Keen readers of this blog will know that we are big fans of this Manchester band. Everything Everything produced one of the best albums of the year and sat in it’s centre was the song Photoshop Handsome. It was a masterful piece of jerky, schizophrenic pop, with more ideas packed inside it than an Inklings drinking session.
The single is launched on January 17th before they head out on their NME tour. We have been gifted the below Entrepreneurs remix to hand out as a taster and we’re pleased to see it’s a proper winner, adding in a pounding beat in place of the rattling snare of the original.
In other Everything Everything news, the band are set to complete a live broadcast of their sold out Union Chapel show in London through a unique, ground-breaking app for iPhones and iPads on December 15th. Download the app here. The band will perform their debut album, Man Alive, with the Royal Northern College of Music.
And just in case you haven’t come across Entrepreneurs, (aka Adam Crisp), we have previously covered him on The Recommender here. He is a talent that crops up all over the place, with several different projects, including work alongside the excellent Foe, as well as remixing the likes of Marina & The Diamonds and Clock Opera. We list below a couple of examples of his previous work. We’ve enjoyed keeping our eye on him throughout 2010 and our gaze will remain fixed on his output through 2011. (MB)
Having released one of the best albums of the year and one of the finest debuts in recent memory, with Man Alive, Everything Everything spared The Recommender a little time towards the end of their current UK tour. We bring you their answers on the day that their new video for the excellent single, ‘Photoshop Handsome’, is released. This is one of the highlights, among many, on the Man Alive LP, perfectly showing off their experimentalism, with the video chopping and changing just as much, having been created by dozens of unknown animators. Enjoy reading through our interview and then you can enjoy the video at the bottom of the article.
THE RECOMMENDER: Let’s begin by asking you to please introduce each member of the band and which instruments you play?
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING: Jeremy plays bass and sings a bit, Alex plays guitar and keys and sings a bit, Michael plays the drums and sings a bit, and Jonathan sings a lot and plays keyboards and guitar a bit
TR: You come from different parts of the UK, so how did you meet? Can you explain the moment you all decided to pursue being in the band professionally?
EE: Jon and Michael went to school together in Northumberland then Jon met Jeremy at University in Salford. Jeremy is originally from Kent and Alex is originally from Guernsey. Alex joined the band a year ago when we needed a guitar player. It’s hard to define when each of us decided that we wanted to be in a band professionally, I think we just all naturally gravitated towards it.
TR: How did you come to choose the band name Everything Everything? Is it anything to do with the lyric and live album from Underworld?
EE: No, we weren’t aware of their title until later. We liked the appearnce of the word when repeated, we liked the sound and the rhythm of it, and we liked the sense of boundless potential contained within it.
TR: How did you hear about being shortlisted on the BBC Sound Of 2010 list and how did you react? Do you see these things as effective? Do they make a difference?
EE: They definitely make a difference and in our case it has been a good thing. I guess being number 1 in it kind of sets people up for a fall sometimes but we were very glad to be included. I think we found out while we were all in the bath (together, fully clothed).
TR: Um, moving on swiftly…The BBC recognition continued with becoming ‘record of the week‘ on popular shows such as Zane Lowe’s, so we would like to know what other milestones have the band experienced to date? What was perhaps the biggest?
EE: The various festival milestones are an obvious choice, with perhaps Glastonbury being the biggest of those totems I suppose. Our first trips to various different countries – Japan, USA, Iceland. Clearly releasing our debut album too, as that has to be the biggest milestone overall.
TR: You manage that tricky balancing act between being alternative and challenging, with melodic and catchy. Is there a grand design behind how you approach writing songs? Do you consider there to be a juxtaposition between honouring your art and being commercially successful?
EE: We genuinely love great pop music. Finding a great pop song these days is like finding a diamond in the rough, which makes them all the more special. I think we apply a pop sensibility to the songs quite naturally, and we enjoy walking that tightrope and playing with what is considered ‘commercial sounding’ these days. A lot of current American RnB is just really inane and we played with that a bit in our track, ‘My Kz, Ur Bf‘.
TR: Indeed, why did you choose to abbreviate the title of the album’s opening track, My Keys, Your Boyfriend?
EE: It was to evoke so-called text speak. It fits in with the song’s juxtaposition of superficial pop culture, mostly Americanised or inspired by the slightly insipid lyrical content of US RnB, and the same country’s dubious foreign policy/wars. Ironically the track is highly influenced by the musical side of US RnB which we find fascinating from a writing and production point of view. It’s not straight-forward, like most things we do!
TR: How would you describe your music and who are your biggest influences?
