Hot on the heels of the release of their seventh studio album North, we caught up with German progressive rock band Everon to talk about it.

R13: For those who don’t know you, can you describe Everon for the uninitiated?

Oliver Philipps: Well, the only thing that can properly describe a band is of course the music, so I am not sure I have an idea how to explain what the band´s about to people who never heard any of the songs. We´re considered a progressive rock band from the early years of the band already, I am not really sure this is a suitable label since our music doesn´t have a lot in common with the most popular bands in the genre such as, let´s say, Dream Theater or at the other end of the spectrum Marillion for instance. In a way what we´re doing is rather free-style, since we don´t care much about what genre a song might belong to. On Everon albums you find rather heavy up-tempo rockers, but as well you have at times almost poppy songs, ballads, but also epic tracks with a lot of orchestral elements in there, and in length songs vary from 2.30 min to pieces of 15 min length. What all songs (hopefully) have in common is that the music always remains accessible, has clear melodic structures that makes is enjoyable also to people that do not have a degree in music theory. If you want we´re the progressive band for the simple mind, since we´re rather simple minds ourselves.

R13: Who are your greatest influences?

OP: Hard to say. In the early years for me the most influential artists have been Rush, The Police, Queen, Kansas, Triumph, but also totally different stuff like for instance Billy Joel or The Smiths. And I really loved a band from England which unfortunately parted way too soon, don´t know if you rememeber them. Their name was It Bites, I really loved them. It´s a bit like they were brothers in mind, they were progressive in some way with excellent playing skills and sometimes complex compositions, but at every time they were also simple like a pop-band, and ��" which is very unusual in the world of progressive music- they had a sense of humour, didn´t take themselves too seriously. I like this approach a lot, and at least I hope we have some of that in Everon as well.
With the years of working as a producer of other artists (I am doing this as a main job since the end of the 90s) influences have become so many that I wouldn´t know which to mention first. Actually to be honest I do not even think about genres, to me it´s all just music, I can find music I really love in any genre from Death Metal to classical music, from pop to folk to ethno to you name it. All these genres are boundries which I believe exist only inside our head.

R13: Everon isn’t a full time band despite being so successful ��" why is that? Is it easier than having to live in each others pockets?

OP: I didn’t know yet, that we ARE so successful. It may possibly have slipped my attention that there is a bank-account somewhere which holds a huge amount of money that sprang from yet to be declared album-sales. If you can forward the account-info to me I´ll gladly drop by the bank and pick it up.
Seriously, we´ve never been big enough to make it a full-time job for all of us, in the mid-nineties we´ve been quite close actually, so we probably could have tried. But I have to admit I have never been one for excessive touring and all those things you actually need to do if intending to make it with your band on a full-time basis. I feel much more comfortable at the studio, my fascination with music is linked to the creative process. Going on tour playing the same set of songs a hundred times in a row sounds like a nightmare scenario to my ears. There is nothing wrong with it off course, I know plenty of musicians to whom the main reason for making music is going on stage, but personally I am just not made for it. I need the writing-process like the air to breathe, to me instruments are just tools I use, I consider myself a composer in the first place, much more than a player actually.

R13: How are you feeling about the new album?

OP: Never thought of it, so probably I am fine with it. Do I have reason to feel bad about it? To be honest I haven´t played it ever since we finished it, I never listen to any of my own albums when they´re done, my view is always set on the music that lies ahead. It may be just superstition, but to my belief keeping your view to the music you´ve done in the past may easily block your creativity. Maybe when I am really old I may sit down and listen through all the things I´ve done over the decades of my glorious career :-), but I am not there yet.

R13: ‘Bridges’ and ‘Flesh’ were both released in 2002, but it’s taken six years for ‘North’ to appear, was it difficult to record?

OP: No, not at all, it´s been a walk in the park. The delay is owed to a long break I had to take due to unenjoyable health issues, and also to all the production work on another artist’s album. While working for somebody else´s music, I cannot work on my own, I believe if you intent to do a good job as a producer for somebody else your mind should be focused entirely on their music. So we had to postpone work on our own CD so many times that I lost count on it, but the production process itself went extremely easy.

