Everyone An Army contacted me a few weeks ago looking for a gig. I saw that they were from Scarborough. I explained that I only really dealt with Barnsley acts. Anyway, noticed that they were now based in Barnsley. I check out their music and listened to it non-stop for a week. I got back in touch with them a few days later begging them to play a gig I was putting on. My new favourite local band! Some of their music was some of the best I’d heard in ages. I wanted to find out more about the band and what is was like to move to Barnsley.
I met up with Martyn Hughes and Iain Hunter from the band over a few pints.
Jason: How long has Everyone An Army been together and how did the band come about?
Martyn: The band has been together for about four years. Me and Iain had been in a band previously. Known each other for about ten years. It was an obvious choice for us to be in a band together. It works really well. We can pre-empt and always know what each other is going to do.
J: What other bands have you both been in previously?
M: A band like this but not as good. A terrible version of this band. Thought we got more gigs back then though – in the age of myspace. We were called The Occasion and we played a lot with bands like Oceansize. We disbanded when the rest of the band went to Uni, leaving me and Iain. Lee, our bassist produces a lot of electronic music, Glitch and things like that. Me and Iain also play in our own two-piece cocky, noise band called And And The And. It’s really wanky but it’s a laugh.
Iain: It really is a laugh.
J: Wanky as in wanking over your guitars? Like math rock or tech metal?
I: Wanky as in we like playing more than people like listening to it. We’re playing it for each other’s arousal.
M: And And the And is a piss take of names like Noah and the Whale or Florence and the Machine. We’ve not recorded anything yet though.
I: We’d record just for our pleasure though if we did. Deliberately lo-fi.
Jason: So how’s uni going?
M: Alright. We’re just starting our third year. We left it late to start Uni because we didn’t know what we wanted to do. I failed me A-Levels twice. We’re twenty-five now and we’re on a course with a load of younger eighteen year olds.
I: There’s a lot of good stuff coming out of uni.
M: But then there’s a lot of self-assuredness too. People who think that if you can play Purple Haze, you’re good.
I: We were originally going to go to Brighton, but they were asking for five grand.
M: It’s an institute so they don’t go through student finance. We didn’t have that money so we came here.
J: Where was Barnsley on your list of options?
I: The list went Brighton, York, Somewhere else…
M: …Dunstable, Filey, Edinburgh. In fact, I spat in someone’s eye by accident when I went to look at a uni there. You know when you open your mouth and little jet of water accidentally comes out and lands in this girls eye? But no… we’re glad now we’re here. We’d never considered it originally but we’ve grown to love it.
I: It was a happy accident.
J: Were you some of the students that have been caught up in the whole UCB University of Huddersfield debacle?
M: We’re still getting our degrees from the University of Huddersfield but now Barnsley College have taken over UCB, so technically we’re Barnsley College students. I initially thought the course would be at Huddersfield anyway.
I: Everyone on the course was originally told we we’re going to be in Huddersfield, but we’re here now.
M: It’s like an accidental baby. We’ve grown to love it.
J: Barnsley is much better than Huddersfield anyway.
M: I’ve been out in Huddersfield and its knocked out by Barnsley. I do like it here. It’s surrounded by nice little places too.
Jason: So tell me about first moving to Barnsley.
M: We got called Goths a lot.
I: Someone shouted out of a car to us.
M: Yeah, they shouted get your hair cut.
I: I got told I had shit dreadlocks.
M: It took us a while to find like-minded people.
J: Did you get called bag-head?
M: You Bag-head *said in an MC Devvo voice*. There is a lot of bag-heads around but we’re not bag-heads. Or Goths. At first Barnsley seemed stuck in the 80s in terms of shopping and community, and style too.
You have super-chavs here. Everywhere else we’ve been has chavs. They get to a certain age and they grow out of it, get old and just become dick-heads. It’s an evolution. Start as a chav in your teens. You get to like twenty-five and you think I shouldn’t really be hanging around parks drinking anymore, so you go to pubs and that’s when you become a dick head. And pubs don’t serve people in track suits.
But here they still rock the track suits and rather than grow out of it, they become super-chavs and carry on drinking in parks ’til they’re in their thirties.
Uni is great though. There are lots of like-minded people and the music scene is great here.
I: We’ve played Sheffield a lot since we’ve been here too.
