Jeremy Pritchard on their new album, and grappling with the digital sphere…

Ahead of the highly anticipated fifth album from Everything Everything, the band have once again loaned out their bassist Jeremy Pritchard.

No touring the UK with supergroup Foals on this loan, though – instead he sits down with Clash to talk about their excellent new album ‘Re-Animator’, the woes of the world, and how this ever-changing landscape is not necessarily the barrier we first thought it was, but instead a chance to challenge yourself and fine-tune your craft.

We’d argue that it’s a fair trade but I’m sure tour-starved Jeremy would disagree…

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We’re in the middle of what many have joked is an apocalyptic-style event and here Everything Everything are producing your least critical record as a band. It’s going to take a lot of people by surprise.

Definitely. Our last two albums, ‘Fever Dream’ and ‘Get to Heaven’ have been really been steeped in socio political machinations and we got kind of sick of carrying that heavy content around. We’ve been there and done that and we never like to repeat ourselves. We’ve already made those albums, we’ve already made those statements, we’ve already made those observations.

So, we had to go elsewhere. And we made our least apocalyptic and least political record, and now the actual apocalypse is happening.

Has the build up to release been nerve-racking?

It’s exciting. It’s a bit more comfortable in its own skin, is this record. It’s a bit more relaxed. we were just capturing performances. We weren’t overworking the songs. We weren’t overworking the recordings and we deliberately left a lot of kind of rougher edges in there – which we might have not allowed ourselves to do ten years ago. 

Ten years ago you may not have had the privilege to explore such a different avenue.

And the confidence as well. And also the change in sensibility. I think we’ve become a more relatable and accessible band as we’ve got older because we were paranoid about being that open when we were younger. It was all about keeping people at an arm’s length. It’s been a slow process of coming out of hiding in a way. 

We were so keen in the beginning of our career to be something really brand new and nothing that’s traceable or remotely cliche. And I think it actually gets slightly rung the honesty and emotion out of it a little bit. It’s something that we’ve gradually allowed in. There’s just a bit more vulnerability and tenderness.  One of the things about getting older, certainly in my case, is that I’ve learned to enjoy it a bit more and to stop getting caught up in the smaller details.

I can imagine that lesson has been a godsend in recent times. You’ve had to think on your feet and that’s a hard task if you’re fixated on said smaller details.

Well yeah, definitely. Any kind of limitations, it’s good for the art form, to respond to a limited set of resources. 

Your upcoming virtual reality shows are a fine example of your tenacity as a band. I can imagine you’re looking forward to them.

Yeah. I’m excited because it’s new ground. It’s not something that we’ve done before and it’s not really something that anyone’s done before.

People have been doing live stream shows but nothing that’s been interactive, nothing where you can actually enter into a world. You can take part by using a VR headset if you have one or just on your PC or mobile. You can create an avatar that attends the gig. You are in the environment. You can communicate with the band, other people, go to the merch stand and I think there’s a bar.

There’s lots of hidden features in there. We spend quite a lot of time working on this. It’s crackers really isn’t it but it’s a way to have some fun with the restrictions of real life by using the possibilities of digital life I suppose.

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The digital realm has been a saviour to so many in this time..

We’ve done the best we can. Even before the virtual reality gig stuff we were doing the live stream things that a lot of bands are doing. We were forced to think differently pretty much immediately. As soon as we’d have been shooting videos or even shooting press photographs, we were under lockdown. So, we had to be imaginative and resourceful. We had to use things like 3D modelling software and animation. Jon made a video with a hand puppet. Just things that hadn’t presented themselves before because we never had these kind of restrictions.

And actually, when I think about how we had to make videos at the end of the 2000s before we were a signed band, they were distinctive before because of their limitations. Because we had a budget of like 80 quid and we’d have to turn out a video in 36 hours and it would force us to be imaginative and ingenious and I think in a way it reminds me of that.

Things have changed. Do you remember how awkward video calls used to be and now they’re just second nature?

Things have drastically changed recently. It doesn’t look like life will return to its pre-Covid state for a while. The album captures this as it walks a fine line between the two worlds. Totally, we’d finished the album just before lockdown, so it’s in no way about the pandemic but the way in which we’ve presented it has had to respond to the pandemic, which has meant that the artwork and the photographs and the videos all have this certain signature born out of the fact that we literally couldn’t be at the same place at the same time. 

And the response has been incredible from fans.

Yeah, the response has been really good. I think that people have been excited, as are we, by the diversity that is in those four songs already. It’s arguably as diverse as our debut. It has that sense of exuberance and possibility about it that ‘Man Alive’ did as well.

What it’s really done is it’s augmented our identity even further, I think it’s kind of an essential Everything Everything album. We’ve really found our essence in this album and I think the fans have responded to that.

‘In Birdsong’ was your first release off of this new album. It was a surprising choice to return with something other than a pop hit.

It was not the song that we expected to return with at all. but we were excited when we realised that it was an option because we’d never normally have an opportunity to put a song like that out as a single or whatever you want to call it. Normally the more slow burn, esoteric stuff on our albums doesn’t usually get that spotlight, so it was nice to give it one. 

It seemed to reflect this unexpected reconnection with the natural world that everybody experienced early in lockdown. We had nice weather, there was no traffic and no planes in the sky and wildlife seemed to be so resurgent at that point. You know, you heard stories that dolphins were returning to the Venice canals because there were no boats. It happened so quickly. The natural world was able to rally and to reclaim so much back from humans.

Despite the restrictions in place, you’ve been able to be more free with your work.

Yeah, there’s a whole side of what we do that ‘In Birdsong’ is part of, that gets overlooked by the high street version of what we are as a band. 

There are some positives to be had despite the circumstances.

Yeah, the immediate stuff on the horizon, these two VR shows, and the album release will be quite fun. It’ll be exciting to have it out there, I think people are going to love it. I genuinely think it’s our best work. We captured something here and we captured something about the band and the four people that constitute the band.

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‘Re-Animator’ is out now.

Words: Megan Walder

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