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Everything Everything on how road-rage icon Ronnie Pickering and late stage capitalism inspired their new album

'It's a state of the nation address that reflects the human cost and the psychological cost of a lot of things that we live underneath,' says frontman Jonathan Higgs.

By Nick Reilly

Everything Everything (Picture: Steve Gullick)

As Everything Everything gear up to release their new album Mountainhead, the Manchester group have told Rolling Stone UK how it’s a state-of-the-nation record that takes unlikely inspiration from, err, Ronnie Pickering.

Yes, you heard that correctly. The Hull man who went viral after screaming ‘D’YER KNOW OOO I AM?’ in a bout of road rage back in 2014 has proved to be an influence on ‘The End Of The Contender’ – one of the album’s standout tracks.

“It’s not representative of the whole album, but it *is* in there,” frontman Jonathan Higgs tells Rolling Stone UK.

“I’ve definitely always been drawn to trying to write about outsiders and groups of people that have been dropped by wider society, for want of a better word. Ronnie was a good example of that, because it was an extremely amusing moment, but the more I looked into it I thought it was quite a poignant tale of where men of a certain age found themselves in the early 2010s. His sort of impotent rage was a good emblem of that.”

While Pickering isn’t directly named and instead acts as subtle influence, Higgs says that wasn’t *always* the case.

“There was a previous song where the chorus was literally I’M RONNIE PICKERING over and over, but the guys weren’t quite so keen on that one! This is more of a subtle way around the subject.”

But it does, however, feed into the overarching narrative of their new record.

“It’s a sort of thinly veiled, satirical look at the current state of late stage capitalism and what it’s like to live in the West and, more specifically, the UK after 15 years of Tory rule,” Higgs explains.

“It’s a state of the nation address that reflects the human cost and the psychological cost of a lot of things that we live underneath. It really explores that, rather than going into the nuts and bolts of the system.”

It’s a hifalutin concept typical of the band who, on their last album Raw Data Feel, used AI software to create some of the record’s lyrics, after feeding it with four eclectic sources of literature – including the terms and conditions of LinkedIn and 100,000 comments from the annals of contentious message-board site 4Chan.

This time around, they say that some of the record’s darkness comes from analysing the ill-fated 44 day reign of Liz Truss as Prime Minister.

“It’s like a trope of Greek drama isn’t it?,” explains keyboardist and bassist Jeremy Pritchard.

“It’s Hubris, going all the way to the top spot, but you can’t stay there. That itself is always going to be interesting isn’t it?”

Politics aside however, it’s a record that has the band’s unmistakeable unpredictability and art-pop spirit coursing through its veins.

“In the last two records, we’ve tried – with increasing success – to use the signature aspect of John’s voice more sparingly,” explains Pritchard.

“That means it has more power and more poignance when it is deployed.”

And seven albums into their career, they’re not disappearing anytime soon.

“There’s absolutely no reason we’d split up,” says Higgs.

“We’re doing the best job in the world, and we like each other and people seem to like what we do. There’s no pressure on us to destroy ourselves. We think we’re doing good stuff and we’re always excited about doing more stuff.”

Or, as with most things in life, there’s a Simpsons analogy at hand…

“There’s that episode where Mr Burns is diagnosed as having every illness. A perfect balance which has meant that he’s lived to the age of 104,” says Pritchard.

And in a way, I think there’s something like that going on with us….

Everything Everything’s Mountainhead arrives March 1…