Everything Everything are a British art rock band that formed in late 2007. They originate from Tynedale, Kent and Guernsey and reside in Manchester.
The band have released two albums to date - 2010's Man Alive and 2013's Arc - and have been widely critically acclaimed. Their work was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize and received three nominations for the Ivor Novello Award.
Everything Everything are noted for an extremely eclectic and dynamic style, with complex song construction and dense, detailed lyrics sung in falsetto by Jonathan Higgs. While nominally an alternative rock band with outright pop stylings, the band uses production and rhythmic approaches closer to those of contemporary R&B, glitch pop and electronica (including heavy use of laptop programming and processing) and songwriting approaches similar to those of progressive or psychedelic rock. Critic Paul Lester has compared Everything Everything's sound to "a riot in a melody factory" and compared them to "Timbaland if he cocked an oblique ear to Yes". In the Guardian, Mark Beaumont described the band as "the most intricate, streamlined merging yet of math rock's arch complexities, electronica's 80s obsession and hooks made from mobile phone interference."
When asked about their sound in an interview with UK music blog There Goes the Fear in Leeds in October 2010, singer Jonathan Higgs replied, "We think of it as pop primarily. We try not to make it sound like a lot of things you've heard before, not on purpose, but it tends to come out a bit like that. We're not really interested in copying certain genres or anything, so I guess you'd say it's unpredictable and sort of surprising." Higgs has counted Nirvana, Radiohead, the Beatles, Destiny's Child, and R. Kelly as some of the band's very eclectic stock of influences.
Bassist Jeremy Pritchard has said the band's intention is to "to avoid cliche, or the cliches expected of white men with guitars from Manchester" and sums up their sound as "highly stylised and deracinated - we're influenced by everything except 12-bar blues." He's also commented "There are no genres I can think of that we haven't learnt something from. We all share a huge number of basic passions like Radiohead, but we all come from different areas of popular music: jazz and funk; modern US R'n'B, prog and krautrock, post-rock/punk/hardcore. And we all love good honest pop. We're a pop band as far as we're concerned." He's noted that the band's lyrics are "almost always layered with several meanings, and play with puns, quotes or alliteration a fair amount, but never just for the sake of it."
In an interview with the Irish Times, drummer Michael Spearman said "It sounds quite cheesy, but stuff like Destiny's Child has proven just as important as The Beatles and Radiohead. I suppose that love of R'n'B comes through in a way. We don't normally say 'we want this song to sound like this or that', we try to be as organic as possible. It's like with The Beatles - they were trying to play the black music of the day, and by doing so, they sort of changed it, it became a different thing. We thought about... trying to get Timbaland in, or something. But we decided against it, because it's a fine line between filtering that music, or just trying to ape it by going to the source of it... We all love Michael Jackson and stuff like that; dance music in general, or just that sort of syncopated music. That's something that connects all of us."
Origins and early singles:
Three of the original band members are from Northumberland, England - Jonathan Higgs (lead vocals, keyboards, laptop and guitar) grew up in the border village of Gilsland while Michael Spearman (drums, vocals) and Alex Niven (guitars, vocals) are from Newbrough. The three met at Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham where they played music together. Higgs went on to study for a degree in Popular Music and Recording at Salford University, where he met Kent-born bass player Jeremy Pritchard. Higgs and Pritchard decided to form a band once their degree had finished.
Towards the end of 2006, Higgs and Niven devised plans to start a band "with a sort of Paul Morley-inspired, poptimist aesthetic". Niven has described the band's naming process as follows: "The idea as I saw it was to try to take contemporary R&B pop music and fashion a vaguely Futurist project out of it, and between the two of us we chose the name Everything Everything, a détournement of sorts of an over-saturated media culture into something idealistic and expansive". With the addition of Pritchard and Spearman, the band began performing in the autumn of 2007. Pritchard recalls "We were initially more punky, with more guitars and no synths at all. It was easiest to play gigs like this and to get to grips with playing together. But the plan was always to expand the sound when we had the scope/could afford the gear!"
Quickly gaining attention from the music industry, the band began working with producer David Kosten (Bat For Lashes, Faultline). Everything Everything released their first single "Suffragette Suffragette" on 1 December 2008 through XL Recordings offshoot Salvia as a limited 7" vinyl release only. This was later followed by the release of single "Photoshop Handsome" on 20 July 2009, available only as a limited 7" single. In autumn 2009, the band then released "MY KZ, UR BF" as another vinyl-only release, this time with the record label Young & Lost Club. All three singles were released with accompanying music videos, with those for "Suffragette Suffragette" and "Photoshop Handsome" made entirely by the band themselves.
