Everything Everything talk us through making new album A Fever Dream...
Last time wonk pop foursome Everything Everything recorded a studio album, it was a strange process.
They’d secured producer Stuart Price, the triple-Grammy winner with hits with The Killers, Madonna and more under his belt, but there was a complication. They’d have to work remotely for the most part and then they’d get Price in person to finish off the record. It was a year of working alone and then a final burst, not a process they were keen to repeat.
For their new album, A Fever Dream the band vowed to be faster and more efficient with their songwriting and to utilise the month in the studio they had with Arctic Monkeys/Foals producer James Ford to the full.
We spoke to bassist Jeremy Pritchard about changing the way they worked and why this is an album just as politically charged as their previous effort...
How did you want A Fever Dream to move on from what you did on Get To Heaven?
“We were really pleased with Get To Heaven, with the finished article and the reaction we got, but we didn’t want to have a similar experience in how we made it. We stewed over those songs for a long time. We felt like we let things slide while we were touring the second album and we had to build up those muscles again and this time we didn’t want to let that skillset wither. So we wanted to work quicker, be less neurotic and enjoy it a bit more. We didn’t apply the high ideals we had on Get To Heaven, that album we wanted everything to be very hard and fast, very direct, this time we just decided to let things come naturally.”
Did you find the step up in pace an easy thing to achieve? Was it hard to break the cycle of re-working things endlessly?
“It was because of the way we were working, last time there was a lot of sitting in a rehearsal room staring at each other, this time we made sure we had the base material before we got that far. John and Alex were taking the songs quite far on their laptops before we got in the room together, some of the demos they made were so convincing we barely had to touch them and others we reworked a lot. Having James Ford on board was also key. We had a month with him and that was all we could get, so we had to work towards that. With Get To Heaven, we were more by ourselves.”
Had you wanted to work with James Ford for a while?
“Absolutely. He’s so talented and he can turn his hand to pretty much any style of music. He shares our attitude to music, he doesn’t see genres, he just wants to make the songs work. We were made aware of him from Simian Mobile Disco, but it was hearing Arctic Monkeys’ Favourite Worst Nightmare, that was just before we put the band together and I remember talking to John about it at the time. It’s just a perfect sounding rock record, we said at the time, 'let’s work with that guy'. Sadly it took us 10 years to get him…”
What was he like? Did he live up to expectations?
“I don’t know if we had any expectations really. I was just hoping it’d be someone who would make us value the experience and he really did, he made it fun and not contentious or fractious. He dispenses this positive atmosphere, he’s very good at steering from the back and he constantly makes decisions, but never feels domineering. That’s a rare skill.”
It must have been a marked difference to last time, you only had 10 days with Stuart Price didn’t you?
“We had nine days at the end of the process with Stuart, the rest was tracking on our own, we’d stew over a drum track for three days when we really needed to be moving a bit more nimbly. This time it was so much smoother.”
What kind of album do you think this is lyrically? Is it as politically charged as Get To Heaven?
“It comes from a more human angle. It’s more about the personal fallout from events, we foreshadowed a lot of things on Get To Heaven, we could see them coming over the horizon, now they’re here for real and we’re talking about the different relationship fallouts for people. This is less about the horror and more about the emotional wreckage. It’s about the sense of the division that’s going on.”
Do you all sit down and discuss those songs to make sure you all agree on the message?
“Not specifically. I think if we sat down and went through it line by line you’d find it’s like pulling the wings off a butterfly, it has to remain ambiguous. John’s quite conscious though that if there’s a line that the three of us don’t get it, it’s unlikely anybody else will. Quite a lot of the time it’s us telling him to keep lines he wants to throw out. He’s much more open with the process now.”
When did you settle on the album title?
“During the recording, the month we had with James. It’s a title of one of the songs and we thought it really encapsulated the hazy vibe of the album, the kind of distorted reality, so that’s the title we went with.”
Were there any other titles in contention?
“That came quite early on and it summed up what we trying to sat pretty well, which is unusual, all previous three albums we’ve been sat around trying to come up with a name for the f**king thing, it’s the last hurdle.”
How’s it going putting together your live set? You’ve got four records to choose from now...
It does get harder every time. We do try to rotate the set, to keep things interesting, we like to dip back into the catalogue make older songs relevant by putting them next to the new ones. There’s a song called ‘Choice Mountain’ from our second record that really works, actually, that song has the words ‘Feverish’ and ‘Dreams’ in it. Foreshadowing.”
Are you eyeing up any new parts of the world to get to for this album cycle?
“We’ve just done shows in Russia and Belarus and we’re always looking to get to new places. We’d love to get back to Japan on this album if we can do it, we love Australia and America and we’ve never done South America, we’d love to do that.”