Why Can’t You Just Be Happy For His Beard?
Last week, Blair Everson ended a stint as an Afghani villager. His beard, scraggly and untamed, still remains, but there’s
more important things to talk about now. He’s finished with other peoples’ wars (literally: Everson played everyman villager Mohammed Mohammed, a victim of indiscriminate NZ and US foreign policy in Other People’s Wars, an adaptation of Nicky Hager’s state-of-the-invasion document). Now Everson, guitarist and backing vocalist for rapidly-rising Wellington indie band The Eversons (also made up of Mark Turner, lead vocalist/ bassist/songwriter; Chris Young, guitarist/ songwriter; and Tim Shann, drummer/ engineer), is focused on his own wars– namely, getting the word out about Summer Feeling, the band’s debut LP.
“We were gonna go Europe, but we had a promoter who fell through at the last minute, so we’re kind of regrouping now, figuring out what we’re going to do,” Everson says of the band’s best-laid plans on a bitterly cold Wellington day. But
the Europe problem doesn’t seem like much of a hitch in the band’s committed schedule. “We’ve just got two grants
from the government to do videos, and we’ve got one video already coming out that we self-funded for the lead single off the album, which is ‘Could It Ever Get Better?’” Everson continues, rattling off their goals like it’s nothing. “We’re trying to do a bunch of collaborative covers of our songs…and eventually having an EP, trying to promote the album that way as well. Then we’ll be working on our next album probably to release at a similar time next year…I mean, we’ve got two songwriters and everyone’s really onto it. There’s no reason why we can’t just put out an album a year for at least the next couple of years.”
This may seem like a freakish work ethic, but Everson is open about how that’s not one hundred per cent the case. “When we were writing the album, there were periods where it’d be, like, on Friday and Saturday we’d be sitting in Tim’s room demoing a new song,” Everson explains. “Mark and Chris will have written a new song with a basic arrangement, and then we record it properly with MIDI drums and if there was a guitar part missing, I or Chris would come up with something for the guitar part, then we recorded the vocals…It’s quite often–and we’ll do the same for the next album–the four of us sitting in a room late on a Friday or Saturday night working until we’ve had so much to drink that we can’t work anymore.”
If anything, the recording process for any given Eversons track speaks to their experience in the subjects they sing about, 20-something New Zealanders whose minds and hearts are filled to the brim with big plans, big dreams, big emotions, big insecurities. “I think that it is holding up a mirror to ourselves,” Everson agrees. “With this album, it’s fully a reflection of Mark
at 23, Chris at 22, and by extension, me and Tim. That’s our day-to-day lives sort of thing. Just stuff that’s relatable to people in their early 20s and in a similar kind of situation.”
However, is it accurate to say that, given how strongly character-based a number of the songs on Summer Feeling are (take ‘Marriage’, in which Turner assumes the role of a starry-eyed romantic who conceives of a thoroughly jerky way of getting married, while Young, Everson and Shann all assume the roles of Turner’s ‘friends’, calling out his awfulness)? Everson thinks so. “Part of doing those back-up vocals like that is that it gives the other voices in the band a lot of character,” he suggests, “and because we’ve all got quite distinct, different voices, and our voices all work really well together–as long as we write them to work well together– they all work really well like that, and I think that’s a big thing.”
The band’s collaborative, consensus-based approach to their music is reflected in their style, a winning infusion of 1950s/1960s pop-rock and the ‘Dunedin Sound’/ Pavement style that developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. “I guess it’s just a natural thing,” Everson muses. “It’s just all the stuff that we listen to and we like…All that stuff is guitar-based, it’s vocal-heavy. At the end of the day, they’re all pop songs and you can take influence from them or stir it together.” He adds, enthusiastic, “
I guess it’s, like, a bit of a no-brainer. We just all love pop music.”
The Eversons’ Summer Feeling is out now on Lil’ Chief Records.