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Interview with Oliver Philipps of German band Everon


Everon

DPRP : Hello Oliver, how are you doing these days?

Oliver Philipps : Thanks for asking, in fact I am doing pretty well. Or to be honest, at the moment I am doing extremely well, if things were going even better then I´d probably be dead and in heaven allready...
Seriously, together with Moschus (Christian Moos/drums) I started Spacelab Studio as a full-time job about a year ago, and things are really developing much better than we expected. I really love doing that job, and the rest of my time I spent writing songs for the next EVERON-album, so life is pleasant as can be at the moment.
I consider it to be a real privilege being able to make a living of what I like to do more than anything else. It´s a chance not many people have so it seems I am a lucky man...


DPRP : It´s a long time we´ve heard from EVERON, what happened after the release of "VENUS"?

Oliver Philipps : Well, finding the right guitar-player took a bit longer then we predicted, so we weren´t ready to go on stage early enough. Once we were ready to do so, Detlef Dohmen, our light-engineer and a close friend of the band since the very first days, died in a tragic car-accident, so actually that set an end to any plans regarding performing the album on stage. For all of us that was most probably the hardest experience in our lifes so far, he was a tremendous loss to all of us.

Apart from that naturally a lot of Moschus´ and my time was occupied by building the studio up and trying to establish it as an affordable alternative to other, a lot more expensive studios, for bands that are really searching for maximum sound-quality. So even though we may not have worked that much on EVERON for a couple of months we´ve been all but lazy, in fact we rather had a busy time.


DPRP : I think "VENUS" was well-received in the press, but are you also satisfied about how many times the album was sold to the public?

VenusOliver Philipps : I think it will end up with those round about 15.000 copies we always sell; considering the situation that the whole scene had to struggle with decreasing sales, we actually did quite well. I am sure we could have sold a lot more, if we had gone on a regular tour and stayed in the public eye for a longer time. In fact Mascot Records did a really good job on promoting and distributing the album, so if there is anyone to blame for the fact that it did not sell more copies, then it is ourselves. After all I am personally quite satisfied with the album, I don´t really care so much about sales anymore these days, to me it is more important I am satisfied with the album as an artist, because I do not have to make my living on the sales of the EVERON-albums. And definitely "VENUS" is the first album, we ever did, that I still enjoy one year after it´s been released, so it´s perfectely fine with me.


DPRP : And what about the first 2 albums, did these also sell enough in your eyes?

Oliver Philipps : "PARADOXES" sold about 12.000 I think, which was an amazing success back then and a lot more than anyone had expected in advance. With "FLOOD" it rather was the opposite, since it was licensed to Roadrunner and again had perfect reviews in all the major magazines, we really had big expectations, but when SI-Music went down things turned out rather disappointing. It was really discouraging time, but it does not really help anyone to still ponder over that, things just went wrong and I do not really think it makes sense to put the blame for it on anyone in particular. Definitely it is not fair to blame it all on Willebrord Elsing (director of SI-Music), like many people did after all that had happened. There was none who suffered more from this situation than Willebrord himself, and through all the time he had all the best intentions. Maybe he had higher ambitions, than he could actually handle in the end. But I do not think it is fair to blame him for taking a risk, to me it is rather a proof of his enthusiasm and courage, and I really regret things turned out for him like that, because I don´t think he deserved it.

ParadoxesAnd I definitely hate how many people talked about him after SI went bankrupt, that was really cheap and extremely unfair; I do not want to give any particular names here, but a real lot of people in this scene showed their true and ugly face back then, being obviously even proud of kicking someone who was lying on the ground allready. Naturally I wasn´t happy myself with the outcome things took for SI, and EVERON was affected just as hard as any other band on the label. But fact remains, we would not be, where we are now, if he had not given us a chance in the beginning, and this is just as true for most other bands as well, only that some of those seem to have absolutely forgotten about all that.

Unloyalty is something I really despise, if you´re somebody´s friend when things are going well, you should be his friend even more in case things should go bad. All those gazillions of Zeros in the scene that envied him the success he had with SI, had their big time when he went under, all of them pretending they had known all the time it had to come like that, and they were all so sure of themselves being capable of doing it a lot better then he did. Only where are they know?

None of them only got close to what he had built up with SI, starting with literally nothing at all. All these people prooved to be really capable of, was pointing their finger on someone who at least had enough courage to dare something, even if it may have gone under in the end. But it remains a fact, for a couple of years SI-Music was a really great label, and especially Willebrord himself had sincere enthousiasm for the thing that should be most important here, which was the music itself. Maybe he might have done better if he had been in it only for the money like so many other people in this business. But if he had been like that, then SI had never been the great thing it used to be. And never ever he would have had faith in all those bands that were released on SI Music; and I think there is some music amongst it that probably means quite a lot to some of those who read this, so maybe one should not totally forget after all it was mainly Willebrord Elsing who´s responsible that you ever heard that music at all. I am sure not only EVERON, as well any other band on SI-Music made the experience before, that they´ve sent their stuff to dozens of record-labels always getting the answer, there was just no market for such a kind of music blablabla - in case of getting any answer at all...

