Interview: Upbringing: Everything Everything

Upbringing: Everything Everything

From Ghostbusters to busted pianos, bassist Jeremy Pritchard talks us through his early musical obsessions.

Since they first appeared in a haze of glitching, time-warping bits of A4 paper taking over guillotines everywhere six years ago, Everything Everything have barely stopped, winding up with stadium-bothering bangers like ‘Distant Past’. They’ve also hooked themselves up with some pretty impressive quidditch robes along the way, too.

Releasing their most humungous pop record yet last year, and hitting on their utopia in ‘Get To Heaven’, Everything Everything are no doubt ironing those dastardly robes again, and gearing up to take their latest album on the road. With a whole bunch of festival appearances peering sneakily over the horizon - the likes of Kendal Calling, Electric Fields, and the Isle of Wight festival - we decided to catch up with bassist Jeremy Pritchard about his earliest musical obsessions.

Unsurprisingly, it’s a mixed bag, ranging from the Ghostbusters theme-tune, to busting up his parent’s piano with a screwdriver….

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What was the first gig you ever went to?

Michael Jackson at Wembley Stadium in about 1993. It was an atypical start. I was 7 or 8, and too young to stay for the whole thing.I still regret that.

Were there a good supply of venues in your hometown?

Yes, in that there was one! The Tunbridge Wells Forum. Still one of the best small, independent venues in the world, and run by people with nothing but their community and their love of music at heart. I went there every day between the ages of 15 and 19, just wanting to be there in any circumstances and learn what I could. I played there countless times, put gigs on, swept the floors, worked on the bar, did tech jobs - always voluntarily, as did everyone. I had a set of keys at one point. In terms of my career, this is where I went to school.

What was the first song you developed an obsession for?

I got that “I never want this to end” feeling from the Ghostbusters’ theme when I was too young to know what it even was.

What’s the first song you ever bought with your own money, and why?

‘Boom Boom Boom’ by the Outhere Brothers, because it’s a (stupid) banger and I loved it.

What’s the story behind your first instrument?

I tend to say that my first instrument was the cello, as I learned that from the age of 7 or so, but I started that because I’d been learning the violin and my teacher had said my hands would be too big to play violin, even at that age (she was right, I have huge hands). I started the violin because I’d been holding my dad’s ukulele under my chin and hitting it with chopsticks when I was 4. There was a guitar in the house, too, and I remember obsessively plucking the low strings and watch them vibrate, in a kind of trance. And I smashed all the lips off the keys of my parents’ upright piano with a screwdriver… So it’s hard say what my first instrument was! I didn’t start playing guitar until I was 12, and then bass when I was 14.

What’s your worst musical habit?

Laziness or complacency of any kind, in writing, playing or listening. I’m as guilty of that as anyone.

What inspirations outside of music have an impact on your songwriting?

Personally I seem to respond to ideologies with clearly defined boundaries, and artistic expressions of them; socialism, de Stijl, Kraftwerk, Brutalism etc. (So you can imagine I occasionally find it hard to be part of the mighty melange in Everything Everything!)

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given as a band?

Mike Joyce of The Smiths told us, around the time of [our debut] ‘Man Alive’, that this was the best bit, and we should enjoy every second of it. Even if you later become a huge band, those first few steps into the unknown are the most thrilling. He was partly right, but I am still enjoying myself, for the most part.

If you could be in a band from the last two decades, which would you pick, and why?

I would love to have been in Radiohead, obviously. They are my favourite band of the last two decades and kind of our generation’s Beatles in terms of their extraordinary reach of influence.

Everything Everything’s album ‘Get To Heaven’ is out now. They will play Standon Calling (29th-30th July), where DIY is an official media partner. Tickets are on sale now. Visit diymag.com/presents for more information.