Fan Q&A for EVERYTHING EVERYTHING 2018 – Part 1
A few months ago we asked for your questions to put to the band. We had a massive response of over 120 questions and, astonishingly, the band chose to answer virtually all of them, even though we said they didn’t need to!! This is part 1 of 3 and covers the band’s discography and writing process. Further topics in parts 2 and 3 include playing live/touring, other artists, past and future, EE fans, and assorted random questions! A big thank you to everyone who submitted a question and to the band for being so generous in answering so many of them. All answers are by Jonathan unless stated otherwise.
What’s the story behind the New Deep intro? How was that thought up, what’s the person doing in it?
That’s the sound of Jeremy walking through the studio, me (Jon) walking behind him wearing binaural headphones, we walk from outdoors to where Mike is playing the piano. Basically we had these binaural microphones and were experimenting with them. Jeremy scuffs his feet a little bit too in time with the piano which I felt was “unrealistic”, but whatever.
Is it true ‘The Wheel (is turning now)’ carries on into a secret additional unreleased song?
Erm, not really no. I mean Alex’s original demo of the ending maybe went on a bit longer.
How did the outro to The Wheel come about? Was it written at the same time as the rest of the song? That bit has always fascinated me because it sounds so different.
It was written all at the same time in a few hours. Jon had just written fortune 500 and I felt inspired to make something with extreme shifts in tone, the chorus’ used to be wildly different from the verses as well. I wanted to make something that felt insane, like flicking through radio stations. It was about short attention spans musically I guess! – Alex
Recently the ATB group came together to create an ultimate EE album, taking each song in relation to its track-listing & battling them out with the corresponding tracks across all 4 albums. This was the final result. Thoughts? Any surprises?”
Its a good spread, which is nice because it means we have popular songs from across all the albums. A little bit surprised to see president heartbeat as it sucks, but pleased Duet means so much to so many, that’s a song we’ve had some second thoughts about.
Lyra Messier (& similar from Gabriele Ilardi)
On what exact day within the next two weeks will you release Inspector Sands?
Ah yes, I hope that will eventually appear, somewhat unlikely any time soon though, sorry. An even less likely demo release from AFD sessions is called “Question One” which is extremely parental advisory
Will we ever see a new track with a repeated title a la Suffragette Suffragette and Cough Cough? (RIP Desire Desire)
Unlikely, maybe as a kind “suicide pact” final ultimate EE song before we die.
Why is Luddites & Lambs only a poorly recorded B-side? It should’ve been on Man Alive as far as I can see.
POORLY RECORDED? You wash that mouth out. It was an early song I guess we didn’t feel it fitted on the record, written before we had a band at all.
If you had to remove one song off each album, which four would they be?
- Come alive diana
- Get to Heaven
- New Deep
Not bad songs just feel the records would essentially “survive” without them.
This is for Alex, what is your favorite guitar solo/riff in all the EE discography?
Big Game, Only as Good as my God
Charlie Hughes, Thomas Graham & Ben Chesher
There’s always a lot of discussion about ‘I Believe It Now’, are you fans of the song? What do you think of the subsequent covers? Would you ever perform it live?
Yes we like it, obviously there’s an association with the TV programme so that takes it out of circulation live, it’s not really connected to anything else so we’ve never played it or anything, but no we do like it. The first cover was the worst thing I’ve ever heard, total shite, they changed the chords for some reason and made it into a much weaker melody. However the most recent one is good. Fun fact: hidden in the intro is a vocal going “it’s footy time” over the bass stabs. Those stabs bear a striking resemblance to Goldeneye btw, a Bond film we enjoy.
Is ‘A Fever Dream’ the spiritual second cousin of Radiohead’s ‘Hail to the Thief’?
All our albums are to some extent. Perhaps less so with these particular examples as I think HTTT is quite an incoherent Radiohead record, and AFD is probably our most coherent. Lots of thematic crossover between all theirs and all ours though.
What were the other possible names for Man Alive?
Taj Mahal was the frontrunner for a long time. The label weren’t so keen. Also Man Alone was mooted for a bit, the same title as a film Jon had made a few years previously.
What are each of your favourite songs that you have written and/or recorded?
Warm healer is one my favourite things I’ve written , it was the start of quite a new sound for us and laid the groundwork for songs like good shot and put me together. Alex
Is there any particular reason why Crisis Over never got a proper release?
