The Everywheres are a band out of Nova Scotia, Canada lead by Sam Hill. Starting as a vehicle for Sam’s songwriting, The Everywheres evolved from a solo project to a cohesive group that now functions less as a solo project and more as a collaborative band. Citing multiple influences, everything from The Kinks to White Fence to Cate Le Bon, you start to get a sense of The Everywheres’ backbone. Their latest album, Dignity Fever, immediately grabbed my attention with opening track ‘Wishing Well’. An effortless callback to 60s psychedelia that had me traveling back in time to California’s Pacific Coast Highway with winding desolate roads, bright sunshine and waves rolling ashore as a VW van or two passed by. Dignity Fever was recorded over the course of a year with sessions taking place at multiple locations in Nova Scotia, though to the listener, it’s a cohesive sounding record. It’s an album that once you hit play, you’ll let it run the whole way through.
We got in touch with Sam Hill and asked him a few questions about the band and the process for writing and recording Dignitiy Fever. Check it out after the album stream below.
Listen to Dignity Fever by The Everywheres…
[RP] How did the band start and how long have you been playing together?
[Sam] The band started back in 2013. At the time I wasn’t playing in any bands and didn’t really have many friends in the city playing music. I have always loved music and wanted to record some songs. The name The Everywheres came to my head as I didn’t want to be called “Sam Hill”. I was super into White Fence at the time and still am as well as a lot of 60s garage / pop / and The Kinks. (Still am into all of that too). A friend of mine in California named Jennifer Graciano who had a little music blog called Heard Instinct posted one of these “Everywheres Demos” and through a strange twist of fate it made its way to Jessi Frick who runs Father/Daughter Records out of San Francisco. She got in touch with me and said she’d like to put out an album. She took a huge chance and I am forever grateful as she really did change my life or at least shaped the years to come for me. I was living with my partner Shannon Macdonald at the time who was to become our first bassist and she put me in touch with her friends Nicholas Hanlon (Guitar) and Curtis Rothney (Drums) to flesh out the lineup. Those early days were magic. Over the years we’ve had lineup changes semi frequently but Nick has been with me from the very start and probably always will be. Adam Gravelle who is probably one of the best musicians you’ve never heard of has been playing and helping steer the ship for 2 years now and Bianca Palmer has been our drummer since last May (She’s incredible). We’ve also had Brian Askew (listen to his solo stuff!) play bass and drums and sing over the years and Marilla Word played organ and keys for a year and half. Shes my best friend too. Sorry that took so long its a convoluted story.
[RP] Where did you record the album?
[Sam] We recorded Dignity Fever on an off for around a year in the houses we were living in Halifax and at my mothers house in Dublin Shore, Nova Scotia by the Atlantic Ocean. Drums in my bedroom at North Street, vocals in my shed vocal booth on Yukon street where I’m sitting right now. Bass on Bilby street. Guitars everywhere. For it being done in so many different rooms and seasons it sounds remarkably coherent, at least to me. So that’s nice isn’t it? Our friend Jacob Hiltz mixed and mastered it at his studio in Prospect, Nova Scotia. We will get better equipment for the next one.
[RP] Can you walk us through what the recording process was like?
[Sam] As I said the recording process took quite a long time with many starts and stops mostly due to me never really being pleased with the sounds we were getting. I never want to take that long again and I learned my lesson. We recorded everything ourselves. Used dynamic microphones on everything (I love the re20). We also had our friends Amy Vinnedge and Eliza Niemi sing on the record. They are both incredible musicians and integral parts of the music community in the city. Amy’s project is called Vulva Culture and Eliza plays in MAUNO and New Love Underground. It was fun recording and including friends on the record that we’d never played with before. The long and short of it is is that it was a tumultuous process that is now over.
[RP] What does your writing process look like?
[Sam] The writing process varies. For this particular record each song was slightly different I think. For quite a few of the songs I would bring a progression with some words or a loose idea to the group and we would “jam out” as they say, adding and structuring as we went until it felt right. I usually would have an idea lyrically of where I would want to go early on in the song. There are exceptions. I think I demoed “Dignity Fever” in the shed on my own and had the structure pretty much set when we went to practice. For earlier records that I would do mostly on my own I would write and record at the same time. The only track on the album that went like that this time around was “Sagittarius”. I chopped up a drum track for another song that I had lost interested in and built the song around that. It was nice going back to that old way of doing things for a minute. We’ve been working on new songs and I feel like its becoming more collaborative. Nick, Adam and Bianca all have a lot too add, its plain to see.
[RP] How would you describe your music?
[Sam] Describing the music is kind of hard for me. I say “pop” a lot as what influences us I think is pop but all different kinds. We love 60s garage, The Kinks are still perhaps my favorite, I love soul, listening to a lot of Al Green and Otis Redding lately, getting into disco, I like The Eagles even, been listening to Cate Le Bon nonstop too. Sometimes I feel bad for “not being complicated enough” but I snap out of it and realize its silly, you’ve got to write songs you believe in. So let’s call it pop music?
[RP] Do you have any formal music training?
[Sam] I have no formal music training. I don’t believe any of us do except for maybe Bianca but she’s a natural anyway. I’ve learned a lot though, a few scales and what the names of the chords are.
[RP] Who are your biggest influences?
[Sam] As I said earlier I absolutely love The Kinks. I won’t ramble on about “The Kinks Story” but I will say that the words Davies writes are in a league of their own. Songs about ordinary people or streets or drinking a cup of tea or being paranoid that to me still seem incredibly relevant. I love his observations and his humor. White Fence is another one. The best lyricist in rock and roll today to me. To be that prolific and consistent at the same time is also miraculous. Cate Le Bon too. I got into Mug Museum last year and played it forever. I also think I listen to Kendrick more than anything, I won’t even praise him because we all already know. Al Green <3. These are just a few, I don't want to ramble too long. Oh Halifax too of course. Kurt Inder, Vulva Culture, Nap Eyes, Walrus, Loveland. Our city is full of it.
[RP] What are you listening to the most right now?
[Sam] Refer to the previous answer. Or actually I could say that I’m in my shed writing this listening to Amy’s Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birken 7″. It has the song “Je t’aime… Mon non plus” and “Jane B”. I love Serge a lot for all his innumerable faults as a human, and my what a naughty song.
[RP] Who are some local bands you’d recommend?
[Sam] In addition to those I’ve listed above, I’ll add a few other bands too. The Age, Harley Alexander, Old and Weird, Municipality.
[RP] Finally, I’m always curious about how other people consume music. Do you have a favorite ritual, place or activity while listening to music?
[Sam] I consume music whenever I can really. I like listening to music when I walk but not always. It’s nice to attach sunlight or fog and the streets to the songs you are hearing. I’ve just brought my old portable record player out the the shed so I can listen to records out here as it’s a beautiful space so thats nice too. I like music at parties and shows. I listen to the radio or music while cooking as many do, and we’ve got a nice living room for it too. And importantly, in the car while driving around on the south shore.. Usually The Eagles Greatest Hits.
Buy the album here.