Every now and then a band comes around that just captivates you from the first time you hear them. For me, this moment came around two months ago when I stumbled upon a performance on Soccer AM which immediately stopped me in my tracks. Everyone You Know, a band with a sound that is inherently British, details a duo painting a lyrical picture of the trials and tribulations of twenty-something suburban life in a similar vein Mike Skinner did when he released Original Pirate Material almost twenty-years ago.
The group, which is made up of brothers Rhys Kirkby-Cox on vocals alongside his brother Harvey Cox, may only have two E.P.’s to their name so far with Cheer Up Charlie in 2018 and this summer’s Look After Your Pennies, but the group are undoubtedly on a journey which shows no sign of slowing down. Their most recent record, a combination of songs that merges together variations of British subcultures from rave to grime—with a pinch of the occasional heavy-hitting riff thrown in—makes them stand out vehemently from the crowd.
After the success of their latest E.P., with lead single ‘She Don’t Dance’ making the soundtrack of popular computer game FIFA 20 and racking up an impressive two-million streams on Spotify, they have now headed out on their first nationwide UK tour and I was lucky to catch up with an excited Rhys Kirkby-Cox before they went on the road.
One thing that struck me upon first listening of band was the passion in which their raw energy and grit managed to shine through on record which, needless to say, was amplified to eleven when I saw them live at Hull’s Polar Bear recently which was one of the most polished performance I’ve seen for an act still yet to release their debut album.
Their music invites you into their own little world for three-minutes or so at a time, all thanks to the clever lyricism that tells a narrative which demands immediate engagement from you as a listener. “We do try and tell a story of what’s going on in our life, the day to day life of people around us or what we see going on around us, we try and tell that story, not necessarily a story with a beginning, middle and end but a story of what’s happening in our day to day lives,” Kirkby-Cox told me.
“We just want to make honest music you know like everything we make has got to be honest and true to us, we want it to represent us and the people around us. We don’t want to be making music about stuff we can’t relate to or aren’t interested in or don’t care about, we want to talk about stuff that means something to us and the people where we live, our family and make music that people can relate to because I don’t think there’s enough of that out there at that moment,” he said exclusively to Far Out.
The point he makes of their being a lack of genuine music, in the mainstream at least, is something that we then turn to as I bring up their ‘refix’ of Sam Fender’s ‘Play God’ which breathed fresh life into the song taking it in a completely new direction without losing its message.
Despite sonically being world’s apart, the two acts do lyrically touch on similar subjects such as toxic masculinity on ‘The Drive’ and ‘Dead Boys’ respectively which when I bring up to him he says: “Yeah exactly, we’re just talking about normal stuff I guess. We wanted to do a cover for ages to be fair and kept flicking through the Top 40 for ages but nothing caught our eye then we heard ‘Play God’ by Sam Fender and we thought let’s take that. Even the topic of the tune and the whole mood of the original is something that we can relate to so thought it would be quite easy to put our own spin on it.”
The 24-year-old then elaborated on his comment about being unable to connect with the majority of music that’s dominating the popular landscape at the minute, adding: “With every tune everything seems to be glamourizing or is at the other end of the spectrum so I think there’s nothing there in the middle ground, that has a bit of honesty and a bit of real music which I think we slot into quite nicely. There’s maybe like Sam Fender and people like that now or Loyle Carner, so there are artists out there doing it but I think there’s still a gap there for that sort of real stuff to be spoken about at the moment.”
Carner is another artist in the same vein to Everyone You Know who talks about the issues which are personal to them such as grief in the Croydon rapper’s case or the responsibility of having to provide for your young daughter which is a theme which runs through Kirkby-Cox’s lyrics.
During our conversation he then heaped more praise upon the MC, saying: “It’s just completely honest to him and I think all the best tunes and the people we look up to are people that are like that even if it’s stuff that you can’t relate to you to if you’re just being honest you go alright cool we might not necessarily relate to it but their speaking their truth, I think that’s what music’s about.”
I wanted to know more about how he found juggling having a young daughter when you’re trying to break through in this unforgiving business but it seems their growing success has been a blessing rather than a curse as he explains from the heart: “I’m very fortunate I think because obviously doing music you have a lot of time when you’re not in the studio or not touring or whatever then I’ve got a lot of time with my daughter but it’s times like when we’re going on tour at the back end of the year and I’m going to be away from her for a couple of weeks at a time and stuff, that’s what’s really difficult.
“I’m really lucky in a sense that we signed our deal literally one month before she was born so I got to spend probably like instead of two weeks at home like a normal Dad would, I had like six months with her. It has been a blessing but on the flip side you do have the touring or when me and Harv are working really hard away in the studio on a project but it balances itself out.”
Family is inherently important to the brothers who balances out the mayhem of the music world with a steady normal home life. I asked him about the importance of balance and how it helps him to stay grounded, to which Kirkby-Cox replied with a vigour in his voice: “We just grew up and had a nice normal life, went to normal average schools, played football every weekend and did all that shit you do in a childhood I guess. I lived in London until I was about eight then my Mum moved out to Bracknell and know I live in a tiny little town that nobody will have heard of, it’s this tiny military town.”
The vocalist enjoys this distance between these two worlds that he operates in and seemingly has no ambitions of moving away anytime soon, saying: “I live there with my family, all my pals live here, I live with my little girl and my girlfriend. Yeah it’s cool, me and Harv we just want to do our music, yeah we do want to be as big and as successful as we can but we still want to have that normal life you know. I still want to play football with all my boys on a Saturday and go five-a-side on a Monday. I never want to break that cycle of doing that day to day stuff.”
This sense of being in touch with the real world is something which he has noticed a lack of within his contemporaries, adding: “We see too many people that when we go to these industry parties that are just knobheads, they just love the fact they’ve got a bit of spotlight on them and what not but me and Harv are really not about that. We appreciate the bigger you get, the more successful you get then a bit of fame does come with it but that’s not why we make music, we don’t make it to be famous so we don’t get wrapped up in all that shit, it’s all nonsense for us.”
Everyone You Know are staying true to themselves and not pretending to be anything but that and as their name suggests are just like people you know, who you might bump into in the smoking area of your local on a Friday night. Their songs are sparking such a volcanic reaction from their hungry young crowds, quite simply, because they understand and relate to the words of Kirkby-Cox who relentlessly discusses ordinary, every-day situations and feelings that we all have shared at some point but does so with an admirable passion and empathy.
Everyone You Know are currently on tour in the UK, for tickets go here and check out the dates below:
November 10th – The Junction, Plymouth
November 11th – Exchange Social, Bristol
November 12th – Heartbreakers, Southampton
November 13th – Horn, St Albans
November 14th – Underworld, London SOLD OUT