Actually it did, it appeared on some sort of Indie compilation in 2008. good luck tracking that down
Inspired by the recent My KZ drum discussion on twitter, what is the best drum track that has ever been put out by the band?
We were all impressed by Mike’s playing on Put Me Together, it was the most “free” part we’ve ever recorded and he drew a lot from his jazz background.
Why have you decided to never play Duet live again?
It’s not strict at all, it’s just that we found it didn’t fit with our other material and to be honest there isn’t a great deal for most of the band to do live, it’s all strings! So for that reason it doesn’t ever really come up in setlist discussion.
What exactly are those ‘anvil’ sounds on Run The Numbers?
They are collection of Tibetan bells I have at home put through a midiverb II with distortion after – Alex
Please don’t ever stop being Everything Everything. You have given me so much pleasure listening and seeing you perform since your music first blew me away eight years ago. Is there any chance you could re release Man Alive on coloured vinyl for Record Store Day 2019?
Thank you. There has been some talk of a re release at the ten year mark (2020), whether that happens or not is unknown.
Have you ever thought about doing reinterpreted/reworked versions of the pre-Man Alive tracks to fit with your current style?
Not really, we want to stay true to how we felt at the time of recording. Just as an aside, Mike Oldfield’s reinterpretation of his own Tubular Bells album many decades later was unfathomably bad. We wouldn’t want to be that guy, age and wisdom doesn’t always mean you know best with art.
I know it’s been a lot of time since then, but whose idea was that of making a Don’t Try remix? I really love it and would love to know more about it.
We can’t remember! I think we were just beginning to take remixes seriously and that seemed like an obvious choice to mess with.
Which of the ‘Get To Heaven’ bonus tracks are you most proud of and why? Any chance of a vinyl pressing of the full 17 track deluxe album one day?
We are fond of Only as Good as my God, the harmony is quite unusual and it has a good level of tension. Vinyl would be nice!
For Jon – do you ever write poetry other than lyrics for songs? Do you enjoy putting your thoughts into words or do you just do it because lyrics are something that comes with writing music?
No I don’t, unless you count my lyric notes i guess. I definitely enjoy it, i enjoy how much freedom you have – it’s actually crazy – i could sing literally anything i want. When a song has no words and is just waiting for you it’s an amazing feeling. Lyrics set to music are poetry but with a massive extra boost, like film vs painting, it just can’t compete. You can suddenly have 30 paintings a second if you want, i feel like that about setting words to music.
Julia FC Miller
How do you choose which songs will become singles? Or are they “born” singles? Is that a more artistic or commercial exercise? Have you ever regretted choosing one and leaving another one out? And has this process become easier over time?
Usually it’s obvious from inception if a song will be appropriate, and by “song” i really mean “chorus”, and by “chorus” i really mean “hook”. So it can be as simple and small as a 3 second hook, you know right away if it will work on radio, if it will stick in heads etc. once that is clear we might engineer things a little so the song is a reasonable length (3 – 3.5 mins), but usually that’s the only type of change we will have in mind, and in those instances it’s only done at the start to avoid chopping it out at the end which can be painful. It’s commercial in a sense, we know there are several golden rules for radio (eg. “don’t bore us, get to the chorus”) so we stay within those guidelines and push everything else as much as we can get away with. However we often break these rules too, No Reptiles is a terrible choice for radio for example, it doesn’t even have a chorus! But we put them out sometimes to make a different sort of statement. Over time single choice can paint you into a corner a bit, you get known for doing one type of thing, this can get frustrating and inform future choices a bit. I think we’ve had songs that could have worked (blast doors? To the blade?) but usually the fans kind of “decide” this stuff and treat some songs like singles anyway, i wouldn’t say we have many single choice regrets (no pun intended). Maybe Duet, it was a bit of a misstep but we learned a lot about who we are as a band.
Which of your songs or albums have your favourite production?
I’m fond of the wonkier moments in Man Alive (Two for Nero’s diabolically bad Harspichord sound) but most of my favourite production things occur on GTH/AFD, we were growing in confidence and there’s a lot more fun being had with sound. Stuart Price was an endless source of outrageous ideas, like the squelchy bass intro to Spring/Sun.
Is there any producer you would like to work with?