R13: What makes ‘North’ so different for you from your previous albums?

OP: Nothing, I suppose. To me they´re all the same, of course the music changes since we change, but when it comes to songwriting I always rely on intuition, there is nothing I do “on purpose” when writing. I just take inspiration the way it comes and this is it, I do not really ponder much over what an album is supposed to turn out in the end, and this is how I always did it. Let aside maybe the very early albums, off course as a young and unexperienced musician you´re lacking self-confidence and faith in your own inspiration so you reflect a lot over what you´re doing and tend to put everything in doubt. I don´t do that anymore, if a song feels right to me, then I am fine with it, inspiration never fails. Or, if you want, music is a lot smarter than the musician is. So if you just let it happen naturally there is not a lot you can do wrong. The problem starts when trying to make a song something which it isn´t, for the sake of being heavy, or progressive, or catchy, or whatever. To me it´s like every song has a life on it´s own, so I try to interfere as little as possible.

R13: What has the fan reaction been to ‘North’?

OP: I would say it ranges from positive to enthusiastic. There is people who really love the new album better than anything we´ve done before, and there is also people who think it´s good but they have a different favourite. I haven´t heard anybody complaining, so that´s fair enough. With a history of 7 albums and after having explored quite a wide repertoire of different styles, it is just natural that there are fans with preferences for different periods, you cannot please them all at the same time. But from the response that made it through to me, I am very satisfied with it actually.

R13: What do you find is the most gratifying thing about the music you make and the way the band works?

OP: I think music in general is extremely gratifying. Every new song comes like a present, so actually as a musician it´s Christmas Eve every day.

R13: When you play live, it’s mainly festivals. Is there a special connection between Everon and the whole festival vibe?

OP: No, there is not. It´s rather that we´re very lazy bastards when it comes to playing live, which is my fault in the first place for the reasons described above. I just don´t like playing live a lot, so when we play of course it is more useful to play bigger festivals rather than doing small club shows, because we reach more people that way. I know we have really dedicated fans that would have deserved a more frequently touring Everon, but cannot really help it. Our bass player used to run a small club on his own, so when we played there every once in a year we really had fans coming here from Switzerland or even Italy. So when it comes to Everon, not the band goes on tour, but the fans do so :-)

R13: There have been a few personnel changes since Everon started. How do you think that’s been reflected in the music and the whole dynamic of the band?

OP: Actually there haven´t. We changed guitarist from Ralf Janssen to Ulli Hoever between Venus and Fantasma, but that was it actually. In 15 years that´s not a hell of a lot is it? For a short period we had an additional keyboard player, but that was rather for playing live, the basic line-up of the band is almost unchanged every since the very early days.

R13: So, what’s next for Everon?

OP: I have no idea; I am involved in a lot of other projects at the moment, and right now I am not entirely sure I even feel like doing another Everon album, time will tell. I have a bit of the feeling that I´ve done everything musically that I can do in just one band, but I may be wrong. Let´s say it´s currently not a priority to me, Everon is a part-time band for a long long time already, it may as well depend a bit on how well North is doing or not. When it comes to CD sales the world has changed a lot, I am a bit in doubt if there still is a point at all in making albums as a second-league band, out of 10 people that have the album maybe one has bought it. It´s not that I expect to earn anything with Everon, but at least it should sell enough to provide a budget big enough to make an album on the professional standards I want to apply to it. I am not willing to settle for less, and admittedly I certainly lost some of the do-or-die spirit I may have had in regards of Everon 15 years back. You cannot turn back time, and fortunately I am involved in so many albums and projects all through the year, that it´s not a must-have to me to make an Everon album to have a chance to be creative and make music.
But as I said, there isn´t any plans yet, not even a plan to retire with the band. The future of Everon is completely open, North may have been the last album, or they may be 10 more to come.