"It’s so exciting to be in a band that feels like it is constantly evolving"
As Everything Unfolds are just about to drop their long-awaited debut album 'Within Each Lies The Other' via Long Branch Records.
A sprawling mass of post-hardcore fury and ethereal pop-rock beauty, it's a record of immense depth and devastation. Leaving no stone unturned when it comes to talking about the struggles of every day, the band have crafted a collection of songs that will not only serve as an exorcism for their own demons but for those of everyone who lets it into their lives.
We sat down with vocalist Charlie Rolfe to discuss the ins and outs of the record and the effect that the process has had on them...
So in terms of the album’s roots, is this just a collection of songs that you immediately knew you were going to do with or is this something you have been picking away at for a long time?
“We wrote this album over quite a long time. It’s not like we spent two months working on it and then went into the studio. Many bands do that, and it works for them, and that’s fine, but we like to work over a longer period than that. We wrote quite a few of the songs on here around the time we made the ‘Closure’ EP, which is why I feel as though it works as quite a nice transition. You have the songs that feel linked to the old music, and then you can hear the maturity melting in on the other songs. They all still meld together, which is where that air of unexpectedness comes in. It’s quite fun writing over a period like that, where we can hand-select things and be a bit more refined in how we do things.”
So what were the initial intentions? How did they build up throughout the process?
“For me, because I write a lot of the lyrics, a lot of these songs have a lot of the same themes. It’s all about realising you have issues and addressing those issues. Even with the album name, ‘Within Each Lies The Other’, that feels like a play on As Above, So Below, which is a concept I’m interested in researching. You have to experience the bad stuff to come out the other side sometimes. As a band and people, we have all gone through our ups and downs, and everybody has been going through their own things. As an album, I feel like it represents that part of our lives and those are the foundations it was built on.”
Has the band allowed you to understand those realisations and feelings more?
“100%. Not even just within the music, but with the people in the band. Your band is like your second family. Sometimes you spend more time with them than your own family. They will be honest with you to the point of brutality, but sometimes you need that. I needed that. We’ve had our ups and downs, and we all bicker like this old married couple, but we always come out of the other end of it. On that side of things, this band has made me a better person.
“On the musical side of things, it makes you feel incredibly self-aware. When we got the album back and listened to all the songs through for the first time, I could tell that I was writing about things as a whole that when looked at via individual songs I didn’t realise I was delving into.”
So what are those things that struck you the most? What didn’t you realise you had delved into?
“I think a lot of self-anxiety and how other people perceive me has always been something that I’ve known about but never really addressed. Recently I’ve been much better, but before, I wouldn’t go to somewhere like the post office without putting a full face of makeup on. I wouldn’t go on Instagram Live or post a photo without putting a full face of makeup on. Even with the clothes I wear, I would be thinking about it. But now I’m thinking, ‘I want to wear it, so I’m going to wear it'. The album helped me in realising that those are things that I have to address myself. Then there were the people around me who were proving to be toxic, and it made me address that as well. I’m in a better place because of it.”
How is it talking about these things as a band, then? What is it like having fans be so honest with you as well?
“We’ve been a band for a long time. We were all teenagers when we started, young teenagers as well. I think John was like 14 or something. So we have all grown together, and we are all able to be more honest as people. I feel like the people around me are so much more honest about these things too, and it’s nice when they say, ‘Your music has helped me’. It’s nice and reassuring that I’m doing the right thing for other people and me as well.”
There’s that moment where a band goes from being just fun to you almost having a duty of care with the thing you’ve built to do something more. It’s a realisation that creeps in rather than whacks you in the face…
“I think that it’s quite a daunting prospect to me. When people started being like that, I was a bit scared. It made me quite terrified. Although we’ve been a band for a while, we haven’t been a proper band for very long. We were just a bedroom band who did Paramore covers when we started. When we wrote the EP, people started talking to me somehow, and it felt really scary. I like to feel that we have realised that we have a responsibility with the album, and I’m very proud to have that responsibility too. Though I still don’t want people to look at me and think that I am perfect and an idol. Because I’m not. Nobody is. But I’m glad that there is a positivity to be found and people take something from our music in that way because that’s the way that I write it. Although this is my story, it’s their story as well.”
So how did you go about stringing all of these different pieces of yourself into one cohesive journey? What did it feel like when you could see this bigger picture coming together?
“It was almost like a form of therapy for us, and we look back on creating it fondly, but I don’t know when it started becoming a thing. It just turned out the way it was. We just rode with it and rode with the feelings that we were having at that time. It’s very much an autobiographical album in that sense. A song is very much about exactly how we felt at that exact moment. We don’t hide away from that either.”
A lot of that comes through connection with each other…
"If I look at the people we were when we started writing this record compared to now as a group of people. We are so different. Even within how we write, it’s so different from how we did things back then. We’ve learned so much from the beginning to the end of this process, from the stress to the fun, and we have matured as people because of it. I’m excited about the future because of that as well. It’s so exciting to be in a band that feels like it is constantly evolving."
And to know that you still have each other’s back no matter how deep into the void you go is something that will always be important…
“We are friends first and a band second. We hang out as people without even talking about the band. We love having fun with each other. A lot of bands will write a therapeutic record and then be like, ‘I can’t face doing this again', but whereas I feel ready for the next step and what’s coming next and a lot of that has to do with us as people and how close-knit we are.”
How do you feel as though having the band as a part of your life has adapted over the course of this process? What does it mean to you to have an outlet such as this there for you?
“It’s very important to me because it has made me realise that a lot of things in my life were not right for me. That’s through me writing my music and my lyrics. The boys would question me, and I would always be honest about what I was writing about, and they would talk me through it. It would almost make me open up about other things that I didn’t even realise I could. So that’s a big point.
“I’ve been a part of this band for most of my teenage years and my 20’s, and it has always just been there for me. I’m very lucky to have that and have something that serves as such an outlet for me. I do get scared about where I would be if I didn’t have it.”
You’ve mentioned already thinking about the next chapter, so what does that look like at these early stages?
“I think more positive, but not sunshine and rainbows. Life is not sunshine and rainbows. But it’s far more on the bright side of things. There will also be many feelings about what’s going on at the moment, and of course, we have had to adapt to how we do things. But the sound is just so much more matured. Every time we work, we’re refining our craft more and more. We’re always going to keep looking for the next thing to do, and it’s those things that keep you motivated.”