Jeremy Pritchard (far left) with the rest of the bandSteve Gullick with permission for Varsity

Everything Everything’s poignant dystopian insights are embodied within their impressive catalogue of records, featuring complex soundscapes and resonant sociopolitical sentiment. I struggled to quiet my excited inner fangirl when I sat down to chat with Jeremy Pritchard, the bassist of the band, which was formed in 2007 and played on repeat in my household. Bolstered by many an interview experience in his substantial career, Pritchard’s chill demeanour was instantly calming and the conversation flowed.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, he alluded to the influence of prolific bands such as the Beatles, Radiohead and Kraftwerk: creators that “have not rested on their laurels” and reflected changes in their own tastes. He offers Radiohead’s OK Computer as his “take to the grave” record, yet states that it’s really impossible to pick just one. Pritchard suggests that there is a window towards the end of our teenage years where we are particularly absorbent, and any music that gets in at that stage remains throughout our lifetime. In attempting to emulate some of their own influences, Pritchard states that the band inevitably ends up somewhere completely new. What they feel is most important, however, is to reflect the artists who held clear aesthetic directives within each album, suggesting that it is “good to demarcate different periods” in their career.

“In attempting to emulate some of their own influences [...] the band inevitably ends up somewhere completely new”

Their latest album, Raw Data Feel, is demonstrative of the band’s evolving aesthetic. While satirically harnessing the sound influences of an increasingly technological age, Pritchard states that it is fundamentally about “renewal”. Written during periods of change in all the members’ lives, Pritchard says that vocalist and lyricist John Higgs was keen to change up the process and co-opted some AI software during the writing stage. Including fragments from Confucius’s writings to controversial 4Chan forum posts, Higgs would engage and respond to the software. Personally, I’ve found this production process particularly interesting, especially in regards to the increased controversy surrounding the use of AI in the creation of art. However, Pritchard notes that only around 5% of this correspondence actually ended up on the record, and the rest centres on the innovation of the modern age.

Though Pritchard recognises that everyone feels “trepidatious about the wider implications of AI”, he confesses to being rather “ambivalent” about its influence within the arts. Surprising maybe, yet he explains that he believes it will be just as dangerous as any other technological advancement that we don’t quite understand. Recalling fears that synthesisers would put musicians out of business after their proliferation in the later decades of the 20th century, he states that just “didn’t turn out to be true”. Instead, “what kind of happened was a melding of sensibilities”; they turned out to be “just another canvas”, a tool that like AI will just “broaden the capabilities of what humans can do”.

“AI will just broaden the capabilities of what humans can do”

Meanwhile, Pritchard describes their newest unreleased album, Mountainhead, as the most “fantasistic concept” yet. Being written throughout the touring stages of Raw Data Feel, he suggests that the interpolation of these two experiences inevitably influenced each other. When I ask what we can expect from the new album, he suggests that it might be the “most bold or vivid science fiction statement we’ve ever done”. Yet they’re still using the same “basic allegory about last stage capitalism”, encompassing their statement within a musical description of the process of building a mountain, and how, in doing so, they build a hole that they ultimately prefer to remain in. This concept of “growth for growth’s sake”, he suggests, is particularly pertinent within the current political climate of this country today, and in the west generally.

While he describes Raw Data Feel as more polished – their Revolver, I may be ambitious in suggesting – Mountainhead has more of a gritty feel, combining the strictness of New York neoclassical music from the 70s with the “sweaty late night sleazy stuff”. He reasserts that although they talk about all these influences in conversation that they attempt to channel, really you just “fumble your way through the process in the dark [and end up] somewhere you’ve never really been before”. I find this sense of creative optimism striking when considering the cynicism that permeates their music.

“There is ‘something very atavistic’ in gathering to listen to music”

Pritchard states that he is proud of all the records the band has produced and that he likes the idea that they are leaving a legacy that will shift alongside people’s perceptions. Personally, he says that he enjoys engaging in the history intrinsic to live performance, suggesting that there is “something very atavistic” in gathering to listen to music as a “communal experience”. It is then, he says, that he fully understands what the songs mean to people. Looking back on the band’s career, Pritchard tells me that pop music is particularly “ephemeral” and smiles as he says that artists can only aspire to “ten good years”.


Mountain View

Amy Munro-Faure on Cambridge Zero’s fight against climate change

Now in their 17th year, I ask how Everything Everything have remained in the spotlight for so long, appealing to everyone from ten-year-old me, screaming lyrics in the car, to self-proclaimed critics like my father (rightfully so). Pritchard tentatively states that while it works on a “purely visceral level” (eg Amelie yelling in a car), their music also works on an intellectual level. Beyond that, he says there is a conceptual backstory that lyricist Higgs is really careful to cultivate, but which listeners can choose whether to dive into or not. Ultimately, however, he reminds me that the most important essence of enduringly resonant music is perfecting the “simple building blocks”: harmony, melody and rhythm. It is this innocent simplicity translated into masterfully interwoven complexities of meaning that I would suggest will guarantee the band’s lasting success.

Mountainhead will be released on 1 March, and Everything Everything are playing at Cambridge Junction on 2 April. See their tour dates here.