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Everything Everything are a British art rock band that formed in late 2007. They originate from Tynedale, Kent and Guernsey and reside in Manchester.
The band have released two albums to date – 2010’s Man Alive and 2013’s Arc – and have been widely critically acclaimed. Their work was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize and received three nominations for the Ivor Novello Award.
Three of the original band members are from Northumberland, England – Jonathan Higgs (lead vocals, keyboards, laptop and guitar) grew up in the border village of Gilsland while Michael Spearman (drums, vocals) and Alex Niven (guitars, vocals) are from Newbrough. The three met at Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham where they played music together. Higgs went on to study for a degree in Popular Music and Recording at Salford University, where he met Kent-born bass player Jeremy Pritchard. Higgs and Pritchard decided to form a band once their degree had finished.
Towards the end of 2006, Higgs and Niven devised plans to start a band “with a sort of Paul Morley-inspired, poptimist aesthetic”. Niven has described the band’s naming process as follows: “The idea as I saw it was to try to take contemporary R&B pop music and fashion a vaguely Futurist project out of it, and between the two of us we chose the name Everything Everything, a détournement of sorts of an over-saturated media culture into something idealistic and expansive”. With the addition of Pritchard and Spearman, the band began performing in the autumn of 2007. Pritchard recalls “We were initially more punky, with more guitars and no synths at all. It was easiest to play gigs like this and to get to grips with playing together. But the plan was always to expand the sound when we had the scope/could afford the gear!”
Quickly gaining attention from the music industry, the band began working with producer David Kosten (Bat For Lashes, Faultline). Everything Everything released their first single “Suffragette Suffragette” on 1 December 2008 through XL Recordings offshoot Salvia as a limited 7″ vinyl release only. This was later followed by the release of single “Photoshop Handsome” on 20 July 2009, available only as a limited 7″ single. In autumn 2009, the band then released “MY KZ, UR BF” as another vinyl-only release, this time with the record label Young & Lost Club. All three singles were released with accompanying music videos, with those for “Suffragette Suffragette” and “Photoshop Handsome” made entirely by the band themselves.
At this point, Niven left the band to pursue other interests and was replaced by Guernsey-born guitarist Alex Robertshaw.
Everything Everything made the longlist of the BBC Sound of 2010 on 7 December 2009, a list created by Britain’s tastemakers who vote for their favourite new artists.
Not long after the nomination for BBC Sound of 2010, Everything Everything signed to the UK arm of Geffen Records before releasing the single “Schoolin'” on 10 June 2010 as a CD single, digital download and also as a 7″ vinyl. The single became the first to make an impact on the charts, debuting at number 152.
The band’s debut album Man Alive (produced by David Kosten) was released on 30 August 2010 and was preceded by a reissue of the single “MY KZ, UR BF” which was re-released on 23 August 2010, debuting on the UK Singles Chart at number 121. The album was then released a week later, debuting on the UK Albums Chart at number 17.
Man Alive received high critical praise from some reviewers, though others were critical. New Musical Express dubbed the band as “pop’s new Picassos” and commented “there are three dirty words in indie right now: ambition, intellect and effort. Everything Everything don’t just fit those terms, they pole-vault over them.” BBC Music hailed the band’s “brilliance” and noted “this Manchester quartet flee from any identikit indie clique, throwing ever-changing, protean sonic shapes… EE are wilfully eccentric, and endlessly entertaining, but they know more than most how to craft a song, how to make an album. They know how to give it depth, light and dark, and they – crucially – know when to stop.” Drowned in Sound praised the band’s “sheer, rampant confidence” and described the album as containing “some pretty spiffy stuff…this is a band going places – they know it, and we know it.” Writing in Pitchfork Media, Ian Cohen commented that the album was “proof that enthusiastic experimentation can’t save your end product when the underlying elements are so incompatible and unappetizing” and criticized Higgs’s “irritating voice”. On 19 July 2011 Man Alive was shortlisted for the 2011 Mercury Prize (although it lost out to PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake).
In May 2011, Everything Everything performed at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Carlisle. This was a gig close to home for Jonathan Higgs, who grew up in Gilsland only a few miles away. On 28 November 2011 (along with local Manchester musicians Badly Drawn Boy and I Am Kloot) Everything Everything performed as part of the Billie Butterfly charity concert, raising funds for American medical treatment for Billie Bainbridge, a local young girl diagnosed with a rare brain tumour.
The band went on to support Snow Patrol in February 2012, and Muse in November and December.