Eels: The End of a Trilogy

"It's a weird way to live your life, the way I do" - <b>E</b>

Feature by Paul Mitchell | 05 Aug 2010

Standing outside a hotel on the streets of Kensington, London, Mark Oliver Everett can hear sirens in the background. "Well, guess I gotta go," he quips drily, "I'll use my one phonecall from jail to finish this interview." Moments earlier, whilst strolling around a nearby park, the Eels frontman, better known as E, had been unceremoniously accosted by the police. "Somebody had reported me as a suspicious looking character. What the guys at the record company are telling me is that this area is apparently very snobby, so I guess you're not allowed to have a beard around here."

Despite his self-deprecating candour, he's genuinely perturbed by the incident. In advance of Eels' appearance at The Edge Festival he laughs, "Probably explains why I don't go sightseeing so much. I don't ever have time to get out and about so I tend to judge a town by the crowd that shows up to our gigs. I'm not saying this because I have to, but I do have very fond memories of Scottish audiences."

The offending beard in question has been around since 2001's Dog Faced Boy, from the Souljacker LP. It's become such a prominent part of his image that he's even dedicated an entire album to it; well, that and the notion of desire (2009's Hombre Lobo, the seventh Eels studio album). That release was quickly followed by another LP, End Times (on aging and the end of relationships) and August will see the release of Tomorrow Morning, the final part of what has turned into an intimate 'concept' trilogy.

What's proving tricky however, is pinning down what exactly the concept is in this case. "That wasn't my idea,” Everett protests. “I don't call it a concept trilogy but I can see where people are coming from in that they're quite related." He does concede, however, to the fact that it was always his intention to release a body of work in such a format. "The hard part was not talking about it as a trilogy. I decided not to announce that fact ahead of time because I don't like to paint myself into corners and often I change my mind along the way. In this case it would have been ok because I did see it through, but I didn't want to have to do it."

Tomorrow Morning is ostensibly the antidote to the stripped down heartache depicted in its predecessor, offering notes of optimism and reinvigoration by way of loops, drum machines and electronic keyboards. It was, as Everett admits, "fun to make." But, and as ever with Eels lyrics, it is starkly autobiographical, a coping mechanism he admits is an essential part of who he is. "It's a weird way to live your life, the way I do. That's just how I deal with things and I write songs about what's going on, instead of what normal people do. Actually I don't know what they do. Basically, you have to just try to make the best of whatever your situation is. Everybody has a choice whether or not to do that and I think it's a big mistake not to."

Eels play HMV Picture House on 26 Aug

Tomorrow Morning is released via E Works Records on 23 Aug