Why I Love: Steve Hadfield on Everything Everything

Steve Hadfield makes ambient, techno, and drone music. Earlier this year we reviewed his Displacement Activity Vol. 1 album. On the back of this superb release we invited Steve to take part in our Why I Love series.

Here, Steve talks about his love of the great Everything Everything.

Jonathan Higgs: 'I've got an unhealthy mind, and it gets me in ...
Everything Everything

Everything Everything recently released ‘In Birdsong’, the lead single from what will be their 5th album (due September 11th). It is stunning, soaring sadness and splendour – living in lock down with the exhausting delight of a 10 month old baby, it spoke to me of the magnificence of nature and the freedom of flight. Listening on headphones, making our evening cuppas, I welled up, just a little bit, about nothing and about everything and about Everything Everything.

Our relationship with music evolves over time. I was 17 when I discovered Radiohead and, like for so many folks, they were utterly transformative – a gateway to Warp Records and beyond – and, quite simply, the greatest band ever.

EE Arc Cover.jpg

I was 19 when ‘In Rainbows’ was released and, looking back a few years later with a job and responsibilities, it occurred to me that music was never going to matter more than it did then. I would never be as excited in the run-up to an album again – a little sad, but we change and grow and life brings new perspectives.

Somehow Everything Everything make me feel that way again. Their music feels important. They feel vital in a way which 4 white guys in an alt-rock band have no right to in this day and age.

I discovered the band in the hype around their 2nd album, ‘Arc’. My first listen was memorable – trudging through London snow after train cancellations at 6am to visit the climbing gym before work – and I quickly fell in love with that and ‘Man Alive’. Cerebral lyrics and music passed through an alt-pop singalong filter.

The voice of Jonathan Higgs stands as a centrepiece gliding effortlessly from acerbic snarls to celestial falsetto, delivering poetry which examines our society in painful and beautiful ways.

I wish I could be living
At the end of all living
Just to know what happens
Just to know what happens
I would know every answer
And just how far we all made it
This is all my life
This is all my life

The House Is Dust – Everything Everything

It was their third album, 2015’s ‘Get To Heaven’, which converted me from fan to zealot. Where Arc broadly explored the impact of technology on society, this looked at fanaticism.

The opener is a stone-cold banger examining the complex emotions of someone who knows a person that has gone to fight for IS. There’s disgust at the rise of the far right in the guise of deconstructed techno. In the climactic penultimate track, Higgs imagines the inner monologue of someone so revolted by their country that they are on their way to commit a terrible unspecified act. It is anti-Britpop and it spoke to the rising terror in myself and others. And yet it’s so danceable!

A Fever Dream - Wikipedia

It’s a horrifying upbeat monument to everything wrong in the world. And a band with a following which makes me feel terribly old at their gigs spreading the word about why we should be worried and angry and also, importantly, empathetic.

And then in 2017 came ‘Fever Dream’, that brewing political hellscape realised. And Everything Everything were going to make me want to dance and cry and laugh and be angry all at once. And momentarily they also took me away from it all, to when music was the most important thing – when you’re so excited and somehow an album still surpasses your every expectation and you stick it on repeat on headphones all day long despite being on a family holiday because it matters more than anything else in that moment.

Thank you, Everything Everything, for… everything. And drop me a line when you next need a remix doing!

Many thanks to Steve Hadfield for this wonderfully passionate piece on Everything Everything. You can connect with Steve below and listen to and support his music via Bandcamp.

Steve Hadfield: Bandcamp / Twitter / Instagram

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