Everything Everything: The kings of bizarre DIY music videos


Everything Everything filming a music video

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Everything Everything

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Everything Everything’s drummer, Michael Spearman, maybe enjoying a video shoot a bit too much

They say you should learn from your mistakes.

When that mistake was spending £15,000 building and blowing up a giant sand sculpture of a woolly mammoth, the lesson for Everything Everything was clear.

“The dynamite went off and the head just slowly slid to the floor, it was the most anti-climactic thing,” laughs singer Jonathan Higgs.

“We were in a supermarket in Germany when the video came through and we were all just watching on our phones going, ‘what the hell have we wasted all that money on?'”

The footage, filmed over a decade ago, never saw the light of the day and their music videos since have mostly been directed by Jonathan himself, often for little or no money.

So, ahead of the release of the band’s fifth album Re-Animator, we’ve been picking his brains for any other big lessons he’s learnt over the years.

The first one is surprisingly simple.

“I think people like to see violence or sex or death or humour, but not all of them are possible,” Jonathan says.

“We’re never going to do a sexy video, because… well, look at us.”

He’s got a point.

Not about the attractiveness, or otherwise, of his band mates, but about the fact that – from dancing fatbergs to monkey puppets and angry cavemen – you’d be hard pressed to call any of Everything Everything’s videos sexy.

“I look at it as what kind of films do I like. My favourite bits of films are the spectacular bits – but also the most impassioned bits”, Jonathan says.

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Everything Everything

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Jonathan in action on the set of the Violent Sun music video

“I think people connect to a real emotion much more than they do a slick image or expensive looking thing – as long as your heart is in it, then that will come across.

“We’ve made some really cheap videos, but you just have to put your passion into different areas rather than than trying to make it look great.”

Arguably their most ambitious video was, in fact, the cheapest.

In Birdsong is a five minute journey through decaying 3D models of the band’s friends and family – it’s enough to make you need a lie down afterwards, and Jonathan made it completely with free software demos.

“Just yesterday someone asked me to make a new model for something else and when I opened up the software my trial had expired – so I couldn’t,” he says.

“It shows you what a wing and a prayer I made this thing on.

“My free trial was counting down day after day, I had the deadline for finishing the video coming up and I didn’t even really know how to use the programme.

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“I’m sure if somebody professional looked at the finished video they’d find loads wrong with it – but it didn’t matter because the images I was using were of people in my life, so I think the passion I put into it came across.

“It’s not perfect at all, but it’s full of love.”

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Everything Everything

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A still from the Arch Enemy video, in which congealed blobs of faeces and grease come to life

So, if you are starting out in the music industry and you want to make your own videos on the cheap, what should you do?

“Get good at editing, because that’s where videos live or die”, Jonathan says.

“It doesn’t matter how good things are in front of your camera, if you can’t edit them, it will never work.

“See how it makes you feel if the music changes when the snare hits or the kick drum pounds – it feels like you’re watching moving music, and that’s why people love music videos.

“And keep forcing more and more stuff in because people’s attention spans are tiny. You want to be seeing something new basically twice a second.

“Keep it moving and keep it full of emotion. Those are my tips.”

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