Well, but there was one single person who had faith in it, and who invested a lot of money to give our bands a chance. Naturally he did not do it only for charity-reasons, but also earned money with it, so it is not really necessary to be over-the-top grateful or sentimental here. But at least he deserves our respect for what he did and many of those that turned his back on him as soon as things got rough would have actually owed him their loyalty, or at least some sympathy. But most of them rather preferred throwing stones at him or spreading ugly gossip in most disgusting manner, and that´s what I really despise more than anything else.

everon4.jpg (15881 bytes)You may be surprised that I am talking about it with such a fury and anger although it is a story which happend a few years back allready. But that´s how I still feel about it, back then in this poisoned atmosphere there never was a chance for Willebrord Elsing to defend himself ; besides that nobody would have listened to him anyway. So maybe it is about time someone else is doing that; and actually I think I have the right to do so, since EVERON suffered just as much as any other band on SI from the situation the bankrupcy brought us all into. Maybe we even suffered more than any other band, because it was us who just had the album out when it happened, having fantastic reviews everywhere, having a tour set up and a wagon-load of empty promises being made to us by Roadrunner Records. I even referred to that in that short introduction I wrote for the booklet of "VENUS".

So maybe I can help a little bit to restore at least some of his reputation by saying I am absolutely convinced he was one of the most sincere and enthusiastic persons I ever got to know in the whole prog-rock-scene. Maybe he made a few unwise decisions, maybe he just had bad luck in the end. It all doesn´t really matter at all. Fact is, this guy´s not a failure, the real failures are all those big mouths that only spread gossip and rumours but never really get anything done, being jealous if someone else dares to do what they only speak of, and being happy if they watch him go under eventually, because that is their legitimation for having preferred to rather keep on sitting in their armchair all the time doing nothing but making words.


DPRP : Enough about the past, let´s look forward! EVERON are working on a new album, what can we expect?

Oliver Philipps : Definitely that was more than enough about the past, I agree on that!

Actually we did not start the recordings yet, but we finished writing about 45 minutes of music allready, that we´re rehearsing at the moment. I don´t want to say too much, but in 100% conviction I tell you that this next album is going to be killer. I am more than just happy with the music we have so far and I am sure that many people are really going to love this album. The music is very intense, dramatic and powerful. Lyricwise it´s going to be a lot more personal and more easily accessable than the previous ones. For the very first time we have a piece of music which is about 14 min of length, although I always told anyone who wanted to hear it (or not), I was never ever going to write something like that. Yep, but somehow it just happened against all my best intentions, and it will be the core of the album. It´s going to be edited as 3 or even 4 pieces, one part being extremely heavy, another one being more in the vein of stuff such as „Real Me" but with a much more classical approach, and the closing section being sort of an over-the-top dramatic „hymn", which is going to really blow you away. On the album there are going to be quite a lot of real acoustic classical instruments such as Cellos and Violins, from every aspect it will be a major step ahead.

At least that´s how I think about it, although I might be sort of biased...


DPRP : I´ve heard that you will use a second keyboard player. When did you get this idea and what do you expect from this guy?

Oliver Philipps : The idea came up when we practised live-versions of the "VENUS"-songs, and I just had to state the fact, that I was not really capable of singing and playing keys and guitar at the same time. It isn´t totally impractical, and I did it in the past - although the keyboard-parts were less complex back then - but it is not really enjoyable. Like I said before, I do not really care for sales and stuff like that anymore, EVERON is something I am only in because I really love to do it for basic and simple artistic reasons. So I was just tired of acting like a robot and to me there is no satisfaction in prooving to anyone I can do all those things at the same time, because after all it is totally irrelevant. We´re talking about music, so the idea should not be to impress anyone, it should rather be to really reach people on an emotional level. And to do so it is necessary to really interpret the songs, which I just cannot do well enough if I have to handle all this other stuff while singing on top of it. Next time I just want to go an stage and enjoy what I am doing there without being sidetracked from singing by hundreds of other things, so we decided best would be to involve another keyboard-player, at least in the live situation. On the album I´ll play the keyboards still. As well I´ll still play the lead-guitar on stage.


DPRP : When can we expect the new album and will it be relesed worldwide?

Oliver Philipps : Hopefully we´ll have time to record (working title 'Ghosts') it in summer so it would be out late 1999; this is the plan at the moment.

