Monday, 21 February 2011

An Audience with Everything Everything

Photo by Briony Carlin, who is amazing

“We kind of wanted some uniformity to what we do,” Everything Everything bassist Jeremy Pritchard tells me. The band’s solution? Custom-made jumpsuits.

“We used to use our own shop-bought boiler suits for some of the videos which you may have seen. And Alex [Robertshaw, guitarist] came up with the idea for some that might look OK on us. So we got them made, and chose all the colours and the fabrics and everything.” The band seem particularly proud of this idea, so I decide not to mention the recent trend for ironic onesies.”They’re unusual to play in - they’re not jeans and a t-shirt. I’m really pleased though, the air that it lends the show is exactly what we wanted.”

Working on the atmosphere of their shows seems to be a priority to the band right now playing gigs far bigger than they’ve ever experienced. At the moment they’re on the NME Awards Tour (having been nominated for “Best New Band”) with Crystal Castles, Magnetic Man and the Vaccines.

“We were kind of finding our stride a bit at first,” Pritchard says (drummer Michael Spearman is also here, but he stays quiet for the majority of the interview). “The two nights in Manchester were quite good actually, we were getting used to all the bits and pieces we’re involved with now.”

They’ve been on one of these NME tours before - specifically the NME Radar Tour, (the “early learning tour” as Pritchard calls it) which they co-headlined just nine months ago with Hurts and Darwin Deez. It’s a big step up in a short amount of time. “Five tour buses, four bands, a big production crew who are here twenty-four hours - it’s like a big travelling circus really. At some point someone will be awake on the gypsy caravan!”

“Everything’s got bigger,” says Spearman. Pritchard continues: “Yeah, apart from the boring practical stuff we’ve had to learn how to engage large audiences and keep the people at the back of the crowd just as interested as the people at the front. Which is a skill that we’ve learnt - accidentally I suppose.”

Which is where the custom-made boiler suits fit in, presumably. “It takes the focus off what you’re wearing - like if you were in the Drums or something.”

“It’s also about not having to choose what to wear every night, too,” adds Spearman.

A year ago, Everything Everything were being tipped to be “big in 2010” - who do they see doing well in 2011? “Well, on the BBC list we were talking about Wretch 32 [a London grime MC],” says Spearman. “Warpaint. Jay Pool. James Blake.”

“Dutch Uncles. Egyptian Hip-Hop,” adds Pritchard. “There’s a lot of good bands in the North East - Vinyl Jacket. There’s a young band called We Beat The System that are quite good.”

Those who have listened to debut album Man Alive may have picked up on the references to video games scattered throughout. Are all the band gamers, I ask?

“The other two are disabled by computer games, and Mike and I are disabled by our inability to become even remotely interested in them - and therein lies the dynamic. [Lead singer] John’s just about on the right side of being engaged in reality.” “We lost Alex about a year ago,” says Spearman. “There are zombies probably being killed elsewhere on the coach as we speak. They’re supposed to be doing interviews and such right now like we are, but they’re probably shooting zombies and Nazis right now, because that’s realistic, isn’t it?”

As diplomatic as the pair are trying to appear, a there’s a clear note of frustration in Pritchard’s voice. “It’s not just about recreation. Whether or not we enjoy playing computer games or whatever is irrelevant really. Because it’s a huge part of the lives of most people in our generation,” he says through what may as well be gritted teeth. “We are very much in the minority.”

Let’s move on to nicer topics: how’s the recording of the new album coming along? Is there a new album?
“We’ve got a few starting points that we’re exciting about, but at the moment we’re so out of practice of arranging and writing that we’re stalling quicker than we will do in the future because we’re just not in that mindset. We’ve got a month between this and the European tour, and we’ve got April as well - we’re going to knuckle down. We’re trying to get ahead of ourselves, because so many bands find this stumbling block on the second record.”

So the cliche of the difficult second album is true? “The second album is, practically speaking, difficult,” says Spearman. “But then I think bands get better at writing songs, too.” Fingers crossed, then.

Finally, will Everything Everything win NME’s best new band award? “No!” laughs Pritchard. “Two Door Cinema Club will win.”

Everything Everything's debut album Man Alive is out now - listen here on Spotify, or buy from Amazon. 

Originally published in The Courier on 21st February 2011.

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