Interview: Everything Everything

Abbas Ali chats to Jeremy of Manchester based experimental band Everything Everything about Mercury awards, musical tribalism, and RnB.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 23rd Sep 2010

Abbas Ali chats to Jeremy of Manchester based experimental band Everything Everything about Mercury awards, musical tribalism, and RnB. 

It’s the day after the Mercury music prize announcement, and Jeremy Everything (aka Pritchard to his mum) is talking to me on a mobile phone, somewhere from the streets of Manchester. “It’s got a unique feel to it, and it has undeniably been at the forefront of new music this last year,” he says of the XX's self-titled LP, which won the vote and the critical plaudits.

Pritchard, while respecting the likes of Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling, believes they aren’t pushing the envelope musically. “It’s representative of that. If they’d have given it to one of the folk acts, that might have been a slightly retrograde choice. Because they’ve been really big this year as well, and they’ve worked really hard, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not as new sounding as The XX is.”

Being retrograde is an accusation that one could hardly level at Manchester’s hottest new band Everything Everything. After signing to Geffen last year, the four-piece, whose members originate from as far afield as Newcastle and Kent, were announced as one of the BBC’s Sounds of 2010.

After releasing intriguing singles ’Schoolin’ and ‘MY KZ, UR BF’, the band recently brought out their debut album, Man Alive, an ambitious and heady mix of influences and musical styles which has won great critical praise for managing to be both complex and full of ideas while maintaining a pop outlook.

While talking to Pritchard, I note that one of the commonalities between the sound of Everything Everything and this year's Mercury winners The XX is the influence of contemporary R&B upon their music, which is essentially guitar based indie, albeit in a highly challenging, 21st century format. “To a lesser extent, yeah”, agrees Pritchard. “It’s easy to bracket it in with that. I think with our music, it’s one element in quite a dense sound”.

When asked what attracts him to contemporary R&B producers like The Dream, Stargate and Timbaland, he is enthusiastic. “I think with us, we’re into the production values and the rhythmic audacity”.

Jeremy has noticed that the fascination with crisp beats and innovative rhythms has spread to other alternative acts. “A lot of American acts that have really cottoned onto that are out favourite. For example, the Dirty Projectors have made an R&B record, but have done it in the context of a hip New York art rock band, which puts another slant on it.”

Whatever its cause, EE do seem to be one of several bands riding a new wave of experimentalism going on in music at the moment. “Part of the knock on effect of the internet is that younger people are less concerned with tribalism in terms of genres”, observes Pritchard. “If you’ve got Rhianna on your ipod next to Foals, these days no one will bat an eyelid.

"10 years ago, that would have seemed really strange.”