Dee Dee Ramone once described Irving Plaza as “funky without being a dump.” Even we would agree to that now.
Irving Plaza’s red and black lounge seemed like the ideal space to host a conversation with indie rock band, Everything Everything. The room was edgy and a bit dingy, adorned with Asian print and leather seating. On the same day, the band was playing one of the last few shows left in their U.S. tour. Since the members arrived early for sound check, we were lucky enough to pull two out of the four members to talk to, Jeremy (keyboard) and Michael (drums). In the process, we found out what influenced their unique sound, how sensitive they were and still are to global disasters, and had them interpret several songs from their last album, Get To Heaven.
What color do you feel like today?
[Jeremy] Blue! I always feel like blue. Not in a bad way. Blue is home, all that stuff.
[Michael] I’d say white.
Can you tell us why are you guys called Everything Everything?
Because it was on the short list, basically. Like, “Infinity Face” (which I was tempted on) -- but it looked and sounded the best. It represents itself graphicly. We kind of retro-fitted the name to encompass that -- We didn’t realize at the time that it would be so all encompassing but we’re happy about it. Everything Everything had so much positivity to it. I still like it, I still feel like it has potential and we really connect to it.
We’re huge fans of Radiohead and we know you were inspired by them, correct? Was it Kid A that did it?
Kid A isn’t exactly the favorite album but it’s certainly a “year one” kind of “reset button” because up until that point, we sort of played all alternative rock and sounds that are similar.
And some people even call you guys “dance worthy Radiohead," you know...
I think you can definitely hear Radiohead in our music. And also just the attitude -- we don’t feel too restricted by tunes, we just do whatever we want. When Radiohead make new albums, you don’t really know what you’re going to get. So we have that approach. We hope to carve out that sort of niche, our own sort of niche… That I think we’re really developing quite well.
So speaking of albums, your latest album Get To Heaven -- what made you want to write a morbid album with such things like ISIS, riots, beheadings, and mass shootings?
That’s what was going on. That was the world around us in 2014. The whole time we were on tour a few years back, we were kind of in a bubble and not really aware of the outside world, what’s going on at home, etc... So suddenly to be confronted with the rolling news again was quite a shock. It was also just a particularly bad time for humanity.
If the record were to be written about anything else, it would’ve been ignorant. It would've been deliberately closing the door, which is not what we need to do. It was just a very bleak time.
We wanted it to be angry. We’re trying to evoke reaction.
Were there any fears or concerns before the release?
Yes... We thought we would piss more people off than we did. I was amazed that people had the indulgence that they did, and more willing to entertain some of the more extreme concepts and elements of the record. Which surprised and relieved us because we took big risks; It's really reassuring, because we feel like we have more license than ever - and in a way, less scrutiny.
What was it like working with Stuart Price, who produced Madonna, and New Order already? Did you want your sound to be more 80s?
No, not really. I don't think we got that either. We were quite conscious that we got Mr. Popman, who did a lot of records were not particularly fond of. The thing that clinched it is that he seemed to be really engaged and had a thorough knowledge of music. He made the production process exciting for us again.
What was the most challenging aspect of creating this album? What song is the most difficult to perform live?
Emotion was the hardest part of creating this album. People forget that about being in a band. Were like brothers, and we make stuff together from nothing. Its hard, and quite emotionally difficult.
"Warm Healer" was hard. It's a long song and quite hard to convey the subtleties. But if you're playing any song every night, you can play anything as long as your clarity is on.
And "Warm Healer" is such a contrast to the other songs. It breaks from the chaos on the rest of the record and almost comes across as romantic. What was your idea with it?
Its supposed to be the most calm moment in the album, but this is as tranquil as well go. We thought of it in terms of the record, so it comes as a soothing reassurance - hence the name. The title reflects the purpose of the song more than what its about.
There’s a lot of dichotomy between having this energetic beat and dark yet bold lyrics. Do you still consider yourself "pop" with how elaborate the topics are in your songs?
We’re as pop as we are. Everybody's definition is different. We don't think we're Justin Bieber. It depends on your definition.
Everyone who has listened to No Reptiles might agree that the lyric “It’s alright to feel like a fat child in a pushchair” is one of the most memorable lines. Fat is a word constantly thrown in that song, to especially describe society. How do you draw that connection?
We talked about about it a lot, the couplet. It doesn't make sense without the following line, which is “Old enough to run, old enough to fire a gun.” It's also the feeling of being fat; The feeling of being physically wasted. In regard to society, it's a criticism that it’s bloated in every sense, I guess.
We have to compliment you on your genius lyrical capabilities. How’d you get to writing so well? Did anything in particular help?
It's Jon who writes the lyrics, but we usually make the titles, having written lyrics since he was 10, so he's very well versed. He's very conscious of cliche, and wanting to avoid it. He's not particularly literary or well read, and doesn't like fiction, but he is very useful. Jon is just quite analytical in general, but we don't think he has formally thought about or studied it.
"Regret" has an absurd, really unique video. What was the vision behind it?
The themes of the record are how people are power, and devotees are cultish. It's about pieces of power and deception. It's simultaneously a fantasy of what it was like to live a thousand years ago, and what it's like to live today - as contradictory as that may be..
Have you ever considered rapping, cause you can sing really fast!
Yeah, we have actually! We're interested in African music. Hip hop was a huge part of the 90s. By the last third of our DJ sets we play rap. Nothing sounds better than Dre in the club...