J: So what kind of gigs have you played outside of Uni shows?
M: The first gig was at Walkabout. We didn’t realise until we turned up that it was a battle of the bands though. I think there was only one other Barnsley band on the bill – Diary of a Serial Killer. They had a song called something like Strip Rape Strangle Kill. Don’t know if they’re still together. I think they won it.
I: Apparently we had the judges vote and they had the audience vote.
M: We played Cedar Rooms. That was probably the worst gig we’ve ever played in our lives. It was under attended. We were the odd band out on the bill, so the audience who came for the other bands weren’t into us. Right looks on their faces. Sound was terrible too. The mic kept electrocuting me.
Then we played the White Bear and cleared the room in about four minutes. It was packed for Oxjam. We thought these guys are going to get it, hear some right music. But as soon as you hit the distortion pedal, they buggered off because we weren’t indie or pop-punk. We just played to the four people we bought with us.
I: We played tramlines and other Sheffield gigs. It’s been harder to get gigs in Barnsley. We don’t belong to a specific genre.
Jason: What are the differences between Barnsley and Scarborough?
M: No beach here.
J: You’ve obviously not been to Elsecar-By-The-Sea. Tarn folk used to go there on holiday in the early 1900’s.
M: Actually I drove through Elsecar. It’s nice. Charming.
Scarborough got a lot of acoustic music. There is the annual acoustic gathering at Peasholm Park. They have a bandstand in the middle of a lake and they send acts out to it in a boat. There are open mic nights all week too. There are very few bands though. And now they are moving the music department back to Hull so there’ll be even less. There are a lot of jazz bands and acoustic acts but not much else.
I: There are a lots of pop-punkers at college starting bands but nothing ever comes of them. It’s easy to be a band in Scarborough but it’s hard make the jump and become a band from Scarborough.
J: What’s the support like locally?
I: There are plenty of venues and they get some big names coming to play – McFly, Elton John, but there are few promoters for local bands.
M: There used to be an amazing festival on the beach every year but then there was an incident – a sexual assault which knocked that on the head.
I: There was Soundwave festival in the Spa as well. This is going back about ten years. A couple of promoters put on the odd gig but usually give up.
J: Here we have the promoters but no decent venues willing to back live or alternative music on a regular basis. It always ends up being a last resort when they aren’t getting the punters in. The Polish Club is the only place that seems to have consistency.
M: Actually, Scene Not Heard are good. They put on a lot of punk gigs in Scarborough and they put us on once. They’re really good. And a little club called Sigma. It’s small, so it fills easily. Good atmosphere.
J: So what are your favourite Barnsley acts?
M: Imoko Set were the first band that I saw here that didn’t sound like a million other bands. Their harmonies are amazing. It was Susie’s first gig with the band, at Polish Club but I didn’t know that. I asked them after the gig if they had any music available and they said it was all recorded with their previous vocalist.
They don’t really belong to any particular genre. Or at least in Barnsley they don’t. They’re great. I saw them at Live in Barnsley too.
I’d only heard of Aztec Doll recently. We were drunk in Quasimodo’s and I saw Roxy. I said, oh it’s that girl who works on the e-cigarette stand. I was newly single and so I thought I’d go up and talk to her. Anyway, we’re friends now. Lee was there and Rory [Garforth] and we know Jack as he’s at Uni with us. We hoped that we’d played gigs with them as we really like their band but that didn’t come off until you asked us. They don’t sound like everything else either. There’s probably more bands. Redmist Destruction were great at Live in Barnsley too.
J: Describe the kind of music Everyone An Army plays.
M: It’s heavy but melodic.
I: Riffs. Well thought out…
M: Very well thought out. Sometimes we write a song over a year. We don’t have a big back catalogue.
J: You do. You have loads of music on your bandcamp. More than many long-established Barnsley bands.
M: Well, it’s harder now to write because we’re not geographically together. Lee’s down south at the moment. Rehearsing and writing is difficult. I mean, we’re always throwing ideas about but until all three of us are together we can’t write anything. It’s the way it works for us. Generally we write by all being in the same room, jamming for hours and hours until a song develops.
I: We’re intricate.
M: I like to think we have our own sound but then some people come up to us and say we sound like other bands. Some of their favourite bands. That’s flattering.
