Artist Interview: Embracing Change with The Early November

Posted: by The Editor

With emo constantly morphing as new bands redefine the genre’s rulebook, it’s a breath of fresh air when a foundational act like New Jersey’s The Early November steps up to redefine themselves. Their aptly self-titled album isn’t just a sonic refresh, though; it’s also a thematic evaluation of change itself, reinforcing Ace Ender’s opinions: “It’s no secret that we’re getting old. You imagine that if this exists in the same vein that it does now, then yeah, we’ll always play shows, we’ll always do one-offs. There will always be things that we do. But if it becomes unsustainable, then what more can you do?”

The band’s steady evolution has been a slow burn for longtime fans, and this latest chapter fuels that same fire. Opener “The Empress” sets the album’s tone perfectly: foot on the gas, a driving drumbeat morphing into a classic Early November chorus, but with a twist in the song’s structure and some sneaky production that hints at what’s coming. It’s the manifestation of what drummer Jeff Kummer describes as the band not caring about “artificial stamps of approval” and carving their own niche, one that’s earned them a fanbase that will never turn its back.

Though The Early November boasts a collection of incredible songs, the album’s true highlights exist in the production found within them–a tactic wisely used to present a new chapter of the band while honing in to also cater to the people who have loved them since the beginning. With subtle electronic moments that weave through the record’s fabric of familiar-ish arrangements, layers of instrumentation are able to peek in and out to add a new dimension to The Early November without sacrificing the band’s core identity, an identity that they’re sharply self-aware of.

Kummer says, “There have been so many highs and lows throughout the career of this band…it got very dark. And a lot of this record is coming out of that, but we’re still here with a collection of brand new songs and it feels right.” Whether intentional or not, The Early November is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, much like the band’s own career trajectory. Huge choruses like “The Magician” and “About Me” (featuring Enders’ son on bass!) share space with the more introspective moments of quiet reflection on tracks like “What We Earn” and “The Dirtiest Things.” And fear not, diehards–there’s still plenty of classic Early November to be found, on tracks like “The High Priestess” that nod back to the band’s straightforward emo-rock roots.

This is a record best experienced with the windows down, volume cranked. It’s a solid cocktail of the new and the familiar, and a token of the band’s enduring identity while also showcasing their willingness to explore new ground. From its explosive energy to the tenderness of closing track “It Will Always Be”–just Enders and a guitar–the album honors what it means to exist in a world full of peaks and valleys–in your career, in your relationship with yourself.

The Early November might be veterans, but The Early November proves they still have plenty left to offer. It’s a self-titled record not just in name, but in its essence–a collection of songs that showcase who they’ve been, who they are right now, and a glimpse of what’s to come. As Enders puts it, “The initial spark of this record was frustration, ‘I don’t care’ mentality. Not ‘I don’t care about the world,’ but really digging deep artistically and having the view that if this is it, then I want The Early November to finally have the album that’s good enough to be the self-titled album.” They did it.

The Early November is out now.

 Matteo DeBenedetti | @larrydavidsglasses 

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