Metal Addicts – Today’s interview goes a little beyond metal frontiers, I said a little because I consider prog rock a kind of cousin of metal as both were developed almost at the same time, and, more importantly, I know that a lot of metalheads actually enjoy prog rock. Most of them don’t say that, but I know you listen to Pink Floyd, Yes, Jethro Tull, or Marillion hidden at home (hahahahahahaha).
We’re talking to Evership, a prog rock band, which has just released their debut self-titled album. I had the pleasure of listening to it, and now let’s share with you something about the album, the band, the guys of the band and their stories.
Hi, Shane and Beau! First of all, congrats for your album. It’s the work of craftsman, what you and Beau did there. Thanks so much, Ivison. A labor of love.
Metal Addicts – So, Shane, Evership took a long time of your life. The entire process took about almost ten years to come to light. Have you ever considered giving up? I ask because there have been many ups and downs in your life during the process from the conceiving to the final steps.
Shane: It was a complex process. I wish the answer was an easy “yes” or “no”. I supposed I was so given over to the fact that I had to finish, no matter what, that giving up was not really an option. Did I want to; very often. I had gotten so far away from it that it was a somewhat of a disassociative experience and process and made no sense in the world where I was. Having a studio helped and working on commercial music brought me closer to the process, but still, it would have been to easy to walk away. I guess I came to the conclusion that there were no more “one days”, as in “one day I’ll make that record.” And I had an underlying conviction that this was something I was called to do.
Metal Addicts – Your musical background is pretty eclectic. Besides prog and classic rock bands you mentioned fusion artists like Chick Corea, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Al Di Meola, and some classical composers. How did all that different background work in your mind to make music? How did it let you into prog rock? Does Beau share the same influences?
Shane: I think I was just the kind of kid who was bored easily with music that didn’t challenge me. My mind was always musically active. I didn’t see these artists in the light of their genre. I saw the stories that they told, and the places they took me. I was thirteen when I first heard Yes; Relayer and Tales of Topographic Oceans. Up to then I was listening to what we now call classic rock (Zeppelin, Boston, etc). I could not stop listening to them (Yes). I went to sleep with them in my headphones. I was exposed to jazz in school and got enamored with Chick and the derivatives. I was also exposed to Isao Tomita and his synthesizer renditions of classical music and that turned me on to both synths, and their potential, and classical music. So you can see its all mixed up for me. Beau is a bit younger than I. I know he likes classic rock and prog, but I think his influences are more early nineties…Soundgarden, Filter…etc.
Metal Addicts – Beau, you were the lead singer, and Shane mentioned that your kind of singing is pretty rare nowadays, and I have to agree with him. There are a few singers using their natural, clean voice. In Metal that’s outstanding. How did you get to your personal way of singing?
Beau: I figured out years ago that I had a different and dynamic voice and in many of the projects I was in prior to Evership, I was allowed the privilege of using it. There was never an abandonment or curbing of my natural voice. I simply believe my voice just found a perfect home with Evership. The dynamic nature of the music is a great catalyst to further challenge me as a vocalist. Also the vocals in this project are vital to the music not just secondary garnishments or after thoughts, which I very much appreciate in Shane’s writing. I am really fortunate in this project to be able to fully explore not only what I can do but what I didn’t know I could do.
Metal Addicts – If you allow me, you forgot to mention two important, the most important ones in my opinion, bands: Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull. As I said before, a great deal of metalheads like and respect prog rock. And you, what’s opinion about Heavy Metal? Are there any bands that you actually like and listen to?
Shane: Well Pink Floyd is classic. The song forms are brilliant, but I would say the influence came more though Alan Parsons for me (See Flying Machine: Dreamcarriers). Beau is a huge Floyd fan. As it concerns metal; my metal days are a bit back there, but I did listen quite a bit. Most notably I went through a stint of Iron Maiden at about the same time I hit Yes. (from the first album to about Powerslave – Very proggy!) I found early Maiden thrilling, and if I can admit, I worked a lot of my drum chops out to that stuff. I also listened to Yngwie Malmsteen and some of the other shredders of that time. I appreciated Malmsteen’s classical fusion. I know there is plenty more I missed; Dream Theater, etc. I’m starting to listen to a bit more now. My view of metal is again through the classical mind, Metal to me is the Wagnerian connection. It’s German bombastics; Gotta love it.
