Imagine a band who fuse three part harmonies with scalding post-punk guitars; floor-filling bass lines with syncopated rhythms and lyrics about everything from high-school massacres to R&B lotharios musing on their lot in a post-apocalyptic wilderness.
Not easy, is it? But then Everything Everything (Jonathan: guitar/vocals, Jeremy: bass, Mike: drums, Alex: guitar) aren’t here to make life easy. They’re here to challenge every knee-jerk convention of indie rock and dance on the grave of pointless retrogression
“We’ve never been comfortable with the indie tag” explains Jeremy.
“If it’s Girls Aloud or Slint, it doesn’t matter – if we like it we’ll listen to it and work out what makes it good. There are hundreds of years of amazing music to draw on. Why place restrictions on yourself?”
“My childhood began with the fall of the Berlin Wall” explains Jonathan.
“It ended when I was sixteen when 9/11 happened. I grew up a tiny little village in rural Northumberland so I was very isolated during that period. I didn’t have a television until I was seventeen, so I listened to the radio a lot. I was making music all the time in my bedroom – my one rule was not to sound like anyone else. I’d go out of my way to avoid playing any obviously recognisable chord sequence.”
Having recruited his band-mates on the basis of shared orchestral backgrounds and divergent tastes ranging from post-rock to funk and jazz, the band set about avoiding cliché at all costs.
“It’s all to do with how you present yourselves” explains Jeremy. “An R&B cliche can sound great when it’s played by four skinny white men.”
Lyrically, influences range from Naomi Klein to Edward Lear and all stops inbetween.
“We belong to a generation that was too young to buy into Britpop fully, so we’ve had no significant pop cultural movement to throw our lot in with” explains Jonathan. “So there’s no defined viewpoint. Lyrically, for me, it’s as much about the sound, rhythm and tone of a word as the meaning.”
Unsurprisingly, the band’s debut gig at Manchester’s Night & Day on Bonfire Night 2007 caused a few scratched heads.
“I think people found us a bit baffling” laughs Jonathan.
“But the sound man liked us. We took that as sign of good taste.”
Debut single ‘Suffragette Suffragette’ (Salvia XL, released December 2008) combined math-rock rhythms and molten riffs. Follow up ‘Photoshop Handsome’ (Another Music Another Kitchen, released May 2009) was a withering summation of Heat culture boasting the couplet “Chest pumped elegantly elephantine/Southern Hemisphere by Calvin Klein” , while sublime third single ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ (Young and Lost, October 2009) crossed ABC and R Kelly while being sung from the paranoid perspective of a post-traumatic R&B lothario during an air-raid. For most discerning observers, needless to say, it was the single of 2009.
En route, they’ve acquired fans ranging from Zane Lowe to 6Music’s Marc Riley, played two UK tours- including performances at Reading and Leeds -and notched up a top spot on MTV2’s My Space Chart. Which brings us to the band’s relentlessly inventive videos. Not for EE the formulaic promos spawned by lazyitus bands and overpaid ‘creative’ directors. Instead, they write and choreograph their video clips themselves.
“The videos and artwork are very song specific” says Jonathan. “A lot of the songs we’re going to put on the album have got a strong visual element, it seems to come naturally to us. We haven’t got the budget for space shuttles taking off, but we try our best.”
Having recently signed to Geffen Records, the band are currently in the studio with producer David Kosten. If the tracks recorded so far – notably ‘NASA Is On Your Side’- are anything to go by, it seems set to be the debut of 2010.
“We’ve lived with some of these songs for two years and we’ve only really started to think they’re going to become a record” muses Jonathan.
“But there will be signature and a feel running through it. Sound, performance and unity.”
Sometimes, it seems, you really can have everything (everything).