Where are all the rock stars? Those iconic figures who would trash a hotel room if its Zen was off-kilter or would refuse to play a concert if the backstage rider wasn’t up to scratch?
Have they ceased to exist? Have the youth been marshalled back into line? If Everything Everything’s Jeremy Pritchard is anything to go by, the answer is yes.
“We don’t think of ourselves, for want of a better word, as rock stars – whatever that tacky term means. We are lucky to do what we do, for a meagre living. And that’s enough for us. We are not seduced by the glamour of it.
He says, “The glamour is imagined. There isn’t any. What our job involves is hiring a van to move the gear around and loading, in the p***ing rain, into a warehouse in Stockport.
“Then rehearsing for a week, then going to live on a bus for a month, and we like that, but it’s not Mötley Crüe.”
Granted, the Manchester-based four-piece are only on record number two. But Arc went straight into the Top 5 and is building on the success of debut Man Alive, which was nominated for 2011’s Mercury Music Prize and managed to squeeze into the UK Top 20.
Changing times Of course the music industry in 2013 is a world away from the business that say, Noel Gallagher, Bono, or Chris Martin entered, three people Pritchard, bass player for Everything Everything, met at the Q Awards a year ago.
“Noel Gallagher said to John [Higgs, Everything Everything singer and lyricist] he’d seen us on the telly and he liked it. I don’t know whether he is a fan per se. But he wanted to say hello. He then turned to his left and said, ‘Have you met Bono?’ “I was standing behind John open-mouthed. I didn’t engage with them. It’s funny to find ourselves in that world.”
Pritchard and Everything Everything are no wet puppies, mind. They like to party as much as the next band. But the reality is things ain’t what they used to be.
“In the 1970s, 80s and 90s, you could sell a lot of records quickly and make a lot of money and there was less to do in terms of promotion.
“There might have been more touring but it was less technically demanding. It was just easier. There was probably more time to get into drugs and girls, which is something we’ve found ourselves never having the opportunity to do because we take a lot of it on ourselves.”
The band direct the videos. They do the artwork. They even manage the office.
“We are on top of everything and we want to remain that way because we want to be genuine in what we are putting out.”
Pritchard is bright, straight-talking, modest and determined. No wonder he says his label Sony put no pressure on the group as they were writing the follow-up to Man Alive.
“We were not A&R’d thank God. We are hypercritical. We want to play devils’ advocate to ourselves.”
The financiers will have been happy to hear the group decided to be more direct on Arc and embrace the wider visions they’d learnt after an arena tour with Snow Patrol.
Pritchard says after Man Alive they learnt to make the same statement in 3 minutes 20 seconds rather than 4 minutes 45 seconds.
“If we had been consciously saying we need to write a single, then there is something corrupt about that. It smacks of artifice to us and to the listeners.
“But if it’s just case of honing and focusing and not filling it up with distractions – and it happens that stuff also coincides with the demands of radio and iTunes – that’s fine.”
Pritchard says they have grown up and Higgs is lyrically braver. He’s no longer hiding behind smoke and mirrors and metaphors. He’s more confident and the insecurity of being a new band, the fear of being sincere, has evaporated.
“Man Alive was almost as politically engaged but this is more overt. Confidence contributed but there are certain political events which were unignorable – that wasn’t the case before.”
Undrowned is a relentless attack on politicians. Duet refers to people plundering the streets at night. It’s a love story set in a dystopia.
“Man Alive was released four months before the new government, then we had the riots and now the continual mugging of the poor and the most needy by a Tory government – because this is not a coalition, it’s a Conservative government, who want to increase the wealth of their mates and penalise the poor for existing.”
Walking home from Elbow’s recording studio where they worked with producer David Kosten and past police lines was too emotive to escape the record.
“We could see smoke rising as we looked out from inside the studio. When a society is teetering on the brink, how do you ignore that?”
- Everything Everything play Concorde 2, Madeira Drive, Brighton, on Thursday, February 7. Starts 7.30pm, tickets £14. Call 01273 673311