I: Once someone said we sounded like Korn playing Radiohead. A backhanded compliment maybe.
M: We sound like Chris Rea being hit by an iron shovel.
I: We have metal-heads into us and then indie fans too.
J: What kind of influences do you all bring to the band?
M: We’re all pessimistic.
L: Our bassist Lee is a massive Nine Inch Nails fan.
M: It took me a while to get into them. I saw them at Leeds fest but most of their audience was full of people just passing through. They deserve to headline. They’re legendary.
I love the great miserablists – Morrissey, Ian McCulloch. I love Deftones, early Muse. We all like Radiohead.
You couldn’t say we sound like this band or this band.
J: I can hear elements of each of those you’ve mentioned but you don’t really don’t like any of them outright. Saying that – I gave my mate Lewy your EPs to listen to and first thing he said was Deftones and Elbow.
M: I love Elbow and people have said that before but I don’t hear it. It’s a massive compliment though.
I like Deftones – Chino’s beautiful vocal melodies. He mixes really violent imagery and lyrics with really beautiful sounds. I love the juxtaposition. There have a lot of that in our music.
J: What was the video I saw of you on youtube playing with a brass band?
M: York University Jazz Orchestra. It was a guy called Stuart who saw us at a local gig and he came up to us and said you’d sound really good with an orchestra.
I: He said he was going to put something together for us but we didn’t hear from him for another six months.
M: We got invited to meet the orchestra and they started scoring out our music. That’s sommat you only do when you’re U2 or Metallica. It was crazy. We’d only written about ten songs at that point and there we were playing with a twenty-two piece orchestra.
J: Have you heard of See Emily Play? She’s amazing. She played for the last two years at Tramlines with a brass bands and an orchestra. Sounded amazing.
M: I saw her at the Walkabout during Live in Barnsley. My mate was swooning over her. Very Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap.
J: How did the next year’s gig with Danse Society come about? Camden Underworld… that’s pretty big.
M: The guitarist Paul used to be a tutor of ours in Scarborough. Then this guy called Dave has been trying to put us on the same bill as them for ages. He’s sort of our acting agent at the moment. Turns out there was a slot on their Underworld gig and we got it.
We’re playing a few with them – Wolverhampton, Wakefield. It’s a bit of a weird pairing but I hope we end up making some new fans. And we’ve never played London before.
J: You’ll love the Underworld. It’s small but an amazing club venue. I think the last band I saw there was Alec Empire.
M: We’ve tried to get London gigs for ages. I think we have the songs and we’ve gone about everything the right way but it’s always alluded us until now.
J: So what route are you guys going to take now?
M: It’s frustrating. Something always gets in the way – geography, work, or uni. The way we write songs… jamming, means we can’t just send song ideas back and forth and build on them.
I: We’ve planned to rent a uni room out for two weeks when Lee comes up north for a bit. Sort of just jam and hopefully write a new EP. We’ve never gone out to just write a new EP before, so we’ll have to see how it goes.
M: It’s a year since we released the last EP. It got good reviews but since then we’ve only played a few gigs and not much else otherwise.
The first EP was recorded completely live in an art gallery. We helped some artists out with a project and in return they let us use their gallery to record in. We recorded all of our music ourselves until the last EP, which we spent a grand on and went to Cardiff and worked with Romesh Dodangoda, a producer who has worked with Motorhead, Funeral For A Friend, Lostprophets, Kids In Glass Houses, Sylosis, Manics. It cost us a lot of money but it sounds amazing for it. We put a lot of effort in the limited physical releases too.
J: So do you see yourself sticking around in Barnsley once you’ve finished Uni?
M: Possibly. I’m thinking about doing the PGCE course after and go into teaching. It’s a good fall back.
I: I’ll always do music.
M: We’ll always do this. Unfortunately bands can’t make money from just playing gigs anymore. You’ve got to get out there and sell CD’s, t-shirts. Or go on X-Factor.
I: I’d like to be a session musician or a teacher if I can’t make a living from the band.
M: We could start a Smiths tribute act.
Everyone An Army plays Alternative Barnsley first ever live music event at The Polish Club on Sunday 6th Oct, on a bill that includes RedMist Destruction, Aztec Doll, Antesaint, Mark Jackson’s Criminal Waste of Talent, Rolling Down Hills and Parson’s Lot.