While Everything Everything spent much of 2012 in the shadows of huge stadium bands, joining both Snow Patrol and Muse on UK tours, this year is time for the Manchester four-piece to take some of the spotlight for themselves. The band return this month with brilliant new album Arc, a spectacular mash of indie, pop, art-rock and electronica.
Ahead of the album's release, we caught up with the band to discuss their taste of stadium success, why they're not expecting to rival the heights on Muse's popularity any time soon and the good and bad of being a band so tricky to pigeonhole...
Hi there Everything Everything. Did touring with Muse in 2012 give you a taste for stadium success?
It gives you a taste but playing your own gigs is very different to doing a support and obviously that's not something we've done yet - or we many never do. Doing a support in arenas is great, we wouldn't get to be there otherwise. It's interesting because we're definitely not ready for that but we don't dislike it. It's kind of this thing where bands grow gradually, I don't think you can kind of leap to it, we're looking forward to playing some bigger venues than we have been but I can't see us going there. But I didn't dislike it.
I think ideally if you had the choice then it would be nice to make the choice. Radiohead can play 4,000 capped places or they can play stadiums depending on how they feel - I wouldn't want to ever play just one, but we may never get the choice now. For the sake of their fans they have to play the big big big rooms because otherwise nobody would see them or you'd have to do 10 nights at every 3,000 capped theatre in every city in the world and it's not practical. That's a really rare thing, it's rare to get to play to that level of people.
You've been described as 'art rock', 'pop' and 'indie rock' amongst others. Do you like any of these labels?
They're all fine. They're all as good as each other really. They're all really open ended I think, those sorts of labels.
Do you think people struggle with a band that can't easily be pigeonholed?
Maybe. I don't know how many bands can be that easily pigeonholed if you think about it for more than one second. We don't mind any of those labels I don't think, I mean it would be inaccurate to call us a metal band but I can't think of anything I would be upset with. Reggae. I wish we were a reggae band!
You release new album Arc this month and have said it is more reflective of you as a band. Is it a more honest album?
I think it's a lot more honest in terms of John was hiding himself quite a lot behind his lyrics in the first record. I think this time he's going to link with people more directly. It's not that the first album was dishonest, it's just mired in smoke and mirrors really. I think he was trying to find what outlet he was about and what he wanted to talk about and I think the music was trying to find something new, searching for something unique to us, trying to find our own voice.
The relationship with an album always changes once you start touring it and when people come back to you and say 'I really love this song' and you play the festivals and you notice which bits really move people. There's one side where you want to appeal to people and the other side where you don't want to do anything that feels like it doesn't excite us. It's kind of this balance between being a horribly selfish musician and being someone who wants to make music for the masses and trying to balance that.
Everything Everything's new album Arc is out 14 January
The new album mixes some unusual sounds, vocals and effects. Is it hard balancing them whilst keeping a consistent album?
I think all the production stuff that happens when you're making a record is kind of secondary really in importance and in time. You write the songs and make sure they're good. We didn't start with a crazy sound and try to make a song around it because you end up with weaker songs that way. That was one of the great things about (producer) David Kosten really, he's quite good at sonics, he's kind of the sonic man who always has lots of old, battered Cassio keyboards and trumpets and stuff that make crazy sounds. He also knows that the song is the key really, you can't disguise a lack of ideas or a weakness of material with tech. It's like building a house. You want a proper house that isn't gonna fall down, it's fun painting the walls and making it look nice but you've got to have a load of bricks.
You're all from different parts of the country, does it ever feel like you don't really have a hometown show when you tour?
We have three or four hometown shows depending on where we are: Newcastle, Manchester, London.
Where are you most looking forward to playing on your upcoming tour?
Well, we're playing Alexandra Palace with Two Door Cinema Club. I've never been there and people always go on about how sweet it is. We've never actually done Sheffield Leadmill, I know that's at the other end of the extreme but that's a really nice venue and we've never been.
We've got our own album tour in February and all those gigs are good because they're your gigs and they're your crowds. There's more pressure on you to do a good show when it's your show. People are always gonna know at least half your songs if not all of them. The people there at the front are gonna know everything we're doing. At the Muse show some people would know one song if we're lucky. Not that we were badly received, the crowds were very generous, they were proper music fans and European fans are always really attentive and giving anyway.
Watch Everything Everything's latest single 'Kemosabe'
The New Year is an exciting time for music. What do you think of the new crop of 2013 artists?
There's a lot of stuff I’m not surprised to see but some things I am surprised to see. Like The Weeknd, I'm glad that he's getting some recognition in the mainstream and stuff but he's had three or four records out. Not that there's anything wrong with what he's doing, I just find it surprising that people didn't give him that platform before because he's made so much great stuff already.
Is there any new music you're excited about at the minute?
Some of the bands we've had support us on tour like Post War Years. We're not very up with our new music - this year especially; because we've been making an album we don't wanna really look at the 'hot new band' market because it feels like exactly that, it feels like market research, like we're checking out the competition or something, and that's really unhealthy and really boring actually.
As ridiculous as it sounds, most of this year we've spent listening to ourselves. The whole 'what's hot right now' circuit, I mean we were glad to be a part of that for a while and it definitely does a lot of bands good, but you can't stay there forever and you can't pay attention to it forever because you'd go mad.
What are you most looking forward to in 2013?
The album finally coming out and people actually hearing it! We finished it in July/August so it's been done for quite a while. Yeah, playing to people who know it and hopefully like it.
Thank you very much, Everything Everything. Arc is release 14 January, 2013.