Everything Everything on their AI-powered new album ‘Raw Data Feel’: “I didn’t want to sing about the same shit anymore

With their new album 'Raw Data Feel' just announced, and lead single 'Bad Friday' streaming now, frontman Jonathan Higgs explains what's coming next for Everything Everything.

Everything Everything are back, with news of a brand new album and the first track from it.

The album, ‘Raw Data Feel’, is set to arrive on 20th May. It’s previewed by a lead single from it, ‘Bad Friday’, and the accompanying video, which you can check out below.

That’s not all, either. The band are also announcing a limited edition lyric book, ‘CAPS LOCK ON: Lyrics + Debrid 2007-2022’, which will arrive the same day as the album, through Faber Music.

Explaining the meaning behind ‘Bad Friday’, frontman Jonathan Higgs explains: “This song is about being a victim of violence, explaining it away through the gauze of a ‘crazy night out’. We wanted the video to have a monochrome Ink Spots classicism to it, disrupted by elements of A.I.-generated imagery. This reflects the approach to writing and producing the song – the minimalistic combined with the surreal and disorientating.”

Alongside all the new release news, Everything Everything have also revealed the support acts for their forthcoming UK tour which kicks off next month. Do Nothing, Phoebe Green, Liz Lawrence and L’objectif will be joining them on the run.

Finlay Holden caught up with Higgs to find out more about the band’s sixth album. You can read the full chat in the new issue of Dork, out this Friday (11th February) – but until then, check out the excerpt below.

Everything Everything‘s upcoming sixth LP ‘Raw Data Feel’ is turning inward. “I don’t want to be defined as a political singer,” frontman Jonathan Higgs states. “This record isn’t really looking at the world. Instead, it’s very personal. It’s about getting over trauma, but using characters to play that experience out, so I don’t have to deal with it head-on.”

Marketing a trauma-processing record embedded in upbeat electronica is, unfortunately, far from abnormal in current times. “A lot of people probably do have trauma from this period we’ve all gone through, whether they directly relate to what I’m saying or not,” he confides. “I’m trying not to make [the theme of trauma] super obvious, but a lot of the songs converge towards the same thing, which is unusual for us.”

Trauma is dealt with indirectly, at an arm’s length and never as an isolated focus. “Not really thinking about it fully, but just distracting yourself from the truth.” This procedure is expedited by the second, tightly interwoven theme of ‘Raw Data Feel’. As Jon elaborates: “I speak about using technology to deal with something rather than me dealing with it myself. I used an AI’s brain to write my songs because I don’t want to talk about those things right now; that’s kind of the idea – relying on technology like a crutch, and this modern loneliness where your only friend is your phone.”

Hold on, AI writing songs? Yes, you read that right, Dear Reader. Midway through the creation of this new record, the band had a spark of inspiration and reached out to “some professor” who required data to fuel the mind of this artificial intelligence. “I chose four elements: the entire terms of conditions from LinkedIn; Beowulf, the ancient poem; the sayings of Confucius, the philosopher; lastly, four hundred thousand comments from 4chan.” An eclectic combination, for sure.

While a lot of filtering was needed to find usable content from the results, digitally-generated lyrics form a solid backbone of ‘Raw Data Feel’. Entire lines were lifted, rephrased, or reworked to form songs like closer ‘Software Greatman’, the title of which was the answer to the existential prompt – ‘what now?’

Computers are also responsible for the album’s artwork and distorted music videos, which build upon the haunting 3D renders used throughout the world of ‘Re-Animator’. “Well, this is a different thing entirely. Much more realistic and much more horrific,” Jon grins. “A big column of the record is this sense that trying to get emotion out of technology that isn’t real, but you feel like it is when you see it. You relate to these things… but they’re never real.”

Lead single ‘Bad Friday’ – the one that’s just dropped to preview the album – is one which Jon wrote thinking entirely about himself and the direction he wanted to travel, which doesn’t happen too often in this four-piece. Buried within a catchy hook is something more sinister… “At surface value, it’s about a night out. Really, it’s about violence and abuse, but it’s being given this coat of paint which makes it appear to be a song about a crazy night out – one during which you get so drunk that you can’t remember what happened, you can’t remember how you got beaten up. It’s obscuring the reality and blaming it on someone else. But as far as anyone listening is concerned, it’s a party tune.”

“It’s quite carefree, and it’s very us. It’s confident because it does sound ridiculous, but we’re just very used to what we sound like.” In terms of the thirteen tracks yet to drop, ‘Bad Friday’ gives a solid hint at the future. “It’s a good indicator – it’s a party with a dark secret, which is how I would describe the whole album.” Get ready to dance, but remember to keep an eye on your surroundings.

This extract is taken from the March 2022 issue of Dork – read the full version from Friday, 11th February. Everything Everything’s album Raw Data Feel’ is out 20th May.

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