Everglow photo by Leanne Murray

Jon Pike and Gordon Huxter play more instruments than they have hands, and spent the spring releasing their debut album, Ocean Season, and travelling to Toronto for a coveted showcase spot at Canadian Music Week. Now, the summer’s just starting to heat up for the innovative pair

Listening to the band’s seven-track debut, from the orchestral “Outside Looking In,” through the breezy “Home” and the synthy, danceable “Feel Your Heart,” it’s clearly a meticulously crafted pop album. Pike identifies as the songwriter and Huxter as the producer, but beyond that basic dichotomy, what happens on the album is a slick production, and what happens on stage is something closer to magic.

“We realized that just two guys standing up on stage, playing along with backing tracks, is not very exciting to watch,” Pike said, acknowledging the challenges of creating a live sound for a duo with a distinctly non-duo sound. It took several months, once the actual arrangements were solidified, to come up with a live show.

“Crowd interaction, musical transitions between songs, a synchronized light show, and lots of other elements you’d expect from a large production, we bring to smaller stages wherever we get a gig,” Huxter explained. “We want everyone in the audience to have a moment from the show that they loved and will talk about for the next week.”

When Huxter trained to be an audio engineer in Halifax, he never expected to bring those skills to his own band, but couldn’t be happier. “It’s actually exactly what I wanted to do working for other people, but I get to be creative with my best friend, be more involved in the songwriting, and put my own twist, production-wise, on great songs.”

It’s a lot more work, when you’ve just got two hands on deck, but it’s such a fun way to make music—you’re involved in every single aspect.

Pike, whose past musical CV includes RocketRocketShip, agrees. “It’s a lot more work, when you’ve just got two hands on deck, but it’s such a fun way to make music—you’re involved in every single aspect. When you have a lot of members there comes a lot of drama and a lot of frustration. I’ve never found that since we started Everglow—it’s just such a comfortable place to be creative.”

When the band started as two roommates, originally from Steady Brook, who wanted to make noise together, they did it right: learning whatever they could.

“I think that’s what 90% of the music industry is: just learning all the things that you need to know, because there’s way more than any one person could ever learn,” Pike laughed.

Their education included enlisting Chris Kirby to produce the vocals for Ocean Season, and East Coast Music Week, held in St. John’s in April.

“It was absolutely incredible—it did such a great job of making it accessible for bands that are in the emerging stage,” Pike explained.

Of course, sometimes the most unexpected lessons are the most pertinent. In December, the band wrote and recorded “Possible” with Abby Quigley, a young girl with spina bifida whose wish through the Children’s Wish Foundation was to collaborate with Everglow.

“It’s the kind of experience that changes your life,” said Pike, adding that she’s cried every time he’s seen her listen to the track.

That kind of reaction is part of the drive behind Everglow, helping to legitimize the music they love. “I think that it’s very easy to look at pop as something that is very easy to do, and kind of discarded as an art form. But there is definitely a fine art to making a good pop song—you’re definitely seeing a resurgence in that,” Pike said.

Ocean Season is available in stores and online at everglowband.bandcamp.com.