An email announcing Everything Everything‘s return to American shores hits my inbox roughly 10 minutes before I find myself on the phone with the band’s vocalist and songwriter Jonathan Higgs; while the band haven’t been on a stage in some weeks, he’s quick to note that their ‘down time’ has been filled with promotion for their new album, A Fever Dream.
Despite the banal elements of doing press cycles and the itch to get back on tour that often presents itself around this time for a band, he’s enthusiastic about heading Stateside again this October.
“The last album did really well in America,” he says. “It’s nice to go back with something new; do it again and do it properly. Just to see our American fans again too; we’ve got a lot out there, which is weird, but’s it cool.”
“It’s a very strange feeling when you go somewhere you’ve never been,” he remembers of earlier visits abroad. “We were somewhere in America and this entire family – Mum, Dad, four kids – had travelled something like 300 miles to where we were. They were all wearing Get To Heaven t-shirts, all of them. This five year old kid! I was like, ‘What the hell is going on? This is so weird.’ It was in being very far from home and having these guys be this into the band that they’d come all that way…it was crazy.”
The band’s reach has extended greatly since 2010’s Man Alive positioned them as a breakthrough British band to keep on your radar, though in 2013’s Arc, Everything Everything experienced more widespread acclaim. In 2017’s A Fever Dream, we see the band as frenetic as ever, though the chaotic nature of the arrangements indicates that this is a group harnessing more greatness in their artistry than we’re likely to have seen previously.
“It feels like the right thing to do,” Higgs says of the album. “The right record to have made and the right way to react to the last couple of years. The right way to react to our previous record. We didn’t want to repeat ourselves, we didn’t want to drastically go against what we’d done. We wanted to develop it and make it a bit more human, a bit more nuanced and a bit more mature. Whatever Get To Heaven was, we wanted to move on properly; see what we’d learned from that record and make it better, move on from some of the stuff we’d done.”
Looking at their now four-album strong body of work as a snapshot of how the band has developed over the past seven or eight years, Higgs reflects on the writing process behind A Fever Dream and how it’s progressed, particularly since Get To Heaven.
“I found it easy.” he says. “I don’t know about the other guys but I think it definitely did [come easier]. We were writing while we were touring Get To Heaven and that made sure that we had a lot of material when we came to the studio. We had hundreds of things and we’d worked together on so much of it, rather than slaving away by ourselves. It was very collaborative.”
“We had a lot of songs before we got to the studio,” he remembers. “Sometimes when you go into the studio; you’re like, ‘Oh shit…’ but this time, we knew we had it down. So often in the past, people have said, ‘[Everything Everything] don’t know who they are, they’re all over the place’ and I’ve thought, ‘Well we do know who we are and we’ll show you, but we’re not going to stay like this – sorry’!”
Everything Everything make their Australian return before the year is out, set to spend the final days of 2017 out our way on the Falls Festival tour. It’s been a while in between drinks, but Higgs assures me that with this record, the band is very much in the best headspace they’ve been for creating and their sights are very much set on what is still to come.
“I feel like we’ve found out who we are in lots of ways, but we’re also still searching. We’re all in a stage now where we’re not young anymore, but we’re not old. We’re in this transitionary period and we’re still figuring it out. We’re much more confident in ourselves.”
A Fever Dream is out now. Stay up to date with Everything Everything here.