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Everything Everything PDF Print E-mail
Written by Elliot Clarke   
09 02 2011
ImageManchester, as you probably already know, has somewhat of a legacy for producing exciting bands at the forefront of British music. From the late 70s, a time which saw the emergence of Joy Division, Buzzcocks and Magazine, to the mid 80s where the likes of New Order, The Smiths and James broke through, to the infamous 1980s Madchester scene with the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. It's no different today, with a whole host of new bands emerging from the Manchester scene, the most exciting of which is Everything Everything. They released their debut album, Man Alive, at the back end of 2010 to widespread critical acclaim. The band begin a busy 2011 by taking part in the NME Awards Tour alongside Crystal Castles, Magnetic Man, and The Vaccines. Elliot Clarke caught up with Jeremy & Jonathan from the band ahead of the Newcastle date to talk touring, recording and Jools Holland.

How is the tour going so far?

Jeremy: Good, in stops and starts. We kind of feel like we've had a weekend at home because we did two nights in Manchester, and then there was a day off. So we're now properly on the way. Of the three gigs to date, we really hit our stride on the last night.

This tour has sold out almost all of its dates, and as a band you've had acclaim from XFM, NME, and the BBC - are you seeing the impact of that exposure out on the road?
Jeremy: I guess we've been seeing it ever since those bodies with the larger crowds started paying us attention. Every interview we did last year mentioned the Sound of 2010 list. Not that we were annoyed about that; we were just quite surprised by its pervasiveness - especially when we were abroad.
Most of Europe and Japan look to the BBC, NME, and Jools Holland. All those things that we take for granted are hugely influential internationally, so it's been no bad thing for us - and you do see crowds getting bigger.
8 or 9 months ago we were on  the NME Radar tour - and now we're doing the big one for the 2011 Awards.

So have you appeared on Later With Jools Holland?
Jeremy: We did one Jools show, which was great. It was a totemic moment, along with a few other things from last year like playing Glastonbury, and going to Japan, doing our first European tour. You know, doing Jools Holland is a tick off the list.

I was going to mention ticks on the list - I know you don't like the ‘Indie' moniker, but a lot of bands dream of even being mentioned in NME, never mind being on their awards tour. Was that an aspiration for you?
Jeremy: Yeah, we grew up with the same aspirations as everyone else in that respect. We wanted to be on the telly a little bit, but for the right reasons - for doing the right things - and hopefully we've managed that.
Jon: Jools Holland's always been a high quality thing, and you can't really top it.
Jeremy: It's a level playing field; even if you don't really like the bands that are on, they're there for the right reasons, and it's an honest reflection of pop music at that time.
Jon: And some crazy world stuff. There's always one crazy world act.

I've always loved the fact that you've maybe got Eric Clapton and KD Lang, and then Gogol Bordello will come out of nowhere.
Jeremy: Well yeah, exactly. I mean that's an example of a band that did really well out of one appearance on one show, and KT Tunstall's career was kind of built around that. She was on at the same time as us, now she's a fixture on that show.
Jon: we had Jamiroquai on the same show as well.

Were you rubbing shoulders with the big wigs on Later..., or did you stay in your own corner with your entourage?
Jon: We were in our corner, but everyone came over to us, and were very nice to us - we were very humbled by it all. JK was hopping from foot to foot, giving us slaps on the back!

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Jon, you grew up near Newcastle, so is playing the Academy another goal for you? Do you remember seeing any particularly inspiring gigs here?
Jon: , to be honest I don't know if I've been here. I think I saw Ocean Colour Scene here, although it may have been the Arena. In any case it's certainly very pleasing to be playing one of the biggest venues in the town where I was born and grew up. So definitely a big tick.

The band got together in Manchester - was that move dictated by Uni?
Jeremy: It was a hangover from University, Jon & I played in bands while we were at Uni there. We moved to Manchester to study, and stayed there because it's a great music city. Apart from arguably London, it has the most vibrant art scene of anywhere, so it made sense for us to be there. And the other guys moved to Manchester to be in the band.

