“The inception of our band was a written manifesto, the contents of which essentially boiled down to one word: intensity,” asserts Andrei, guitarist of London quartet, THE EVER LIVING. “We realised we wanted to be a heavy band, but not necessarily a “metal” band in the traditional sense and we have evolved deliberately with that in mind,” continues bandmate, vocalist and keyboardist Chris; “We use brass, strings and piano; open droning guitars rather than palm-muted chugs, and avoid over-reliance on double kickdrum.” THE EVER LIVING’s newly released self-titled debut EP is most certainly expansive, its five tracks constructed around tidal waves of thick guitars, atmospheric instrumentation and vocals that roar from the murky depths. Here the bandanswer the A-Z interview….
A Song Which Made You Want To Make Music: Sounds weird, but I knew from a very young age that I wanted to play music. It was the first time I saw Marty McFly perform Jonny B Goode by Chuck Berry in Back To The Future. I must have been about six years old.
Best Album Ever Written: I would have to say that Lateralus by Tool is the closest I have found to a perfect album; it’s the ultimate package – the art by Alex Grey is incredible, the songs are amazing and the production is absolutely flawless.
Craziest Moment You’ve Experienced In The Band: One of the funniest was Chris and I drunk and stranded in the middle of the Cotswolds trying to persuade the porter of a local (and fully-booked) hotel to let us sleep in the grandfather clock and the sideboard. It was a pretty sorry sight thinking about it.
Deepest Lyrics One Of Your Songs Features: “I hope that she’ll never go”. It’s a lyric which Chris repeats throughout the chorus of Separated At Death. It resonates with me having definitely experienced that fear of inevitable severance, but “she” does not necessarily need to be a person; just whatever it is that keeps you ticking. It’s up to the listener. However, it’s pretty clear that there are no happy endings, unfortunately.
Easiest Song You Wrote: We knocked out Separated At Death very quickly and it perfectly represented the direction we had discussed when deciding to make music together. Any doubts over the song-writing partnership were immediately dispelled as soon as we got this one finished.
Favourite Show You’ve Ever Played: We played our first show under a pseudonym, but because we wrote and recorded before taking to the stage, it was just an amazing feeling to finally play these songs in front of people.
Guest You’d Most Like To Feature On A Your Record: Aaron Turner from ISIS is the absolute king of heavy for me, so it would definitely be cool to borrow his roar or for him to lend us some riffs.
Happiest Moment You’ve Experienced In The Band: We all got together for the airplay debut of Separated At Death on the Radio 1 Rock Show which happened to be exactly a year to the day that I approached Chris about starting a band together. It was a very surreal but extremely cool moment for all of us in the band.
Interesting Fact About One Of Your Members: One of us is so committed to being vegan that he had it tattooed across his stomach.
Jokes You Have In The Band: Planning Mark’s wah-bass solo slot occupies most of the discussion between songs in the rehearsal room. That, and Chris’ frighteningly accurate Ace Ventura impressions.
Kicking Off Your Set Is Best With Which Song: End Of Red Part II is a brutal track to open up with and is certainly an attention-grabber.
Longest Distance You’ve Travelled To Play A Show: The furthest afield I have gone is Dublin with a previous band for a show at the Academy. My overriding memory was that of taping the guitar cases together like the remote control “Megatron” from Peep Show before boarding the plane.
Most Inspiring Musician You’ve Ever Experienced: Billy Corgan is hands down the greatest songwriter of our generation and the way he plays guitar is completely mesmerising. He oozes talent onstage and is fearless in his set list choices; often completely rearranging songs or presenting them in an entirely new light rather than reeling off a set of crowd-pleasers played exactly as they are on record.
New Band You’d Recommend: I hardly ever catch onto new bands right as they are coming out. I don’t have the patience to sift through Spotify in the hope I hear something I like and so tend to wait for recommendations from friends with trusted music-taste. You’d be better off asking Ross, our drummer.
Opening For This Band Would Be Ideal: Opening for Nine Inch Nails would be incredible and a genuine ambition achieved. At first, you might think that would be an odd combination but I really don’t think we would sound out of place at all.
Place You’d Most Like To Tour: I think we’d go down particularly well in Scandinavia, Poland, Germany or even Russia where I hear there’s not a bad post-metal scene.
Quote That You’d Like To Pass On To Readers: The one that everyone seems to have picked up on is “The inception of our band was a written manifesto, the contents of which essentially boiled down to one word: intensity”. It’s the truth and I’ve not since been able to describe what our band stands for more accurately or concisely than that.
Reason For The Title Of Your Recent/Forthcoming Release: The EP is self-titled. We have been very deliberate in delivering a clear and consistent identity for the band through all of our output; the music, artwork, logo, videos, website and the way we physically present ourselves. We want nothing to detract from what this EP is; a statement of intent, and if there’s one thing we need people to remember it’s the name of the band, so we have been as direct as possible.
See Us Live At: 9th April – The Barfly, Camden for our EP Launch Party. 16th June – The Underworld, Camden supporting US post-metal veterans, Rosetta.
The Old Days Of Music Were Better Than Those Current, do you agree: I think its definitely harder to be completely original as so much more ground has been covered now but as a result there is more variety and we have bands operating at the absolute extremities in niches that would have been inconceivable in the 60s and 70s. There always has been and always will be good music and bad music and both are far more accessible now than they ever have been.
Unusual Merchandise: My Dad is a bit of a bird-watcher so I’d quite like to see a pair of THE EVER LIVING binoculars.
Variations You’d Like To Do On Any Of Your Songs: To transpose all of the keyboard parts and have strings, brass and piano played live with us onstage would be very special to be part of and to witness.
What Bands Have You Seen Live and Regretted: I had to leave Orange Goblin headlining the Underworld at Desertfest last year due to one too many snakebites (don’t ask). I couldn’t even focus on the band; my eyes kept drifting in different directions.
X-rays or any other treatments needed for band related in juries: Not exactly band-related but during the recording of the EP I was recovering from a rare hip injury, called a Morel-L’Avallée, whereby the fat layer under the skin had been sheared from the muscle fascia as a result of an impact onto concrete which created a recess that my body kindly filled with blood and lymphatic fluid. It was super weird and felt like there was a water balloon attached to my hip.
You could have written any song in history, which would you pick: It’s difficult because a song is so intrinsically linked with its writer and performer, but something like Kashmir by Led Zeppelin would be a good one to have written. Of course, it’s an absolute classic but the riff is so elegant and powerful and the song has a real dark, mystical feel to it. You could almost see it as a very early blueprint of the drone-metal we play. It also seems to be used all over the place on TV at the moment, so we’d be raking in the royalties.
Zoo animal that best describes the personality of your band: A Komodo Dragon. As a lizard and an ectotherm, they have to be very efficient with every move they make and we are equally meticulous about the avenues we pursue with the band in order to maximise the effect of our efforts. We are also of course completely vicious and with a collective heart of pure blackness.