Everyone You Know

EYK

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Eloise Adger | 22/03/2021

Rhys Kirkby-Cox and Harvey Kirkby comprise our favourite new duo, Everyone You Know. Hailing from London the brothers combine hip-hop, punk and house with smooth indie guitar riffs to create a unique and captivating sound.

After a few Zoom technical issues, we really should be able to figure this out a year into the pandemic, we dove straight in and caught up with the boys and what they had been up to over the last 12 months.

“We’ve just been trying to use the time to our benefit, and make as much music as possible. We’ve both been working out pretty heavily as well, just trying to keep and in good nick. And we’ve just been making like a fuckload of music to be fair.”

“Before, when the pandemic first kicked off, we didn’t release any music at all, everyone was really hesitant about releasing music so we didn’t put anything out for like eight months. Then we decided that wasn’t a way to go. We thought what we’ll do is just keep releasing music, we’ve got such a back catalogue of tunes now there’s no point just sitting on it. Because we’re not going to progress by not releasing anything. We just thought, cool, let’s get some songs out, one every month, leading up to this EP, which is coming up in May.”

Bands have really had to embrace social media since its the only way they can connect with their fans on a personal level now gigs are out the window. EYK have been making sure they keep their followers as engaged as possible in interesting, if not, unconventional ways.

“At the beginning of lockdown, we were doing a load of competitions and stuff just to keep people interacting with us. But now it’s all because we’re releasing music regularly.” And the Fifa Championship? “It was an EYK vs the fans sort of thing. And if you could beat me at FIFA, you got a ticket to one of our shows, but the tour was rescheduled again, and thankfully no one beat me anyway. It keeps people involved and gives people 15 minutes to spend with us as well. I just thought moments mean more than anything at the moment. It’ll be a nice little thing to do for the fans”.
The brothers grew up surrounded by music with family members who wrote and performed so it wasn’t much of a surprise when they decided to make a go of it themselves. “Our old man was bang into DJing, and my uncle used to produce and MC out of his bedroom. In our whole family, no one was musicians or in bands making music and shit like that, but people were obsessed with it. There was always tunes playing in the house, and that’s where our love for it came from”.

“We were around so many different genres of music from like East Coast hip hop, Biggie Smalls and Big L through to Chaka Khan, Oasis, Arctic Monkey, so we draw influence from so many different genres. On top of that, we’ve got our friends and family around us as well who have influenced us massively so it’s hard to pinpoint one specific artist or band that influences us”.

This, Rhys explains, was the trick to finding their collective sound - combining all these musical influences while not sounding too broad and all-encompassing. “We’ve grown up around so many different genres of music. Also as you’re growing up and go through school different sounds are popular. When I was in school, Jamie T and all that sort of stuff was massively popping off, and then like Kano and Gets everyone was into the grime thing. So you’re around so many different scenes and so many different sounds, you just pick up influences from everything, we draw from all of that. We were never like cool let’s go be a rock band. or let’s go be hip hop artists, or let’s go make drum and bass, we were like let’s just nab a little bit of everything from all the genres that we love and make our own sound”.

But while they both worked on their craft from an early age they focused on completely separate projects, it wasn’t until around 2015 they started to fuse their talents.

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“We both started making music really young. We were making it individually for a while, for years in fact, and then we decided let’s come together and just make music exclusively together. Rather than, I was doing my thing with my powers, Harvey was doing his own thing and he was like why are we doing things separately? Let’s both put our minds together and start making changes together.”

Working and touring together can be enough to test even the tightest of sibling bonds, so we asked the cliche question of how they stayed in each other’s good books. “We’re pretty good to each other, Rhys doesn’t get on my nerves, I probably do his f***ing nut in!”.

EYK have achieved so much in the past few years, from recording a Maida Vale session with Jack Saunders, to playing to huge crowds at a variety of festivals. We were keen to know what memory has left a lasting impression on the duo.

