Spotlight On... neverfine

Ahead of releasing their debut EP Do Everything, Feel Nothing, we shine a spotlight on exciting new Glasgow trio neverfine

Feature by Tallah Brash | 31 Aug 2023
  • neverfine

Glasgow's neverfine first caught our attention in April with their uber-catchy single Silhouettes, calling to mind the work of Johnny Jewel, the co-founder of the Italians Do It Better record label, member of bands like Chromatics, Glass Candy and Desire, and the man behind the score for Nicolas Winding Refn's 2011 film Drive. So you'll agree, it was a pretty bold statement for us to throw out into the ether for a relatively new band. But we stand by it.

neverfine's debut EP Do Everything, Feel Nothing, in our opinion, lives up to that initial hype. The EP combines ideas from across rock, metal, industrial, pop and electro, all with a dark edge, plus well-balanced, bright production and Ashley Palkowski's crystalline vocal; it's a highly accomplished debut.

Ahead of the release of Do Everything, Feel Nothing – out tomorrow – we shine a spotlight on neverfine, and get to know the trio a bit better.

If you could start by telling us who you are, how you met and what your roles are in neverfine?
Craig Kelly: neverfine consists of Ashley Palkowski (vocals), myself on guitar and pads and Jessica Blinkhorn (keys). I met Ashley a few months before lockdown through a mutual friend and, like most musicians, I had a lot of time on my hands, so naturally I decided to start working on some music. Within a month or so I had come up with a bunch of ideas, probably too many to be honest, and eventually I sent them to Ashley to see what she thought of them.

Ashley Palkowski: Soon after, Craig sent me the ideas (definitely too many!) and before we knew it, we were collaborating on them. It wasn't until a few months later that Jess was introduced to us by my old college lecturer Ni from when I studied music. After a long period of writing, recording and planning, we finally launched the band in March of this year.

What made you want to start making music together, and who would you cite as your influences, musical or otherwise?
CK: Each of us come from a different musical background and we wanted to try something different from anything we had done previously. The music we are working on now is miles away from when I was drumming in a metal band, but I think that's why I love it so much. It just so happens that we've come together by coincidence and managed to release music that we are really proud of, especially considering we've only been on the map for a few months. When it comes to mentioning my influences I find it quite hard, but I suppose a few of the bands that have influenced me the most would be CHVRCHES, HEALTH, Purity Ring, Rüfüs Du Sol and Mura Masa.

AP: Yeah similarly to Craig, growing up and during my studies, rock and metal music played a massive role in my life and to some extent still does today. But with neverfine, we wanted to challenge ourselves to do something different, especially considering that a lot of the music we're enjoying right now is in that alternative pop sphere. There's a lot of artists in the Scottish music scene that have caught my attention at the moment and that I really enjoy, such as Majesty Palm, Sacul and Fourth Daughter to name a few. But in terms of my musical influences overall, I'd say they vary drastically. I often cite artists like Nine Inch Nails and Deftones as a big inspiration when it comes specifically to my songwriting.

Jessica Blinkhorn: Like Ash and Craig, the music I've previously written and performed is very different from neverfine. I have a classical piano background and study composition at university, focusing mainly on contemporary classical music. While I mostly listen to folk and traditional music, I'm particularly drawn to artists like Niteworks and Martyn Bennett, who blend folk and electronic elements. These artists have heavily influenced my musical style.

Your debut EP Do Everything, Feel Nothing is out tomorrow. What was the writing and recording process like?
AP: Everything starts with Craig coming up with ideas after fooling around with synths, guitar patches and drums for hours on end. Once he arranges the songs, he sends them to myself and Jess. At that point we both come up with melodies and lyrics that we feel fit the vibe of the song. In regards to the EP, I will say that some songs were easier to write than others. When I started writing lyrics for Silhouettes, I ended up rage-quitting because I struggled to come up with ideas, whereas with Imaginary Friends, the ideas all flooded out in one go and I wrote that song in one night. It's one of those things that isn't exactly linear, but with enough persistence, practice and experimentation, you can come up with really cool narratives and stories. And of course, I can't not mention how incredible our producer Edwin McLachlan (currently on tour drumming with Young Fathers) has been. He has elevated the songs and brought them to life in a way that we could have never have anticipated. He's a legend!

CK: What Ashley said!

JB: I think Craig’s ideas and Ashley’s lyrics are really fantastic, and I find that writing melodies comes very naturally when I work with their ideas. The first verse of Imaginary Friends I think is a good example of that!

Can you tell us about some of the themes explored across the record?
CK: We could go on forever about the themes and ideas of each song on the record, but in the interest of not boring everyone out of their minds, we will say that there is an overarching narrative explored throughout. Like most people, everyone in the band has had their own struggles in life when it comes to mental health and we wanted to infuse a lot of that into the songs. In the process of doing that, we noticed that these were recurring themes and it sort of just came to be in terms of the EP having a few central topics. I came up with the name of the EP Do Everything, Feel Nothing to represent everything we touch on within the songs. Sometimes it feels like no matter what you do or say in life, it's never enough and that's what we wanted to explore.

AP: Adding to what Craig said, the EP I think showcases the complexities and emotions we feel as human beings, and the impact that this has towards not only ourselves, but those around us. These themes have heavily come from personal experiences that we've all gone through, so it was really cathartic and healing writing Do Everything, Feel Nothing. We've definitely learned a lot about ourselves throughout the process of writing this EP. All of this is even reflected in the band's name which Craig came up whilst struggling with his own mental health.

CK: Yeah, the idea for the band's name came from a conversation I had with Ashley when I was struggling one day during lockdown. I said something along the lines of always feeling like I'm either on top of the world or rock bottom. I'm never just fine. By the way, I promise we aren't always this deep and depressing!

Beyond the release of the EP, and your headline show at Sneaky’s on Saturday, what does the rest of the year have in store for neverfine?
CK: That's the question, ain't it? We've already finished a lot of new songs and I'm constantly working on more and more ideas to send over to the girls. We know that we want to play some more shows before the end of the year and keep working to get our music out there. We do have a few things planned for next year though and we're really looking forward to sharing that with everyone. We've achieved a lot more than what we expected to after only a few months so we hope that we can keep that up for the foreseeable.

Yeah, we've got some really cool things that we're working on that we're so excited to announce within the next few months, but definitely a celebration is in order for the three of us since this is our first EP release. It would also be a dream come true to be nominated for a SAMA, but we'll have to wait and see what happens there! That being said, as Craig mentioned, considering we've only been on the map for a short time, we're so grateful to our community and everyone who continues to support us, it truly means the world!

Do Everything, Feel Nothing is released on 1 Sep; neverfine play Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, 2 Sep