It will have regular distribution all over Europe, as well it will be released in Japan naturally. Since beginning of this year there also is regular distribution in South-America, so in fact the album will be available in most parts of the world. There will be a video-clip for the first time, which will hopefully give it some extra promotion. Finding the album in the record-stores will not be a problem, with Mascot Records we have a strong label behind us, that has faith in the band and gives us all the necessary support.


DPRP : You have also announced finally to go on tour after the release, where do you want to play and will you make it a special tour?

Oliver Philipps : Well, being sarcastic, one could undeniably say, alone the fact we´ll really go on tour allready makes it sort of special...

Seriously, the plan is to tour the musicwise most important parts of Europe, definitely the Benelux, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria, but as well it might happen we´ll go to more distant places like Spain and Greece as well, or also to Scandinavia. It depends a bit on the reaction on the new album in those places. We definitely all want that tour desperately, it is a bit emberassing for ourselves that it failed with the previous two albums. Although we had a good reason everytime, we nevertheless really dislike making promises and then not keep them. It is too early to give any further details regarding the tour, only it is sure it will be organized by Zizania Entertainment Group and most probabely it is going to be a package with two or three bands. Probably the first shows will be a bit difficult for us because we definitely ran out of stage-practise a bit, on the other hand in a way that might make it even more fun. We´re really not at all the perfectionists some people consider us to be, so we won´t crumble to dust in case something might go wrong or we might play a few mistakes every now and then. What we are going for is to transport the emotional side of the music and the enthusiasm we have for it; the perfectionism we gladly leave to those bands such as Dream Theater, because they can do that a lot better than we ever could. None of us is a really stunning player after all, the only special thing we have to offer is the music itself and the passion it is performed with. Like I already said, we´re neither good enough on our instruments nor interested in impressing anyone, we´d rather take people with us on a musical journey and just make them forget about everything else for an hour and a half, just like we do while we´re playing it.


DPRP : Are there allready some plans for the future, or do you first want to pay full attention to EVERON´s current plans?

SpacelabOliver Philipps : I have always plenty of plans for the future, but at this moment the new album itself is future still. But a lot of other things will happen, too. Recently we are moved to a new building with the studio, in a way this is going to be sort of what I dreamt of when we started that thing. Everything will be inside one big house, the studio, my appartement, and as well the appartement for the musicians coming from abroad, so it is going to be sort of a miniaturized version of Peter Gabriel´s Real World. In a way sort of an own small world, where everything is just up to music, with musicians from all over Europe coming and going in steady flow.

This is one of the things I like most about the studiowork, all those people you get to know, coming from different countries and sometimes totally different cultural backgrounds; working together on one common thing makes you get really close to each other and comes along with a really interesting and sometimes inspiring exchange of ideas and points of view. For instance last December I spent in New York to produce a crossover-project with a Classical Piano Trio from Corea for EMI-records; those three girls´ cultural and also musical background in a way was as different from mine as can be, and that was exactely what made it one of the most exciting and enjoyable projects I´ve ever been involved in. There´s a good chance I´ll go back to NY in June again to work with them once more, and I would really like that a lot. I believe if you are open-minded things like that are unique occasions to learn a lot more about music than you ever could on conservatory. I totally don´t mind which style of music a band plays, to me it´s all just music after all, and some of it I like and some of it I don´t like, and whether I do or not is totally independent from the genre of music. From Black Metal to Opera it´s all fine with me, if it just reaches me on an emotional level and moves me somehow.

As well I am really looking forward to the production with a very interesting and unusual band from CZ named „Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy"; not the most catchy title one could think of, but a really special band. It is not sure yet if they will record with Moschus and me at our studio or if one of us will go to Prague alone and produce the album there, but in some way it is going to happen this year.

But anyway, the most important thing for us this year will definitely be the new EVERON album and everything coming along with it, and I am sure it´s going to be an exciting and good year.


DPRP : Well, Oliver, thanks a lot for your time and this interesting talk. Is there anything else you would like to say to all our DPRP visitors at the moment??

Oliver Philipps : Actually I think I already said a lot more than anyone wanted to listen to actually, because you did not have any chance to stop me...

On some days I can be a really bad chatterbox, and actually it seems you picked one of those days for the interview. I don´t think there´s a lot more I could say at the moment anyway. So I just wonna say Thanks to anyone who read all that and I hope you´ll get the album when it´s out and you´ll love it. I really believe in the music it will contain so I hope it will find an audience. And hopefully we´ll all meet when we come on tour; at least WE WILL BE THERE THIS TIME!!!

See you!

Everon live


Information Overdose - Official Everon Homepage


Saturday 24 April 1999

 

 


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