The Trademark Pop Sound that the Kids Love!
Warm Cola interviewed EVEN at a rehearsal studio in Brunswick in late April. The lads had just returned from the South by Southwest Music conference in the U.S this being their first jaunt abroad. I prodded them about the trip and attempted to pry some background information.
Correct me if Iím wrong but Even had itís beginnings as a side project? Ďcause legend has it that you all lived together in a house in Richmond and it formed out of that while you were playing in other bands?
Ash: Legend Having it (laughter) well firstly Iíd like to say for me; It wasnít a side project, but I canít speak for the other
At that time you were playing in RAIL and Wally was playing in the MEANIES....?
Matt: and I was doing fuck all.
You and Ashley played in the SWARM together?
Matt: Oeer yeah...
While you were playing in RAIL , was EVEN the band you were always plotting?
Ash: It was the band I was always plotting, and Iím still continuing to plot (laughter) How ever Iím losing the plot
So did you have a backlog of songs that you were saving for yourself? Was EVEN the first band you ever sang in ?
Ash: Technically it was the first band I ever sang in, yeah there were other sort of..... developmental bands that I sang in
So was there kind of a master plan involved?
Ash: the plan was to get a band together and that took the best part of four years, and as I recently said to someone else; Wally came and dragged Matt and myself out of the indie hinterland .
Wally: (laughs)What the fuck is a hinterland?.
Ash: Somewhere between a wasteland.........
The SWARM were kind of jangly British indie type stuff?
Ash: Sort of jangly ,yeah; Sort of British.....
Ash: Iím still using the same guitar so itís not like Iíve put away the Kramer pointy headed Steve Vai to spearhead a retro pop revival..... Yeah it was a bit jangly, a bit jangly wangly smithsy withsy.... Iím being superfluous with my description Matt could probably sum up the SWARM in few words.
Matt: Um itís hard but looking back you sort of cringe a bit...in the eighties but when you listen to the records, wasnít actually that bad...
Wally: And you had great haircuts
Matt: Donít even mention the haircuts.... (laughter)
Ash: Where are the refreshments??
So EVEN is different in the way that you play slightly more retro pop? On the Peaches and Cream single you have ďThe trademark pop sound that the kids loveĒ written on the sleeve?
Ash: But thatís just another post modern blatant rip-off.
Wally: Itís just a pisstake.
Ash: Itís self referential... you know that was just a phase and I think there will be more self generated art work on the record.
Thatís one of the things Iíve noticed. that you are represented on covers as three guys in a band. You donít fall into false projected image .
Ash: Well thatís great Ďcause we are basically that and um... retro is just a word used to classify a band Ďcause you know... weíre living it now it doesnít matter what we draw from.. the fact is that we are currently making music.
The way you play, and your live appeal and youíre songs and stuff.. itís based on strong songs written in a classic kind of pop vernacular and youíve got this hypereal take on what sixties rock, or the origins of popular music sort of come from. So Evenís kind of like this hypereal entity. what do you reckon?
Ash: Hypereal; thatís great..... I guess itís just a case of not being afraid to try and do a good gig you know, I mean the eighties was spent trying to be artistic and having a knitted brow where as these days itís like weíre totally over that .. I mean thankfully Wal never have to endure that because he was in a very performance oriented band with the MEANIES.... I mean weíve been playing long enough to know that there is point in getting up there and not having good time. I mean Iíve certainly sabotaged a number of our own gigs by not feeling 100% into it.
So you just came back from an American tour. How did that go? Who did you play to generally?
Wally: Oh.... cunts.(laughter).
So it didnít go all that well.
Wally: No at a few shows we went down like better than a cheap whore one could say, to coin a phrase.. but we were basically playing.; you know we were tacked onto the end of shows as a favour to David Vodicka(Rubber head-honcho) because friends of his would throw us on the end of shows.. You know I could feed you with bullshit but Iím just giving you the godís honest truth.
What types of bands did you play with?
Wally: Oh shit ones! the only good ones were Australian ones quite honestly.. if I may be so bold, brash, and arrogant 90% of the American bands we played with were fucking shitfull. If I can get away with that... they were actually quite bad and the venues were no better or worse than ones here.
