As the winter months draw to a close, the evenings are getting lighter and everything is just a little less dreary isn’t it? As such, I for one am itching for the spring to arrive so we can start thinking about festival season! As promised, here at Young Academic we are already starting to compile our ultimate festival guide and also have a series of fantastic interviews in the pipeline (see, it’s not all tedious educational student news). The first of which is ready for you today, in the shape of this little treat! I caught up with Everything Everything drummer Michael Spearman to discuss a hectic year for the Manchester quartet and what is round the corner for the art-rockers…
Everything Everything burst on to the indie scene last year as part of the NME Radar Tour, famous for unearthing such gems as Maccabees and The Drums. Hailing from Manchester but with roots all around the UK, the band have been touring relentlessly over the last twelve months culminating in a successful studio album and being shortlisted for several awards. So, what sticks in the mind after a whirlwind first year in the music industry?
“Recording the album at the beginning of the year was a fantastic experience for all of us. Other highlights were playing live in amazing places all round the world, particularly Japan, America and Iceland. We were very honoured to be asked to play on Later… With Jools Holland. It was like jumping out of a plane.”
As Everything Everything look to build on a successful start to their career, one wonders whether tiredness starts to set in. Large amounts of time on the road must surely be a gruelling affair but Michael is quick to point out that the range of people and places they get to see makes it all well worth it.
“It can be tiring but on the whole touring is great because we get to meet so many interesting people and play in amazing places. Although we’ve played the songs many times now, they still feel fresh because we’re playing to new audiences all the time and we’re very appreciative that they take the time to come to our gigs.”
With the evolution of the indie-electro genre and sub-genres over the last few years, it has been increasingly difficult to pinpoint certain bands’ approach. This is certainly the case with Everything Everything, who have undoubtedly created a unique sound complemented by their front man’s intriguing voice.
“It just evolved quite naturally over a number of years. Jon has been singing like that for a long time because it’s a sound he likes so has strived for. In general though we just arrive at things that we like the sound of. It’s not very pre-meditated, we just feel our way with songs.”
Michael was able to shed some light on which genre he thought best described Everything Everything’s ethos. The answer was that they didn’t want to conform to any particular one.
“We like to be slippery. Personally I quite like ‘Art Pop’ as it’s nice and vague!”
Vague indeed but at least now we know!
It’s always interesting to see which of a band’s peers they actively follow to get a bit of inspiration. Michael was able to recommend some acts that have caught his ear of late.
“I’m enjoying James Blake’s album and the Little Comets album at the moment. Very much looking forward to hearing the Dutch Uncles and Egyptian Hip Hop albums this year. Jai Paul is really exciting too.”
Young Academic were lucky enough to see Everything Everything twice last year, at the NME Radar Tour and Great Escape Festival in Brighton. Thoroughly impressed both times, but we were curious as to how three young bands that are often touring for the first time get on.
“Yeah, Darwin Deez and Hurts were all really nice people, though very different bands! We kind of bridged the gap between those two bands and on the NME Awards tour we’re kind of doing the same, this time between The Vaccines and Magnetic Man. It’s been a really fun tour but we love playing our own gigs the best and are really looking forward to our big shows in May. It’s difficult to pick a favourite gig… The first gig we did in Holland – which was also the first for us in Europe too – was a brilliant surprise for us.”
With that in mind, can we expect a big summer of festivals for Everything Everything?
“Well we did the John Peel tent last year but it was in the afternoon. It would be amazing to play later on in the day in the same tent again this year. It’s a fantastic festival and last year the sun was blazing. Festivals will be different for us this year because the album has been released so more people should know more of the songs. Can’t wait!”
The band has found Manchester to be an extremely productive place to make their music, being the hotbed of culture and art that it is. They don’t all hail from the north-west however, so how did this migration come about?
“Jonathan and Jeremy met at Salford Uni and after they finished there they decided to stay, so Manchester just became the place where the band started. In a way they chose Manchester because of its musical history and vibrancy but we didn’t set out to be a ‘Manchester band’, with all the connotations that that brings. Having said that, Manchester is a great place to start a band as there are lots of venues, music lovers and opportunities there.”
With that, our interview came to a close but I think you will agree it’s great to see what it’s like for a band making their way in the industry. Keep your eyes peeled for some more wicked interviews to come and the first instalments of the Young Academic Ultimate Festival Guide. Plenty of great student news to come as well. Enjoy!
Interview by Charles Whitworth