Even, Melbourne’s indie-rock heroes, have just turned 25 – and to celebrate, they’re heading off with best buds The Dandy Warhols on a recently announced headlining tour. We’re talking Melbourne, Marrickville, Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney and Newcastle, so get in quick before tickets sell out! After seven studio albums and show after show touring nationally and internationally, Even has earned the rightful reputation as one of Australia’s most loved indie bands, making waves in the music scene ever since the 90s. We’re really grateful at MIIO that frontman Ash Naylor could take the time this week amongst busy tour preparations to contribute to our Savvy Seven article series, thank you!
What inspired you to pursue music as a career?
Firstly, a life-long love of music and what it gave me throughout my childhood and younger years. I think I just craved freedom and the desire to not succumb to the suburban pressure of full-time employment and all the trappings that come with that.
I studied at Uni in the late-’80s and ended up working full-time in the mid-’90s when I took the plunge into the unknown. All the time though, I have been playing in bands from 1985 to the present.
Besides making music, what have you done to get to where you are?
Numerous un-glamorous jobs over the years aside from two purple patches,1996 to 2000 and 2006 to now, whereby my livelihood has been derived from working as a full-time musician. Needless to say, I am very grateful for this outcome.
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How do you approach developing timelines for your career?
I don’t have timelines any more but I did in the ’90s as I was signed to a label who mapped things out for myself and the band. It was good having deadlines as it forced you to finish things.
I have always ‘gone with the flow’ with regards to my ‘career’ .
What is the most significant challenge you have conquered in your career?
I think one thing I have now conquered is the internal fight against my own music industry-related neuroses. In my younger years I may have tried too hard to be liked or was overly concerned about the band’s (or my own) standing within the music community, record sales, chart placings, gig attendances etc. I think now I am more calm about this stuff.
What will musicians discover from touring and how should they prepare for it?
Assuming we are mainly talking about the logistics of touring, the experience will vary from person to person, based on the individual’s capacity to adjust to or cope with varying situations in the hours when the band/artist is not on stage.
As a younger musician everything about touring was a novelty and exciting for me. As time passes, you hopefully become better equipped to deal with long drives, cancelled flights, delayed soundchecks, collecting merchandise boxes, arriving at the airport in good time, getting out of the next airport efficiently, packing lightly, protecting your equipment, sharing the drive on long journeys, getting an early (ish) night before an early lobby call, packing an extra capo (or USB cable, kick pedal etc ), being courteous to all the hotel, car-hire, venue and hotel staff you encounter, being punctual…
Punctuality, although possibly deemed a bit nerdy in certain circles is an art form unto itself and should be encouraged and practiced. I’m a reformed ‘late’ person, occasionally I relapse but I try to warn my colleagues of impending lateness.
Mental preparation is vital for surviving the touring life. Read the emails, reply to the text, read the flight confirmation, note which airline or car-hire company you are booked with. Always thank the tour manager, band member or travel agent who furnished you with this information.
Managing your own band on tour and at home? Get real world advice here from our music industry mentors on how to put your best foot forward.
How should people educate themselves on current industry issues?
I suppose the best way to get a handle on what’s current is to read various articles about a certain topic to gain a balanced overview. That said I don’t really read that many music articles any more but its always handy to know what’s happening.
How have you integrated modern technology into your content process?
The most recent use of technology for me is the Even Instagram account (even.1994).
It’s a good outlet to share pictures and archival ephemera with our friends and supporters without bombarding them with editorial and opinions. Matt and Wally are very tech-savvy and they handle our Facebook and video content etc.
See you soon for another Savvy Seven article at Music Industry Inside Out!
Check out Even’s website here for more information about their upcoming tour.