'It would have driven us mad to sit on this album'
Rob Waters
16:11 15th September 2020

Jeremy Pritchard is sitting in the garden with drummer Michael Spearman when he picks up the phone. The pair are spending the day signing 2,000 Everything Everything posters to supplement the release of their brand new album Re-Animator. It's a fifth outing for the group, coming at a time when many are yearning for new music.

Unless you’ve been self-isolating without Wifi, you’ll be aware that the current pandemic has drawn the curtain on live music for the foreseeable future, leading many bands opting to delay record releases until they’re confident that they can tour them straight away.

But for Everything Everything...“it would have driven us mad to sit on it that long. We’re quite impatient people - especially Jon, he just wants to go now, now, now. That’s in the music, and it’s certainly in the person".

Without much hesitation the band decided to stay as close as possible to their planned release date, displaying a sense of urgency and excitement that is abundant in their music too: on Re-Animator, they're as energetic as ever. One thing that was put off though? Intended lead single ‘Big Climb’, which was cut due to the potential for its lyrics to be misconstrued in the context of a global pandemic (you’ll understand why when you hear it).

What we got instead was ‘In Birdsong’, a bright, expansive song filled with optimism and, in Jeremy’s own words, “wonderment”. “‘In Birdsong’ was kind of apt. Within the run of the record there's a sense of being on a kind of pause, and I think the lockdown was like that for a lot of people. People talked so much about reconnecting with nature and becoming aware of things that they had deprioritised, like the sound of birds singing.”

Both ‘In Birdsong’ and following release ‘Arch-Enemy’ came with spectacular homemade music videos, the latter featuring a sentient fatberg that will haunt our dreams forever. Both videos were produced by frontman Jonathan Higgs who spent lockdown teaching himself the open-source software ‘blender’. “It’s typical of him. He has the brain and the inclination - and he has the time all of a sudden, so we could really turn it into an advantage for us" the band say.

There’s only so far the band feel they can take their CG videos however, and they’re itching to get back to making stuff together properly. At the time of publication, the closest we got to a live performance was a couple of live streams which were, spoiler alert, pre-recorded. As it turns out, keeping perfectly in time over four separate internet connections is close-to-impossible.

Since we’ll have to wait ‘til March 2021 to see the band properly perform live, we insead grill Jeremy about his most recent tour as a rent-a-bassist with indie heavyweights Foals. “It made me appreciate the preciousness of being in a band, and being part of the tight knot of different minds that brings about the music," he mused. "I was proud of the shows we did together and proud of everybody’s achievements. It was as much about being given some perspective on Everything Everything’s career for the first time in over a decade.”

Which bands should the other lads be loaned out to? If Jeremy got his way he'd send Alex and Mike on the road with Frank Zappa, and tip Jon for a tour with Destiny’s Child. “As incongruous as that seems, I know how much of an enormous influence they are on him in terms of rhythm and melody.” Unfortunately for Jon, Beyoncé’s schedule remains tightly packed. For fans of Everything Everything though, this gave Jon plenty of time to write the new album.

The new record is set to be a breath of fresh air for the band as the first album under new label AWAL, described by Jeremy as a progressive, transparent label that gives a great deal of creative control to their artists. The record itself was produced by LA hotshot John Congleton in just two weeks at the infamous RAK studios. The speedy turnaround left no room for error but also provided the perfect environment for an organic performance of a very well-rehearsed record. “We were so nervous about having two weeks: should we have another week on hold? What if we need to come back? But working with Jon there isn’t time for worrying… It was a breeze, and as Jon said: 'if you start looking for mistakes you’re going to find them.'”

The breezy recording process for the album belies a year of meticulous planning from Jon and Alex, but this doesn’t result in an overproduced or difficult record. Breaking free from their zeitgeisty, often prescient political commentary gave the band a fresh start. Where A Fever Dream and Get To Heaven were bitingly critical and contemporaneous Re-Animator is wide-eyed and timeless.

“We’re at that point in our lives now... there have been births, deaths, marriages and all sorts in the three years since our last record and it’s made us all a bit more reflective. We’ve all grown up a bit more and that’s something that Jon wanted to put back into the music. As a result you have this sense of regained innocence and there’s some wonderment there which we’ve not had since Man Alive. You can’t help but have this blissfully naive quality to debut records, which is what makes them so special. It’s impossible to recapture that but I think we’ve come as close as we can on this album.”

With the album release pushed back three weeks to the beginning of September, the band worked hard to keep fans entertained in the interim, seeding mysterious track samples and behind-the-scenes goofs to live sets filmed and broadcast in virtual reality. With the band’s next tour penciled in for March 2021, fans will have a long time to wait to hear the new material properly live. This could work in the band’s favour however, giving folks long enough to really get into the album before hearing it in the flesh.

Jeremy tells us that there is also a possibility that the band will use the opportunity to make even more new music, or at least package and release some B-sides (Re-Animator alone had two tracks cut from the listing because they didn’t fit the mood). Regardless, there is a lot to look forward to from Everything Everything, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. 

The album’s closer and recently released single ‘Violent Sun’ perfectly encapsulates the band’s continuing momentum; it is fast paced and electrifying, but somehow captures the bittersweet sensation of a great thing coming to an end. The track sounds markedly different from their other work but this, coupled with the energy of the song signals it as a waypoint in the band’s evolving sound. Everything Everything will be back again: rejuvenated and reanimated.

Re-Animator is out now via AWAL.

Photo: Press