Everything, Everything On Rescuing The Music Industry

The Mercury Prize nominees on Ed Sheeran, their new album and standing out from the crowd

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Forming in 2007 at the zenith of the indie resurgence, Everything, Everything quickly became known as the band unafraid to strike out on their own, blending rock, R ‘n’ B, guitars and just about everything going (get it?) to form their own blend of British ‘art rock’.

After seeing the video for ‘Photoshop Handsome’ on MTV, Zane Lowe plugged them as record of the week on his Radio One show, from there the band bagged a Mercury Prize nomination as well as a trio of Ivor Novello nominations. Clearly, the four-piece are on to something.

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As well as preparing for the release of their forthcoming third album, Get To Heaven, the band (lead vocalist Jonathan Higgs, bassist Jeremy Pritchard, drummer Michael Spearman and lead guitarist Alex Robertshaw) are also on the lookout for Britain's next musical hope, as part of a new nationwide campaign.

"It’s very flattering to be thought of as capable of telling other bands that they’re good enough" laughs Jeremy Pritchard when Esquire catches up with the band in a Soho recording studio. "If nothing else it shows that it’s not impossible for bands to get somewhere," lead songwriter Jonathan Higgs adds. "The fact that we’ve got this “magic wand” to pick a winning band will hopefully also make people think twice about all the local acts that never make it."

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This ‘magic wand’ approach to making bands famous is not unlike certain television talent shows, Esquire suggests. Are Everything, Everything, with their plethora of influences and varied musical ability, slightly weary of the latest X Factor fodder? "I think in many ways those big acts generate so much revenue that labels then have enough money to put into bands like ourselves." Jeremy begins. "We kind of live off the 'One Direction cheque' a little bit…" Alex adds.

While the rest of the band think there's no harm in the Harry Styles of the world – as long as some of their revenue is filtering down to the real talent – Jonathan takes a different view, "A lot of young people grow up watching that stuff and thinking that you can be dramatically unoriginal, but still get on the telly. The idea that you can have fame without doing any real work is really damaging."

A brief look at the number of singer-songwriter hopefuls on YouTube, as well as the sheer amount of people who audition for televised talent shows each year, seems to confirm Jonathan's suspicions. In an era where music can be approached as just another route to fame, Everything, Everything represent a welcome alternative. And, as their popularity grows, it's encouraging to see the knock-on effect they have on up-and-coming bands.

With originality becoming ever more important, could we be nearing the end of the singer-songwriter saturated period? "It’s all to do with trends," Jonathan explains. "If Ed Sheeran can sell trillions of singles, then there are going to be a huge load of labels trying to sign people that are exactly the same as him for the next five years. For example, Adele did really well and now we’ve got the male Adele in Sam Smith. In a few years though, it could easily be DJs or rappers that everyone’s obsessing over again."

With record companies looking for safe bets in 'the next Adele' or 'the next Ed Sheeran' it's clearly more important than ever for consumers to support the new bands with focus on a strong, unique sound. Perhaps then, there’s hope on the horizon as long as these bands are encouraged?

"I hope so," Alex agrees. "The craft of being in a band is really, really underrated right now in the music industry in general. Whether that work ethic and attitude is going to have any kind of resurgence remains to be seen."

Forming at a time when wetter-than-a-sneeze-in-a-drizzle indie bands like the Kooks, Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand ruled Radio One, the boys in Everything, Everything paired this old-school work ethic with a will to change the musical landscape for the better, holding two fingers up to those that expected a four piece based in Manchester to be yet another cog in the already faltering indie rock machine.

"We formed as a kind of ‘fuck off’ to all of that," Jeremy explains. "Bands like alt-J were already on the radio and they gave us hope. We started thinking 'maybe things are changing…'".

"It was the beginning of the end of that mid-00s indie landfill," Jonathan adds, referring to the long-awaited backlash against lads with Northern accents and unwashed skinny jeans hanging around Camden pubs, hoping for a record deal. Arguably, the only band to emerge unscathed were the Arctic Monkeys who've shape-shifted their way through four more albums since their barnstorming – but undeniably 'indie' – 2006 debut.

It's the same ever-evolving versatility that's the cornerstone to Everything, Everything's sound and the reason why their songs sound equally at home played by club DJs as over the PA systems in those same Camden pubs. And, like all the best bands, their sound was formed from a love for the same music – 90s R 'n' B, early Radiohead – than a purposeful desire to be "different". 

"It wasn’t like we formed with a certain sound in mind," Jonathan explains. "It was more like 'here are some songs, I kind of write them like this, maybe you can make them better.'"

It's the collaborative process between the four members that really pushes each song into new territory.

"We’re still surprised when John brings in a demo, if its going to be like an R ‘n’ B slow jam or a thrashy thing. It still keeps it interesting for everyone," drummer Michael adds. "The Beatles did that really well by taking influence from black American girl groups and filtering that through being a group of scousers. They didn’t even have to think about it, they just did it."

"Not that we’re comparing ourselves to The Beatles!' Jonathan adds.

They might have a way to go before they’re being compared to the Fab Four, but eight years and two albums in (with a third out next month), Everything, Everything are still one of the freshest band out there. And that has to count for something.

Enter the Relentless Energy Drink Here to be Heard competition at relentlesshtbh.com. Get To Heaven will be released 15 June, everything-everything.co.uk


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