LOMM: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up?
Nelson: Evereal is a four-piece melodic metal band from Vancouver. Alicja Moniatowicz is our lead singer. Stephen Roberts is our lead guitarist and chief composer. Gord Esau is on bass and I’m the drummer. The current lineup formed about two years ago. The band’s roots actually go all the way back to 2010, when Stephen began writing progressive hard rock music with a few musicians, and tried out a variety of singers, including a male vocalist. Besides Steve, Gord is the only other member of the band who has been in Evereal since the early days.
A few years ago, Steve decided to go with a female vocalist, Stephanie Neufeld. At that time the band also had a keyboard player. The band raised $10,000 through a Kickstarterr campaign to raise the money to record the first album, which came out in 2017 under the 7Hard Record label in Germany. Things kind of went on hold for a while after the album came out and the band ended up recruiting a new drummer and singer. Alicja and I joined a couple of years ago, and in March of 2020 we released a four-song EP, Falling Down.
Steve: What Nelson said…Evereal had a rocky start and was put on hold a couple times. I always say that keeping a band together is like herding cats. It is very difficult to keep a creative group of players together for any length of time without scratching each other’s eyes out.
LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you guys have been holding up?
Nelson: The early part of the pandemic was tough. We had just released our EP and played one show and had several more lined up for the spring and summer of 2020, but they were all cancelled. For about three months, we couldn’t even get together to rehearse. That was a pretty depressing time because no one knew how long this thing would last.
Steve: Yes the Pandemic has put many things into focus and hit the music industry exceptionally hard. Not only the musicians but all the people that support and make live music possible. I have been holding up just fine but i don’t see things every being the same as they were.
LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
Nelson: Yes. When some of the restrictions on social interactions eased a bit, we started at least rehearsing again, and Steve and Alicja started working on new material. So we have been focusing on writing new songs throughout this whole pandemic period. Also, we partnered with a local studio, MNET Media, which has a really great video and audio recording studio and had started doing live music broadcasts and recordings.
We decided to put on a one-hour virtual concert and broadcast it. This was in January that we broadcast the show. We decided to turn it into a fundraiser, with ticket sales going to the ALS Society of British Columbia. It was a good experience, and it was something to work on at a time when, I think, a lot of bands are just kind of going into hibernation. And we are still getting together for rehearsals, preparing for the fall when, hopefully, we might see some venues reopen to live music.
Steve: Pretty much… We have kept plugging along and working on stuff. So we have been productive considering the situation.
LOMM: Tell us about your genre, what does it means to you, why did you choose this genre?
Nelson: We have been called symphonic metal, and certainly it has some elements of that. But we tend to think of ourselves more as a progressive hard rock band with a female vocalist. I like to call it Femmetal. The base of the music is metal guitar and drums, but with atmospheric, orchestral passages — strings and piano. Steve was influenced by progressive rock music early on, and when we got a female vocalist, it just seemed a natural genre to gravitate towards, since most symphonic metal bands do have female singers. We are all also fans of Evanescence so I think that has helped shape the sound of the band.
Steve: Femmetal…Hmmm interesting. I agree that I am a huge prog fan but try to keep it out of this band primarily and anything Proggy I try to hide, so it’s not obvious. I always struggle with the word “Genre” as I write what I want and feel at the time, trying not to be constrained by labels of what the bands “Genre” is. We fell into this genre of music simply because I loved the big guitar sounds and have always been influenced heavily by classical music and wanted to have strings, piano and orchestration as part of the sound. But one we added female vocals it opened up a whole music scene I wasn’t aware of and I really like it.
LOMM: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
Steve: They just happened naturally. I was actually writing for another project but the music didn’t fit that bands style so I started Evereal. “When You’re Gone” off the Falling Down EP was the first song I wrote for Evereal but never completed it and it sat on the shelf. It was never completed with the first lineup so when Alicja came on board she had the voice to take the song where it needed to go vocally. We probably spent the most amount of time on that song, writing and rewriting until we had something we were happy with. All the new songs are quite collaborative and develop as new ideas are added and we feed off each other’s contributions.
