West London duo Everyone You Know talk style, struggle and success

The two brothers’ debut EP Cheer Up Charlie sounds a bit like Jamie T at an underground rave – the perfect soundtrack to a disillusioned Britain.

Think of everyone you know. Got it? Think again.

Everyone You Know are a pair of half-brothers from almost London and the most exciting musical prospect to come out of Uxbridge since…well, ever.

Rhys Kirkby-Cox and Harvey Kirkby make music that is at simultaneously new, fresh and accessible, and yet also strangely familiar. Stylistically, it could be described as a mishmash of noughties indie, old-school hip-hop and 90s jungle. Sonically though, it blends together seamlessly into a unique new formula.

Somewhere beneath their colourful outer-shell of influence lies a realism; a deep understanding of suburban youth that has been lacking from the UK music scene for some time. Their debut EP Cheer Up Charlie [Charlie, wherever you are mate, I hope it has cheered you up], tells the tale of a generation, to the tune of your new favourite bass hook.

The band play down the magnitude of their creation though. “I think we’re just trying to be true to who we are,” said Rhys, taking a break from writing songs to chat about the project. “Can’t go too wrong when you’re being honest and hopefully that works in connection to people.”

EYK definitely owe their sound, at least in part, to their shared upbringing. “Yeah, we’re influenced by Jamie T, Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen, Prodigy, Oasis all that sort of stuff,” they said. “Listening to that since our childhood, I think it goes subconsciously into our music without us really trying.” Their Dad, pictured on the cover of single ‘Our Generation’, would endlessly play them tunes from East-Coast hip-hop and the UK jungle scene,  forming part of the sound we hear today as a result.

Lyrically, their observational style pays emotional dividends. “Rolled up jeans and Fila jackets, chip on their shoulder, that’s the latest fashion,” sings Rhys on ‘Dance Like We Used To’. Elaborating, he explained that it was “not necessarily a darker take, but more about being in a place and looking at what people are doing, rather than worrying about yourself.”

The guys’ enthusiasm for their music truly shines through when they talk. “My favourite is, I think, Sinners,” said Rhys. “I like the energy, the aggression in that song. “It’s wicked live as well”, said Harvey, agreeing. “It’s just heavy”.

‘Our Generation’, however, is the emotional heart of the album and a devastatingly accurate take on the mood of a disaffected youth. “I think we’ve got some issues”, sings Rhys, before the choir-like chorus rushes in: “Our generation’s fucked, we don’t know how to love.” If art is a mirror to society, this song has a notable sheen.

The boys believe it is time for a new voice in the UK music scene. Harvey said: “I think inner London is absolutely smashing it, the whole grime scene, afrobeat and trap and that. But I wouldn’t necessarily say the outer London scene and suburban culture has a huge voice at the moment.”

EYK certainly look well on their way to becoming that voice. The band have announced their first headline set at Birthdays in Dalston on November 29 and were snapped up by Adidas for their latest ads featuring Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba. “We pretty much made the tune on the day,” said Harvey. “Rhys did the voice-over and we banged it out pretty quickly.”

“Everyone loved them,” said music supervisor Matt Kaleda of their original Adidas collaboration. “I knew straight away that the director would be into their sound.”

Contemplating the notion of further recognition, Rhys said: “We’re not driven by the glitz and glamour, we don’t like that lifestyle and even if we do become a success, there won’t really be that element to it. It is what it is, you know? We’ll carry on regardless.” A good message for us all.

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