Ever Eden, an independent Christian metalcore band from Missouri, recently released their debut EP, Illumine. This collection contains five distinctive songs with great lyrical depth and relatability that tackle mental and spiritual topics.
Their website bio offers a great mission statement of the band: "We exist to create a community in the heavy music scene where everyone is welcome to wrestle with meaningful issues through vulnerability, love, and acceptance. Our ongoing journey is to unearth and fight for what it means to be human, what it means to have a soul, and what it means to love."
I expect that many metalcore fans will enjoy Ever Eden's music, as well as find relatable messages of hope and beauty in their lyrics. Their songwriting reflects their intentional and compassionate souls.
I was pleased to interview one of Ever Eden's lead singers, Jesse Wilson. We conversed about the band's music, as well as the meaning behind four songs on Illumine. I got to know him as an artist as well. I must say, I'm excited to hear more music from them in the future.
Tell us how the band formed. How did you guys meet and come together?
At the beginning of the year, we changed our band name from Ardent to Ever Eden. We formed, I think, in 2010. Josh, myself, and a couple of other guys started playing together in high school. We did the battle of the bands' type stuff: just standard local band grind. We kept at it since then. The guys we have now are excellent at what they do. We're so happy with the new EP. And, we're stoked that people are hearing it now. It's been a long road.
Who were some of the biggest influences you guys had in writing the new EP?
We actually wrote these songs about three years ago in 2016. At the time, I think the metalcore band Architects just released a new album: "All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us." They are one of our favorite bands. We've played with the Metalcore band Silent Planet a lot. Northlane and them are huge influences as well. We grew up listening to bands like As Cities Burn and Underoath.
Do you have any fond memories when creating Illumine?
We rented this huge lake view lodge at a Baptist campground near the Ozarks during the offseason. We were there for a week–totally isolated. Just the four of us. This is honestly one of my fondest memories of the formation of these songs. Just being able to get creative together. Writing the record in the middle of nowhere, Missouri was awesome.
What were some of your biggest obstacles when creating the EP?
Honestly, I think the biggest obstacle was booking. Being able to play shows and get momentum. It's really hard to make connections with people, especially with people who are willing to stick their neck out for you. Recently, we've been trying to stick our neck out for other people to get in touch with other bands. Trying to extend the olive branch to other people to get those connections flowing. But, that is a really hard thing to do. One of the other biggest roadblocks was just getting the recording finished. Because we are limited in resources and money.
What were some of the major experiences that inspired you to write these new songs?
I have one significant memory when creating “Sacrosanctuary.” My wife grew up in a church community where it was not really encouraged to ask difficult questions about faith. It was always met with hostility. That's the opposite the way I was brought up in my Christian background. I was always encouraged to ask tough questions. So, I was fortunate. But, I've also seen the other side where a church adopts a mindset of, "Oh, we've got to keep ourselves safe."
When you isolate and set yourself apart from others, it causes disruption and hurt. It undermines the whole life and teachings of Christ. Jesus met with the lepers and society's outcasts. He talked to tax collectors. He talked to prostitutes. We, as a band, wanted to draw attention to those facts.
In the lyric video for "Sacrosanctuary," we flipped the cross upside down at the end of the song. It's saying that whenever somebody takes on the mentality of "us versus them," it gets divisive. And, that flips the whole fundamental principle of Christianity on its head. That leads to hurt.
"Senescence" (Shameless plug: watch the music video) is a general, existential train of thought. I struggled with certain thoughts, asking questions such as "Is my life worth anything?", "Am I doing anything of substance that is meaningful?", or "Am I just going to be mediocre my whole life?" That fear, that kind of feeling of helplessness, is how I felt when we were creating our EP.
I remember going to sleep at night and waking up with my mind spiraling out of control. It was really heavy. So, I think it's important that artists and people write about these experiences. These thoughts and feelings are normal. So, writing and talking about these experiences and feelings in the community that brings unity and liberation.
Many songs Illumine are about struggles that happen in the mind. "Delirium" is about social anxiety. In the song's lyrics, we use a metaphor of fog or haze building around a person so they cannot even see the people around them. You feel suffocated in your own mind.
The EP's title track is written from the perspective of somebody experiencing memory loss, dementia. A family member recently passed away from Alzheimer's-related causes. There are so many people who suffer and struggle with memory impairments. So, the question is how can we connect with them and find healing through connection?
If you could send one message to anyone who hears your EP, what would it be?
I cannot speak definitively. We're still learning and finding out who we are as a band ourselves. We're all different. And, each of us would probably give you a different answer. I want people to listen to these songs and feel at home. I want people to know that we're with them in their hurting. We're with them in their suffering.
Being with someone can be a powerful thing. In the Bible, in the Book of Job, I think Job's friends simply being with him and realizing its value is the center of that story. We just don't want people to feel alone.
We want to promote culture, a community in the heavy music scene that invites everyone, regardless of anything. You're welcome and Ever Eden is for you. We want to be able to wrestle with meaningful issues through vulnerability and love and acceptance no matter who it is, period. This is what we want to communicate through our music.
How can we be praying for you?
Just that this release goes well and continues to go well and that people are connecting with each other and with us. I hope that people are able to feel welcome and that our scene is a more hospitable and caring place as a result of our music.
Ryan Adams shares his love for heavy music and Christ through NRT. He loves animals, gaming, hiking, shopping, and of course, live concerts. He is in Ohio and lives with family. He's been following Christian rock since 2014.
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