Even are bringing Christmas to the Corner

I was always in denial when we started pulling crowds…Going interstate and playing to an audience was something that I'd never experienced before."

For over two decades, Even have been thrilling audiences as a staple of Australia's independent rock scene. 2017 has seen them busy in the studio, perfecting the band's latest release, Victoria – and frontman Ashley Naylor has been hard at work preparing for Even's annual Christmas show.
"We made a concerted effort to rehearse for two nights just to get ourselves into shape," Naylor says. "We haven't played for a long time – since January, really. It's nearly a year since we've played. It's not the way I'd like it to be, but it's just circumstantial."
For Victoria, Naylor wanted to capture the simplicity of Even's ‘90s-era recordings – get together, record, mix and enjoy. Appropriately, last year's Christmas show saw the band celebrating 20 years since their first album Less Is More, with 2018 likewise heralding two decades of its acclaimed follow-up, Come Again.
"You never really know when you're in the middle of something, because you're just trying to do your best work," Naylor says of Less Is More. "That was the first record I'd ever sung on. Looking back, I cringe a bit when I hear the vocals – but musically, I think it's pretty strong and I think we were in good shape, because we'd been touring for two years flat out before we did that record. We did it really quickly, too – we tracked the bulk of it in a few days and then it must have been a few days overdubbing vocals and guitar. It was done while we were still on the boil. I'm grateful that it still resonates with people who like our band.
"That was something that you don't see coming until it's actually happening," Naylor continues. "I was always in denial when we started pulling crowds, but a lot of that we can put down to triple j and public radio supporting the band. Going interstate and playing to an audience was something that I'd never experienced before."
Having only played the new material once before while supporting Midnight Oil, Even fans will be treated to new material from Victoria – plus much more – for their first performance in almost a year. It's taken time, but Naylor's ready to spread good vibes and is pleased with the results.
"I don't think about the mechanics of what I'm doing. It's purely passion," Naylor says of making music for Even. "Whatever skill I've accumulated throughout the years, I try to make sure that Even music is not based in something that's static or theoretical. It's got to be something that's purely instinctive, and that's why it takes us so long to make records. I can't churn them out like a production line – it goes against my philosophy as a songwriter."
Starting at The Corner in 1999, Even's Christmas gig has been cemented as an essential tradition on the Melbourne music calendar, with the group playing in beloved venues like The Worker's Club, The Tote and The Evelyn over the years.
Having played with Weddings, Parties, Everything at one of their final Christmas shows the previous year, the group relished both the energy of a great holiday gig and the fun of a 'Christmas Even' pun. They popped a show together, and the rest was history.
"Last year, we had a bit of a cavalcade of guests getting up and playing songs with us," Naylor says. "It can be a night of surprises, but I think this year's going to be different altogether, because we're playing two sets each night, so we're going to do four gigs in two nights. It's different and my focus this year is our own material, because it's so rare for us to play that I'd be mad not to pack as much Even material into two nights as possible – and a DJ between our sets. The focus is solely on us as a live band and then outside of that just some good tunes for people to chill out to."

Even will bring their annual Christmas show to the Corner Hotel on Friday December 22.