At this point, Niven left the band to pursue other interests and was replaced by Guernsey-born guitarist Alex Robertshaw.
Everything Everything made the longlist of the BBC Sound of 2010 on 7 December 2009, a list created by Britain's tastemakers who vote for their favourite new artists.
Not long after the nomination for BBC Sound of 2010, Everything Everything signed to the UK arm of Geffen Records before releasing the single "Schoolin'" on 10 June 2010 as a CD single, digital download and also as a 7" vinyl. The single became the first to make an impact on the charts, debuting at number 152.
The band's debut album Man Alive (produced by David Kosten) was released on 30 August 2010 and was preceded by a reissue of the single "MY KZ, UR BF" which was re-released on 23 August 2010, debuting on the UK Singles Chart at number 121. The album was then released a week later, debuting on the UK Albums Chart at number 17.
Man Alive received high critical praise from some reviewers, though others were critical. New Musical Express dubbed the band as "pop's new Picassos" and commented "there are three dirty words in indie right now: ambition, intellect and effort. Everything Everything don't just fit those terms, they pole-vault over them."BBC Music hailed the band's "brilliance" and noted "this Manchester quartet flee from any identikit indie clique, throwing ever-changing, protean sonic shapes... EE are wilfully eccentric, and endlessly entertaining, but they know more than most how to craft a song, how to make an album. They know how to give it depth, light and dark, and they - crucially - know when to stop."Drowned in Sound praised the band's "sheer, rampant confidence" and described the album as containing "some pretty spiffy stuff...this is a band going places - they know it, and we know it." Writing in Pitchfork Media, Ian Cohen commented that the album was "proof that enthusiastic experimentation can't save your end product when the underlying elements are so incompatible and unappetizing" and criticized Higgs's "irritating voice". On 19 July 2011 Man Alive was shortlisted for the 2011 Mercury Prize (although it lost out to PJ Harvey's Let England Shake).
In May 2011, Everything Everything performed at Radio 1's Big Weekend in Carlisle. This was a gig close to home for Jonathan Higgs, who grew up in Gilsland only a few miles away. On 28 November 2011 (along with local Manchester musicians Badly Drawn Boy and I Am Kloot) Everything Everything performed as part of the Billie Butterfly charity concert, raising funds for American medical treatment for Billie Bainbridge, a local young girl diagnosed with a rare brain tumour.
The band went on to support Snow Patrol in February 2012, and Muse in November and December.
In 2012, Everything Everything resumed work with David Kosten on sessions for their second album. The first single from the sessions was "Cough Cough" released on 28 August 2012: following which the band announced that their second album "Arc" would be released in early 2013. New material from this album was performed in a UK tour spanning 13 September to 26 October 2012.
Arc was released on 14 January 2013, and debuted at number 5 on the UK album chart. Higgs noted that in comparison to the complexity of the songs on Man Alive, the songwriting on Arc was intended to be a simpler distillation of his ideas and a more direct expression of his emotion. In an interview with the New Statesman, he explained that the new album was "far more open. It's far less cluttered and far less difficult to work out what's going on or what I'm saying. I think we tried to straighten it out and make it less distracting and more solid and strong. There are fewer places to hide I think, so that's the main thing. It's clear now who's doing what. It took us a long time to be confident enough to do that."
The album was hailed as "another tour de force" by The Observer, although The Guardian was more sparing with praise - "Jerky opener Cough Cough may showcase them at their most self-consciously wacky, but The Peaks is at the opposite end of the spectrum, attempting the kind of stadium melancholia beloved of Elbow or Coldplay. Inevitably, Arc lacks coherence; it's the sound of a band working out who they want to be. Hopefully that'll be the band that combines both modes seamlessly, as they do on Kemosabe and Armourland, a sleek piece of robo-pop that links social breakdown with the emotional barriers we all put up." In the Independent on Sunday.
New Musical Express regarded the album as "a leaner, more relatable beast than its predecessor... The self-conscious straining to be regarded as innovators and iconoclasts that occasionally muddled their debut is absent here: this is a record less bothered about surface than it is about feeling... Slowly but surely, they are progressing towards something extraordinary." The review also called attention to the album's themes of technology and human response: "Pop's young futurists have written an album about how terrifying the future is. The intertwined themes of technology and disconnection are prevalent through Arc."
A third single from Arc - "Duet" - was released on 25 March 2013 on 7" vinyl.
"Kemosabe" went on to be nominated as Best Contemporary Song at the 2014 Ivor Novello Awards, and to win 'UK Single of the Year' at The Music Producers Guild Awards.