Did you all study music at Uni, or were you doing other subjects? Your website says you all have orchestral backgrounds, so are you classically trained?
Jon: We did music, so we are all classically trained.
Jeremy: Whether or not that comes into what we do now, I don't know.
Jon: I think it's certainly a language that is very useful. It's a way of thinking about music that's very useful if you're trying to write with a laptop, where the start point isn't really music.
Then Alex can say to Jeremy, "oh that's a B flat" or whatever, "this'll work" or "let's try this". If we didn't know what we were doing we'd be saying "it sounds like this, but that note's not working and I don't really know why!"
Jeremy: If we didn't know our theory we wouldn't be writing the music that we do anyway, I think it would probably be a lot more basic.

You put a lot of effort into the arrangements on your album; do you change any of them live?
Jon: There are some things we can't possibly do - like we can't play three guitars at once - so we do use click tracks, because there are some things that really are impossible, so we have to concede them.
Jeremy: There's a balance to be struck between being a karaoke band playing along to a drum machine that's generating the vast majority of the song, and not doing your songs justice because the sounds and the sequencing from the record are missing. You want to bring that into the live arena, but you don't want to just play along with the robots.
Jon: There's only 3 songs with backing tracks on, and even then they're not doing that much. They're just doing the stuff we don't have the hands for.
Jeremy: We could get a fifth member in, but we like the immediacy of just having the four of us, and the honesty of it being a four piece band. Everyone's in the band, there's not another guy there, who's in the band... but not in the band.
Jon: Apart from Mr. Click Track. He's our fifth member.

How long have you guys been working together to create that essential chemistry and honesty between the four of you?
Jon: It's been 3 years since we first rehearsed I think.
Jeremy: Alex only joined about halfway through, getting on for 18 months ago now.

Jeremy: In fact, what we've done in that space of time exceeds everything we've done to date. The last year has been twice as busy as the previous 2 years put together.
Jon: We made the record, wrote half the record, toured and been all over the world, been exposed far more than ever before. The lead-up period was very slow and incremental, hoping the labels would hear us. Alex joined the same week that the labels came and saw us.
Jeremy: We weren't telling them, but Alex was rehearsing the songs as we were demonstrating them to the labels.
Jon: For him it was rehearsal, for us it was crunch time, after two and a half years of trying to make this moment happen.

Did you have a defined plan from the start? You released some 7" singles on various labels, were you shopping for a home at that point?
Jon: I think it's just quite common for bands to move themselves around, and it's common for labels to want to dip into a band's career and then move on. It's good for their catalogue, and it's good for the bands as well. It wasn't that we didn't want to stay with those labels.
Jeremy: None of those labels consider themselves a long-term prospect, they deal exclusively with 7" vinyl.
Jon: They just get it out to the people that need to hear it. Each single got bigger in every way, until we got to the one that got us signed. We didn't have any dips.
When you have a select few DJs that find you on this 7", they're far more loyal to you than if it goes through the pluggers. They feel like they discovered you, and it's much more special to them.
Jeremy: We actually count people like Mark Riley and Zane Lowe as friends now. We see Mark a lot, and that came from our first 7". It wasn't a contrived thing where we thought "let's do a really small run of vinyl so that everyone thinks we're cool and DIY and underground."

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Do you still do your own treatments and direct your own videos?
Jon: We put an awful lot of ourselves into the first singles, and we made the videos ourselves. The second video we did for MY KZ, UR BF was someone else's treatment, and we liked it because it was in the vein of the original. After the actual execution of it, I think it's a good video but we're not as fond of it as we were of our own ones, so we learnt from it. We're an experimental band, and we tried using other people - which we're not against - but we didn't like it as much as making it ourselves, so that's what we're going to do from now on.

Do you feel there's more of an emotional connection with your own videos?
Jeremy: Yeah, whether or not it's better or worse isn't for us to say, but we feel that it's "ours".
Jon: We've always really enjoyed the amount of control we've been allowed by Geffen; and before that we had all the control because we weren't signed to any label.

