With the end of each year, we continue to eagerly revisit some of our favorite records, even after they’ve reached the milestone of their 10th anniversary. As bands continue to celebrate, and reflect as time goes by, more exciting tours are announced to commemorate their accomplishments. Like many other nostalgic efforts, 2016 reminded us of the 10-year anniversary of The Early November’s third studio full-length, The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path. Proving to be one their most innovative albums to date, this three-part entity pushes the envelope unlike no other record before. While The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path was a highly-anticipated release that further exemplified the band’s potential to progress as musicians, this effort introduced to many diehard Early November fans to heartwarming tracks like “Hair,” “Decoration” and “The Rest Of My Life.” Despite the record’s reception early on, there’s no question that these songs definitely hold up to this day as iconic singles for the band’s essential catalog.
Long after the band reunited, The Early November embarked on a small run of shows to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of their iconic debut, The Room’s Too Cold, in 2013. Shortly after, the band anticipated putting together a special tour to celebrate The Mother, the Mechanic, And The Path, drawing closer to 2016.
To start the New Year, The Early November will be revisiting this daring record by bringing to life a select number of hits and deep cuts on the road. Sharing the stage with Hidden In Plain View and Prawn on select dates throughout this forthcoming tour, The Early November curated an outstanding lineup that consists of longtime friends and newcomers of the underground community that they grew up in.
Right before the past holiday season, I had the chance to speak with Early November guitarist Joseph Marro to discuss the legacy of The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path, the band’s forthcoming 10-year anniversary tour, and their career-spanning acoustic effort, Fifteen Years, to be released later this month.
At the start of the New Year, The Early November will be embarking on a 10-year anniversary tour to celebrate the release of The Mother, The Mechanic And The Path. What’s it like to start 2017 on such a positive and reflective note? It will be good. You know, we’ve been talking about it for a while now internally. We had a relatively busy year, and we’ll probably [have] a less busier year in 2017. So, it will be good to do these shows, and head out to the West Coast in January. I’m just excited to get out there and get up on stage again.
Where does The Mother, The Mechanic And The Path hold up for you personally in comparison to The Early November’s entire catalog?
I think in a lot of ways, a lot of songs became fan favorites, and it kind of endured at the time. So in that respect, I think it’s been well received, and holds up rather well. As an entire record, it’s a lot to digest—we never kind of shied away from that. I don’t really judge it or score it on the same scale that you would have for an 11- or 12-song album, so it’s quite hard to say if it holds up in that respect. I think the only people who could say that are the people who listen to it, the fans or even non-fans.
But for us, I think it holds up nicely because it represented a lot of different avenues that we wanted to take, maybe too many. At the end of the day, looking back on those 10 years, we’re proud of it, and we can say that it served its purpose to us as a band, and as songwriters.
Around that time, [guitarist and frontman] Ace Enders also participated in multiple projects including I Can Make A Make Mess Like Nobody’s Business and Ace Enders & A Million Different People. Did you feel that the distinct styles of both groups also made their influence on the record’s creative process?
We’ve always had a really wide range of influences in general. Ace is doing a lot with the I Can Make A Mess project; that was sonically different a little bit than The Early November. At the time, I mean… we were just getting older, and our taste skewed. We wanted to try a lot of different things, and at least I think on a very basic level, we were able to write certain songs in different styles that we liked. I think we got better over time, and we even stopped doing certain things, but the record pretty much represents a large scope of what the band, and what Ace, has done in all of those years.
You know, with those folk songs, there were even twangy, alt-country kind of songs, and there’s pretty aggressive modern rock songs, and it gets a little experimental at times. I feel like it was a good representation of what we’re able to do at that time.
Tell me a little bit about the rehearsal and pre-production processes for this upcoming tour. As far as bringing this full-length to life, how do you think playing these songs will chronologically translate in a live concert setting?
That’s a good question, I really don’t know yet. A lot of these songs, we’ve played before, but they’re just going to be the best of how we’ve been doing them for the past 10 years. There’s a big portion of songs that we haven’t played before, and we’ll just play them as they would kind of sound live. The real challenge is going to be the third album [The Path], which we’re not going to be able to do that in full, nor should we… or can we (laughs). We’re probably going to be creative when it comes down to interludes, and medleys, and maybe even some samples, and working it in that way.
