Sometimes wanting everything has nothing to do with being megalomaniac – it just shows ambition and the desire to push the own goals always a bit further. So, in case a band name itself EVERYTHING EVERYTHING you can assume that they have big plans. With their sophomore studioalbum Arc being released a month ago, the four piece from Manchester proved that they want to be more than just another hip band from the United Kingdom. They claim more than just being one of thousand other indie-pop/rock groups – indeed, they want everything
Their music soaks up elements from everywhere it seems. It’s hard to define but overall it is quite catchy. Arc feels like an experimental take on the best of popular music. We had the chance to talk with frontman Jonathan Higgs about the group’s approach on the new record, his pessimistic view on the world we live in and how the band – almost accidently – became opening act for MUSE.
Is there a special story behind your band name EVERYTHING EVERYTHING or did you just chose it because it’s catchy?
Well, it does help that it sounds catchy. I think we choose it because more than anything else it gives you an impression that basicly anything can happen. It doesn’t tie you down to any genre, any expectation – and it gives you a lot of freedom, which we quite liked.
And you can clearly sense a lot of that freedom in your new record. There’s pop in it, but also electronic moments and a lot of r’n'b elements too. How would you describe the sound of “Arc”?
I think it’s basicly just pop. I mean, when you look at THE BEATLES in their later years you hear an orchestra on one song and a banjo on another – and you can’t worry too much about a certain genre on this one. People are always wondering and keep saying ‘What Is this?’ while I think it’s just pop music. I mean, it’s fifty years of popular music that influenced us – so, there is plenty of possibilities right here. But the people shouln’t worry that much about it. (laughs)
Is there at least a certain topic for the whole album?
Basicly it’s quite diverse but there is an underline feeling of ‘something bad is coming soon’. The album sounds like a warning.
More on a personal level or is it a warning for the whole society?
Both, that’s what I intended. I compare my life and the life of other people and think about which direction it goes, whether it turns out good or bad. But this also counts for humans in general, of course.
The feedback to “Arc” has been quite positive so far and I think your UK tour is pretty much sold out. Is this some sort of relief?
Yeah, it is. But I felt much more confident about this album in general than the first one. As soon as we made it we knew we made the best we could do at this moment. And we were like ‘Well, if people don’t like it, screw them.’ (laughs) So, I was less concerned about what the critics say about it this time. But the reaction from everywhere was quite fantastic. I mean, it was number Five in the charts which is kind of stupid. What the hell is going on there? (laughs)
I also read somewhere that you’re not that happy with your debut album anymore. Is that true?
Of course and I hope in a couple of years I can look back on Arc and think we could have done better than this. I mean, if you are one hundred percent satisfied with what you’ve done than … I don’t know, go to sleep. (laughs) So, maybe when I’m fity years old and I look back I might enjoy the first one a bit more but at the moment I feel like changing and moving forward.
Your single “Kemosabe” is named after a term from the TV series “Lone Ranger” and it means something like “Good Friend”. Is there a special reason for naming a song after it?
The song is about feeling alone even when you’re with somebody. And I liked the fact that the Lone Ranger is called Lone Ranger and he has a friend who’s always there for him. He’s called Tonto, the Indian guy, and they call each other Kemosabe. I used their relationship as a metaphor and I think everybody knows that feeling when you’re alone even if you are in company. And I used other phrases from the series as well just because I like the language.
You know that there’s a movie coming up about that with Johnny Depp playing Tonto?
Yes, I’ve heard this and I’m quite lucky that we were first with the idea. (laughs)
You already said that you like the bigger and smaller aspects of your lyrics. What inspires them most? Is it certain events or people you know?
I think it’s people more than events. I find a lot of inspiration in the people I love or ones from the past, my parents or maybe my brother’s children. And having the chance of giving it a different perspective via the media is quite interesting as well. Having the chance of watching, for example, news from a foreign country inspires me also – although often in a quite negative way. Learning from the past, mixing it with today’s society. I like this a lot, but, well, it’s a quite dark picture I must say.
Did any of those people in your songs recognized themselves in real life?
I think it must have happened by now, but I think they keep it quiet. (laughs)
It’s quite likely that the four of you are inspired by a lot of different music. Are there any musical role models you can agree on?
Well, we all love RADIOHEAD and pretty much every good band you can think of. ARCADE FIRE, for example. And we all got a certain love for American hip hop and r’n'b, like DESTINY’S CHILD or R. KELLY. I think these are the main influences. Two of us are proper jazz players as well – so, they are responsible for making things even weirder as they were before. (laughs) We’re always pushing ourselves.
You went on tour with rock superstars MUSE recently? How did it feel to open for them, especially with that epic stage design in your back?
Yeah, it was very bizarre, especially when we build up our equipment for the first time. But we got a really good reception everywhere we went. I remember the German gigs were great – and also Prague. It looks like we were fitting quite well with the MUSE fans and they understood our music.
How did you end up with them in the first place?
I think our producer knew Dominic, the drummer from MUSE, and he gave him the CD. And a few months later we got an e-mail asking us if we wanna do it. And, well, you can’t say ‘No’ to that.
Finally – what do hope and passion mean to you?
I think hope is probably the most important human emotion that you can have. I think without hope we’d have nothing – so, it’s clearly number one. And passion is different for different people, if you know what I mean. And you don’t have to have passion – I mean, I know people who are completely passionless but happy. As long as they are truthful it’s okay. I think this is more important.