Do sort of notice that a lot of Australian bands look to the U.S because of the larger population density and subsequent audience? Is that something you might look into when you find yourselves more established ? because the idea being that if you want to be a successful Australian band the idea is to go overseas because of the larger audience? Are you released over there?
Ash: Just a single.
Ash: Yeah I guess that was involved with the whole vibe about going.
Wally: (It) Was to go to the South by Southwest thing and be one of eleventy fifty bands playing and hope that someone could generate enough interest in us to get some A and R people or booking agents or what-have-you to that particular show, and for me anyway that was the best show of the six that we did, had the most people at it; was the most fun and it was the one that we played at the best, best reception we got.
Where was that?
Wally: Austin , Texas. at the conference.
Wally: the South by Southwest conference. Itís like a .... bands apply to go and major labels put showcases on of their up and coming acts. and you either get knocked back or accepted and if you get accepted you pay through the nose to get there and hopefully someone signs you up so you make the money back..
Was there any luck in finding something?
Wally: Not yet, but itís a bit too soon Dave(Vodicka) reckons, to get any concrete yes or noís, everyoneís sort of still ( Rubs Chin) ďAw yeah it was all right, I suppose,Ē.
Ash: It will take a few more visits to garner enough interest for a deal
Are there plays to go again in the pipeline?
Ash: yeah there are plans.... weíre putting the first two Eps out as an album in the states. which is a very grass roots affair. Davidís opening Rubber in the U.S with some friends... so um...
I actually saw on the Internet that you can order the Summershine single on-line at the Sub-pop megamart page last week..
Ash: thatís kinda cool
Matt: Call that retro!
Ash: Exactly man!.... if we were anymore now weíd be in the future!.. Anymore now weíd be playing In a time capsule.!
Another bit of folklore is how your name came about....
Ash: Fire away...
Okay, Iíve heard that you originally had a name picked out but changed it due to something that Francis Leach (Triple J DJ and ex-Swarm singer) use to say.... putting it into his sentences as to say you might even do this you might even do that, constantly?
Ash: Basically, it was actually born out of that but we didnít really have a band name, thatís why we consulted Frank.
Wally: The godfather of indie! (laughter).
Ash: It was the night of the Redd Kross , Hoodoo Guruís, and You Am I at Festival Hall so it was a very auspicious rock night. We actually didnít have a name for the first few gigs to prove that this wasnít masterminded and that there was no master plan.... we just wanted to rock baby..
.. How were you represented on the blackboard out the front?
Ash: Well; much to our collective chagrin we went by the auspicious moniker of Wally Meanies new band. It was obvious you know since Matt and I were probably still as obscure as hens teeth. But since Wally had a bit of an indie profile. .... What an awful thing to say...
What type of stuff have you been listening to recently?
This is probably a good answer Ďcause Iím not going to say the White album or anything. Iíve been listening too Lee Perry and the upsetters, old reggae stuff...
Matt what type of stuff have you been listening to lately?
Um , what contemporary stuff or any stuff?
Who do you base your drumming on if you had to pick a drumming idol?
Matt: It would be a toss up between Charlie Watts and Ringo Starr. Um but you know itís come from all areas
Since we have named this Ďzine WARM COLA weíre gonna have this stock standard question that we ask everyone that we interview.
Ash: Thatís very Zine-esque (laughter from Wally) Very Zine-ean.
Okay, Iím gonna ask you all this individually. If EVEN had to endorse a brand of Cola what would it be and why?
Matt: Um... RC
Because thatís retro?
Ash: If I hear that word one more time, I think Iím going to be smashing this lovely beer....
Wally: (interrupts) RC cola Ďcause it looks good , tastes good , feels good , is good
Okay two for RC, Ashley; what about yourself?
Ash: Me?..... Um whatís that brand that Coles put out through the machine.?? Australia cola....maybe we could do a jingle.... Ďcause itís half the price of every other Cola, thatís the only reason... Either that or Franklins No Frills.