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Interview: Everything Everything’s Alex Robertshaw

We caught up with Everything Everything‘s guitarist Alex Robertshaw to talk about their new album “Arc” which entered the UK album charts this week as the highest new entry at #5.

Firstly, Happy New Year! Have any of you made any interesting resolutions?
I might learn as many AC/DC riffs as I can. Not sure that counts as a New Year’s resolution though.

Moving on to the new album, has the level of recognition you’ve received for Man Alive affected your process when producing Arc?
When we released “Man Alive” we never expected it to be praised as well as it did, especially in the press. I do think that aside from the press though, people were still finding out about us and getting into it much later. Even when we went into the studio to start “Arc” people were still discovering “Man Alive”. I suppose that is the same for most bands but I don’t really feel like we have ever had a big explosion of interest. Its always been a steady thing. From “Man Alive” to “Arc” is no different, we learnt so much from touring “Man Alive” after its release and our strengths and weaknesses as a band became clearer over a long period of time.

What can we expect from it [Arc] sonically? How does it compare to Man Alive?
I definitely think musically we are a lot more confident now. “Man Alive” is a very full sounding record, we would fill up all the space and move from one mood to another very quickly. We had all these ideas that had to be present and sometimes that can be tiring. As a young band your trying to be wild and stand out from the rest of the crowd, we still try to achieve that with “Arc”, but we are not letting it affect the songs. We have tried to be refreshing from the ground up with the music, rather than throw lots of elements in after.

You’ve always said that you try to avoid clichés musically and do interesting things. Do you feel you’ve done that again second time round? If so, how?
When your making music you want to be excited by it, we all listen to a lot of different things, which play a part when we come together to play. If I’m playing something that i feel is something that i would usually hear on the guitar at a particular point in the music then I would stop playing it. I want to apply myself in an interesting way, because that pushes me as a musician to become better. That has continued on “Arc” except this time, we have tried to connect with people as directly as possible without letting go of that personal excitement.

One of the greatest musical clichés in a band’s career arc is the difficult second album. Do you feel you’ve successfully avoided it?
We worked hard at it and spent a lot of time writing and arranging before we got to the studio this time. Because your writing fresh you have to push that bit harder, you have not got lots of time  to refine and correct like you do with a debut album. Being as ready as possible before you record makes a huge difference. Once you get in to the studio your spending money, and you don’t have all the studio time in the world, if you finish and come back empty handed that would be a worry. We didn’t feel too worried, so I guess we may have avoided the difficult second album as they say. Although, if it was really easy it probably would not be very good either. So we have avoided the easy second album too.

I read that you chose Arc as a title for its numerous connotations (rainbows, career arcs, personal trials and tribulations), what’s been the high point of the band’s career ‘arc’ to date?
There has been lots of great moments. To be given the opportunity to make an album that is entirely your own, with a label that has complete confidence in you to make it. When the band was signed and that became a reality, that was a great moment.

As BBC Sound of… luminaries, what do you make of the list this year? Who are your favourites?
I like Haim and chvrches. I still need to listen to the others.

It’s always struck me as ironic that you’ve been branded an ‘intelligent rock band’ and yet Everything Everything seems like one of the most inclusive, pretense-less band names out there. If you could sum up the EE philosophy for music making in one sentence, what would it be?

You’ve found yourselves receiving praise from some of the biggest names in music (Elbow, Oasis, Julian Casablancas). Did you ever anticipate the band getting so renowned? Has it been an at all uncomfortable transition?
I still don’t feel like we have arrived anywhere, its always been a steady process for us. We are still growing as a band and want to take it as far as we can.

What does the future hold for EE? In an ideal world, where do you see yourselves going from here?
We will be touring through February in the UK and Europe and America in March. After that is festival season, and after that is more touring. Once we have finished touring we will take a break. Then start touring, Then it will be festival season. After that we might tour some more before stopping and writing some music. If that goes to plan we will get to go touring.

- Alex Cull

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