EVERMORE, INTERVIEWED (2004): On the Hume's highway

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EVERMORE, INTERVIEWED (2004): On the Hume's highway

The way Jon Hume of Evermore describes it, they are living the dream: sleeping on a friend's floor in Sydney; working up to five nights a week in sweaty bars and clubs, and sometimes in big theatres with headliners like Keane and Snow Patrol; hauling themselves around from Sydney to Adelaide to Melbourne to Brisbane ...

From the comfort of your couch at home it all sounds arduous and - when you add that there's little money in it - maybe more a nightmare than a dream.

But for the Hume brothers from Feilding - Jon, Peter and Dann - this is a dream come true. And with their appropriately titled debut album Dreams about to drop in Australia and New Zealand, they couldn't be happier.

2263847In Australia the influential national network Triple J has been playing the first single off the album, It's Too Late, and this week it is No 1 on their net.50, the station's internet request line.

The band are doing interviews in advance of the album's Australian release in a fortnight, Perth is their next stop after Adelaide, then it will be back home for an album launch here, then an Australasian tour in November ...

"We've been playing for six years and it's good to be connecting with people - because it takes a long time to get to this point," laughs Jon.

It has been a haul for the band that first made an impression when it won the Smokefree Rockquest in 2000 then impressed important international guests at the World Series concerts two years later.

With two EPs behind them - Oil and Water last year, My Own Way four months ago - and appearances at Austin's SXSW festival last year they have won friends and met influential people. But they haven't hurried themselves.

"Our plan was to hold off and make the best album we could, and that has meant we've had a longer period to develop and discover our own unique sound. We wanted the debut album to be really special and something we could look back on and still love in five years, and not think, 'Hmm, we rushed it and I wish we'd waited'. There's certainly no feeling of that."

Dreams - an ambitious, melodic and textured album with acoustic passages, strings and a dozen astutely arranged songs - is the result of six months' studio work.

EvermoreDreamsAfter a national tour with Elemeno P and more gigs in Australia last year, the trio returned home to Feilding to start work on what would become Dreams.

"We wanted to stretch ourselves and go somewhere new with the music. We took a lot of time to experiment with sounds and a different way of writing, and stretch out of any creative limitation we might have put on ourselves earlier. We put a lot of keyboards in the mix and there's a lot more space and atmospherics which also paid off. I'm glad we weren't pushed into making an album earlier."

But the recordings almost turned into a waterlogged disaster. American producer Barrett Jones, whom they had met when opening for Brad in Australia, came down to work with them and arrived just as flooding hit the region.

"The power was cutting out, the water was no good and [the] bridge into Feilding was washed out. You had to drive half an hour just to get petrol. It was a strange and isolated environment."

Jones, who was staying with the family, decided Seattle - a city notorious for its constant rain - would be more comfortable.

"He said we should go to his place and use his studio ... for free. I think he wanted to get back that badly."

The band spent six weeks in Jones' Seattle studio and worked every day. At night they stayed at Jones' place.

"It's not a simple album and there's a lot going on, it wasn't something we could whack out in a few weeks. We wanted a lot of space and not layer up too many sounds but to make every sound important. We wanted to make an album that played like a real album and not just 12 songs put together, we wanted to have a mood and a progression through the emotion of the music."

Already the cinematic Dreams has drawn favourable comparisons with mid-period Radiohead, early U2, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and other such classic rock outfits. It relates to nothing in the New Zealand music scene and has a confidence which belies the band members' ages. At 20, Jon is the eldest.

"People's attention spans are getting shorter and the rate people go through bands is almost too quick. I hope we're just coming from left field and not really fitting into any trends because we've never really followed what's popular.

"We'll listen to some old Smashing Pumpkins, decide we like them, then listen to their entire catalogue. And this is 10 years after the fact."

evermoreHume admits they recorded enough material for two albums and even entertained a concept double album.

"We had enough songs. We got to the point of writing CDs of the actual order but then we got too tired and didn't think it was such a good idea to put out a debut double," he laughs. "So we focused on songs that worked well together."

Right now they are focusing on their live performances, which have tightened up with all their playing in Australia.

"Playing live is an art form. The more I see other bands play the more I realise there is more to it than you first notice. We're working on that. Rock is such a big thing over here, which is cool."

Australia has become a second home to the band these past four months and they can see their audience growing. The street press is interested, radio is there for them, they've remixed It's Too Late for further airplay, and their manager, Rebekah Campbell - formerly of Wellington - is now based in Sydney ... raising their question of whether - like Brooke Fraser - to base themselves there.

"We'll take it as it comes. We love New Zealand but we'll see how we go. No matter where we are based we'll probably spend time in both countries - because we've got family in Australia, too."

Which means more floors to sleep on while the dream goes on.

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