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EVEN AND HEADER Less is more this weekend

EVEN

In 1996, Melbourne trio Even released their debut album Less Is More. Boasting three hit singles, the album was critically acclaimed and received an ARIA nomination for Best Independent Release. To commemorate its 21st birthday, the album has been reissued on vinyl and will be available at three WA shows this weekend – the Prince of Wales in Bunbury on Friday April 7, Amplifier on Saturday April 8 and Mojos on Sunday April 9. Joining Even is legendary WA outfit Header, the five piece pop masters reformed for this event and playing their first hometown shows in 20 years. It is a double bill that harks back to both bands’ mid-90s heydays and is not to be missed. Even’s frontman, songwriter and guitarist for hire Ash Naylor spoke to CHRIS HAVERCROFT.

Even are gearing up for Perth shows, which are pretty sporadic these days. Do you play more in Melbourne or is it indeed true that less is more?

We appear to be playing as infrequently in every state as we do in Melbourne these days. It seems that they are few and far between, but that is just part of the life that we lead now that we are all 40 plus years.

Does everyone juggle a number of bands and commitments in the same way that you do?

Not really. I didn’t really plan it this way, I just got lucky getting called up to play in other people’s bands. I didn’t plan that. I didn’t have a girlfriend when I was a teenager as I spent all my time playing guitar. It is paying dividends now.

It’s 21 years later and you find yourselves promoting the same record…

I wouldn’t say that we are promoting it. It’s more that we are celebrating it. The record has been out for that long. It’s on itunes and you can still buy it. I guess we are promoting it in a way. It’s a weird word because we aren’t on a promo campaign. It is more of an acknowledgement. That is the word I would like to use. We are just acknowledging the first record that I ever sang on, and the first record I wrote all the songs on, and the first Even album. There is a lot of importance attached to it, but looking you obviously have 25 years of retrospective ideas attached to it.

It’s (Less Is More) still fresh and exciting because we didn’t have time to think about things back then. We didn’t have time to contemplate and ponder on guitar solos or all that nonsense like I am doing right now. I’m on a full David Gilmour trip right now. Take a million years to make an album. It is a different type of scenario now because it takes years to make records and not weeks.

Does it take longer to write the album, or is it just that there is so much more scope to disappear down the rabbit hole in the studio these days?

I try to limit my options and not go overboard with multi-tracking… well, except for guitars obviously. The songs tend to get written in the same amount of time, but just over a longer period. We are at a different end of the spectrum now. Back in 1996 we were a new and young band and dare I say it, there was a bit of interest in the band to make records from the record label and people who listened to certain radio stations. Now there is no demand from a label and no demand from the public and no demand from radio. It puts you in an enviable but precarious position because you are only making music for the music. That is why it takes so long now. I would like to think that the music we make is as good as it ever was, and that is the comfort that I take when I drive home from the studio. It is a different feeling now but it is still fulfilling.

You’ve got Header doing these Perth shows with you. How did that come about?

I think that we had this fantasy to recreate our 1996 show at the Corner Hotel with Header and Gaslight Radio. Unfortunately Gaslight Radio were unable to do it, but fortuitously Header were all able to be available for the show that we did last summer. Lo and behold they were all available for this run of shows in April, so it was a real fluke. They sound as good as they ever did. I was doing lights for them at the show last summer and I thought “where are bands like this when you need them?!”

What can we expect from the shows this weekend?

We will play the Less Is More album and we will play it in order. I don’t like to use the word entirety. Then we will do a chronological trip through time from 1997 to 2017 in the second set.

Then we will have an all star moment at the end. As much as the members of Even and Header are all stars. We haven’t decided on our We Are The World moment yet. We still have to find that elusive song that we will all get up for. There are a few songs being bandied around, so I’m sure we’ll work a couple up.

You were talking about the 1996 Corner Hotel show. Are there things you will be trying to relive this time around?

The only thing that we can physically relive is the fun. All the rest is in the ether now. It’s about enjoying each other’s company. Its not so much reminiscing, but every time we run into the Header boys we all say “gee that tour that we did in 1996 was the best tour ever.” It was our first ever national tour and I am not sure if it was Header’s first as well, but it was just an us against the rest of the world vibe as we were a couple of pop bands in the changing environment of the mid nineties. We felt a bit like outsiders and I don’t mind that.

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