It’s been two years since they first broke out and on to the airwaves with their debut ‘Man Alive’, but Everything Everything are back (back! back!!) and intend to start changing perceptions. “I hope that people see us in a new light,” starts lead singer Jonathan Higgs, as we begin to eagerly question him on their forthcoming album. “I’ve already seen some reviews that have said, ‘They’re back and they’re just as ridiculous as ever’, and I kinda wanna shake that ‘ridiculous’ tag a little bit. I want to be a band of more than just our time and niche; that spans the ages a bit more.”
The Mancunian four-piece – also comprising Jeremy Pritchard, Michael Spearman and Alex Robertshaw – plan to do just that with their due-in-2013 full-length ‘Arc’; that dreaded second record. “When I sat down after ‘Man Alive’ had finished, I made a folder on my computer called ‘Easy Second Album’ as a bit of a confidence booster for myself,” he explains, when we ask if the curse of the sophomore ever reared its ugly head, “and I think it worked. We don’t ever want to do the same thing, so there are those kind of worries, but in terms of, ‘Oh god, what are we going to write?’, that really didn’t happen.”
As it turns out, the band have been super-efficient on the writing front, beginning the earliest processes as soon as their debut hit the shelves: “We’ve been writing all the time since ‘Man Alive’ came out really, just in dribs and drabs, and then we got really intense within the last year, until we started recording around January or February. It’s been about two years in the making.
“We did a lot of touring throughout that whole time and we would watch bands and see how their songs worked with the crowd. A lot of outside influence came in during that period. Obviously with ‘Man Alive’, as it was our debut, we were quite inward-looking. You’ve got all of these thoughts about what you think is right about the music and how it should be. Suddenly, you’re exposed to this world and you’ve got a lot of new things to think about.
“You don’t always consider that. You kind of think you’re going to stick to your teenage ideas but you do change your mind on some things. You become more open about stuff, and less snobby, I think. More inclined to have a good song, rather than songs trying to out-clever each other. The first album is a little like that: everything’s a bit all over the place. This one is a bit more focused, and there are higher quality tunes, I think.”
Needless to say, fans shouldn’t expect a complete change of heart. The band are still a million miles from boring, even going as far as to use actual human coughing as a form of percussion on the first taster of the record, the aptly titled ‘Cough Cough’. “We did experiment! We rewrote things a lot in different ways, cut things up and put them with other things, and just tried to make everything as, sort of, sing-able as we could. Just trying to make it live longer; more classic tunes, songs that you can sing on any instrument. Something that doesn’t rely on this particular crazy sound to work: it’s more about the song than the way it’s done. Then again, we did get really anal about the sound of it, but that’s just who we are.”
He is still, though, quick to emphasise that the art of song structure is a key element within ‘Arc’. “The song needs to come first. I’ve certainly learned that, as a songwriter in the last few years, no one cares what sound was cool that year. It’s all about whether the song’s good and the lyrics felt real at the time, or through time, more than trying to chase after this very fleeting, new sound. We still do that, but we try to concentrate harder on the song first, going further with it, trying to push it. Then, you make it sound exciting afterwards.”
But the most defining factor with their second album, seems to lie in one simple sentiment, which Higgs voices as we draw our conversation to a close: “You should be able to sing it, basically.” He stops and laughs, “because you just couldn’t sing the first one.”
Everything Everything’s new album ‘Arc’ will be released on 14th January 2013 via RCA Victor.
Taken from the October 2012 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.