This year has been truly tremendous so far for Manchester act Everything Everything. The four-piece – Mercury Prize nominated for 2010’s debut LP ‘Man Alive’ – released its second studio set, ‘Arc’ (Clash review), in January. And it’s been non-stop for the band ever since.
And now, Everything Everything has teamed up with SWEAR to produce a special, limited-edition shoe. Two of them, even! (These things do tend to be sold in pairs.) The swanky blue-and-black-and-yellow high-ankle lace-ups, as seen in these images, are certainly eye-catching, and are exclusive to Farfetch, if they’re tickling your fancy. Click here to visit the online home of this hub of boutique stores.
The Farfetch / SWEAR collaboration extends to other acts, too: Skip And Die, Wolf Gang, Avec Sans and Rudi Zygadlo. Find all the information you could possibly need at farfetch.com and swear-london.com.
You can also check out a special SWEAR playlist on SoundCloud: clicky, do.
Clash was very kindly invited along to witness Everything Everything perform their latest single ‘Don’t Try’, for SWEAR, at a top-secret London location. Below, you can see the footage; above, a photo set from the day, shot by Liz Seabrook. An exclusive interview with Jeremy Pritchard (bass) and Alex Robertshaw (guitarist) follows the video.
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Now that 'Arc' has been out a while, what are your feelings on it? Has hindsight allowed you a deeper appreciation of it; or has it highlighted anything you might have done differently?
Alex: I don’t think we’ve had the chance to get any distance from it yet because we’ve been playing in continually, but I feel same as I did a year ago about it, which is basically pretty good. I’m really proud of it. You know you get reviews, people buy it and say what they think of it and so on, and that sort of feedback is always fairly positive for us to get.
Jeremy: We sat on it for six months before it came out, so yeah we should have got some distance on it. But in two years we will definitely feel totally different about it. We’re just really looking forward to making another album now, actually. We’re already kind of planning it. You don’t want to become a jukebox that plays the same thing all the time, so we’ll start to look at a few new songs in a couple of months, while also playing a few of the old ones.
Given the esoteric nature of the music you've always made, was it surprising at all that ‘Arc’ met with fairly universal acclaim? Even sites and mags that didn't 'get' you before seemed to click with this album.
Alex: I think it’s the connection with the general public, who actually buy records, rather than just reviewers. It was not an accident: we really wanted to make that connection with people. When it comes to music reviews people just punch holes in anything, or praise anything.
Jeremy: Well, that’s Pitchfork, isn’t it? (Laughs) We had some good critical acclaim on the first album as well. The thing that really did surprise us this time was being in the top five. We usually find bad reviews even better than the good ones. We are our own biggest critics, and sometimes we find holes in our own work. We don’t need people to tell us we’re terrible, but anyway, the reviewers tell us we’re terrible so that we can agree with them!
Do you feel that 'mainstream' music tastes in general have become more accepting of artists daring to challenge conventions, despite the continuing profile enjoyed by The Voice, etc?
Jeremy: I think, very slowly, during in the last five years, yes. In the ‘90s a lot of music was mainstream. Noel Gallagher was saying recently, that if you look at the BRIT’s best album award in 1996 for example, you had like Blur, Oasis, Radiohead, The Verve, something like that. (It was actually Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Paul Weller and Radiohead – Ed.) At the time it seemed completely normal but, now look at it: One Direction, One Direction, One Direction, One Direction…
What lessons, if any, did you learn on the first album that resonated during the writing and recording of album two? In terms of how to approach the writing, or how to best articulate the lyricism within the arrangements?
Alex: Jonathan (Higgs, vocalist) was working with getting this album more direct with the audience, but not to slow it down, just trying to become clearer and have a message that everybody can relate to. I think he was hiding behind these lyrics a bit in the last record and he just wanted to do this second one clearer and speak out a bit more.
Jeremy: Because he was never really talking about anything really complex on the last album, you know normal things like loss, death, sex, and all the rest of it… It had very heavy metaphors and stuff that probably only he could understand.
If you had to boil down your sound to easily recognisable touchstones, for the benefit of an absolute beginner, could you realistically name three artists who you know your music has in some way been influenced by?
Alex: Yeah, what do we sound like? Radiohead, Destiny’s Child and something else…
Jeremy: Yeah the third one could be something more kind of influential like The Beatles… But I don’t think we can decide on a third one.
Alex: Basically: Radiohead, Destiny’s Child and someone else, or everything else… (laughs)
Taking the music live: is that always in mind during the writing process?
Alex: No, the song comes first and then there are always tricks of how you can make it work live.
So how does experimentation factor into that thought process – when you know you have to be able to translate studio work into on-stage performances?
Jeremy: There shouldn’t be a barrier between studio work and live work, and I don’t really think it is. That doesn’t mean that you have to use loads of backtracks and do kind of a karaoke thing – we work really hard on trying to minimise that.
How did you get interested in this project? What appeals to you about the SWEAR brand?
Alex: We are always attracted to things that are slightly different, and this is just a really enjoyable project.
Jeremy: Well, we got asked to do it basically, and thought it was a cool idea as it isn’t something we normally do. I remember in the late ‘90s when we were teenagers, we used to come to London to buy SWEAR shoes, we saved up and it was a really cool thing. I suppose that link to the brand made it interesting.
Does your shoe represent Everything Everything’s style?
Alex: I’ve got a pair of shoes that are very similar actually, but apart from that, we used the colours we like for all sorts of stage wear. I also think the shoe fits in with the album as well.
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Special thanks to Leanne Mison. Thanks Leanne.
Photography: Liz Seabrook
Everything Everything feature on the bafflingly fantastic bill for this summer’s FIB (Benicàssim Festival) in Spain, which Clash is proud to be a media partner of. Click to the festival’s official site for more information and tickets.
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Want to win a pair of Everything Everything’s SWEAR shoes? Of course you do. Just answer this here simple question using the boxes below, and we’ll contact a winner on July 24th.