EE: “Quixotic pop” – that’s our latest soundbite. We honestly never know how to answer this question, that’s mostly because what we do isn’t really a consciously contrived thing. We’re never really aiming for any one thing when we write and arrange the songs. We take influence from a very wide range of music. A brief cross-section might be; Dr Dre, Slint, The Bad Plus, The Beatles, D’Angelo, Nirvana…
TR: Your lyrics are insightful and thought-provoking, but on occasion they’re lost in the delivery of Johnathan’s astonishing vocals, so is this ever an issue for you, or do you not consider allowing the listener to understand them important? Are the ranging vocals something that the fans try to sing along to at shows?
EE: Yeah, fans try to sing along with them at shows, and we’re glad they give it a go because the rapid-fire lyrics aren’t meant to exclude people. Jon is keen that people have access to the lyrics – in the album sleeve and on our website -so they can check them out.
TR: What’s been your favourite show(s) to date? Do you prefer large festival stages or small intimate venues?
EE: There’s been so many. Reading and Leeds were really special this year. Having 6000 people turn up before the album was even released was wholly unexpected. Our first ever show on foreign soil at Eurosonic in Gronigen, Holland, sticks out in my mind because we had literally no idea what to expect, and it was a full house.
TR: We heard Take That were big fans of yours, so how did you react to this? Have you had a chance to meet any of them since their compliments? Would you consider supporting them at their monster live shows? Your music has obvious differences, but can you consider any commonalities between yours and Gary Barlow’s compositions?
EE: We haven’t met them yet but Howard’s been to a show or two of ours I think. I could see his handsome silhouette stage left, but they’re too famous to hang around in places the size of where we generally play. We would consider opening for them, of course, but I don’t know if we’d actually do it. And it’s not a decision that we’re going to have to make because THEY WILL NEVER ASK US! I think Gary likes a pop tune and an affecting falsetto, so yeah there are some similarities. Plus two of us are tall.
TR: We love the cover art on your debut album, so can you tell us more about the selection and what it means?
EE: It’s an image taken from the song ‘Tin (The Manhole)’, basically. We had hundereds and hundreds of images that we sifted through, having alighted accidentally on the glitching thing, and the process behind it. We just found this particular one very arresting. We were drawn to its clairty. It also represents the natural world, but part of it that has adapted to urbanisation. Adding the glitch kind of hints at this kind of third existence that we all have now; the virtual life, as well as the natural world and the humanised/civilised world.
TR: Can youi explain the idea behind the debut album’s title, ‘Man Alive’?
EE: It’s a lyric in the song ‘Qwerty Finger’ and we just liked the way it sounded and the fact that it can be expressed in different ways.
TR: We gave your album a positive review on (the recently offloaded-) Strangers In Stereo global blog collective, but do you take any notice of the media’s reviews? Do you care for them, or simply ignore them?
EE: It’s hard to ignore them and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t care because they do have an effect on our career as a band. We feel lucky to have received mainly positive reviews but the most important thing to us is that we’re proud of what we’ve made and that people enjoy it.
TR: The likes of Delphic, Hurts, Egyptian Hip Hop and yourselves all have musical differences, but with you all appearing out of the same city do you consider Manchester to be enjoying a refreshed music scene? Do you think there is a reason why so much exciting, unconventional music is appearing all at once from the city?
EE: I think Manchester has always had a healthy music scene that has encouraged individuality and we’re happy to be mentioned alongside the bands above. We’re all very different from one another, so I guess the only connection is that we happen to live in the same city.
TR: Looking to Everything Everything’s future, how quick would you like to release a follow up album? What do you think are the pitfalls of a second release and have you considered how you might overcome them?
EE: We hope to have something out in the spring of 2012, but these things are invariably delayed, not necessarily by the band. We feel that about 18 months is a respectable period to campaign Man Alive and start work on the next one. We dont want to move on too quickly, before people have had time to digest this album, and we dont want to hang about either. Its a delicate balance. There’s a lot of pitfalls with releasing a follow-up album but there’s also a lot of pitfalls with releasing a debut, so we feel like we’ve learned quite a lot. I think in general though if we just keep our eye on the ball and concentrate on making the best album we can then we should be alright.
TR: Finally, we ask all the artists that get interviewed on The Recommender blog to become ‘honorary recommenders’ themselves by suggesting any new bands/artists that have caught your attention that you would like to point out to us?
The band release the single Photoshop Handsome on January 17th 2011. It’s also just been announced that they will be on the NME Awards Tour which travels around the UK throughout February. Tickets go on pre-sale here from the 10th November and on general sale here on the 12th November. (MB)