Everon's latest album North was released in April 2008.
To write the music for North, songwriter Oliver Philipps retreated to the Dutch North Sea coast for 5 weeks. A year after the music was written, he went to the Netherlands again, this time to finish the lyrics on a Dutch island. Retreating to desolate places gives Oliver the rest to focus on writing music. The idea for the album title sprang naturally from the environment of the writing-sessions at the sea.
Oliver didnít have to go to a deserted location to write down some interesting things about North and the tracks on the album:
Hands, the opening track of the album was the very first piece I wrote. Musically itís a typical Everon opener, in the vein of "Across The Land" or "Men Of Rust". Actually when I started my plan was to do an album which is all based on guitars, only having a few keyboards and absolutely no orchestrations. The latest studio-productions I had been involved in before writing North I have had an overdose of orchestrations and at least for this particular song, I kind of got there...
With Brief Encounter you see whatís left of it. Heck, you shouldnít expect anything but milk from a cow, so if you donít like piano and orchestra, just donít buy an Everon-album. The lyrics of this song are based on an encounter I had with an old man almost 20 years back. I was just out of school and it was one of the most scary and frightening experiences I ever had and I never got it off my mind ever since. I was always thinking of moulding it into lyrics one day, but it took almost two decades until I got there. Everon has a reputation for delays, so basically I just keep up with tradition.
On song number 3, From Where I Stand, there is the first appearance of British cellist Rubert Gillet. While "Hands" is a straight-forward rocker and "Brief Encounter" a rather epic piece, "From Where I Stand" is kind of a semi-ballad with a lot of piano, beautiful atmospheric elements and fragile, melancholic lyrics dealing with unhappy love-issues, so whatís new.
Test Of Time is a very powerful song of rather tricky rhythmic structure but though sounding natural and accessible. In a way Everon built a reputation of being the prog-band with a simple mind and thatís perfectly fine. Iíve never been intent on writing music which is sounding complicated or sophisticated as I believe in the power of clear and simple melodies that stick. For a so-called progressive band this may be a rather unusual approach, but we like to be different.
I remember I wrote North on an unbelievably stormy day. At the moment I stayed in a small wooden house and the whole thing was shaking like it was about to be blown away. Even inside the house with headphones on it made a lot of noise. North came to me naturally; I think it took me less then 30 min to write it. I thought it might be wise to hurry up a little and be done before the whole house including myself would be carried out to the sea by the raging storm. Next time Iíll write in Jamaica...
South Of London is a rather untypical Everon-song, featuring a strong electronic element, probably the most experimental track of the album. Itís rather straight and simple, almost a Pop-song in a way with a very catchy chorus. The lyrics are in almost political content. Thatís another thing I promised not to do since I never believed in mixing music and politics. September 11th and the world after that have had such tremendous influence on the lives of everyone that it may be forgivable to spend 4.04 min on it. And who wants another one about unhappy love-affairs...
With Wasnít It Good you kind of get the ultimate dose of it nonetheless. This song is over the top dramatic, horribly pathetic and full of self-pity pouring out of every single word and note, but I have to say I love this one. My personal favourites on our albums have always been those miniature-dramas such as "May You" or "Not This Time". It starts in a very intimate minimalist setting and builds up to a huge outburst of guitars, choirs and orchestra. Actually to my humble personal point of view this kind of songs is the essence of what Everon is all about. Every now and then we accidentally achieve the point where sadness meets beauty, and those are the magic moments to me.
Woodworks On the very last weekend of my stay the weather had cleared up and I was actually done with my work and had planned to spend the last day with a long walk by the sea. In the night before I had packed most of the gear already, but when I woke up in the morning actually it was all grey, cold and raining, so consider Woodworks as a kind of protest song against Dutch North-Sea climate.
Islanders is a beautiful ballad, itís nothing of a rocksong at all. The song was originally planned as a duet with Judith, but eventually we decided to have an Everon song with female vocals only. It turned out really good as Judith is a great singer, who has been a part of our live band for a long time now.
The album closes with Running, a mid-tempo piece with a huge hymnic chorus. The lyrics describe the way I felt back then and why I needed to be in an exile in order to write music. I suppose everybody can more or less relate to it, since at one point or another we all feel our life is passing by without being aware of what weíre actually doing. Modern civilized life reduces each of us to fill out a function as being a little wheel in a giant machine. We probably all have moments where we would gladly trade it in for something a little more "real" or meaningful.