At the moment we are talking a lot about producing ourselves. I’m enjoying the work of Nick Launay. Also Dave Fridmann.
Do you guys ever sample other tracks and try them in your music? I noticed that S/S/W/D has a similar beat to Alphaville’s Big in Japan.
The only sample we ever took was that Star Trek one in Distant Past, but we actually swapped it for one we created ourselves to avoid getting sued by Shatner. Oh and there’s a big choral sample in AFD. maybe some others somewhere? An elephant in Don’t Try. the proper answer is that yes sometimes we copy things very closely, but usually there’s some sort of development, and we always remake as opposed to sampling.
What’re you guys’ opinions on the band’s early works and its development since then?
We were very musically uptight about lots of unnecessary things and lyrically very messy, unfocussed. I think we’ve learned to chill out a bit, be a bit more relaxed about music. I find our early stuff quite annoying now, certainly my “persona” anyway. We’ve also opened up a lot to making people dance, something our early incarnation would have avoided. I’m really happy with where we’ve taken the band musically, and I think Alex’s growing role has been a large part of it.
What’s in your opinion the worst song you’ve ever recorded??
Probably some bside or other that shouldn’t have existed like Justice or No Plan. half the GTH bonus tracks weren’t up to scratch in my opinion, Brainchild for example. This was partly why we chose not to do a deluxe version of AFD with loads of half-baked things stuck on the end! No offence to fans of those tunes but I think they could have been better with more time.
Rose Spence & Emily G
Some of your lyrics are quite open to interpretation, what’s the weirdest interpretation you’ve seen? Is there anywhere you actually prefer that interpretation to what you originally meant?
I found on Lyric Genius that people thought Leave the Engine Room was about abortion! I can see why, but it was still a surprise. Sometimes people will say to me “this song got me through this hard time with the death of my mum” and I’m thinking “dude that song is about UKIP” so I have to accept that my interpretation really doesn’t matter, and as soon as we put something out it really isn’t ours, it belongs to the audience, which is often really powerful and humbling.
Will the fox in ‘Tin’ make a return? Don’t we need his/her perspective?
I daydream about bringing back characters yes, qwerty and the fox are often on my mind, as they both represent ideas much bigger than a person. I think i would still wait a little before they return, i have some ideas about a (hidden) character from GTH though, he still has a lot to say.
I love to listen to EE when I draw, because it brings out so many different images and scenes in my mind. Do you, in a way, have a similar relationship with visual art, where it inspires you to create musically? If so, how?
I find music a bit overwhelming if i’m trying to do anything artistic (i do like to draw hideous shit), so usually podcasts are preferable. Maybe i’m too close to the artform of music that i can’t help analysing everything.
For Alex, you said on a podcast that the synths from Good Shot are samples of your voice. So my question is, how that process work and if you have used that kind of samples in other songs?
You have to sing all the notes first, from as low to as high as you can, then you put them into a synth that will play them when you ask for it. You make a sort of voice keyboard. It was pioneered by 10CC but they did it all with tape! The basis for the backing track in Zero Pharaoh is a similar thing.
Are you always in the process of writing new songs or do you prefer to set aside time outside of touring to make material for each new release?
We take breaks, the best material just appears as and when, there aren’t any set ways to make it good. We tend to have a long period of writing set aside, which we are just about to start.
Which songs so far have come closest to sounding just as you imagined them in your head originally, and how good would you say you’ve gotten at achieving that over time?
I would say No Reptiles is pretty close, I wrote the main melody (oh baby…) walking down the street, i didn’t want to forget it so i sang it into my phone and kept repeating it round and round in my head. by the time i got home it had grown and was huge and orchestral, just like the record turned out. We’ve got better at making these things happen, but conversely I don’t think we really write in this way much, we tend to bounce ideas between each other at an earlier stage.
I really love how thematic your music is. Have you ever had an idea for a concept album that was just too weird for public consumption or too elaborate to practically record?
I wanted AFD to be very Alt-Right in execution, i realised pretty quickly it would be misinterpreted and raised loads of questions that took the focus away from the actual music. This type of thing has to be done more subtly – which i struggle with! I’m not very subtle. In terms of practicalities i don’t think there’s much that’s out of the question with today’s technology, i’d love to record a big choir.
Have you ever lost motivation for making music?
Not really, starting something is always easy, it’s the next bit that’s hard – finding something special.