Everlit Will Rise
By Madame Rockstress, Sr. Contributor
Everlit ~ Ryan Panfil – Vocals, Jordan Panfil – Bass, Jacob Castro – Drums, Anthony Michael – Guitar ~ is creating quite the buzz after having earned their place as Philadelphia’s most promising rock act. Despite their recent emergence into the spotlight, they really aren’t all that new at all; formerly known as Willpowerless, which made appearances on Warped Tour and toured with artists including Taproot, American Head Charge and Boy Hits Car, the band acquired a new guitarist and the members felt this transitional period was the best time to retire the name. Their new single “A Phoenix Will Rise” (as well as the new, more positive-sounding moniker for the band) symbolizes that transformation ~ rising anew from the ashes to begin a new cycle. A couple of weeks ago, I chatted with Jordan, Ryan and Anthony about change and what lies ahead in Everlit’s future.
“We parted ways with our long time guitar player Craig,” said Jordan. “We’re now playing with our buddy from high school, Anthony. He has a new sound that comes along with change and we had new chemistry. Willpowerless was the four members for a really long time and we felt it was best to retire that name. We all liked Everlit. It’s positive. It’s based off the idea that we’re kind of lit by what Willpowerless has helped us do.”
Ryan added, “Another cool thing is that for the last Willpowerless albums, we had worked with Evan Myers and on this new EP that’s coming out, we’re working with Taylor Larson. He’s a very different kind of producer. So with the combination of a new guitar player and the new producer, it is definitely a fresher, newer take on the way we sounded before. If we were going to do a name change, now was the time.”
Everlit’s new single “A Phoenix Will Rise” was released on March 5. Their upcoming EP’s title is yet to be determined, and as for its release date, Jordan shared, “We’re doing the release show on June 27 at our hometown venue Bullshooters in Northeast Philadelphia, which is an awesome venue with a great stage and great sound. We’re excited for the way everyone has responded to this first release, and we’re extremely excited to share the other five tracks with them.”
Everlit is releasing the EP independently, and when I asked about their plans to shop labels, Jordan responded, “We’re definitely putting in the hours, putting the network together and pushing it as far as we can on our own. Creating a buzz. Getting everything going around us. Then I think we’ll be positioned in a much better spot after the release to go out there to search for a label.”
“Unless something changes, that date will see an independent release,” Ryan continued. “We’re getting overwhelmingly good responses and we just put it out a week ago. You never know. It may be a different scenario a month or two down the road. But as of right now, it’ll be an independent release.”
In the meantime, Everlit released an official lyric video for “A Phoenix Will Rise” earlier today and you can check it out here. They are also working on a full production video for the song “Break Away,” which also appears on the upcoming EP and will be released at a later date TBA. In preparation for the video, they did quite a bit of scouting around for the right producer and ultimately enlisted Mitch Martinez; Mitch has done a lot of film and photography production for different industries and has worked with August Burns Red.
Fans will have the chance to see the new Everlit perform live before their EP release show as the band has recently signed on to perform at the Launch Music Festival And Conference on April 25 in Lancaster, PA. Trivium, Alien Ant Farm, and (hed)p.e. are among some of the acts that will also be part of this festival. With a lot of industry professionals in attendance, Everlit plans to treat this event as a showcase for their impressive live performance.
Reflecting back on their touring experience, the guys acknowledge the major difference between playing a show on tour and playing a local show. Jordan recalled, “We learned about things we need to have ready for the stage to help us set up quicker. Ways to mark certain things so we know what settings and where to plug in without having to look around and try to remember where something goes. One of the things we figured out was to make a sheet of what we have and what we need so we can send that ahead of time.”
As for Ryan, “I wasn’t singing with In-ear before and started watching live videos of myself and thinking about how I can improve my live presence. I went out and got a pair of In-ears so I could really hear myself sing. Every time you start to go out or flatter on a note, you know and you can correct it. When you’re singing blindly, it’s hard to hear if you’re in tune or not. So, that was a big thing for me.”
Aside from the logistical and technical aspects of touring, there was a more valuable and beneficial lesson for the band to learn: fans come out for an “experience.” That experience starts before and extends beyond the performance on stage and needs to be memorable, so the more people involved and interacting with the audience even after the show, the better.
Take an important piece of advice that came from Boy Hits Car and made an impression on Everlit: “They let us know, ‘You’re going to see a big difference if the entire band is standing behind the merch table.’ Sure enough! Inside of 5 minutes, people were coming up to talk. For a long time, we had long lines at our merch stand. So it really does make a big impact on the fans when they can come up and talk to the whole band rather than one guy. It’s something we try to do.” The members all agree that it’s both the right thing to do for fans and a lot of fun when all of them show up to “…meet the people who care about listening to our music and want to try to help us get out there.”
And just as lessons are learned on tour, so are pranks played between bands, all in good fun. Everlit shared that during one tour, whenever pretty girls came to hang out around their truck after a show, a member of another band (which will remain anonymous) would come over and steal the girls away. He told the guys it was their initiation.
So when a tour is done, band rehearsal is over, there’s no more recording to do that night, and there’s time to wind down from a long day before the next one starts, which band does each of the guys crank up?
Anthony: Counting Crows and The Cure.
Ryan: Deftones and 36 Crazyfists.
Jordan: Deftones, 36 Crazyfists and Korn (their first 4 albums).
And speaking of winding down a long day, right before they band took their leave, I asked them for any final words:
“We’re definitely people that enjoy interaction and making connections with people, whether it be our fans or anyone that has something to say. We really put meaning in our music; we really want meaning in our fanbase. If you write us a message on Twitter, we’ll write back.
And we want to give a big thanks to you, 411 Underground Radio and FlashWounds. It’s awesome to be able to connect with you. It’s cool that you knew us as Willpowerless and get to be able to be a part of the next chapter. We’re grateful for that.”
And we are extremely thankful to Everlit for allowing us to be a part of that next chapter. We anxiously await seeing great things happen for these guys! Stay tuned for future coverage of Everlit’s upcoming EP, video releases, and who knows what else!