Following the successes of 2010’s ‘Man Alive’ and 2013’s ‘Arc’, Manchester-based Indie-pop quartet, Everything Everything brought producer, Stuart Price (Madonna, New Order, Missy Elliott) on board for ‘Get to Heaven’. The album would find the band tackling some epochal world issues on the way to mass acclaim and a very respectable third spot in the UK album charts.
Guitarist, Alex Robertshaw stopped to take a call to talk everything, everything (sorry, it had to be done) from Labour to Yeezy.
“The first time working with Stuart was great because we had total freedom. In the production side of things, we led the way for most of it. Having someone you could bounce ideas from and get sent ideas back from was really interesting.
The way we worked, we recorded all of it, forwarded it and got Stuart in our rehearsal space. We had a very small, low-budget setup and we did the majority of the recording there on the demos and stuff and when we got to the studio with Stuart, he was working from LA so we’d work from the studio for the first four weeks and once we’d get up to the point where we’d have a song that we were happy with, we’d be sending it to Stuart, who’d be adding some stuff or just twiddling with it and we’d be bouncing that back and forth.
We sort of had freedom to do what we wanted without kind of breathing down Stuart’s neck when he had ideas that he wanted to push through. Everyone was able to do as much as they wanted and could do without anyone else having an opinion on it.
Everyone could freely express themselves and they could have an opinion once things had happened. If someone wanted to go down a certain route, you didn’t want to hit any barriers before you’ve even conquered or crossed the idea that you had.”
Everyone was able to do as much as they wanted and could do without anyone else having an opinion on it.
2014 meanwhile, found frontman Jonathan Higgs, who has had to battle with depression become vexed by a range of topics, in turn fuelling the creative spark of their third album, a matter with which Alex talks at length about during our conversation.
“John was heavily influenced by last year’s news. Everyone knows that it was an absolute disaster. Every 5 minutes y’know. And it’s still going on. The process we were in, we were all living at home in Manchester and just stewing in it. It came out heavily in his writing. Generally the record is more about hope, more kind of ‘we can rise above this stuff’ and we shouldn’t ignore it. He’s trying to understand what’s going on.
He’s very confused most of the time about it. Sometimes he’d be putting himself in the position of the person doing the awful deed or someone trying to console someone who’s about to do something bad. All these different scenarios. Globally, we need to understand why people do things and what it is that makes them go in a certain direction.”
Globally, we need to understand why people do things and what it is that makes them go in a certain direction.
The above, Alex explains, is just one side to the album.
“There is stuff closer to home about leadership. Ultimately it is about the corruption of power and the effect it has on people and how it makes people turn into something that isn’t very desirable.”
We go on to discuss the landscape of British politics briefly.
“With the SNP taking over Scotland, Labour took a big hit and have a lot of work to do. I hope they’ll recover and I think they will.”
Speaking to Alex, you get this wiry energy, the type of aura reflected throughout their oeuvre and the type that as he explains, excited him about Kanye Wests’ divisive set at Glastonbury at the weekend.
“He’s one corner away from being awful but he’s still grounded in awesome.”
Amidst the shitstorm surrounding streaming at the moment and its threat to undermine “the album”, We quizzed the guitarist on the area.
“I hope people still listen to albums. You can’t commit or concentrate on music with streaming.”
There’s harsh words too in relation to the reward for artists.
“The other problem is that it doesn’t seem to be particularly financially viable for the artists still. I don’t think it’s properly understood. They just added in Spotify streams to be part of the UK charts (in which every 100 streams accounts for 1 sale) which is very minimal and ridiculous given how it’s dwarfing the actual record sales.”
There is admiration however for it as a platform in the way it promotes young bands.
“You gain fans by streaming. Perhaps in five-ten years when it’s taken seriously, there’ll be a proper way for artists to benefit from it. At the moment, it’s a bit of a chaotic model”.
Everything has its pro's and con's but will streaming be the medium that prevails over the next 10-20 years.
For fans on this side of the pond of the band, there’ll be the chance to catch them when they play at Longitude at Marlay Park on the Sunday.
“Finally we have a set where I can look down the list and every song there has been on the radio. It’s been great so far. Glastonbury was unbelievable.
We can bring much more energy to it. I can’t wait to just play some more to be honest.”
In an industry which at times can too often rest on its laurels, the art-rockers continue to not only challenge themselves but the minds of those around them under the guise of ridiculously catchty tunes.
Forget the distant past. EE's time is now.