Coming at you from across the pond for today’s instalment is the loquacious Never Us.
Chad: Never Us was formed by Kegan and Jordan initially in Gilbert Arizona. Jesse, Jordan, Kegan and I were all in the Gilbert area for years but didn’t know each other except for Kegan and Jordan who met in middle school I believe. I currently live in the Glendale area, and Steven has to drive everywhere because he lives in Prescott.
How did you meet?
Jordan: In 2012, right after my senior year of high school, I wanted to try to get a band going. I wanted a shot that truly pushed how far we could go. I bought a Macbook Pro and Logic Pro 9 and started to learn how to write on my own. After a couple months, I decided to show my best friend Kegan, from 7th grade, my demos and asked him if he wanted to start writing songs. He agreed and after a couple more months is when Kegan asked his prior drummer Austin, from his old band, to write some drums for us. A short time later, he found Jesse Clark, a singer from Gilbert High. Luckily, we all had went there! Austin discovered Chad, a bass player who was perfect for the band. After a year or so, Austin decided to part ways because of musical differences. Our momentum was great at the time and Jesse somehow discovered Steven who lived 2 hours away from us. He asked him if he’d like to try out for the band in an old abandoned shut down hospital. No joke. I’m sure Steven was thinking he was gonna die that day. After killing it in the most likely asbestos-filled room, we decided Steven was the perfect fit.
How long have you been playing as a band?
Kegan: Never Us has been playing and writing music together for nearly 4 years now. We formed in late 2014/early 2015 when guitarists Jordan and Kegan began writing music together with drummer Austin Drolet. Shortly after, Jesse joined the band and we had a 4-man band. Chad, our bassist was discovered by Austin, who joined the band after a stellar audition. Austin left the band several years ago due to personal reasons, leaving no animosity behind towards the band. Steven Parent was discovered by Jesse shortly after and he gladly filled in on drums as a permanent member and wrote original material. We have spent all the time as a band trying to better ourselves and improve on what we have done before. In that time, all of our influences and styles have come together to create a unique sound.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Jesse: The band name came from an overdue suggestion. We knew we would have to change our name sometime. After talking with our manager, we decided it was time to find a new name. So we all came together and threw out everything we could think of, silly names, inappropriate joke names, anything to possibly strike up a great name that was unique. I decided to just stray from the band and ask our manager, what do you think about NVUS. As in envious. He wondered where it came from and what it stood for and we had a misunderstanding that lead us to the name, “Never Us”. Which ended up sounding sick so we kept it.
What are your influences?
Jesse: I feel like I’m a chameleon. What I mean by that is I feel unique because I simply cannot be anyone else, no matter how much I am inspired by them. I love the vocal patterns of There for Tomorrow, Soasin, Issues, Slaves, Escape the Fate, and Circa Survive. I just grew up singing their songs, wishing I could be just like them. The older I got, the more I realised I could never be them but I could be myself and be Inspired by them instead. So now, I listen to our music and hear little pieces of everyone of those vocals intertwined with some of my new favourite musicians’ music, a little bit like Post Malone.
Kegan: I feel that each member of the band will undoubtedly have different influences. I, personally, am influenced by the emo punk rock of the earlier 2000s such as Funeral for a Friend, Hawthorne Heights, Fall Out Boy, and many other bands in similar genres. I have also always been open towards new types of music Including pop, rap and electronic. The main thing that I listen for in music is a meaning, whether that is simply going out and having a good time with people you care about, or sitting alone in your room and really feeling every lyric that comes out of the speaker. My personal new obsessions include Nothing, Nowhere, Goldroom, and Lil Aaron.
Steven: A lot of different music of all genres influences me. To try and name all of the bands that have influenced me would be very hard so I’ll try to keep it concise. Bands like Porcupine Tree (as well as Steven Wilson’s solo albums), Animals As Leaders, Meshuggah, Rush, Gojira, Chon, Coheed & Cambria, Dream Theater (back when Mike Portnoy was a part of them), Deftones, Devin Townsend Project (as well as Strapping Young Lad and his other various albums), Mastodon, Opeth, Plini, Rubblebucket and Stolen Babies have all had a pretty significant influence on me throughout most of my musical upbringing. Also a lot of things in general influence me, like maybe I’ll watch a great movie that will impact me and I’ll go “play” the way that it made me feel for example.
Chad: I have a wide range of musical tastes and I think that adds to my wide range of influences. When I started playing music, a lot of what I listened to was heavy rock and metal like AC/DC, Metallica, and Guns N’ Roses. With the bass being the back beat of the song and creating a unique heaviness in the guitars and helping the drums in the rhythm department. When I joined my first band in my teen years, a lot of my influences ranged from bands like Green Day, Rival Sons, Cage the Elephant , Weezer and Stone Foxes. Which made me more open to playing different a little more harder stuff then holding one note at a time. Bass lines like “Longview”, “Aberdeen” and those sorts of songs. My music taste shifted again as I started listening to bands like Asking Alexandria, Bring Me The Horizon and Issues. Really heavy chuggy rhythm patterns and bass runs. I admire Skyler Accord from Issues a whole lot and I’m working more on that kind of playing to incorporate more slap and finer style for future songs. But with the current state of our sound for bass, I have taken a more pop and hip hop sort of approach. A lot of the songs have very poppy bass lines throughout, and in some of them my bass is that “sub” part you hear in rap and hip hop. Pale Waves, Snarky Puppy and Geddy Lee have helped this approach quite well for me.
