Wednesday, July 26, 2017

LICHFIELD INTERROGATES: Everything Everything's Jonathan Higgs

I first interviewed Everything Everything way back in 2009 around a year before their debut Man Alive, catching up with bassist Jeremy Pritchard for a chat in the weeks leading up to their second record, 2013's Arc. We did skip an era in terms of interviews last time round (2015's Get to Heaven helped the four-piece cement their status as one of the biggest and most inventive alternative rock/art pop bands in the UK), but it's a pleasure to have once again talked to frontman Jonathan Higgs about their forthcoming record, A Fever Dream, which is set for release on August 18th and has been preceded by the releases of Can't Do, the title track and Desire.  

You’ve now been around for almost a decade and seen a host of high-profile bands come and go over the years. What do you think has been the key to your longevity?

A combination of factors; we didn't start with a Big Bang, each record has been better and better received as we went, so there's never been a big pining for 'the old stuff', people really want the latest thing the most. Also we try to have a progressive mindset, we keep pushing ourselves and I think that keeps fans interested rather than getting comfy and bored. 

Two years is widely regarded as a pretty swift turnaround between albums in the modern climate. When did you start writing the album? How long were you in the studio?

We wrote it during the touring of Get to Heaven, we never really downed tools to be honest. We were in the studio for about a month all in. 

What kind of lyrical themes can we expect on A Fever Dream? Get to Heaven dealt with various political issues, is that the case this time round? 

Yes and no, the current world is so seeped in 'political opinions' and there are reams written every minute about every global consequence of every new catastrophic development in the blah blah blah I didn't think it was worth adding one more bleating voice into it. I'd rather take a step back and look at the human to human state of us, how a normal person is feeling in amongst all this fire and brimstone and uncertainty. The big things are the backdrop now rather than the focus, nobody gives a crap what I think about Brexit and Trump - everyone has something to say on that stuff, I want to say something else. 

Do you still retain a great deal of control over your videos and artwork? 

Yep we all think about it way too much. We've worked with some other directors on videos this time around and it's felt good.

'Can't Do'

What have you been listening to since Get to Heaven? Which recent albums, if any, have had a substantial impact on you? 

I'm really excited by the Blackpool grime scene, BGMedia and all the related artists. Hard to describe without sounding like I'm joking but look it up!

What is your attitude towards streaming? Do you think it has helped or hindered you? 

It's meant simultaneously that we make very little money from sales but are exposed to vastly more people. Is that a win? Yes and no, we've seen bands with lots of streams have to split up because they can't actually afford to be in a band anymore. If you are good live then you're ok, if you aren't you're kinda screwed. It's no surprise you see so many old bands getting back together and doing nostalgia tours. 

How did you arrive at the album title? 

I wanted to encapsulate a feeling I've been having, that I think a lot of people have been having, that of uncertainty and a surreal, dark fear of the unknown that's settled over everything in the last couple of years. Not a nightmare, a very strange dream. 

Is A Fever Dream darker or lighter in tone than its predecessor? 

Somewhat lighter in that there is hope here and there. GTH was a kind of warning album, and to go there again would be too much - everyone knows what has happened, what we are staring down the barrel of, why make an album telling everyone that? We know it's shit! Let's make something that talks about me and you and what to do next. 

Has the songwriting process become any tougher over the years? Does your eclecticism and experimentalism mean new ideas are always flowing? Do ever suffer from creative blocks? 

Yeah sometimes I do, when you write alone you just don't do it if you don't feel like it, but writing with Alex means there are times when one of us is fizzing with ideas and the other is empty. That's how I wrote the chorus for Can't Do, literally started to sing about how I didn't know what to sing on the track.

What can expect from the forthcoming live shows? Are there any songs you’ve found particularly painful to retire or rest to make way for new ones?

No it's a pleasure to retire songs! Playing new stuff is always exciting, the old songs aren't going anywhere, they are maturing like a fine cheese, little minging half-eaten Babybels stuffed back into their wax. The new live shows are super intense, Ivory Tower is a highlight, it's red raw.

'A Fever Dream'

Thanks, Jonathan!

You can follow Everything Everything on Twitter here, on Facebook here and pre-order A Fever Dream here

EDIT: EE have this week unveiled the second official single from A Fever Dream, Desire. Watch and listen above.

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