Interview with Evermore’s frontman, Jon Hume

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Evermore have all the ingredients of a modern classic rock act. Forgive the trainspotting, but you can’t help but hear the influences of an army of great bands before them in their music: from latter-day psychedelic Beatles to early U2 and even the Finn Brothers. But for all the influences, once the listener is taken in by the lamenting vocals by singer Jon Hume over his own wailing electric guitar, the brooding bass of brother Peter, and call-to-arms drumming style of other brother Dann, they’ve been seduced by something altogether fresh and indelible itself.

The guys currently call Melbourne home, so comfortable there that they’ve built their own studio there. A studio whose dishwasher has broken down on the day of their Cream interview. Hence they’ve been running around town looking for new one, got stuck in traffic, and were late on the phone. Antonino Tati asks John Hume what’s so rock’n’roll about a dishwasher for goodness sake…

 

You’ve been running around buying a dishwasher? Gosh, in the old days of rock’n’roll, they used to throw TV sets out of hotel windows, and you guys are running around buying dishwashers?

I think dishwashers are a bit heavier than TV sets so it wouldn’t work as well [laughs].

 

Anyway to the real questions. Originally you guys are from New Zealand but you moved to Melbourne. Did you settle into your new city easily enough?

Definitely. I’ve always felt very at home in Australia because I was actually born here. Our Mum’s from Sydney and we were always travelling over to Australia so it always felt like a second home to us. We even lived in Sydney for five years and now I’ve lived in Melbourne for five years, and I love it. We’ve built a studio here in Melbourne so we’re very much at home.

 

Speaking of home, when you were growing up, three brothers into music, were you making a racket constantly in the house?

I was about 13 when I discovered guitar, and the other guys were younger than me. Dan quickly gravitated towards drums because he thought they looked like the most fun. Peter started early with keyboards and then bass. And we some amps and used to drive our parents crazy with rehearsals. So, yeah, there was a lot of noise.

 

And your parents must be pretty proud of you now with your success?

Yeah, I think they’re happy that they put up with it in the end; that it all wasn’t done in vain. After all those days that plates fell off shelves because the bass was making so much vibration.

 

You guys took your name from a Led Zeppelin song, The Battle Of Evermore. Do you look up to Led Zepp as a band, and what other bk thands inspire you?

When we started out we were teenagers listening to our Dad’s record collection – Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles – so they inspired us. But I think it’s changed a lot through the years. Over time we discovered songwriters like Neil Finn. Then we were listening to Oasis and Blur. You just delve a bit deeper into music as you go along. I think we had a really good foundation of music to listen to. Not just New Kids On The Block or something like that.

 

Evermore’s foray into the music industry was through winning a band contest. What about all the contests televised today. Do you think there’s too many of them now and that audiences are being inundated?

I think those shows have their ups and downs. It’s great that television viewers are getting into music. But on the downside, there’s a huge divide now between your sort of indie music and packaged pop music and there’s nothing else in between. I just can’t see an act like Powderfinger or Silverchair coming out of one of those shows. And for those kind of bands to even get noticed now [on their own accord] is really quite difficult. But everything goes in cycles and I’m sure it’s just a phase that music is going through at the moment.

 

Your new album Follow The Sun is just out. What would you say is different with this LP compared to the previous ones?

This album goes back to our roots where we’ve been really focused on the songwriting, and have stripped away some of the layers of production. We wanted songs that you could play on an acoustic guitar on a piano and that would still resonate.

 

There’s a video on Youtube that shows you guys traipsing around seven cities around the world during the writing of songs for the new album. Tell us about that experience. (See the video here).
We basically took a little mobile recording set-up and a couple of guitars and wrote songs. It was good getting away together and getting some creative time to write and record while we were away. I think that’s partly why the album has a more stripped-back sound: just back to us and harmonies and acoustic instruments.

 

Do you think the vibe of being in exotic locales like Marrakesh and Madrid came through the music?

There are subtle layers that we picked up along on the way. Inspiration from different musicians that we met. For example, in Madrid we were playing guitar in a pub we were staying at and one of the local Spanish guitarists saw us and liked us so we invited him up and recorded him playing a solo of one of our songs and part of that actually made it onto the album. But finally enough, even though a lot of the songs were written while we were far away from home, some turned out to be more personal. When you’ve been taken out of your comfort zone, what really matters to you personally really resonates. So the opposite happens sometimes.

 

When it comes to something as important as which is going to be the next single, do you as three brothers, argue a lot and disagree?

We haven’t really had that problem so far. We all seem to have a general instinct of what will work.

 

You’re basically living in each other’s pockets when your touring; do you ever grate on each other or get on each other’s nerves?

I think when we were younger we were used to being together a hundred per cent of the time, but things sort of change. I got married last year so I need my healthy space at times. But it’s kind of bizarre, because people who hang around with us for a long time will say, ‘I can’t believe you guys never argue’ but we just have an amazing ability not to fight about stuff. We just know when to give each other space. When we get home from travelling or touring we tend to need our own space.

 

Where has been the most surreal place you’ve heard one of your songs playing?

I think the ‘bizarrest’ place was in Thailand. We had a show in Bangkok – some sort of Australian event – and some locals took us out to a nightclub and as we were literally working in they started playing the It’s Too Late [the Dirty South] remix, and we were, like, ‘This is so surreal’. It was actually just a coincidence as they didn’t know we were there. You do hear your songs in the strangest of places; a supermarket in France or something like that and, yeah, it is surreal.

 

Evermore’s Follow The Sun is out through Universal Music.