Rhys: “It’s got to be the tour. When you tour and you go up north to like Stoke on a Tuesday night, and you play like a sold-out show to a few 100 heads in the middle of nowhere, the whole town’s dead, except for this one venue that you’re playing at. Doing things like that is wicked because you just don’t expect to have that sort of audience and love in places like that. When you’re travelling five hours up north to a show and you’re selling out something on a f***ing freezing cold Tuesday night, that’s a wicked feeling to have love all the way up there”.

Harvey: “I think Brixton Academy was sick. It was such a high point of our journey so far. Soccer AM as well, we’ve grown up watching Soccer AM and to be on that three times now is mental. I remember every Saturday as a kid you’d always watch Soccer AM and then there’d be the football on after, so we’ve grown up with that. Being on FIFA as well, ‘She Don’t Dance’ featured on FIFA 20, which was another big bucket list thing for us, we’ve grown up playing that, every September you go buy the new FIFA so to be on that and have all the boys be like ‘ahhh your tunes on FIFA’, it’s wicked”.

We are grateful that EYK, like all the artists we talk to, were willing to be so open about their mental health struggles over the years and how it still impacts them today. Harvey explained “I think everyone goes through their journey with it. I’ve had a few experiences in the past with anxiety and whatnot. But I’ve always found exercising, having a routine, having a good diet, and being open and honest about things with your close ones is what really gets you through those tough times. But I still think it’s quite hard for blokes to talk about, I think there is still quite a stigma around it, which is something that I’d definitely like to change in the future. It’s different for everyone, but that’s my experience with it anyway”.

Suicide is still one of the leading killers of men in the UK, patriarchal toxic masculinity enforces a huge stigma around male mental health which results in pent up emotions and feelings of painful loneliness, something Rhys admits he struggled with. “I’ve always really struggled to talk about my feelings. I’ve always felt like I never wanted to be a burden on anyone, but since having my daughter I’m definitely able to just talk more and almost swallow the pride and let people know how I’m feeling. If I’m feeling like things are on top of me I’m happy to express my feelings and understand that that’s why you have relationships with people. That’s why you have friendships, and that’s why I have people like my brother, my girlfriend and family, that’s why you have these relationships to be able to talk to people about when you’re not feeling your best. Once you realise that the people around you are there for you that’s when you can push through it and deal with it”.

But having a routine and structure and reaching out to loved ones can be particularly difficult when you’re playing shows till late, going from town to town, separated from your home.

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“When you’re on tour somewhere it’s almost like you’re going on a lads holiday for two weeks, you got people drinking and partying and it’s hectic. It’s difficult, but you have to have discipline and willpower to say, right, tonight I’m gonna get pissed then the next night I’m gonna have an early one. I’m going to get my head down, get some rest, have some good food, and just chill out. You’ve got to know when to call it a day, but you’ve also got to know you’re on tour and it’s good to have a blowout every now and again”.

“Even when you’re away from home, you don’t ever feel isolated or like oh god I’m halfway up the country and I’ve got no one to talk to, I’m with my brother so it’s cool. The people that we’ve toured with are sound, our sound engineer is a fella called Rampton and our drummer Paige, we’re all really close so it’s really nice vibes, it’s like family vibes. I think 100% having Harv there means I’m never thinking I’m here by myself. When I go on tour I get into the mentality that although I’m here to have fun and enjoy myself I still need to get the job done.”

The boys are setting up for a massive 2021 with the release of a twelve-track mixtape. I still “It’s our lives from the past year, our lives through the lockdown. We’re really proud of the tunes we’ve gotten so far, we think they could all be single contenders there’s not one filler track on there. There are tunes in there, like our next release, that are so relevant and current to the times now. We’ve been sat on that tune for a while actually and it feels like now is the best time to put that song out. The project as a whole is gonna hopefully take us to the next level in our career, and get us out there a little bit more and allow us to start working on an album, a proper album, next year.”

“There’s a lot of songs on there that are party anthems as well. So when we’re out of this shit and people can go back raving and back down the pub, there’s gonna be a lot of soundtracks to them big nights out”.

Just for the Times will be the first EP EYK have released since 2019 and after the year we’ve all had we can’t wait for some good party bangers.

Words: Eloise Adger
Photographer: Betty Martin