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After an award-nominated debut and touring with the likes of Muse and Snow Patrol, Everything Everything were left with quite some challenge for their next musical chapter. Neill Barston spoke to them about second album Arc.
Under the auspices of new record label Sony, Everything Everything have bunkered down in the studio to conjure up a more direct, honest-sounding body of music for the difficult second album.
From appearing on the BBC news to talk about the state of HMV, being put forward for a Mercury prize, through to their music used on the Inbetweeners movie, there have already been plenty of intriguing experiences.
While they’ve far from neglected their musical roots, which at times veer towards dizzyingly complex rhythms, there’s a definite bid for greater mainstream acceptance on their second record, Arc, which went in at No5 on the UK album charts on its release.
It’s an approach which the band’s Tunbridge-Wells born bass player Jeremy Pritchard is taking fully in his stride. As he explains, there’s been plenty of hard graft along the road so far, yet he wouldn’t trade it in for anything.
“I think it’s amazing that we made it to the top 10 – we were hoping the album would make it there and it’s great for us it has done that,” enthuses the 26 year-old, who is now based in London when not living out of a suitcase.
He adds: “We wanted to make a record that was even better than before, something that would stand the test of time. Something not just for everyone out there, but for us as well, playing it live. It’s great that people seem to like it and we are getting lots of positive messages about it.”
As he admits, during the five-week recording process in the Northampton, they soon realised the confidence gained from some serious gigging enabled them to experiment and push some creative barriers.
That’s certainly apparent from singer Jonathan Higgs, whose falsetto vocals have expanded from the rapid-fire delivery which made many of their lyrics incomprehensible. He’s now taking a more decipherable vocal style which underlines the sharp progress they’ve made.
Their days together at Manchester University have clearly moulded them into a tight group, capable of producing highly distinctive sounds as demonstrated on the album’s lead singles Cough Cough and Kemosabe.
“The new album just seemed to flow really well, it was a very calm time and the four of us were happy with it. We’d become better players through touring and before we’d even gone into the studio we’d managed to get the core of the songs down already.
“My favourite tracks are Choice Mountain and I also love the two singles as well. Kemosabe was completed almost two years ago. We did the video for that in a forest near Slough, which I found out had been used in Return of the Jedi movie for the forest moon you see at the end of that film.”
Another of the upsides being on the road with the likes of Muse has been in learning a few additional pointers about staging a show. While they’re not going to start breaking out the multi-million pound U2-style venue sets just yet, they’ve picked up some very valuable tips.
With critical support from Radio 1’s Zane Lowe and Nick Grimshaw, they are feeling confident about the bigger stages they’re now reaching.
“I was quite nervous the first night playing arenas with Muse, but it was good fun. They have led intense lives throughout the whole of their 20s and half of their 30s and worked incredibly hard.
“When we were on the ferry with them over to the Irish gig we were just there with our usual tour bus and parked up behind us were the 14 or 15 articulated lorries with all the Muse kit, so that made us realise the scale of what we were doing!”
Though touring commitments have meant Jeremy, who studied at the Judd School in Tonbridge, has had little time to catch up with friends in Kent, he’s still plenty of time for his first ever venue, The Tunbridge Wells Forum.
Without it, he says his fast-rising career would have gone nowhere and believed the building (which was salvaged from its former guise as a public toilet) was richly deserving of its NME best small venue award last year.
“I’m so pleased that they won that award, as it’s so unusual that a place like Tunbridge Wells would have a live music venue. It’s something I actually took for granted for quite a long time growing up there, but there’s been some great music there.
“We really wanted to play there again this month, but with promoting the album it hasn’t been possible.
"I am hoping that on our way to Dover for our touring that we might be able to do something there to celebrate its 20 year anniversary.”
There have already been a number of key highlights for the band, but what would he say has been the best to date?
“What we’re doing right now is the most rewarding thing for us.
"We’ve worked hard in the five years we’ve been together. There have been some unbelievable things happened with the Mercury nomination and the albums.
"We’re just savouring the moment and I think the next few months promoting and touring the album are going to be very exciting.”
Arc is out now.
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