"If the kids like ice cream, you can't always give them ice cream"
Eels‘ Mark ‘E’ Everett has said that new album ‘The Deconstruction’ is a “compassionate” antidote to the current state of world affairs – as well as revealing that he may well write a sequel to his acclaimed autobiography ‘Things The Grandchildren Should Know’.
This week sees Eels release 12th studio album ‘The Deconstruction’. After the confessional, reflective and often self-deprecating predecessor ‘The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett’, E told NME that he had his mind firmly set on moving ever onwards as an artist and as a person.
“I don’t like to immerse myself in the past,” E told NME. “That happened when I wrote my book but it’s hard for me. I really thrive on trying to focus on the moment and moving forward.
“I feel so lucky because when I was growing up, the artists that I was really interested in were the ones that would evolve from record to record. It all started when I was a little kid looking at The Beatles album covers and marvelling at how much they would change from year to year. The price you pay for being that kind of artist is that you definitely pair down your audience.”
He continued: “One year, and audience will come and see you with a string quartet, then the year after it’s ‘Souljacker’ or something and they’re like ‘what the fuck? This isn’t what I signed up for’. But with the kind of fan that I was, you’d want the unexpected. I like those guys.”
What did you mean when you previously talked about not wanting to repeat the personal process of the last album?
“The thing that made me most uncomfortable about that record was having my name in the title and my picture big on the cover. That’s not something I normally do. I regret doing that, but I felt like I had to because I wanted it to be really naked.”
So was the whole process markedly different this time?
“Well I didn’t put my picture on the cover so I already like it better. After a four year break it feels like such an exotic new thing for me to be back at it.”
Lyrically, what would you say you’re dealing with on this record?
“I think that a lot of it is about compassion and kindness and trying to accept our reality. That’s the key to happiness. I’m not an expert on any of the subjects in the songs on this record. Whoever I’m talking to in the song, I’m also simultaneously talking to myself.”
So is it an explicit reaction to what’s going on in the world right now or is it all about day-to-day experiences?
“I guess it’s a mixture of both. It’s impossible to ignore the state of the world at the moment, but I feel that we still need to remember that there’s a lot of beauty in the world, and we can create that by choosing to be happy whenever possible and be kind. That can be challenging but it’s worth the battle.”
Do you still feel as if people are hung up on the wrong impression of you after all these years?
“The one thing that I think is a recurring theme is the lazy headline journalism that “this is the depressing band”. That’s completely missing the point, but I get it. You know, “oh, Electro-Shock Blues is about his family dying – pass”. I get that kind of thinking, but for those that are willing to spend a little time with it, they’re going to find out that it’s the opposite. It’s really the ultimate life-affirming message. Someone can go through all that and find the blue sky when the clouds break.
“You can’t please everybody, so why try? If the kids like ice cream, you can’t always give them ice cream.”
When you appeared as an actor in ‘Love’ and ‘This Is 40’, did you feel like that exposed you to a whole new audience?
“I don’t know if the people who watch ‘Love’ are aware that I’m a guy in a real band. I’m not on there playing Eels songs. The nice thing about it was that I was playing a character – although it wasn’t too much of a stretch. It was like an even more pretentious of myself; the Silver Lake hipster know-it-all. It was half fun and half terrifying and not what I normally do, but I learned so much.”
Would you do more screen work and acting?
“I would definitely do some more if it felt like a good fit, but it’s not something I expect to happen. I would probably get typecast in some musician things, but I could also get typecast as homeless men and criminals.”
In other extra-curricular work, would you ever write a sequel to ‘Things The Grandchildren Should Know’?
“It’s possible. When I first wrote that book I thought ‘ah, it’s going to be the most boring book on Earth’. That was of course, naive of me to think. There’s probably a very entertaining sequel in the 10 years that have happened since. We’ll see.”
‘The Deconstruction’ is released on April 6.
Eels tour dates and tickets
Eels’ upcoming UK and European tour dates are below. Tickets are available here.
17 – Germany, Mannheim, Maifeld Derby
18 – Netherlands, Utrecht, Tivoli Vredenburg
19 – Netherlands, Utrecht, Tivoli Vredenburg
21 – Netherlands, Amsterdam, Paradiso
23 – Italy, Cesena, Acieloaperto, Rocca Malatestiana
25 – Germany, Munich, Tonhalle
26 – Germany, Cologne, E-Werk
28 – Germany, Berlin, Tempodrom
29 – Germany, Hamburg, Grosse Freiheit
30 – Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Siren’s Call
2 – UK, London, O2 Academy Brixton
3 – UK, Manchester, Manchester Academy
4 – UK, Glasgow, O2 Academy
6 – Ireland, Dublin, Iveagh Gardens
8 – Belgium, Werchter, Rock Werchter
9 – France, Paris, Olympia
11 – Spain, Barcelona, BARTS
12 – Spain, Madrid, Mad Cool Festival
13 – Portugal, Lisbon, NOS Alive Festival
16 – Austria, Feldkirch, Poolbar Festival
17 – Austria, Vienna, Arena
20 – Switzerland, Lucerne, Blue Balls Festival