Metal Addicts – I suppose that the time you worked and managed a recording studio helped a lot the process of songwriting and producing the songs. I noticed that you managed very well the sound references of prog rock, I mean, you achieved recording the songs as if they were recorded in the 1970’s. The tone of the keyboards, I guess Hammond and Moog style; the guitars, using a few drive sometimes, I suppose from valve Marshall amps, and I guess even the mics were vintage style. Am I right?
Metal Addicts – Shane: You are very right. I did go out of my way to create a classic sounding production; lots of tape saturation, classic mics and high-end compressors and mic pres. I suppose that is where some of the time went. I had to discover “what” the Evership sound was going to be. For example, as it concerns keyboards, Rick Wakeman ruined me in the sense that he was such an influence that I could not hear my music outside of Moogs, Mellotrons, and B3s. And I do have a purist and perfections streak; two horrible attributes for a timely release. For example, at the last minute I hired a choir to sing a bunch of the parts that had been done with the mellotron. It’s not that I didn’t like the mellotron choir sound (I still used it), but again, and Metalheads know this, there is nothing like a real gothic choir to make that epic statement. So I ended up having to remix, to a degree, many of the songs. There are a lot of stories like that, that “slowed” things down. But I just needed it that way. I was reaching for something. But who knows, maybe I was stalling. You’re never really done with art, you just have to abandon it. The only reason the album got “done” was that I promised my wife we’d move when the album was done (Because we had downsized to make it). So when it was close, she sold our house (and the studio with it.) The guys where emptying out the gear from the studio as I still was making final adjustments.
Metal Addicts – You and the band are based in Nashville, the musical mecca of country music and a great presence of Elvis Presley. How is it to deal with such strong presence and influence?
Shane: Nashville is a misunderstood place. While from the tourist perspective, it’s all Country, in reality it’s the mecca of music publishing and business. There is a recording studio in almost every other house and around every corner, as there are churches. I wouldn’t say Evership is in the right place, as far as musical company, but we are in the sense of getting things done. It’s a great place to launch from. To be clear, there is plenty of other kinds of music here. Country is just the figurehead.
Metal Addicts – You were a backup musician. Can you tell you us which bands did you play with? And how was that experience?
Shane: You mentioned Elvis. Oddly enough one of first the gigs I had when I moved up here at 19 was for a gospel group called The Imperials. They were a quartet and some of the members were actually Elvis’ backup singers! (They said that they were at his funeral and assured me that Elvis was in fact dead.) I did a lot of studio work, stuff on music row, club bands, wedding bands, various artists that have come and gone. Wrote some commercials, did music for video, etc. I really was all over the place.
Metal Addicts – In some moment, you got fed up with the music industry, and left it all behind to start a new and different career. What happened?
Shane: I made two records with an alternative rock band called “Curious Fools” in the mid-nineties. We’d been tossed around from label to label, sold like commodities. The last was Warner Bros, who made some big promises, but I was just tired of the game. I think, as I retell this, I just was discouraged with the state of music and what I was (or wasn’t) doing. I was wondering and unfocused. Perhaps I didn’t have the courage to do my own thing. I don’t know. My son was born at the time. The fools were to go on tour to support the second album “Read”. A record company exec called my wife to explain to her why I didn’t need to be there for the birth. You know, I think that was kind of it for me. I quit. Warner ended up dropping the band anyway. I tend to be an all or nothing person. The one thing I regret was quitting music completely. That was a mistake. That became the source of an unidentifiable depression that haunted me for fifteen years. Once I was aware of the problem, I slowly, very slowly, made my way back, by God’s grace. Evership is me coming back. It just took a while.
Metal Addicts – Well, I guess that’s all for now. Thank you very much! Hope you and the band the best!