Interview by Alan Corcoran.
After years on the emo circuit with The Early November, Sergio Anello has gone out alone on a bluesy, alternative road with Everyone Knows. When I first heard this record I was transported to a smokey, backroom bar. Metaphorically. And thankfully it’s the vibe he was going for.
We talked about anxiety, the recording process, and scratched the surface of his experiences on tour.
When did Everyone Knows begin?
In 2007 when The Early November went on an indefinite hiatus I found myself starting to write songs but never had the intention to ever record or make it any sort of project. It wasn’t until 2014 that I started to get more serious with writing and not until 2016 that I started to demo songs with Joe with the intention to finally go in the studio and record. At the time it wasn’t even a thought to make it a band but just to be able to have something for me to listen to and look back on. The more I dove into it, the more obsessive I became with making it a priority versus a hobby. The band consists of Joseph Sipala on lead guitar, Brendon Gallagher on drums, Dave Donati on guitar and Shane Caroll on bass.
Is there a story behind the name?
‘Everyone Knows’ came from the idea that everyone might know your deepest darkest secrets and the anxiety that comes with that, but also the relief that if everyone already knows everything about you then they can’t hold anything against you. My anxiety during the time I wrote these songs came from these feelings and perfectly described my train of thought.
Had you a sound in mind before you started writing?
Some of these songs were originally written almost ten years ago and started off with more a folk/alternative country vibe. As Joe and I started demoing the songs, there was more of jazzy, lounge feel. As I prepared to go into the studio, I decided that I wanted these songs to come across very slinky and loungey in spots but still have the ability to play the songs completely stripped down as they were originally written.
How does the writing and recording process compare to with The Early November?
When I still recorded with TEN, Ace would bring the songs to the table and we would write parts to them. When it comes to my solo material, a melody or lyrics will pop into my head. I will craft a story around those, with the tone of the song in mind when it comes to other instruments. It’s very premeditated for the most part but a lot of fun ideas come to life once we’re in the studio.
Do you ever find yourself in ‘The Early November’ mindset while writing or is it easy to separate?
I find it extremely easy to separate. TEN was a group I was lucky enough to be a part of it. With my writing for Everyone Knows, it’s a solo project so I have the ability to be as personal as I want with it. Through the writing and recording process, Joe and Ace were able to understand my train of thought and build off of my ideas.
It’s been a couple of months since Tell or be Told has been released – how do you feel about the record as a whole now that you’ve had time to process it?
I’m still very proud of how it came out and grateful for everyone I was able to work with. At this point, the songs have been written and recorded for quite some time and I find myself now experimenting with new ideas and thinking about recording the next batch of songs.
Do you have a favourite song? Or a favourite one to play live?
My favourite on the record is Shadowcaster, which was the hardest for me to be content with in the studio. When Everyone Knows, is my favourite to play live because it describes the tone of the record.
As someone who has toured extensively and been around the metaphorical block, do you have any advice for younger, newer bands out there?
If playing music is something you want to do professionally or for fun, go out and get after it yourself because nobody is going to hand you an opportunity. As long as you’re passionate about what you’re doing, no one’s opinion but your own will matter.
What’s the weirdest shit you’ve seen on tour? Any horror stories?
Well there’s plenty of weird stuff I’ve seen, but something that stands out happened one time we were driving to a hotel from a show. We saw a truck speed by us and eventually flip into a ditch. We all ran out to see if the person was okay and I crawled into the smashed truck to check on the driver. I was in full Halloween makeup and all black attire during this and as I told the driver the ambulance was on the way, he whispered to me, “I’m not ready yet.”
Warped Tour is hitting your native NJ, who would you be checking out from the 25 year anniversary lineup?
311, Andrew WK, Hidden in Plain View, Glassjaw.
- Movie: Fight Club
- Band as a teenager: Oasis
- Band to tour with: Hidden in Plain View
- Type of dog: Papillon
- Book: “All for a few perfect waves” – David Rensin
- Vacation: My trips to Nashville
- Food: Seafood
- Guitar: 1958 Gibson given to me by my father
What’s next for you? Any tours with Everyone Knows or The Early November planned?
Last week I got to catch up with TEN in Nashville and play a few songs together; it was a really great time.
“Everyone Knows,” recently started booking more shows in the Philly/NJ area and are trying to sporadically make our way out to nearby states. Eventually I would like to book a small tour because we love playing live together. As long as I’m writing and recording and playing, I’m as happy as can be.
Interview by Alan Corcoran.