Special Feature: As Everything Unfolds’ Charlie Rolfe: “we can’t even get people to feature on our songs”

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As Everything Unfolds - frontwoman Charlie Rolfe live on stage, London February 2022

As Everything Unfolds have been on a roll since the release of their smash hit, breakout debut album Within Each Lies The Other in the Spring of 2021. It may feel like a lifetime ago now for some, but back in the warm days of early Summer, Rock Sins caught up with frontwoman Charlie Rolfe as the band were preparing to play the Avalanche Stage at Download Festival 2022.

Charlie is on great form, still buzzing off the fact that this will actually be As Everything Unfolds’ second set of the weekend, having played to the RIP campsite the previous evening. “It was really fun” she tells us. “I think we didn’t really know what to expect. None of us have camped at Download before, so we didn’t really know what RIP was or how it was gonna work out. We started playing and were like, oh, my God, this is really full, there are loads of people, it was completely packed out! Most festival slots are 25 minutes to half an hour, but we got to do a full fifty minute set. It was really cool”.

Our chat takes us through the various things that have happened to the band since the last time we caught up with them, at the Download Pilot in 2021. It was a first in person interview since the Pandemic started for Charlie, something she reminisces on, both in terms of the Download Pilot as an event, and what has happened since then for them. “It was really the start” she reflects. Everything was so much smaller last year, I cannot comprehend. I wanted to get something from the van. And they’re like, oh, no, you have to get the minibus and it’s going to take you like half an hour. Last year everything was so close, you could walk anywhere. And now we’re here and we’ve got Full Force Festival, Resurrection, Graspop, Rock For People, all these huge “Download size” festivals coming up. This has made me feel a bit more prepared for that”.

It’s a reflection on As Everything Unfolds’ rapid rise that they are playing festivals of the size of Download, Graspop and the like. It’s a reality that may have been aided both by their excellent performance at the Download Pilot itself, but perhaps also for the fact they were one of the first bands to successfully complete a full scale tour as some COVID restrictions were lifting in the Autumn of 2021. Alongside their friends in Holding Absence and new friends in Yours Truly (who came all the way from Australia which was still in heavy lockdown, no mean feat), the trio of bands sequestered themselves together as a tour group, ignoring their normal instincts to be able to meet fans after shows to keep the touring party as COVID safe as possible.

“I think we couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of people to be stuck in the green room with” Charlie laughs. “Normally everyone is kind of everywhere on tour, but we got a lot of bonding time with Holding Absence, and with Yours Truly. Yours Truly put us up at their place when we were on another tour. So I definitely class them all as good friends”. On the downsides of having to tour in that way, she was quite pragmatic: “everybody was still a little bit unsure. But as much as that rule sucked, it made so much sense. Because as like, we’ve all plowed money into this and as a band, you have to hire crew and stuff like that when you think for the sake of one tour, just not you know, meeting people and wearing masks and making sure we just stay backstage and it worked because nobody got COVID!”.

The tour will stay with Charlie with lots of good memories, earning them a load of new fans and also as she laughs remembering “I think on the first night Cardiff, we sold the most merch we’ve ever sold. We were like oh my god we need to get some more. As an opening band we were not expecting that to be a thing, so definitely it’s gonna stay in my mind as one of my favorites.

Since completing that tour, As Everything Unfolds have been on the road as often as they can. Whether it was a headline run of shows, a very special one off headline show in London (we’ll get to that in a minute), supporting Trash Boat, or being invited to open for Enter Shikari on a couple of dates, The last year has been full of unique live experiences for them. Charlie admits to “absolutely freaking out” over supporting Shikari (in a good way), describing it as a “surreal experience”.

Something that is an open secret is the fact that As Everything Unfolds have been in the studio in-between their various tours, working on the follow up on Within Each Lies The Other. While she’s not in a position to say exactly when anything will be released, Charlie says it’s “this close”, gesturing a short distance with her hands. Something else that comes up as new material is discussed is the fact that this particular day marked guitarist Owen Hill’s last performance with As Everything Unfolds. Owen’s departure has been known within the band for sometime, and Charlie admits that it “doesn’t feel real yet, because he’s still been with us on the tours.” She goes on to say that “I think it’s not really going to kick in until more touring or when we get to Europe. I think that’s when it’s going to be sort of like, Oh, he’s not here. We’ve done some shows without him, and I do look over and I’m like, uhhh, thinking he’s disappeared. But of course he’s not here”.

When I ask if Owen is on the upcoming album, Charlie’s response is a huge grin accompanied by a “I’m not telling, I’m not saying anything”, followed by laughter. While saying his departure is a shame, it is very clear that, as Charlie puts it, “we have always been friends first and bandmates second”. Everyone is still friends and on good terms, with Owen choosing to do some other things, for which Charlie says he has their full support. Owen will not be replaced in the band, this is made very clear. She refuses to be drawn on how that will affect As Everything Unfolds performing their existing material down a guitarist, but says their new material is “definitely more synth focused, with the synth as the lead and the guitar as the rhythm”, so the way their sound is evolving the previous chapter of the band “kind of just really came to this natural end”.

The lucky 200 or so fans who crammed into the sold out Camden Assembly back in February were the first ones to get a sneak peak of new material, with a song that was fast, heavy and very promising. It was a show that the band wanted to make extra special, performing Within Each Lies The Other in full. “You know, that show we got lights designed and we really spent time creating this set that was one of a kind and you want to make it a special occasion for everyone” Charlie tells us, adding that it was part of a great period for them where “everything was just fun at the moment”.

With album two seemingly in the bag and perhaps the first new music from that album about to surface (the band have in the last few hours started posting teasers on their social media accounts), the last part of the conversation turned to other things the band might like to try in the future. When asked if there was any artists she might like to collaborate with in the future, for example in the way Holding Absence and Alpha Wolf were releasing their at the time just announced split EP, Charlie again laughs. “It’s something I would definitely love to do, but do you know what, we can’t even get people to feature on our songs so I don’t think anybody’s gonna do a split for us” she reveals, in what is perhaps the most surprising comment of the whole interview. “There’s a couple of bands I would I would love to do something like that with but I think it’s just at this point as well. we’re tied into doing albums and stuff. But you never know, you never know what happens in the future, that would definiely be fun though”.

As Everything Unfolds current album, Within Each Lies The Other, is out now on Long Branch Records. Keep your eyes on the band’s social media accounts for the reveal of any new music, which appears to be imminent.

*Update* As Everything Unfolds have confirmed their new single, Felt Like Home, will be released on the 21st of October. Pre-save the track for streaming on this link.

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