The Mic caught Everything Everything backstage at Parklife a couple of hours before their incredible set. While drinking cider in the sun we talked Chinese democracy, Paramore and how they don’t know who Johnny Marr is (?).
Hey guys, how are you all feeling today?
Really excited, it looks like it’s going to be really good. Parklife’s grown loads since 2010 when it started. We’ve only played it once before but it’s bigger now. It’s become a proper festival now, Manchester needs one.
Are you excited to be playing Manchester’s own festival then?
We’re always excited to play back in Manchester because it’s sort of home for us; it’s got a certain feel to it which is why we live here. And people come to see us which is nice (laughs).
You’re one of only a few Manchester bands today though. Delphic played yesterday and Johnny Marr is on later today. Why haven’t you all turned out together, a united front against the foreign-DJs?
Well Dutch Uncles are out with Paramore at the moment (laughs). Robin Richards (bass) was very excited about that, he’s got a picture of Hayley Williams (vocals) on his pedal. He likes guitars and women so those thing combined are… well… I don’t think he’s so down with the sort of Christian element though, which everyone seems to forget about.
They seem to be an odd touring pair though? How did that happen?
It’s a bold move by Paramore I think, because Dutch Uncles are quite a niche act. But we’re taking them on tour in October so we can’t blame them, we think they’re great. Our biggest tour yet, we can’t wait.
You’re quite good at promoting one another though, especially Manchester bands. You all seem to be in it together..
Yeah that was funny actually, our album ended up coming out on the same day as Dutch Uncles. We asked them ‘are you still going to release in January’, and they were like ‘oh no I think it’s going to be February now’. There was lots of toing and froing and then they ended up coming out on the same day. But that kind of worked. We like their album and we wanted people to buy it to, if it was bad we probably would have been less enthusiastic.
Would you tell them it was bad though..?
(Laughing) probably in secret ways. Maybe tweet them.
What are your thoughts on Johnny Marr’s album and playing here today after him on the Now Wave Stage? Is that a big thing for you guys and the Manchester scene?
Err, is it out yet? We haven’t heard it..
Don’t look at us like that, it’s not as if we’ve been under a rock, we’ve been in America. (At this point their tour manager appears and writes ‘The Rock is coming’ on the line-up whiteboard and they all start laughing, confusing us to no end). That may or may not be true.
Ok… So how have you found it playing your new album, Arc? You’ve said in other interviews that you’ve tried to make it more accessible so that you can develop a more emotional connection with the crowd. Have you found that that’s been happening for you this year?
Yeah it definitely has, you can tell it has. On this album we got a keyboard player to play what Jonathan Higgs (vocals) would usually play so he can concentrate on singing and performing more. And that’s really freed the performance up. We all feel freer because of that and it’s been really fun. Things haven’t been going wrong as much as they used to. Live we used to have so many problems with technology, with John trying to play the guitar and the keyboard and sing all at the same time. It’s not easy singing as well, then, with that all thrown into the mix, I had to also try and be the frontman. I was still nearly all the time because I was playing, but now I can jump away and come back and sing. I used to think I had a big barrier in front of me and I was standing still and it wasn’t a show at all. Every gig used to be more of an experiment to see if I could do it all, wasn’t very enjoyable to watch I don’t think.
What are you hoping to achieve with Arc this year? Obviously you’ve been up for the Mercury Award before…
Um, well the awards season hasn’t really come round for us yet. It would be nice to be nominated for a couple of things to be honest. Although it’s not something we thought about first time around or this time really. It would just help to give the album a bit more life; it takes it to another world. The nice thing about our band is that we get to do things like today, then alternative events like some we have planned with an art gallery. We switch quite a lot in and out of different worlds which is nice. The awards are silly really but no one can deny it would be cool to be nominated.
So you never think to tailor album releases to align with awards or anything? Not like Hollywood blockbusters and the Oscars?
I think some probably do but we didn’t consider it. We tailored our release to the start of the year when no one’s releasing big albums, to try and get a better shot at the charts really. If you release it at the end of the year you’re up against all of the Christmas albums which come out and destroy everything. Then there’s the start of the summer when no one really notices because they’re all at festivals.. There’s only a few good points in the year for a band our size to release. Unless you’ve got millions of pounds for marketing which we don’t (laughs).
What are you planning on doing with your set tonight?
Um, we’re going to play all of the songs that have been on the radio, obviously. But then we had to choose a few more because we’ve only got like 5 of those (laughs). So then we’ve chosen ones that come across well in a big setting that aren’t too fiddly or angular. The ones that are easy to get and sing to. Also ones that are easy to perform, we don’t want to be tripping up.
Well we’re always impressed by your pitch range, so you’ve managed to pull it off!
Thanks, I’m not sure how I’ve managed to pull it off. I think we trick a lot of people though because it’s not out and out falsetto, it’s a sort of screaming voice. Like cock rockers but hidden in a different context, sneakily not associated with Guns and Roses.
Do you have to practise with breathing exercises all the time, annoying the rest of the band?
No, but I should though. We haven’t rehearsed for about six months because we’ve had so many gigs we’ve only had time for those.
Yeah, you’ve just got back from America, how was that? What reaction did you get over there?
A really good one, it was brilliant in Los Angeles and New York. Loads of people came out to see us and knew all the songs. It was really weird actually, considering we’ve never been to LA in our entire lives. We took a bit of a punt because you go over there and spend loads of money on visas and flights and hope that people come to the shows. They did, which was lucky, but we could easily have gone out and there been only ten people there.
How did the crowds differ over there to here?
They were quite similar really. We’d been a bit worried that the New York crowd might be a bit too cool for school, like you sometimes get in London, but they were really generous and loud so we had a great time.
You’ve had a busy year, what with the international tours and release of Arc, are we going to see you disappear any time soon to start creating again?
We wish. All we want to do is get away and write (laughs). Although we’re fairly free in August and September so we will probably do some writing then together. John’s already started, haven’t you? Yeah I write mostly on my phone these days.
How does that work? Music or lyrics?
I’ve got an app that plays cords and I put them in then put them in an order and sing lyrics over the top. There’s not much you can do while you’re in a bus or a van or on a train. So I just put my headphones in… I couldn’t really get out my guitar or piano (laughs). Maybe I’ll create and record a whole album on my phone.
That would be revolutionary for sure…
(Laughing) yeah revolutionary but it definitely wouldn’t sound like it.
Have you got any new ideas yet for this album yet?
We’ve been vaguely talking about becoming really, really heavy but I think that’s the alcohol talking most of the time. We’d all like to but it’s whether we do it or not… whatever we say now is errr… By the time it happens Chinese democracy will be on the verge of coming out.
(Laughing) it’s been great to talk, we look forward to seeing you later!
Let’s go find The Rock!!
By Cara McGoogan