When he was a teenager, Nick Everett dropped out of high school in London, Ontario, headed to the highway and stuck his thumb out. He wanted a job on a boat, and Halifax was a natural stop on that quest. "I got out here and didn't find a job easily," he says. "I also didn't try very hard because I was staying on a friend's floor at King's, and there was an amazing music community there. I was playing in four different bands and I just kinda stayed."
That was five years ago. This week Everett, 22, releases his new album, elsethings, which bears the weight and wear and wonder of travel, its six songs recorded on the road in "Victoria and Vancouver and Cape Breton and Halifax and Mount Forest, Ontario, Toronto, Toronto Island, all over the place," he says over coffee downtown. "I found that every single place we recorded had a different sound—you can hear how different places, different rooms and different spaces join together and create something that's neither of them but also both of them together."
In that spirit, with his Edmonton-based label Cabin Songs he's coordinated a unique event on Saturday, January 19 in 15 cities across the country, where dozens of artists will play shows in celebration of the new record. (Everett himself will be in Sydney; the Halifax show is at 6317 Lawrence Street and features Jennah Barry, Dark for Dark and Tom Terrell.)
elsethings is meticulous and grand, dynamic and heartfelt and beautifully sung, each song packed full of the usual instruments plus aural soundscapes and subtle textures, played under titles like "Hold On," "Get Out" and "I Try." "I try to write songs by writing one thing, say a melody, and then just listening to it and trying to do what it needs," he says. "I found I couldn't do any of what my songs needed, so I had to keep adding elements to it, and that's why I play with the band now, I'm trying to make the songs what they need to be. It's also why we recorded an album with 90 tracks on it."
The band is "two guys from Sydney, Adam White and Scott Boudreau, and they played in kinda hardcore bands for years, so it's a much bigger energy than I've ever played with before," says Everett. (Together they're called Nick Everett and Everybody.) Moving from solo to bandleader was "unbelievably difficult, to try to articulate what I wanted them to do, but also learn how to guide people and let them be creative. I still struggle with it."
The music's constant war of volume lends itself well to both quiet and loud settings—you may have seen Everett opening for Postdata at the Carleton or Paper Beat Scissors at the Khyber—and that adaptability is something he considers part of his job. "Then you can play anywhere," he says. "If we show up at a folk show with people playing acoustic guitars, I can still play by myself. You try to suit the medium."
That medium-suiting makes it hard to slot him into a genre, which is fine by Everett. "I want to make songs and I want to make them sound as good as they can and I want to basically live inside of that creative process of trying to make those things into what they want to be," he says. "That's all I want to do, regardless of genre, regardless of style."
Nick Everett & Everybody
w/The Belle Comedians, Special Costello
The Seahorse Tavern, 1665 Argyle Street
Friday, January 18, 10pm, $8
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