Honestly, I don’t have a ton of information for you because we haven’t gotten together or start rehearsing yet, or really kind of brainstorm. We’ve only been kind of thinking about these things individually for the time being.
Gotcha. I was very curious as to how you were going to pull off playing the record in its entirety. Especially, with the possibility of incorporating The Path section of the full-length as well.
We’re going to incorporate it, but you know, we’re not going to do it in full. We can’t do the whole record in full no matter which it is out of all three. It’s just going to have to be a portion of each album, so that it will all be evenly represented. But if we did the whole thing—and plus, we’re doing other songs—we’d be on stage for three hours, and literally, nobody wants that, including us (laughs) or the people paying for tickets.
There’s a fine line between proper amount of time on stage that feels justified and feels good, and then just being on stage and wearing out your welcome. We don’t want to wear it out… you always want to leave them wanting a little bit more.
On this upcoming tour you have Hidden In Plain View, a group that you’ve been playing with throughout your career, and Prawn, who are a torchbearer act currently representing New Jersey’s underground scene. What are you looking forward to the most about sharing the stage with these guys on this tour?
Like you said, we’ve been playing with Hidden In Plain View for so long, and we’ve done so many tours with them that it just feels nice to, and good. It also feels like the type of fan that would want to see a 10-year anniversary show would appreciate the fact that they are familiar with Hidden In Plain View as well because we’re from a similar era. So that’s what we wanted—it’s always nice to be out with old friends.
Prawn I’ve personally known for a while, and I think they’re an amazing band. They’re only on the one show—I kind of wish they were on all of the shows. We like them as a band, and we like them as people, and I think they’re a good, current-day generation version the genre that we love so much and are a part of.
Not too long ago, you also announced details of a career-spanning acoustic release entitled Fifteen Years. What was the inspiration behind this album?
You know, it was actually brought of by our booking agent. We intended to do it many months ago, but we got kind of hung up with other projects. We wanted to release something new that isn’t a record because we’re kind of in between making records at the moment. We did The Acoustic EP  way back when, and that was a really big motivator in our early career. Because a lot of people stuck to it, and doing those songs acoustic was always something we were interested in. We did an acoustic tour back in 2014, and we always love having the option of doing something in a different way.
So, the time came where we were like, “We got a lot of material here.” People always ask for us to do these songs acoustic. We’re in a position to self-release it, and Ace can record it himself. It was also kind of a trail run of doing things fully DIY. I mean, we have our friend’s label [Bad Timing Records] working out the vinyl, but that’s kind of the only person involved.
The motivation I guess for us was to just have something that was new in a sense, and kind of be really just for the diehard fans who have been asking us for this type of thing. We don’t really intend to do anything like it again, so we kind of want it to be a definitive statement on us playing acoustic.
Revisiting some of your most monumental songs in a fresh studio environment for Fifteen Years, what did you enjoy most about bringing these songs to life?
These songs all more or less probably start off with just Ace and a guitar. If you can strip a song down just to a voice and a single, sole instrument, whether it would be piano or guitar, then it’s probably a decent song. So, it’s always nice to kind of hear those things, especially with the songs from Imbue that were kind of layered in background noise and reverb and ambient sounds. So, that takes all of that stuff away, and to hear to these songs down to its essence, I think that’s the most exciting part. Ace also went through and added some other instruments that kind of fit the bill, do you know what I mean?
Once you finish these shows for The Mother, The Mechanic And The Path, what does the rest of the year have in store for The Early November?
I don’t know. I think we planned to take some of these shows over to the United Kingdom for a small run in the very late winter or early spring. Then, it’s kind of up in the air. I would like to start discussing at the very least what we will be doing next. We’ve kind of ran through the record cycle of Imbue, and now I think it’s time to all go separate ways, and everyone work on separate projects for the time. Now would be the best time to start discussing that. But to be completely honest, we haven’t had those discussions yet. I am not sure what it will amount to, but I am sure it will be something.
This week, The Early November will be on the road celebrating the 10-year anniversary of The Mother, The Mechanic And The Path, where they will be playing at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg on Jan. 13, and at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on Jan. 14. The band’s forthcoming acoustic release, Fifteen Years, will be available on Jan. 20 through Bad Timing Records. For more information, go to theearlynovembermusic.net.