Everything Everything in their right place

The multi-regional pop-bastardisers chat to Jon Bauckham of the great expectations placed upon them ahead of their debut.

“Imagine an episode of Friends called ‘The One Where Joey Gets His Fucking Head Blown Off By A Drone Aircraft’,” explains Everything Everything frontman Jonathan Higgs, attempting to describe the thought process behind recent single ‘MY KZ, UR BF’. “It’s a fairly surreal comment on U.S. foreign policy, using the idea of a bombing raid onto a Hollywood sitcom-type situation. Also there is this relationship sub-plot which was heavily influenced by R. Kelly’s ‘Trapped in the Closet’.” Perhaps a more surprising addition to this year’s ‘BBC Sound of…’ poll, Everything Everything have been gaining attention for their witty, wonky and often proggy indie pop. The accolade, however, has sometimes proved to be a curse rather than a blessing, with artists failing to live up to expectations. “It’s great to be in the top 10 or 15 or whatever it was and not in the very top bit,” explains Jonathan. “If we had been top 5, the pressure would have increased tenfold. The exposure is nice, though these lists actually mean very little in reality.”

With members hailing from both Newcastle and Kent, Everything Everything formed when Jonathan met bassist Jeremy Pritchard at university in Manchester, recruiting old school friends Alex Niven and Michael Spearman to complete the line-up. Having recently signed a contract with Geffen, being a band in Manchester has certainly opened them up to opportunities. “It’s probably the best city in the country to form a band and take it further, without being swallowed up as you would in London.” Hardly compatible with Manchester’s boozy, lad rock heritage, Jonathan does express the difficulties faced when trying to gain recognition in a post-Gallagher era. “The parka does still squat on the city like a giant toad kebab, but we are actively trying to shake it off along with a cluster of other new bands.”

Still “four or five months away” from releasing their debut album, Everything Everything were tipped for stardom at the beginning of last year by The Observer, highlighted for their “sexy indie pop with multilayered vocals” on the strength of debut single, Suffragette Suffragette. Yet, with hype comes the inevitable journalistic practice of pigeonholing, something the band are highly cautious of.  “We don’t want to come across as deliberately anything,” explains Jonathan. “I think we are just very tired of musical cliché, particularly white men with guitars, which, try as we might, we can’t help but be. We don’t go out of our way to be different, we just find that there are a whole world of far more interesting ways to combine and present the few ingredients of music that exist in pop.” Admirers of Destiny’s Child and Michael Jackson as well as Radiohead and Kraftwerk, their music manages to exhibit this delightful bastardisation of mismatched influences perfectly. With intricate, angular guitar figures complemented by shimmering synths and a smattering of cryptic lyrics (“I put a rainforest in an Oxo cube”, anyone?), there’s certainly a lot to digest. “There’s actually a lot of humour and word-play in all our songs, even the most serious ones. We don’t worry about what people will think. If they read the lyrics and listen to the music and interpret us in a serious way, it’s fine”. This playful aesthetic is also captured in the band’s surreal self-produced promo videos. Photoshop Handsome for example, itself a musical assault on vanity-imbued image manipulation, gives the band the green screen treatment and sees them under attack from a violent form of image manipulation themselves. “The juxtaposition of the serious and the unserious is what we’re all about. It’s music for humans.”

With so much expected of them this year, Everything Everything have modest ambitions. “This year will hopefully bring an album to our ears that we are really, really proud of. That’s honestly it.” If that’s all they hope to achieve, that alone is a blessing.

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