“Nothing feeds art like genuine civil unrest,” says Jeremy Pritchard, bassist with new Northern four-piece Everything Everything who have just released their debut single, Suffragette Suffragette. He's sat having a coffee with the band’s singer, Jonathan Higgs, in Manchester’s Night and Day, which is unusually quiet today without any of the live action it’s renowned for. Jeremy is commenting on how the present economical climate may affect the UK music scene, he expands on the idea: “I think it will mean that people will start making better records again…the 1980s was a hotbed for political records. The 90s was kind of contented and so was the first half of this decade. It was all kind of soft and boring wasn’t it, Britpop?”
The Britpop era must have held some magic for the members of Everything Everything as it’s where they found common ground in their music tastes along with the Beatles and Radiohead. Indeed it’s clear it bears personal significance for Jeremy as he recalls when his musical aspirations first took hold: “I can remember for years, I just listened to Michael Jackson, the Beach Boys and The Beatles, that was pretty much it until I was 12 and I started to listen to contemporary pop and stuff. Then this guy that was a year older than me, I thought was cool was into Blur. So I bought a Blur tape because I had a voucher to use up. Then I really loved this record The Great Escape, that made me want to pick up a guitar and that changed my outlook.”
“It was fairly similar for me,” interjects Jonathan, “but I had an older brother which helped and my parents had loads of 60s records.”
Jeremy and Jonathan were both in bands during their teen years. Did you face any objections from your parents when playing your instruments? “No, not at all, I was right out in the countryside so I could just set up my drums and guitar, and play” replies Jonathan. “I got talked out of playing the drums!” laughs Jeremy.
So, what about choosing music, as oppose to a ‘9 to 5’ career, were your parents supportive of this? “It is a career!” Jonathan says assertively. “It took a while to convince them that it was actually a legitimate thing to be doing and that I could do singing if I wanted to, and I could do it for a living. Not that doing it at university actually guarantees you a job in the business at all!”
Jeremy: “My parents are musical people anyway. I don’t know if they ever thought I’d be into this, but they’re definitely into it.”
The bassist, who is originally from Kent, met Jonathan while studying on a music course at the University of Salford. The pair shared a vision on what they could learn and take away from their musical degrees. Jonathan then enlisted his friends, Alex Niven (guitars) and Mike Spearman (drums) from his home near Newcastle to complete the line up of the band. Everything Everything are now based in Manchester, a middle ground to their North/South amalgam. The quartet have been together for just over a year, but did not play London until six months into their existence, which Jeremy believes was positive for the band because, “It raised the expectations more, so we had to be good to go there and had people to play to. We didn’t just burn out too quick.”
Despite this comment, the band view playing empty rooms important too. Jonathan explains: “You’ve got to do it… if you played all your gigs all your life to a room full of people who loved it, you’re probably going to be really crap eventually because you’ll never know what to really think.”
When asked about the highlights and low moments in their brief history together, lower times immediately stand out to them, as they both say, “Barrow” in unison before they pause to ponder the early shows, and Jeremy puts them into perspective: “The poorly attended badly organised shows that you have to play when you first get together, you have to go through that. That was our ‘Hamburg period’ as Alex calls it.”
He continues, revealing a show that was particularly memorable for them all, “We played a pub in Liverpool with 20 minutes notice, we weren’t doing anything so we said, ‘Okay’, but they’d never had a band play before. There was no PA, one mic and they kept turning our amps down!”
Hopefully, Everything Everything will not have to repeat this experience on their forthcoming UK tour.
The self-made video for Suffragette Suffragette (which is being released through independent imprint Salvia on an ultra-limited edition run) is presently competing for a spot on the MySpace Video Chart and being aired on MTV2. Though this release is through a label, and the band have plans to release their second single through another label as they're currently unsigned. Do you think there’s not as much pressure or need for a band to sign to a label, as there used to be?
“It’s become the last thing on our minds actually,” says Jeremy with an air of surprise. “We just find ourselves doing so much of the stuff you would do with the record deal anyway. We have a nice team of people who know how to put us in the right places and we do the stuff we want to do. We don’t have a label putting us under pressure to do anything…It doesn’t meant that we don’t want another deal, we would want it with the right people.”
Back to the current music scene where do you see yourselves fitting in?
“I’d call us a pop band more readily than I would an indie band” says Jeremy trying to define the band’s sound. “For so many people pop music means Celine Dion, it doesn’t for us, it just means everything.”
“Indie doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to mean, it hasn’t done for twenty years, it has now become a shopping mall commodity ‘indie’. We want to be as far removed from that as we can be.”
He continues in his assessment, “I think there are a lot of really good bands coming through now actually, it’s come in waves. There was the Strokes, which was really good for us, it was vital and alive and the end of the dance music thing. Then the Libertines took that and ran with it, but that’s when it became something you could sell [pauses] ‘indie’, “he says firmly like the voice-over man on an advert.
Do you think it’s harder to have longevity given the nature of trends on the current scene?
Jonathan: “It depends what your approach is really, if you go into it just wanting to be the coolest hippest and crappest band about then you won’t be here in six months time.”
Jeremy: “There’s a lot more emphasis on the debut now. The Klaxons are going to have a really hard job or they are at the moment as we speak- following up the weight that their first album carried.”
What about your own plans?
“I’d like to think we would only make as many records as are relevant, we wouldn’t want to repeat ourselves.”
Speaking of repetition, what’s with the repeated words in the band name and single title?
“Suffragette Suffragette was in the lyric and became the name of the song, it was just a coincidence” says Jeremy before Jonathan addresses the issue of the band name:
“We could talk for hours on the potential meanings that [Everything Everything] could have, but it’s also just very catchy.”
“It looks nice written down, it has a nice rhythm and a nice sound,” adds Jeremy.
Is it hard to come up with a good band name?
“It’s very hard to come up with band names,” replies Jonathan. “We had a short-list of about twelve that we thought were quite good.
Jeremy explains further, “One of them was Wales on Fire. We hadn’t decided how to spell Whales- with or without the H. I don’t think that was a runner.”
“Infinity Face was nearly our name!” says Jonathan with a smile as they titter further over all the potentials.
Aside from the tour, what’s next for the band?
Jeremy: “The studio in the new year, the next single and we’ll make the video again, do it ourselves. We want to make a really good debut album, when we find the time, when we’re not promoting the next single or doing festivals.”
Any song covers in the pipeline?
“We are planning to do a cover,” responds Jeremy before entering into a discussion with Jonathan about the choice of song, “Can we realistically do Liberian Girl by Michael Jackson? It’s got to be acoustic….”
It’s at this point that we leave the boys, mulling over their song plans, as they discuss and prepare for the busy months ahead. A highly promising new band, we urge you to check them out right now.