LOMM: Are you happy with your product? What aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
Steve: For me I’m happy musically but would have loved to record and mix in a top rate studio… of course if money were no object. But considering we do our own production, recording and mixing it turned out pretty good and didn’t break the bank. But I am always looking to improve with each song and recording so we will continue to grow.
LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
Neson: Our last gig in Vancouver went over well. We got a lot of compliments after we played, especially from other musicians, which always is a good validation.
Steve: Yes, having other musicians complement your work is always nice. The bands reception has been good and we have been steadily gaining fans worldwide. But with today’s multimedia lifestyle it is always difficult to stand out in a sea of artists and bands flooding the internet these days.
LOMM: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
Nelson: Some of us have been on tour with other bands before but not as Evereal. I was on the road a couple of times when I was younger, doing the club scene in cover bands.
Steve: Evereal has not seen a lot of live action. Mostly due to the members having careers that pay the bills but that doesn’t mean we won’t be doing so in the future. Unfortunately in Canada as in other places the live venues are closing at an exponential rate and it is getting harder to find live gigs.
LOMM: What is the next step for you? How is the future looking?
Nelson: Of course we are all hoping this pandemic ends and we can get back to playing some live gigs. We are all very eager to get on stage. And we now have several new songs that are pretty close to being finished, so we are still thinking about how we might record and release them — maybe as singles. If we could get a record deal, we’d love to record another full album. We definitely would have enough material for another album.
Steve: The future we will have to see what it brings when things settle. But for us the next steps are finishing some music and releasing songs on a regular basis.
LOMM: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who is writing the lyrics?
Steve: Lyrics have never been my strength so will leave that to Alicja to answer. The lyrics I do write tend to focus on current events or life affirming situations. But with that said, when I write a musical idea I give it a random name… many times this is what Alicja picks up on and writes lyrics around that name. So I keep saying I need to start calling new song ideas something like: Peanut butter and Banana or Hot Goat Yoga or something like that…
LOMM: Who is composing the songs?
Nelson: Steve is the head composer. He writes most of the music, although Alicja has written a couple of our songs, one of which has not been released yet. She wrote I Bleed, which was our first single release and one of the two songs we produced music videos for. Alicja has written most of the lyrics although I have also contributed a bit to some lyrics.
Steve: I put my hand up for that… but everyone is welcome to bring song ideas to the table.
LOMM: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
Nelson: Steve, Gord and I were all influenced by Rush in our earlier years. More recently bands like Evanescence and Within Temptation are kind of the touchstones for us. We draw a lot of inspiration from bands like that.
Steve: I agree with that… I draw inspiration from many bands, some heavy and some light. Ask me every week and you will get a different answer.
LOMM: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
Nelson: Steve will probably say being in the studio. For the rest of us, being on stage playing live is probably the most exciting time. Definitely for me playing live is the most exciting part of being in a band. Doing video shoots can be pretty exciting too.
Steve: The studio is my happy place but I spend most time there alone writing and producing. It’s just how I tend to write…But there is a satisfaction of road work in meeting fans and visiting new places. The road does get a bit tiresome after awhile.
LOMM: What first got you into music?
Steve: Family. I come from a family of musicians so was encouraged early on to take up an instrument and learn good habits. My older brother was the singular biggest influence on the music I listened to. Even though my parents had no interest in the music I listened to they always supported my endeavors and went so far as to sell merch at my shows!
LOMM: What do you like the best about being a musician? And what is it that you do not like much?
Nelson: Everyone loves music. And I think most people would love to be able to play an instrument. So to actually be able to be on stage and entertain people doing something that you have put many hours into rehearsing and getting applause is really gratifying. The thing I hate most about being a musician? Tearing down after a gig is over. It’s so anti-climatic.
Steve: The creativity. It gives an outlet to be creative, create something and share it with others. It is a strange addiction really…. you spent a lot of money on gear and years learning how to play that helps you create something that makes little to no money and people expect to get for free. I dislike where the digital age has taken music. It has become increasingly difficult to get any return on your investment and around every corner is someone who is trying to exploit you and your music for their own benefit.
LOMM: If you weren’t musicians, what would you be doing?
Steve: I get asked this a lot as if being a musician pays the bills. I had to take up a career as music does not pay. It is an expensive hobby and an outlet. Some guys like to race cars and watch sports… I choose to create music.
