We head North to join the art-rockers as they take on the trolls with their fourth LP.
In a crumbling former textile mill in Ancoats, Manchester, the artists have taken over. A quarter of a century ago, former Man United goalkeeper and occasional tub-thumper Peter Schmeichel used to use one of the cavernous rooms here to practise his drums but in recent years Everything Everything have moved into the same room to write and rehearse their eggheaded art-rock and electronica. The band give it three years until the property developers swoop and turn the place into luxury flats. For now, however, there’s music to be made. Following 2015’ s dystopian concept album Get To Heaven –
prophetically about the rise of the far right and a world teetering on disaster – Everything Everything have been working on their fourth, as-yet-untitled, album in seven years, thick with ideological inertia around what to do now their predictions of the world exploding have come true. With great serendipity, Q meets with the band on the morning a snap UK election is called to talk about an album drowning in social and political uncertainties. Amid racks of guitars, amps and flight cases, posters marking the band’s career, from support slots with Futureheads to their own headline tours, line the walls of their rehearsal space. High above the drumkit hang four welders’ masks, like taxidermied animal heads. A blue felt-tip pen has rechristened their mini-fridge as “Mr Milky’s Milk House”. Recorded in just four weeks by producer James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Depeche Mode, Haim), the new album is – from the 50 per cent Q hears – rockier than their art-rave of the past, although this
rockist idea makes them pull faces. Tracks are being mixed and are still at the working title stage, but USA is explicitly about Donald Trump, turning his infantile insults against him – “You are ridiculous… Somebody’s going to pull your big trousers down.” “It is aimed squarely at him,” says singer/ guitarist/keyboardist Jonathan Higgs. “It’s quite playground-y. It’s just on his terms.” Addressing Michael Gove’s lunkheaded notion that people have had enough of experts, Run The Numbers features a guitar solo that almost slips into ’ 80s metal. “We like to get close to the bad stuff,” says bassist Jeremy Pritchard.
“Right on the edge of your taste.” Good Shot, which starts like New Order before escalating into a soaring Coldplay-like outro, is full of twitchy authoritarian motifs, such as, “I’m a policeman and you’re a criminal” and “We deleted your kin.” “It gets more spiritual as it goes on,” says Pritchard. “It’s about the holy stuff.” Ivory Tower is undoubtedly the rawest song. Tackling the murder last June of Labour MP Jo Cox by a white supremacist in the middle of the Brexit campaigning. “That’s the moment where I get it out of my system and say, ‘If you are like that, fuck you,’” explains Pritchard. Much of the record’s ire sprang from spending too much time down the rabbit hole on assorted political boards and echo chambers on Reddit, slowly realising how impossible it is to change or argue with entrenched thinking. “I got too into it trying to make them see reason,” he says of his futile online hustings with belligerent rightwingers. “And you are just ‘one of them’.” He dates this idea of speaking your brains becoming a virtue, regardless of the content, to the early days of reality show Big Brother and its attention-seeking contestants. “That pre-dates social media,” he argues. “Social media just amplifies it. We have seen it accelerate] in the last 10 years with Simon Cowell and Sir Alan Sugar. ‘They’re just saying it how it is – good for them!’ You fucking cunts. It’s not a good approach.” The UK and the US may be politically mired in the moment and not have enough distance and perspective to make sense of things yet. Everything Everything know they don’t have the answers, but they do have the soundtrack to this torpor of uncertainty.
“WE LIKE TO GET CLOSE TO THE BAD STUFF, RIGHT ON THE EDGE OF YOUR TASTE.” JEREMY PRITCHARD
In The Studio
It’s all good: Everything Everything (from left) Alex Robertshaw, Michael Spearman, Jeremy Pritchard and Jonathan Higgs, Manchester, 2017.