Everything Everything's "Desire" Video Glows Like a Neon Rubik's Cube

Frontman Jonathan Higgs chats to us about singing the same song on-set for six hours and co-devising the video's concept.
August 2, 2017, 8:00am

"This is what we do. This is what we sound like. Here is the song. Take it or leave it."

Everything Everything are fed up with your nonsense. Three albums deep, with A Fever Dream due out on 18 August, the four-piece serve no one but themselves – and they're doing it all with frontman Jonathan Higgs' signature falsetto in full bloom.

Their new video for "Desire" (directed by Dave Tree and which we're premiering right now) takes you right back to the band's high-pitched beginnings. Sure, it still features some of their trademark maximalism, but stands in contrast to their recent dimly lit and dance-led video for "Can't Do". Having just jumped off a not-so-smooth flight from Russia when we talk, Jonathan initially sounds less than impressed – "we've lost all our bags but hey ho" – and soon he gets right into it.

"The video for 'Can't Do' was very high concept and abstract, and very dark, so we wanted the complete opposite," Jonathan says, of this second video off A Fever Dream, for which he helped devise the concept. "We really wanted to keep it simple and light and make it all about the song, rather than any narrative or tricks." The result makes you feel very much like an intoxicated fly trapped inside a neon Rubik's Cube, or like you're being whirled around inside a giant, glowing gobstopper.

Jonathan mentions he "felt like it's been a little while" since the band took centre stage – and fair play, they've been keeping the promo cycle at arm's length for the last couple of years, releasing one-off single "I Believe It Now" last year but otherwise going quiet after 2015's Get to Heaven. So why the choice to go back to get involved with co-producing the visuals, as on the videos for "Kemosabe" or "No Reptiles"? "We knew a friend that had these amazing video screens and we wanted to use them in some way. So we thought, 'why not make an entire room out of it? The floors and the ceiling and everything'." They cobbled the rest together – "I stole loads of visuals off of the internet to put onto the screens" – and made the video reminiscent of an 80s tech show, "terrible graphics" and all.

What you end up with shines a light on the power that backs Jonathan's vocals. With a range that changes direction almost as much as Everything Everything's music, the full force of his voice is illuminated by all that neon. It's like the connection your brain draws between a rollercoaster lurching your stomach along, and the bright lights that whirr past in a theme park – each sense seems to amplify the other.

Having watched enough "making the video" specials that demonstrated A+ miming, I ask whether the performance we see in "Desire" was live or not. "Someone picked up on me miming and I thought, 'Oh shit: Here goes six hours of me screaming 'desire' over and over again' instead," Jonathan says. "We ended up singing pretty hard, and really loud. But actually doing this video helped me to sing the song better. It helped me find a way to stop my voice from dying out halfway through like it used to do."

So, the video's a kaleidoscopic trip, some handy vocal practice and an exercise in self-editing. The most enjoyable part about being both behind and in front of the camera? "All the moments where we forgot that the cameras were rolling," he says. "Because you can never be in your own audience, it's really nice to see that side of things. I can't really look at what everyone else is doing when I'm live anyway – I'm doing my own thing."

Now go ahead and watch it above.

This article was corrected on Wednesday 2 August to reflect that Dave Tree directed the video.