LOMM: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Nelson: I would change the royalty payment system for streaming services. Most people don’t realize that streaming services like Spotify, which recorded US$8 billion in revenue in its 2019 annual financial report, pays artists about $0.03 to $0.05 per stream. So every time you listen to a song on Spotify, the artist you are listening to gets half a cent or even less.
Steve: Musician compensation. Every artist deserves to be paid for the product other people use. When physical CD or LP sales started to disappear there was nothing to take its place. Instead due to no laws around compensation many corporations like Apple and Spotify took advantage and used artists products to make billions while giving next to nothing back.
Spotify actually pays $0.00437 per stream so it takes 229 streams to make a dollar and 336,842 streams to make minimum wage.
LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
Nelson: If we were catering to the audience, we’d be writing pop songs, not symphonic metal, which is a very niche genre. So, clearly we are not in it for the money or popularity. We are doing music that we like.
Steve: Well, the music is paramount and the people who enjoy the music are the ones that keep us going. I would go out of my way for a fan who supports my music but don’t intentionally write something to appeal to a specific group of people.
LOMM: What is the most memorable gig that you have played to date?
Steve: I had the luxury of being part of the Seattle scene of the early 90’s and playing with so many great metal bands of the day. From Alice in Chains to Annihilator and Accept… There were so many great bands I shared the stage with and have many interesting stories.
LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Steve: Getting out early. I was fortunate to have most of my success early on. I had a band that took off while I was still in high school and that afforded many great opportunities. So in my early twenties I left the business to pursue other things and career options. That didn’t last long as I got offers to be involved in music but did so more for fun than as a means to make a living.
LOMM: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Steve: Hmm.. Geoff Tate, Amy Lee, Christina Scabbia… really any big players that like what I do.
LOMM: Who would you like to go on a tour with?
Steve: Within Temptation/Evanescence/Evereal has a nice ring to it…
LOMM: If you could play any festival in the world, which one would you choose? Tell us why.
Nelson: Wacken. It’s the biggest music festival in the world catering to hard rock and metal fans.
Steve: Wacken would be fun for sure. But any large festival would be great!
LOMM: Name some of your all-time favorite albums? Include controversial ones.
Nelson: 2112 by Rush, Led Zeppelin Four, Pink Floyd The Wall, and just to show my country roots, Copperhead Road by Steve Earle.
Steve: Rush-Moving Pictures. It was perfect. Yes- Close to the edge, Saga-Heads or Tales, Judas Priest- Screaming for Vengeance, Iron Maiden- Number of the Beast, Boston- Boston, Queensryche- Rage for order.
LOMM: What does your collection look like? Mostly Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, Digital? A bit of everything? A total mess?
Steve: I still have quite a few vinyl, a box of cassettes, stacks of CD’s and lots of digital.
LOMM: What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Nelson: The west coast of Canada. The metal scene here is very small. It’s not like Europe or Brazil or Japan where metal music is very popular.
Steve: What Nelson said. Venues are all closing and the newer generation doesn’t spend their time going to live concerts.
LOMM: You can invite 5 people to a dinner party, from the future, the past, rock stars, a movie characters, you name it. Who are you having dinner with?
Nelson: Wow. Interesting question. OK, for musicians I would invite John Bonham and Neil Peart. For intellectuals, I would invite Christopher Hitchens and George Orwell. We should have at least one woman, so maybe Marilyn Munroe.
Steve: Ayn Rand, Michael Buble, Randy Rhoads, Neil Peart, Hugh Syme
LOMM: What is your weirdest memory in your music career?
Steve: Playing with Savatage… John the singer was trying to stay away from the rest of the band and kept hanging with us in our dressing room. It was kinda strange and fun at the same time having everyone look for him while he was hiding out with us.
LOMM: What is the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Steve: A Gumby bendy figure. I still have it. I;ve kept it with me for years.
LOMM: If you had one message to your fans, what would it be?
Steve: Join us on social media. The more involved with us you are the more motivated we are to produce more music. So come and say hi, subscribe to our channels and like our pages.
LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?
Check these out!
LOMM: Thank you for taking the time.