Considering the pedigree of the members of the band, it is a little surprising that Melbourne's Never are still finding their feet in the music market a number of years after their inception.
Featuring Aaron Butler (Azza) from Frankenbok and Ando McDougall from Dreadnaught, Never are a band that has moved outside of their comfort zone in the heavier side of metal and morphed into a more accessible, almost stoner rock band.
While Azza still plays guitar, he admits there is a lighter side to Never, a band that was borne with the sole intention of bringing fun back to music.
"We basically just got together to have a few laughs, enjoy some riffs and just jam and it was something to do that was separate from Frankenbok or Dreadnaught," he shrugged. "Those bands had goals and were focused on doing this or that whereas with Never we just wanted to have fun and enjoy the music without the pressure. We went on for quite some time without a vocalist and we didn't really intend to get one because we weren't really worried about getting gigs or really doing anything at all except jamming and making each other laugh all night (laughs). Then one day I ran into Jason Richards at JB Hi-fi and like all guys in bands he handed me a CD to check out and I took it home and had a listen and as soon as he started singing it was like holy shit! I couldn't believe how good his vocals were. They absolutely blew me away and I was fantasizing like a little kid, imagining having him sing for the band because he was the first vocalist I had heard that would suit the music. Everyone else I knew was yelling and screaming like they had their finger stuck in the car door or something (laughs)."
Fast forward a few years and Never have recently released their third E.P, titled Volume 3, and celebrate with a launch at the Spotted Mallard on November 25.
The E.P sees Never explore their musical roots a touch more, harking back to their Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin influences, but Azza seems not to be fussed when pressed on the line between imitation and inspiration.
"I don't really have that much of a problem," he said. "I've never, ever been one of those guys that learns cover songs. I know little bits of lots and lots of songs because I've accidentally stumbled across other people's songs while I've been trying to write my own. I've been, like, how good is this riff? Then I go aaahhhh, I've just rewritten a Pantera song (laughs). I've never really taken the time to learn a lot of that other stuff and all of my writing basically comes from when I learned to play guitar and it's real blues orientated so writing Never stuff... I think if you're scowling or concentrating too hard or spending too much time on it you're way out of the ballpark. Never stuff seems to be the first thing you think of - the first groove, the first vibe - is usually the right thing to go with. The whole thing of its only rock and roll, don't make it too fucken difficult and when we've been listening to some of our influences like Dave Tice it's a case of don't overthink it mate, it's just rock and roll. Spending years working on a song you find when it is done it is just overdone and rather than looking forward to being the sickest muso's ever we've been more looking back and seeing what guys were doing back then and the simplistic way of their songs and the way they were written and the style is not something that we're trying to emulate, it's just something that we're taking note of. Usually when you're jamming on something you get inspired and give it a crack yourself and the first idea is the right idea because it is just rock and roll and then you start worrying about people hearing it and listening to it and wondering if it's good enough I think that's when you start to wreck your own stuff. When you're talking about Sabbath and stuff, every time you come up with a big, fat riff Sabbath have already done it so it's just like I'm gonna borrow this for a bit, okay? (laughs)"
'Devil In You'
Volume 3 is, as the title suggests, the third E.P from Never, which leads to the obvious question of why the succession of E.P's without a full-length album.
"It's probably because we've all been in bands that have done full albums and dealt with all the stress of actually getting ten songs sorted and getting a whole release done and how much time that takes," Azza replied. "Having our own recording facilities, every time we had three songs it was a case of why not just bust them out and give them away? Another reason is just how the world is changing with YouTube and Facebook and all the social media people's attention span is not what it was and gone are the days of putting out a record and listening to both sides. I think we're all a bit guilty these days because there's just so much content out there. I find a CD with three or four songs... like when I got the Red Sky Burial CD when I first heard Jason, I got it and put it in my car and it just stayed there going round and round and I never got sick of it because it was only four songs. Most albums the first six to eight songs are good and the rest you get tired of. I think it's better for people to get really familiar with three songs rather than get bored with ten."
When pressed on the different things musically Azza gets out of his two bands Frankenbok and Never, he lets out a hearty roar at the parallels.
"Frankenbok is like being in a full Viking battle!" he proclaimed. "It's pure heads as weapons type shit; lose your mind stuff (laughs) whereas with Never you sit back on the groove a bit more and enjoy the riffs a whole lot more and feel the groove. Rather than doing all these musical acrobatics and keeping up this fucken intensity all the time, Never is like kick back on the note and jam and relax on it and let it breathe and let the vocals tell the story rather than being in a street fight..."
Never are actually giving away copies of Volume 3 so to get your hands on one head to their facebook page for details.