Art Rockers Everything Everything caused more than a few ripples with their debut album ‘Man Alive’ at the end of 2010 and are currently touring their “mystifying, impenetrable, beautiful” music throughout Europe. Jonathan Higgs, the band’s singer and guitarist, talks to Nick Amies about the five albums which had the most influence on his life and music.
Nirvana – Nevermind
I first heard this at my friend’s house, when I was about 12 or 13. To say it was ‘instantly arresting’ is a bit of an understatement. Over the years that followed I spent a lot of time trying to work out what made it so unbelievably exciting. It’s the directness of harmony and great melodies, his voice, the mythology, but towering over it all is this simply gigantic drum sound. It’s a classic album and it influenced all my early bands, and can definitely be heard in some of Everything Everything’s songs.
Radiohead – OK Computer
I was about 13 and I remember falling asleep and drifting in and out of consciousness while this was playing on loop. All these totally new sounds washed over me; the song writing, lyrics, performances and overall atmosphere just took me so far away from reality and to new depths of what felt like understanding. The influence of this and all Radiohead’s albums on our band is probably obvious; it’s huge. Only a few of the very best bands made me jealous as a teenager, and this album was a bastard. It’s such an amazing sounding record.
The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land
There’s a real primal bombast to this album that just really fires you up and it sound tracked many a stupid night. I loved the way they had incorporated vocals into the sound, and it was before it all got a bit formulaic. The production is simply perfect, I can remember my brother putting on ‘Climbatize’ when he was really stoned and just watching his face as that bass line came in; just priceless. I still throw massive, unnecessary break beats over our demos, which are usually shot down, but it’s probably because of these chaps that I do it.
I got into this partly because it amused me so much, but after a while the production really snared me, and I ended up trying to mimic it without realising. It’s not a classic album by any means, but it was there for me at the right time in my development to steer me out of the teenage rock I was listening to, and opened a world of new sounds and options which can be found in our band. It was a stepping stone for me and I am still very much amused by it, and I still love it.
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – The Donut in Granny’s Greenhouse
This was an old record belonging to my parents. Away from the annoying zaniness, it’s actually really dark and uncomfortable. There are lots of very chaotic, disjointed ambient sounds that you just can’t place and it’s very scary in the same way that ‘Revolution no. 9’ by the Beatles is. The fact that it’s all very close, distorted almost, and you just don’t know what’s making the sound, that makes it weirder. I think some of the Bonzo’s dark humour got into what we do, and in the right quantity I reckon it’s no bad thing.
First published in The Red Bulletin