Profile: The Never Ever

Who are The Never Ever? Apart from some exceptional music videos on YouTube, and previously opening for Yellowcard and Simple Plan when the 2 bands toured in Sydney, there wasn’t much we could piece together about the Australian band members.

UrbanWire caught up with the 4-member pop-rock group when they visited Singapore for Music Matters 2015 from May 20 to 23, a 4-day event that featured a host of upcoming local and international bands and musicians.

The quartet consists of the lanky lead singer Dylan Nash, guitarist Bradlee Smith, red-haired synth-ist Alana Miller and their newest member, drummer Marc Malliate. According to, the band’s name originated from a painting in an art book that was “bright, energetic, and positive”, which is rather accurate of their personalities too.


Organic Beginnings


They arrived at our photography studio donning full black attires – a strange heat-conducting colour choice that baffled us until we recall that they’ve had experienced Aussie heat waves as well. Unfortunately, a fun photo op eluded us, as they preferred casual, interview-esque shots (We’ve had mock samurai-sword umbrellas lying around, which would have really pleased their Japanese fans).

As with every foreign band arriving on the sunny island, we first ask their feedback on our nation’s pride and joy – local hawker food. “We’ve got a couple of friends who play in different bands, and we’ve been lucky to have been shown around some local cuisine in hawker centres. We’ve had Thai barbecue, and the list goes on,” 23-year-old Dylan responds, clearly the most outspoken of the bunch. And in a deadpan or rather, plain disgust tone typical of foreign counterparts, Marc announces: “And at the bottom of the list is the durian.”

The band does have a decent following in Japan, having just concluded their tour there in 2014, although not a lot has been talked about The Never Ever and their formation 5 years ago. We’re not sure what happened to ex-bassist Pat Ortiz either, and it seems as though they don’t want to reveal too much of it.

“It was a really organic kind of way that we got together, just playing music. What’s great about the 4 of us right now is that we’re just all so locked in on the music that we’re making and for the first time, everyone in the band is absolutely on sync and loving exactly what we do.”

This Instagram post from Patty gives us a hint that things didn’t end on that much of a sour note, however.


An Off Grid Band

We didn’t get the sense that they were that tight of a bunch, much less a group that had been together for 5 years. It was mostly Dylan who answered questions about the band, while the others weighed in with a couple of one-liners. Seemingly disinterested at first, they sat crossed legged and arms folded, although they did warm up a little as the interview went on.

It was clear to us more than anything that their collective focus was on improving their musical style and direction. “As soon as we get back to Sydney we’re locking ourselves away in a place with no phone reception, no network or anything like that, so we can immerse ourselves and work on our craft. There’s nothing worse than you being constantly stifled out by something else,” said Dylan.


Group activities between the 4 outside of music are a rarity as well. There was a rather long, awkward pause when we asked what they did together as band.

“Nah we don’t hang out,” Dylan remarked to our amusement. Pausing to think again, Bradlee managed to conjure up: “Well, eating is a big one [for us].”


Mystery Backstage Games

Besides locking themselves up and staying off grid, their creative process or influence can get rather random. “I wouldn’t say we would draw inspiration from one band in particular. It’s more like just different parts of songs, or different aspects of other artists,” said Alana, 24.

Dylan agrees: “There’s no one way about it. Lots of 3am note scribblings, voice memos on phones, and if I have an idea I’ll bring it to these guys and it can be just a melody or some notes on a guitar, and we flesh it out from there.”

Till today, they still feel what they call “good nerves” before their gigs, which is more adrenaline than panic. Occasionally, they play a little game before they go up on stage to release some anxiety. Dylan explains: “We played a game a couple of times before, a backstage game, but it hasn’t really made its way onto this tour.”


“That’s because we forgot,” Alana mumbled.

We question the details of the game, and he continues: “It stems from a drinking game and it’s not a very nice word.” Everyone seems to be giggling at the memory by this point. “It involves us yelling a lot and clapping our hands a lot. It’s a lot of fun, you have to come backstage one day and you can see it.”


Decision-Making in Traffic Jams

Apart from Dylan’s first guitar, everyone else’s introduction to music began in the school choir except for Bradlee. Bradlee admits that he would’ve pursued baseball if not for the injuries he’s sustained while playing the sport. Now 23, he opens up about the first instrument he’s every played – the saxophone.

“Aside from every guy who just has an acoustic guitar lying around, saxophone was the first one. I wanted to join the school band, which was horribly lame. That didn’t last too long. I haven’t played it since,” said the guitarist.

We’re rather glad his elaborate hairstyle in this album art cover on The Never Ever’s website didn’t last too long either.


Alana labels the band’s logo “a group effort”, although in truth it was mostly her savvy graphic design skills. She enthuses about her love for the visual arts, drawing and painting, and professes that they enjoyed making sure that everything from the band’s merchandise to the CD art matches their sound.

The inception of the band’s logo wasn’t an exception. “We were on a really long car trip from Melbourne to Sydney, and we all sat there to bounce ideas around and I did a couple of different options and everything, passing the laptop around the car,” she recounts. Dylan agrees and instantaneously proclaims: “A lot of our band decisions are made in traffic jams.”


From what we’ve seen, we confess that Alana’s artwork is pretty impressive. Still, the university dropout who pursued a science degree wouldn’t want to think about being a graphic designer even if she wasn’t a musician. “If you’ve a Plan B, I think that you’re sort of in your mind thinking that Plan A could fail,” she says. “You’ve really got to just go for that, don’t have a backup plan!”

Dylan, who studied music and sound design in university, says that he’d be in the field of producing if he weren’t performing. Marc conversely has no clue what he’d do without music. “I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t playing in some way or another,” he concluded after giving it much thought.


Album in the Works

The Sydney-based band’s intention is to focus on expanding their fan base in Asia, and expects to be back here in the near future. They currently have 3 EP’s to their name, with 2013’s Ghosts & Ghouls the most recent, and they don’t intend to stop there. “We just want to write as many great songs as we can and concentrate maybe putting together an album,” says Dylan.

Dylan continues: “For the first time, we know exactly what we want to do. The last 12 months we’ve really worked hard behind the scenes in narrowing our field, our influences, everything about the band to something we think is unique and something we’re proud of, and we’re proud to come over to places like Singapore to showcase them.”

The Never Ever performed at Music Matters 2015 in Singapore from May 20 to May 23 at Switch by Timbre, Paulaner, Beer Market and Fountain Stage.