Monday 13 September 2010

Everything Everything Interview

Today I spoke to Jeremy from the wonderful Everything Everything. Their debut is a real treat, there are links at the bottom of the page to places where you can give it a spin! Anyway, here is how my chat with Jeremy went. For the record, he was a really nice and chatty guy:

“Two days ago we met Rolf Harris. We saw him in the car park at Bestival. As we got on to the ferry, he was at the top of the stairs waiting for us, and he said ‘Here they are!’ We thought, how does he know who we are?”

Jeremy Pritchard, bassist in Britain’s latest (and probably only) boundary-pushing art-funk-electro-pop-indie group Everything Everything certainly wouldn’t have expected to gain a fan in the Australian icon, but then again, who would?
"He has a rapper in his live set who is a big fan of us, and he introduced Rolf to our band,” explains Pritchard of the encounter so mad that it has to be true. “Over the tannoy system on the ferry he sang ‘Two Little Boys’, and he said ‘Come on Everything Everything, join in!’ in the middle of it. John (Higgs, lead vocals and guitar) said, ‘we need to retire, we’ve peaked already!’”

If anyone is saying that Everything Everything have reached a peak in their career, the comment will certainly be followed by ‘so far’. After all, this is a band on the up and up. A series of attention-grabbing singles increased attention for debut album Man Alive, released in August, emerging critically lauded and currently surprising pretty much everyone who gives it a listen.
“When the press came out, it wasn’t daunting. It was just surprising, the volume of positivity. We expected it to be much more 50/50.”

However, some of the overly positive reports exceed Jeremy’s own opinion of the album.
“A lot of the reviews that said ‘This is great, this is brave and ambitious, but here are the weak points’, we agreed with those more than the ones that said ‘Ten out of ten’. We didn’t want to make a ‘perfect’ record first time round, we want to grow.”

He adds: “As a document of the past two years of the band I think it’s exactly what we wanted it to be. There’s very little in the way of compromise of what we wanted, none in fact. We’re very proud of it.”

The intricacy and complexity of Everything Everything’s music has led to them being hailed as the pioneers of new, intelligent genre-defying pop, and is a result of the group’s collaborative songwriting.

As Jeremy explains, “John has the core of every song and all of the lyrics, but everything else is open. He’ll write something on his guitar, keyboard or laptop, either chords or a melody, or a whole arrangement. We always dismantle it and put it back together and try to make it human again.”

Even with just the bare bones of a song, John’s ambitious and offbeat tunes can sometimes be a challenge for the other bandmates to initially get their heads around.
“With ‘Weights’, all the rhythm tracks and the verses were mapped out, so I just had to learn it,” says Pritchard. “The rhythmic scheme of that took me a while to get to grips with. Singing and playing the parts at the same time in that song was really challenging. We had a whiteboard up with this ridiculous equation on it telling us how to play the ending.”

This soon-to-be-trademark complexity is never forced upon the music, though, Jeremy describing it as “visceral and natural.”
“We’re not trying to be awkward,” he claims. “In fact, now we’re trying to work away from those instincts to be complex.”

The rest of the year sees the band tour the UK in a slew of dates across the country. Crucial to the tour will be the band’s attempt to bring the intricacy of the album to the stage.
“I don’t understand why bands use certain colours and textures on the record, and when they come to play it live go ‘We’ll just get the guitars out’. I’m always disappointed if I see an act that doesn’t value the sounds they’ve used on its album,” he says. “We’ve put them there for a reason, so we do want to play them live.”

Everything Everything tour the UK in October - tickets can be found here.

Everything Everything's album 'Man Alive' is currently streaming in its entirity on their Myspace page and is also on Spotify.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Frightened Rabbit Interview

With their summer festival round complete and a UK tour set to take place during November, I managed to speak to Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit, one of the UK's current most outstanding bands. Here's how it went...

It’s been a hectic summer for Scottish alt-rock outfit Frightened Rabbit. Between Glastonbury, T in the Park and V, they have been a regular name on this year’s UK festival round, they’ve played the major European festivals, been to America and somehow found time to also tour Australia.
“We’ve been really busy but it’s been great actually,” says frontman Scott Hutchison. “It’s a perfect way to gather a new audience over a short space of time, so it’s been really good for us.”

The Glasgow-based five piece might not have yet achieved the commercial success they deserve, but have a huge cult following particularly from their 2008 album The Midnight Organ Fight. An intensely personal album, it charts Scott’s breakdown and the beginnings of hope after a devastating breakup. It’s an outstanding album, and on release received exceptional critical acclaim and worship from fans. Whilst the subject of the album was certainly a painful one, Scott explains that he’s fine to play the songs live.

“Our old songs, for me anyway, when I play them live I’m acutely aware that in a lot of ways some of the songs and the material means a lot more and is more pertinent to the people in the audience,” he says. “I’ve really let all that go, now it’s a joyful experience to play them.”

With a new album released this year, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, to yet more acclaim, the band felt the pressure while writing the new material. How to follow up an album loved by so many?

“I did feel pressure but it was positive – you can either let it crush you or you can try and use it to better yourself. I didn’t want to make Midnight Organ Fight part two. I wanted to make a different album that couldn’t really be compared to that. It brought a whole new audience to the band.”

Now everything seems to be on the up, with this year including some of Frightened Rabbit’s best moments as a band, with a crowd “beyond my expectations” at T in the Park and their first ever Glastonbury appearance.
“Glastonbury was special for a ton of reasons. It was the first time we’d ever been, let alone played.”

However, they’re not ready to leave behind the intimacy of smaller festivals and gigs.
“I always love the low-key festivals,” he explains. “At the big ones there’s the feeling that you’re part of a revolving door of bands and it’s slightly less personal. At small festivals it’s much more enjoyable – you get to actually interact with people.”

With an excellent live reputation, Scott promises fans “a really good, solid set and a really long one as well. We try and inject a good amount of energy and sweat into our performances and play to the crowd.”
He adds: “I’m still learning how to be a frontman, and what I’ve learned over the summer I’ll be able to bring to our shows.”

Take the chance to see Frightened Rabbit in the smaller venues on their upcoming UK tour while you can, before they move onto bigger (but not necessarily better) sites when they receive the attention they truly deserve.

To buy tickets for Frightened Rabbit's UK tour visit click here