Man Alive! It's Everything Everything!

Everything Everything (crazy name, crazy guys) were nominated for a Mercury music award with their first album, Man Alive. Their second album, Arc, is just released, and there’s a Leadmill show on February 16th.  I recently had a chat with Jeremy Pritchard, the bass player.  Here it is in full…
UTNS: First off, can you tell us something about the new album?
Jeremy: It developed from the first record.  We wanted to make more of an emotional connection with people; streamline what we do but maintain all the things that people liked about the first album and what we liked about ourselves.  It’s produced again by David Kosten, but we ended up with producer credits too at his behest, as he felt we’d worked on the songs so much in advance of going into the studio with him that we were producing the album as well.  We just thought that’s what it meant being in a band.  You turn up to the studio with some ideas.  Both times he’s said it’s like working with four other producers.
UTNS: I get the idea you work extensively on the songs before you record them.
J: We did because we wanted them to be as good as possible, obviously, but we’d been through the whole process once before with Man Alive.  We’d toured it, done the whole campaign to promote the album, so we knew what to expect and how the songs would need to function in the real world.  We also knew what we liked about ourselves and what we didn’t like about ourselves and what we wanted to leave behind.

UTNS: Were there parts of the old album you wanted to leave behind?
J: Yeah, it would have been a travesty to just go in record Man Alive 2.  The first album was a really playful record.  I know a lot of people saw that as being a bit clever-dickishness, but we were having fun and seeing what we could get away with.  We wouldn’t want to do that again.  We’re a bit older now and a bit less juvenile.  We’re still finding out what we want to sound like and that will settle even further with the third record, in another two years time.  The first few albums of any band that want to leave a lasting legacy, which is what we want to do, are gonna be spent finding that voice.
UTNS: The first album is the product of everything up to that point, so I suppose the second one requires a different approach.
J: If anything it made it a crowded listen when we put it all into one record.  All the songs came from different places on Man Alive, and that remains on this album.  We still sometimes assemble songs from things we’ve had lying around on a computer or something from a few years ago which never found a home and sticking it on the end of something else, but there are also songs that started life as a demo, and we worked on them and restructured them until we arrived at the version on the album. There are also examples of songs which arrived fully formed and haven’t changed much at all. 
UTNS: Would you say the new album is less diverse?
J: The songs are more settled.  The variation occurs between the songs rather than within them, songs don’t chop and change every 32 bars anymore. 

UTNS: You must spend a great amount of time working together as a band.
J: We do rehearse a lot, much to Jonathan’s chagrin, as he hates rehearsing.  We spend a lot of time together both musically and socially; we don’t just take Jonathan’s demos and go right, here’s how to do it.  It’s a much more developed thing.  We spent ages this time around working on the arrangements and stuff. We don’t write quickly, and we were writing constantly while we toured Man Alive. We’d have two weeks off, but we’d book a week in the rehearsal room to work on the new songs. 
UTNS: Most of your songs are very intricate, and when I first heard you at Glastonbury, I was amazing how well you re-created your songs live.
J: Thanks.  We’re proud of the fact that we could recreate it live and hopefully we’ll be doing that this time round as well.  We also swallowed our pride a little and we’ve brought in a session keyboard player for the live shows, to free up Jonathan, and he’s not stuck behind a barrier. We’re keen to communicate with the audiences more this time around, so this has freed him up and given him a new lease of life when we play live now.  We were proud of the fact that with just 8 hands we could play the entire songs live, but we had to give that up and bring in an extra pair. 
UTNS: Can you let us know something about what to expect when you play the Leadmill on the 16th of February?
J: We’ve never played the Leadmill before and we’re really are looking forward to playing there.  I’ve seen a few gigs there and I love the venue, so we’re very excited. It’s the perfect sized gig.  The set list will inevitably be heavily based on the new album. We want to see how the new songs go down live and how they react with the audience.  Your relationship with songs change all the time, while you’re writing them recording them, you live with them, and at every step your relationship changes.  It won’t be a 50:50 split, because we toured the last album a lot.  ‘Arc’ will be a bigger record anyway and I think more popular, so it will form the backbone of our live show for the next couple of years.

UTNS: Can you tell me something about your influences?  I’m guessing you all bring different things to the group.
J: It’s a four-way Venn diagram. We all have our own background but come together in the middle as well. Radiohead and the Beatles I suppose are common to us all.  I played in math-rock band and a post-rock band and introduced Jonathan to that while we were studying at Salford university.  He had been making a lot of his own music, and he went to school with Mike the drummer who’d been to the US to study jazz, so he has that pedigree.  Alex, the guitarist has been an outstanding performer all his life, having had music scholarships at school and is an amazing guitar player. He was in another band when we first saw him but they split and at the same time we lost our original guitar player.  I’m still astonished by his level of musicianship.
UTNS: What would you urge us to see at the moment?
J: We love Field Music, they seem to have an effortlessness about their music which we don’t seem to have, the way they make it seem so streamlined. Dutch Uncles from Manchester are another one.
UTNS: Do you have any celebrity fans out there who’ve been in touch?
J: Howard Donald from Take That is a big fan, and has been for some time.  We’ve exchanged emails a few times but never met him yet.
UTNS: It’s been quite a time since Man Alive was released, was this a deliberate decision to leave a two year gap?
J: Two years is a good time between albums, although we could have released it earlier, we decided to wait until the New Year to avoid the pre-Christmas market which is clogged up, and also X-Factor seems to dominate music around that time. 


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