“I remember thinking that was gonna be massive. The Strokes had already happened, but that had been an American underground thing, not mainstream Radio 1. I rang my girlfriend at the time and said ‘watch this happen’. It changed the way music went for about five years.” 2004 saw the charts hold a welcome guitar-renaissance. Indie was back, it was big, and it was brilliant.
But – no matter how spectacular it must’ve felt – few would argue an art-rock four-piece could go from Glasgow underground to Top Of The Pops overnight without the internet. Ten years later, with two more textbook Franz bangers out there in the world, Franz Ferdinand remain as vital and relevant as ever, but arguably the chart-epidemic triggered by ‘Take Me Out’ isn’t something they’re likely to repeat. For any band, you never have everything.
While as equally inventive, Everything Everything are still not yet the chart-botherers they deserve to be. But they have achieved the impossible.
January saw their second album ‘Arc’ climb to number five in the charts, far surpassing the number seventeen peak of its Mercury-nominated predecessor ‘Man Alive’. In the on-demand age of the internet, where bands burn up all ideas on their debut in an attempt just to be heard over the noise, the fact Everything Everything have pole-vaulted over the ‘difficult second album’ trap is no mean feat. And it’s not as if ‘Man Alive’ was thin on ideas.
So how did they do it? “I think it’s because ‘Man Alive’ wasn’t a huge hit,” muses the band’s music-savvy bassist Jeremy Pritchard. “With your debut, you’re given a given a certain amount of free ships ‘cos it’s your debut album, and it’s more about the idea of the band at that point. It wasn’t overly-scrutinised; it was slowly growing – and it was growing all the time we were away [recording second album ‘Arc’], unbeknownst to us.”
Of course the wildfire effect of ‘Man Alive’ meant that, come the time they popped their head out the studio, the reaction to ‘Cough Cough’ was a surprise, to say the least. “It did way better - in terms of popularity and radio - than we were ever expecting to. If anything, we’ve learned from this album that we can be braver and bolder.”
‘Man Alive’ brought us music that challenged the brain, so naturally ‘Arc’’s ambition was to make music for the heart. Taking one listen to the sublime ‘Duet’, they certainly succeeded. So what next for Everything Everything? Their extravagant music makes it feel like the sky’s the limit, but - whether it’s his degree in Popular Music or years of listening to Radio 1 - Jeremy and the rest of the band have a rare grounded outlook on their music and where they sit in the grand scheme of things. As adventurous as their music always has been, they’re realistic. So it’s assuring when, asked how many albums he think they’ll do, Jeremy can confidently say “at least five records”.
There we have it – it’s written in blood.
Their festival calendar is crammed full, including shows at Benicassim, V Festival, Festival No.6 and - one Jeremy is especially excited about - their return to Suffolk for Latitude Festival. “It’s a nice size, and the line-up is the best one this year. I’ve had some really good times there.” But more than just being a great festival – it means a lot to the band. If Jeremy in his dotage were to pen an autobiography, Latitude could have its own chapter, being the venue for a lot of happy memories.
Crowds flocked to see them headline the Huw Stephens-curated Lake Stage in 2010 - one of Everything Everything’s earliest festival appearances - and returned the next year to play The Word Arena, which they remember fondly as one of their “favourite gigs ever. We just knew, when the lights went down, that crowd were gonna be really good and it would be a fun show – and it was. It was one of those gigs where it was just perfect from the outset – the energy of the crowd, the relationship you have between yourself and the audience is exactly right. That’s what festivals are all about really – trying to capture that energy either side of the barrier.”
His love for the festival can be vouched for, as Jeremy returned last year – not as a quarter of Everything Everything but, for the first time since the band begun, as a punter. “I really enjoyed myself – just camping and being muddy in the normal way.” Though, and he’s not ashamed to admit it, he had a good time dancing to a very familiar song. “I was pretty drunk,” he sighs sheepishly. “It was about half two in the morning, and on the Lake Stage, the DJ played ‘Photoshop Handsome’. It was one of the only times I could shrug off the band objectiveness and think ‘actually, this is quite good, isn’t it’. I enjoyed it – I thought it sounded really good, and I actually danced to it. It was quite embarrassing really.”
There’ll be a lot more drunk dancing to new Everything Everything singles in the future. With the friendship between the band as strong as ever, the future is secure for Everything Everything. “Mike [the drummer] said we’re like a dysfunctional balance, but actually – as a team of four people, in a pretty weird way – we’re perfect for each other. We’ve been through a hell of a lot, and we still stick by each other. We’re very close. We hate each other a lot, and we love each other a lot.”
With all they’ve learnt, about music and each other, over the last five years, it’s exciting to wonder where Everything Everything will take us next. Album number three “in a very vague sense” is in the works, and Jeremy offers a few hints to the future. “The thing [‘Arc’] lacks and that we’re missing now is more pace and a bit more bite. We want to make a louder, quicker record.” So if ‘Man Alive’ is music for the brain, and ‘Arc’ is music for the heart – what will album number three be? “Music for the soul,” he laughs, before adding modestly, “it probably won’t.”
Everybody knows you can never have everything, but when it comes to Everything Everything, we can never have enough.
Everything Everything will play Latitude’s BBC Radio 6 Music Stage on Saturday 20th July. ‘Arc’ is out now.
Read the full interview in the new edition of DIY Weekly, available from iTunes now.
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