Jordan: I started getting into early 2000s pop punk when I played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games. The soundtrack in those games really pumped me up and got me going. Goldfinger, AFI, Alien Ant Farm, and The Offspring to name a few, and from there it just exploded into a mixture of liking a lot of different music like post hardcore. When I started liking the post hardcore/metal scene a bit more I’d say A Day To Remember and Bring Me The Horizon were some of my favorite bands to listen to. Now I currently just jam a variety of tunes, if my ears dig it, I’ll rock out to it.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Kegan: Our music is actually somewhat hard to explain, simply because it is a combination of so many influences. I feel that the best way to describe our music is that it is emo pop punk with a combination of hip-hop and pop with a dash of progressive drum-work.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Jesse: Prepare yourself. The lyrical themes in this band heavily rely upon human emotion and the feeling of overcoming anything no matter how dark times may seem. I was abused as a child, starved, and left homeless at times. Even at the age of 8 I knew I had to find a way to help feed my little brother and get us somewhere to sleep. I didn’t have a life line, I was afraid to ask for help. So once I finally got some help from my father later on in my life, I had to cope with the feeling of distrust for everyone. I overcame the thoughts of suicide that flooded my mind for years and the worthless feeling inside leaving a hole in my stomach. I tried to fill it with anything and everything. Eventually, I found my reflection and understood that there was just something inside me that needed to stay alive to help others overcome. So I do my best to use our lyrical and music medium to send that positivity of “You can do this, you can overcome” to anyone who wants to listen.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Jesse: Wild. We’ve bled from how many times we have hit each other on accident. I’ve had my mouth busted open from Chad. I mosh in the crowd when I get the chance. Anything to make sure people think, “Who are these guys?”
Chad: Our live shows are very unique, I think, in our scene. We’re very energetic, we try to incorporate something new for us, like at Pot of Gold we inflated a bunch of beach balls, we’ll play covers from time to time to get some good crowd interaction. We work pretty hard on coming up with a set list to make sure they flow and our backing tracks match. Overall our show count is probably at about 50+ shows. We plan on having more next year.
What the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Jesse Clark: The wildest thing I’ve personally done at a show was swing a microphone around my neck and saw the mic disconnect from the cable and fly backstage. Possibly, that could have been irresponsible? But that’s kind of what I like about the on-stage experience. The other crazy thing was watching Chad jump a six foot gap off of the stage, while playing, and land perfectly on the gate. Now that, was wild.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play /etc.?
Jesse: I use a M80 Telefunken Mic, Shure wireless in ear system with Shure in-ears. I use some foot pedals for vocal effects as well, but I’m switching them out soon.
Chad: Right now, I’m in the process of upgrading some gear. Right now I’m using a Squire P bass I’ve had for years, a line 6 wireless unit, a Boss tuner, and a Darkglass Alpha Omega DI/Distortion pedal. For my future rig, I am hoping to upgrade my basses to Dingwall, because Dingwall and Darkglass are literally made for each other. And maybe some other pedals and bits and pieces to have some fun with.
Steven: I use Tama Drums and hardware, Meinl Cymbals, Remo Drumheads, Vater Drumsticks, and Alien Ears in-ear monitors.
Kegan: I currently use an Ibanez ART100 off-white guitar with standard pickups and will use a Kemper Profiler Rack for live performance.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Steven: We as a band are promoting our newest single called “Retrograde”, and it features Matt Good of From First to Last on vocals during the second verse. Matt also recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered the track. He was a huge ingredient in how this song turned out. He was, as people often say about great producers, like the 6th member of our band in writing this song as well as on the other new material we’ll be releasing in the near future. I think he did a fantastic job of pulling the best out of each of us and he really pushed us to be ourselves, rather than try to mould us into something we aren’t. I think it shows, listening to how the song turned out!
What are your plans for 2018-2019?
Kegan: Our current plans for the rest of 2018 is to push our newest songs out and promote our band throughout the next few months. We are also going to be putting together our live performance and will be practising for upcoming shows in 2019.
If you were second on a three band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Kegan: This is definitely a tough question with so many decisions. I would love for the opportunity to play with Nothing, Nowhere if given the opportunity. I would also like to play alongside Dance Gavin Dance as well.
Jesse: Slaves and Issues all the way. That would be such a fantastic show.
Chad: Honestly, with the sound we have, I would love to play with Slaves and Belmont. Kegan actually got me in to Slaves and they’re a sick band. And Belmont just released a new record not too long ago and they’re great musicians. I’d love to play with both of them.
Steven: There are many bands I would love to have the opportunity to play with, although I think with our overall sound one of the most fitting would be Coheed & Cambria.
Jordan: I would love to play with A Day to Remember because I grew up with their music as well witnessing them play live. I would love to be a part of that infectious atmosphere because a day to remember knows how to pump the crowd
Would you ever lip sync on stage?
Jesse Clark: Never Us.