall ambiance the song brings to the table. It depends on the song.


TKC: Is music important to you?

E: Yeah it is, but more importantly it’s not just music being important, it’s also what kind of music a person likes specifically and why they like it. I think music is not just important inwardly but outwardly as well.

TKC: When do you listen to music the most?

E: In my car. My family lives in Kansas City so if I’m driving on a long road trip [I’ll listen to music]. [For] road trips, it kind of depends on where I’m at [in the road trip]. I lean towards hip-hop, soul and R&B. Other than that, when I’m doing stuff outside or around the house I listen to music.When I’m cutting the grass I listen to hip-hop or rock. I found that [when I’m grading] I need the music to be chill and not have a lot of words.

TKC: Who do you think about when you listen to music?

E: Kind of depends on the song. Sometimes I discover a song when I’m making a memory with somebody or some group of people, sometimes the song itself brings memories into play. Pusha T was on there, that reminds me of the summer. A lot of those songs take me to a certain spot or a certain time of year.

TKC: Does music help amplify your mood?

E: If that’s the mood I want to amplify. We all use music and whatever [else] we can to put us in the right frame of mind. I think music goes a long way in helping that if you let it. You can listen to music if you are sad and want to be happy or if you’re happy and want to express that, you find music that fits that [mood].

TKC: Favorite artist of all time?

E: My favorite hip-hop artist of all time is probably The Notorious B.I.G. or Lil Wayne. [My] all time favorite singer [would be] somebody like Al Green, but it doesn’t have to be all older. Right now I’m listening to a lot of R&B and soul so that’s what’s on my mind. I grew up listening to a lot of James Brown, so guys like that come to mind.

TKC: Favorite song of all time?

E: I don’t think I do [have a favorite song]. It’s tough to think about a song that would fit all occasions. I think of the Shins, New Slang is the name of the song that would fit a lot of occasions. That’s what’s great about music, you don’t have to have one [favorite song].

TKC: Has your music taste changed over the years?

E: I think it’s like your education, as you get older and you’re open to learning about music and different kinds of music, I think your taste is evolving over time. My uncles were in bands, so I grew up being exposed to different kinds of music and it made me want to find out about music and the people that made the music. I would read up on all kinds of different music movements, whether it [was] protest music from the 60s, or more specifically artists like Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. I got interested not just in the music but who made it and what inspired them. I’m a social studies teacher so I love the history of [music] too. Music is an expression of the artists who made that music and they’re going to be a reflection of the times they made it in. [That’s] why I gravitate towards hip-hop, because I think it is an expression of a specific experience of a part of America.

TKC: When did you really get into music?

E: I started noticing I liked [music] early high school, late middle school. I started saving money to get my own CDs. The first CD I ever owned was “Midnight Marauders” by A Tribe Called Quest and then a couple days later I got “36th Chamber” by Wu Tang Clan.

TKC: Do you think you and your students have a similar taste in music?

E: Sometimes I think it’s similar sometimes it’s not. As you know I’m not a big country fan. I’ve given it a go so many times, especially new country, but I just can’t [listen to it]. It sounds really poppy to me. I think a lot of my students like hip-hop. It’s something I like to talk to students about, I like to see what they’re interested in and I try, if I can, to check it out. It’s always interesting to talk to students about what they’re listening to and see how that jives with what I’m listening to.