Ahead of more shows in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, Melbourne’s indie legends EVEN have announced the launch of a Moshcam stream of the second of their two 2021 Xmas Even shows. Pro-shot and subsequently mixed and edited with the band’s involvement, the complete concert video shows the band in triumphant form playing one of their first shows back from lockdown and since the release of their critically-acclaimed, ARIA Top 20 double album Reverse Light Years.
After getting their live work back on track with two successful Christmas shows and five album launches around Melbourne over the last month and a half, Melbourne indie-rock legends EVEN have released a new single entitled Gold Sunday from their acclaimed new album Reverse Light Years, and announced more shows. Ash Naylor talks to Hi Fi Way about the album and getting back on tour.
Was a feeling of relief when you finished Reverse Light Years?
Yeah, a great word actually mixed with the excitement of having a new record out. It was relief as it was three years in the making pretty much.
Did Covid delay things a bit but give you the luxury of a bit more time to work on the songs?
That’s exactly right, I would have liked to have it out a bit earlier but in hindsight I’m glad we hung in there and kept finessing it because I was reviewing the mixes remotely, when I was on tour with Paul Kelly, on headphones in a hotel in Kingscliff in New South Wales. I was finetuning to the nth degree by the end. I am glad I got a chance to do that.
On the flipside was it hard letting it going having worked on it for so long?
It is hard to let it go, at some point you have to walk away from it. At some point you have to say this is as good as it is going to get within the realm of what the band does, how the band sounds at this point of time and the raw sounds we had mixed by Tim. I think you have to be grown up about it and just walk away.
The concept of a double album is a bold undertaking, was that the sort challenge you needed to drive the band?
I have to give credit to Wally and Matt because I kept it to myself that I wanted it to be a double or burden them with the thought that I wanted this to be a double. I didn’t want people to find out about it until it was time to announce the record because it does carry a lot of expectation with it. Part of the luxury of having the time was that I could have x amount of songs that I would thought would be worthy to have on an album. Sometimes in the past you leave songs off, then you think shit why did I leave that off as that’s a good song. I think you set parameters for yourself based on the CD age, seventy minutes of music and you think you have to have eleven or twelve tracks. This time I thought who cares, just do a double album! It didn’t stop other artists in the past and it shouldn’t stop us really.
It is almost like making a compilation album of new material if that makes sense. A double album to me is almost like a compilation record. Some bands I grew up with had double albums that were compilations like The Smiths had Hatful Of Hollow and Louder Than Bombs. These songs started in 2019, so you’ve got 2019, 2020 and 2021 so it is a compilation album of all the songs from that three year period. It takes a bit of the pressure off in that regard because you don’t feel like you’re all these songs in one go, some of them are writing themselves in time and some were rewritten three times.
With some of these you are playing are they likely to be a four epic playing Reverse Light Cycles, Satin Returns in full plus all the hits?
That’s the blessing of not having any hits because you don’t feel compelled to play any of them. It gets down to logistics and how much time we have to rehearse, how many songs we can learn and baring in mind we have only played two of these new songs live before. We have to learn a bunch of other songs, there’s fifteen we would have to learn, we’ll play a chunk of it though. Looking in to the crystal ball I think some songs will exist better on the record. I don’t think some songs we will be able to replicate as well live not that we won’t have a crack at it. Over the next couple of months, we’ll work out which ones will sound better than others. The short answer is we’ll keep the set within the realms of decency time wise.
With the album did it force you to work differently compared how you might of in the past?
A lot of it was done remotely and in stages. At times Matt and I would go in to the studio in Thornbury and do a few tracks as a duo then I would take those tracks to my studio space at home and Wally would come over to do bass. We would do it in little bits and pieces as we have done over the last eighteen months. We’re not the only band that has done it. I think for me it works really well as I did all my vocals and guitar from home. At home there are no inhibitions, there’s no one looking over your shoulder. I felt like I could be a lot more intimate with the vocals not so much trying to perform. In the studio you have a kind of performance mentality which is great for some things and sometimes I would clam up a bit when it comes to doing vocals in studio.
Do you think you will work this way in future?
It has hard to know which blueprint works best or different ways. This one was probably a bit similar to a Different High in 2000 when Matt was living in Sydney where he would come down and do some bits then we would work on it in his absence and then assemble the record with an engineer over time. This time it was a bit like that and I put the record together at home with the raw materials I had. I edited the album together and had it mixed. It was like a house of match sticks in a lot of ways, it would be interesting to see if that model would bare fruit in the future or we bash it out together.
Were there any ideas or songs left over or any thoughts on what might be the next album?
It is too early to tell, the dust is still settling on putting this one out. One thing the band has never done is that we have never had an official live release. One thing Even should do in future is a compilation record of live tracks because we have never made the time or had the time to go through our tapes and hard drives, live to airs and stuff. There is probably going to be some decent stuff on there. It’s a case of sifting through it, there’s a lot of stuff to go through.
It’s going to be great seeing you on tour with the Hoodoo Gurus and The Dandy Warhols?
It is fabulous to be able to slot some shows in, it is a real blessing because everyone’s calendars have gone nuts now that things are opening up. It’s not only great to be able to learn these songs but to play them live because I think they’ll take on another intensity live.
Wally’s parties when The Dandy Warhols are in town are written in folk law, will they be done Covid style this time?
It is hard to say as I don’t party any more, I’m the old fuddy duddy who goes home for an Ovaltine and an early night. That gene has been eradicated from my psyche!
Hopefully there are more shows to come this year?
I think we are getting acquainted with the idea that anything can happen and as uncomfortable as that is it prepares you for different possibilities. That has ups and downs we just try to make the most of the possibilities. When dates free up we can slot something in and everything is a bit more fluid these days.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Even on the following dates…