ImageYou mix a lot of genres together on your album, did you make conscious decisions to stick this-onto-that?
Jeremy: We've all been in bands that have been a lot less eclectic, and in lots of different bands.
Jon: You work within the confines of your ability and equipment. In my first band with Jeremy at Uni, a lot of the songs - or at least what I wanted to do with them - were very similar to what we're doing now, but we didn't have the stuff to realise it.
Once you get a laptop involved as a primary writing tool, it gives you a massive amount of freedom. You don't have to be able to get an orchestra if you want to hear an orchestra. Suddenly it's all at your fingertips, and that really means that you're not confined to genre in a way that you would be if you just sat down with two guitars and a bass. You can do a lot, but you're always going to be doing those things. You're going to be a guitar band. Now, we're not - simply because we've got the freedom to do that now, because technology's getting cheaper, and easier to use.
Jeremy: When we were 14 we may have turned our noses up at some of the dance acts using that equipment, because we were all into Nirvana, and the immediacy and the punk ethic. All of that's fallen away; not because of any moral laziness on anybody's part, but because none of that actually matters. Because of the influence of the internet, the way people listen to music now is less partisan to one genre, one sound, or one way of thinking about popular music.
Jon: The way people buy music now is track by track. If you like something by Linkin Park, and you like something by the Cheeky Girls, you don't need to have to whole album, and you don't have to get into one genre and stay there, it's very much pick-and-choose now.
Jeremy: Having said that, we are quite grateful to be able to dimly remember a time when that was the case, because when we made our album we really wanted it to be an album, we didn't want it to be 3 singles and a load of filler.

Your album moves very smoothly from track 1 to track 2 to track 3...
Jeremy: We worked so hard on the sequencing to make sure that was the case. We're not a singles band, and we wanted to make it feel like a complete piece of work. We don't want to lose sight of that.
Jon: I don't think we'd be alone in that thought; I think you could ask any band and they'd want it to be an album. It's something that everyone's a little bit sad about, but no-one's about to change anything.

The Beatles released singles that weren't on their albums though, it's no new thing.
Jeremy: Yeah, well they were just... Too fucking talented.
We try not to talk about The Beatles because they ruin it for everybody.
They did it all first. Better than anybody.
Jon: They're just an anomaly, you just have to ignore the readings on the graph you get from them.
Jeremy: The Beatles are the reason for, and exception to, all rules of popular music.
Jon: I guess Radiohead are the modernisation of that...

Speaking of other bands, you're playing with Crystal Castles, Magnetic Man, and Vaccines tonight and on this whole tour. Do you get to watch the other bands? Who are you enjoying?
Jon: We are feeling Magnetic Man, because you can't escape the sub. No matter where you are in the building.
Jeremy: The other night in Manchester we issued a challenge to them, we asked who the fans of sub-bass were, and Jon played this massive sub that we use in a song called "weights". They felt it through their dressing room; they felt somebody treading on their area and they were waiting for us at the top of the stairs.
Jeremy: Every band on this tour is really good at what they do, and there's an inevitable sense of competition when you do these things.
Not that anyone's squaring off in the corridors but every band comes from a different area. There was a slight vibe of competition when we did the Radar tour.
Jon: We're all so different and eclectic that we're not really doing the same thing. People will come who want to hear The Vaccines who might think that Magnetic Man are the worst thing they've ever heard and vice versa.
And there's a possibility that people will come to see one thing, and end up getting into something completely different.

Do you have any other recommendations for up-and-coming bands that people should check out?
Jeremy: There's a band from around here called Mammal Club who we really like, we've done a lot of shows with those guys, right from our very early days.
Jon: There's a good band coming up from Manchester called Dutch Uncles, who are just putting the finishing touches on their album, and they have a really good following in the northeast as well because they toured with Futureheads, and they're on the same label as Field Music. I think they're playing Sunderland soon.
Jeremy: Vinyl Jacket are a really young band from the toon, and then there's all the people everyone's talking about like James Blake and Warpaint, which would be our picks from the usual list.

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