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Free yourself with The Evens

Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina play music together in Olympia

Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina perform Saturday in Olympia. Photo credit: Charles Previtire

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On opposite corners of the U.S., Ian MacKaye and I recently chatted on the phone. He was busy - in the middle of digitally archiving 900 Fugazi shows onto his Dischord Records website while simultaneously preparing for a west coast tour, including a stop in Olympia with his current band, The Evens.

What started out with an admittance to having an extensive collection of music-related memorabilia, to sharing his disdain about the idea of email interviews vs. phone interviews, our conversation took many paths. But the common thread, the striking piece I took away from our conversation, is that MacKaye is adamant about relationships and the human connection.

One of his primary relationships is with his wife and band mate, Amy Farina, whom he met back in the early D.C. punk scene when she was with the band, The Warmers.

"We began playing music in 2001, and it was nice. For two years we played and we didn't think about a band," MacKaye said. "I think that was a basis for our relationship ... we play music together, we do everything together."

With The Evens, Farina barrels on the drums, sometimes sounding as easy as morning fog rolling over settled water, other times sounding as sharp and heated as a first piercing. When she sings, she saturates with feminine power. Together with MacKaye's sometimes plucking, often grinding guitar and hard-hitting vocals that evoke nostalgia for your first Fugazi or Minor Threat album but also wakes up little pieces of your heart that weren't there before, the duo makes a memorable sound.

Another relationship is with their 5-year-old son, Carmine, who tours with The Evens and who MacKaye said is "part of the band."

"My life is reality based. I'm dedicated to creative response and responsible navigation," is how he sums it up.

Another way MacKaye exhibits his values (or is totally punk rock, however you want to say it) is his lack of participation in Facebook or other social media sites. In 2011, he told, "Specifically, as a protest, I find it very interesting. I don't know if you have heard about this protest, but I'm a member of this particular network. The protest is about corporate greed, but Facebook is a fucking gated corporation. It doesn't mean that I think people that use Facebook are bad. But I want people to think about the fact that all are confined to this particular gated community."

To me, he called this gated network "bread and circus," or "situational food," as a call-out to corporate control. Again, backing up his assertion of human connection.

MacKaye's philosophy spills into his music relationships as well.

"Music is a sacred form of communication that predates language," he said. "It's a point of gathering and is something that is always sorely needed, probably more now than ever ... I think one aspect of online communities is that they're largely prosecuted in isolation. Anything that compels people to come out and be together is a good, healthy thing to do ... and being in a room of people that are all involved is really transformative. In those moments, that's when we're free. And I'm interested in that."

THE EVENS, 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, Eagles Hall, 805 Fourth Ave., Olympia, $7 door, $8.25 at, 360.239.9907

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