Everest is a group of Los Angeles music community alumni and friends who decided to create music together. The result is the album ... (more)
Bio: Chapter 1: Everest? You are a band.
Everest is a group of Los Angeles music community alumni and friends who decided to create music together. The result is the album Ghost Notes, to be released by Vapor Records on May 6, 2008. Everest was formed by Russell Pollard (vocals, guitar, drums), J. Soda (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Rob Douglas (bass, vocals), and Joel Graves (guitar, keyboards, vocals), with the help of friend and drummer Davey Latter. Kevin Bronson of the Los Angeles Times observed that the band members “sport resumes longer than the intro to ‘Cortez The Killer’” and it’s true – these guys have spent time in bands such as Sebadoh, the Folk Implosion, Earlimart, Mike Stinson, Slydell, John Vanderslice, and the Watson Twins.
When discussing the formation of the band with the members, one word seems to come up time and time again – natural. “I’ve never been in a band that felt this natural right away,” says Russell Pollard. Guitarist Joel Graves echoes this: “It was a natural fit. I love them as people, and I love making music with them.” They may have already been friends, but it took future Ghost Notes producer Mike Terry to be the catalyst. As Graves explains, “We had a long conversation and he said, ‘You guys need to stop all these different projects and support each other.’ It took an outside person to tell us the obvious.” “It came at a really good time,” Russell concurs. “We had all been doing our own thing, but not up to the potential it could be.”
Chapter 2: Play shows for yourself, not for the crowd.
Shortly after the band began playing live in 2007, local press in Los Angeles began to pick up a vibration from the stage uncommon in the “scene.” The band’s collective touring experience, chemistry, and unabashed passion for playing was infectious. According to Russ, “Playing the songs live, I feel like I’m on a racehorse. It’s a total rush and it goes by so quick.” For the crowd, each show is also it’s own unique “snowflake,” as bassist Rob Douglas points out, “We always try to play a different show each time, by changing songs, arrangements, and order.” Guitarist J. Soda adds, “There’s a certain amount of trust that’s happening on stage that makes the shows really fun.”
Chapter 3: It’s time to make a record, and make it fast.
In August 2007, the band entered Elliott Smith’s former room, New Monkey Studio, to document the music. Ghost Notes was made on classic vintage equipment with producer/engineer Mike Terry recording and mixing the entire album to analog tape. You may be asking yourself, “What, no computers?” Nope. The album was recorded in two weeks, mixed in one week in November, and mastered one afternoon a few days later. Phew. It all happened pretty fast. Most of the songs were tracked with the entire band playing live together.
“I remember distinctively the first session - everyone had their eyes closed and their heads bobbing. From the start, it was a great feeling,” remembers Soda. Communication and ideas were flowing and, according to Douglas, “Sometimes ideas get shot down, but we’re pretty good about keeping the drama out of it. Everest is a democracy as much as possible.” The band also invited a few friends to help out. Jason “The Professor” Borger came down one afternoon to lend Hammond B-3 organ, piano, and pump organ to three songs. Drum duties on the album were shared by singer Russ Pollard, Biirdie drummer Richard Gowen, and Davey Latter.
Chapter 4: Welcome Home, Everest… Now, hit the road!
When the band signed with Vapor Records, the label presented them with a cake that said “Welcome Home Everest.” To Pollard, it was another step down a road he’d always hoped to be on. “I’d wanted to be on Vapor before I knew they might be interested. It’s Neil Young’s label, so obviously it was somewhere I wanted to be.”
This May, the band will get the chance to pile into a van and do what they do best: play their music live and continue writing songs together. Douglas points out, “We have a definite pedigree in terms of things we’ve done in the past, but we’re lucky that we’re all coming into our own now in this band. It feels like we found each other at the right time.” Good timing is just another natural part of it. Pollard sums it up well when he says, “I feel very free about it, watching it go in whatever direction it wants to.”