Daily Record interview
ART-ROCKERS Everything Everything have revealed how a joke song about bad sex helped inspire the follow up to their Mercury Music-nominated album Man Alive.
Jonathan Higgs, Jeremy Pritchard, Alex Robertshaw and Michael Spearman return with a new set of songs on their second album Arc, which is released tomorrow.
One track, Armourland, has raised a few eyebrows due to the lyric – “I want to take you home, take off your blindfold and show you what I am” — and Robertshaw has told fans they are wrong to suggest it’s an ode to mummy porn novel 50 Shades Of Grey.
“Originally, the lyrics were far more rude,” said singer Higgs. “We wrote the chorus as a kind of joke when we were making the first album Man Alive. We were really drunk and messing around.
“I was singing lots of vile things. The years passed and we never forgot this chorus because it is a really great hook.
“I changed the lyrics very slightly and now we’ve got a good song. It remains a love song at heart but it takes place in a very dystopian scene.
“The original lyrics were very rude and didn’t make sense.
“I can’t repeat them.”
Higgs insists the X-rated original version is best left on the shelf, though he might unearth a demo version.
“That’s for the remaster in 30 years,” he said. “We have a demo cassette that we recorded on an old-school four-track machine.
“It is in our lock-up in the tape machine we recorded it on.
“It’s been there for a few years and is probably warped.
“That version was just meant to be funny but I rewrote the new song to be more serious.”
He isn’t averse to the idea of fans throwing blindfolds on to the stage as the song is performed but believes the novelty would soon wear off.
Higgs, who like Pritchard has a degree in popular music, added: “That would be nice, or dressing gown cords.
“The rest of the words, though, are so unsexy, about people coughing and falling down in a street. It is anti-sexy and the tenderness in the chorus you could take either way.”
Arc is expected to be one of the best albums released by a British mainstream band in early 2013.
Accused of going for the melodic jugular, Higgs admits he made a conscious decision to go all out to make classic pop songs that might appeal to the masses.
But he is getting a little fed up hearing people say the band sound like 70s new wave act, XTC.
“We do hear XTC come up a lot but none of us listen to them,” he said. “We’ve heard the singles, I guess, but we are not massive fans of that period really. A lot of the stuff we listened to making this album was just the music we were recording.
“We were into The Cars’ Drive song.
“We thought there was something magical about the way that felt. We tried to get close to that in a few places on the record.
“When you are making a record, you don’t really listen to other things because you are thinking about music so much. You don’t want other music clouding your judgment. We tried to stop ourselves listening to things.”
He added: “One of the things we tried to do far more than the first time was to make sure the songs were strong and melodies were memorable.
“I wanted it to be a record other people could play if they wanted to and not have to rely on a particular sound. I wanted the songs to be strong so that it didn’t matter who was playing them.
“It didn’t have to be a cool thing from now. I wanted songs that could be played 20 years from now.
“We didn’t want to be from this time. We wanted Arc to be more timeless than the first record.”
Tomorrow also sees the release of the band’s new single, Kemosabe, which Higgs wrote in his dad’s garden shed.
“I went up for a week or so, threw some logs on the fire, plugged in my laptop and wrote the song in the freezing cold,” he said.
“The shed has a little log burner my dad put in just before I came home, which is why I went.”
But if the album takes off, he believes it may not be long before the band are playing sheds on an entirely grander scale.
“We toured with Snow Patrol at the beginning of last year,” said Higgs.
“We learned lots of things about big rooms and the machine that bands become part of when they get to that level and that scale of touring – what that feels like.
“It was an eye-opener and a lot more boring than any of us suspected. We had this idea that stadium touring was going to be amazing.
“But in reality a lot of stadiums in the world are exactly the same. You spend your time in the bowels of them looking at concrete until you go onstage.”
The band will make do with more modest venues when they head out on tour next month, including a Scottish date at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on February 20. The first four dates have already sold out.
Despite just one Scots date, the band promise to return, ideally to the biggest festival north of the Border.
“We’ll be back,” said Higgs. “I don’t say this about all the places. Scotland, and particularly Glasgow, is always good and T in the Park is crazy.
“More so than anywhere.
“We always love coming to Scotland.
“We don’t know yet if we will be playing T in the Park but we will definitely try.”