Everything Everything interview

Indie | Monday 11th February 2013 | Osh

Their first album was nominated for the Mercury Prize, and their second album ‘Arc’ has already proven an instant success with hitting the UK Charts at Number 3 in its first few weeks. We hooked up with frontman Jon Higgs to get the scope on the new album, how the impact of the UK riots last year influenced their music and the importance of being part of the Manchester scene.

Hi Jon, how’s it going mate?
Yeah good, snowing up here in Manchester and freezing my ass off basically!

So it’s been an amazing journey for you guys, now with the new album riding high in the album midweek charts on course for a No.1 debut. How does it feel to be nearing the top of the earth right now!
Yeah it has been a pretty mad week we have been all over the place, we are all pretty tired now but yeah it’s crazy, it has been amazing. It’s surreal to look at the charts and the other names such as be Rhianna and stuff and there’s us just sitting there at No.3, it feels really weird. We didn’t expect to be anywhere near that so we just really happy with it all, yeah its just amazing.

So before you guys met at uni, what were your musical influences as a young lad?
I mean just like everyone else really like Nirvana primarily to begin with, then The Beatles, Radiohead those were the big ones and then we got more into rnb really as I got older. A lot of people were turning their nose up at it, but me and my friends would listen to a lot of R Kelly, Destinys Child and stuff like that and we really appreciated the dexterity of the vocals. The vocal harmonies and the rhythmic stuff that was going on, it was not present at all in Brit Pop which happened just before this 90’s rnb era really.

So after uni, you guys decided to stay in Manchester after the band was formed, how important was the Manchester scene and your degree to your success?
Well the Manchester scene, the city itself is a perfect place to be a band, when I think about it more and more, the longer I am here I see what it’s like for bands to disappear down to London and just get swallowed up and never seen again. I think here it’s a great size, but it’s taken very seriously as a viable place for music and bands. There’s lots of great venues, lots of great bands, lots of history and lots of people that go to gigs. In terms of my Art Degrees, clearly there of no practical use when you're in a band, but I guess university was a really good place to meet like minded musicians and learn more about music. It’s great to be able to just talk to the other band members and say musical stuff to them and they know what it is and you don’t have to explain things, it makes everything fast because everyone has the same level of knowledge.

You and Jeremy both have degrees in popular music, was it always your intention to form a band or did you want to play another role within the industry?
I always wanted to be in a band, when I got to the age to go to uni  all my friends were going so I thought I might as well go and study music because I want to be in a band. I couldn’t think about a career doing anything else really, but you know I was very lucky.

With your new album ‘The Arc’, how long did it take you guys to record this and get it together?
We started writing it as soon as the first record came out basically in dribs and drabs, but to record it, well maybe a few months I guess but it was in pieces. In all I reckon about six month from the first note to the last note, or “click of the mouse” as so to speak.

Your music has many layers and complexities to its sound, quite emotional actually. How is the sound from this new album different to your debut album?
It’s different in quite a lot of ways although its still clearly us. But we have straightened out a lot and we have kind of removed some of the elements that was getting in the way of making a connection before. We are very eager to dazzle people and sort of keep ourselves interesting by leaping around a lot.

So is this album a lot more polished from your first then?
Yeah, it’s a lot more worked on really, we have rejected ideas and we pushed things around and improved them instead of just let them be. When we first started the band I would first write a song then that would be it, done, then we learn it. That was the vision, but with this album we thought that it could be better so we pulled things apart and worked on them much more so that they were solid.

If you had to describe your music in three words, what would they be?
I dunno, forward thinking, if I can use that as one word, ermm pop and a very british sound.

What was your concept for the video, you’ve got scenes in there from the riots that hit the U.K were you trying to get a message out there?
Yeah, I mean about the power of money and the way it corrupts and the way it makes people do things, the fact that I’m as much to blame as anyone else. I hate money and I love money. It’s not really a statement about it, it’s about the whole concept of wealth and that we can’t do anything about it now.

I read something that our culture isn’t actually given. The cause of the riots may be down to the way that we look at our culture.
It’s very hard to say, and that’s partly what the song is. That no one really knows. Looking at the possible reasons for the confusion that we don’t really know what to do.

For more information check out

Words by Roshan Ram