Everyone You Know

Selected by: James Keith

Name: Everyone You Know

Where They’re From: Uxbridge, West London

Genre: Hip-Hop

File Next To: The Manor, Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn, The Streets

When They Started: Rhys: “I started making music in 2011. I’d been writing lyrics for years and years before that, and messed about DJ’ing on decks and stuff. But the first time I ever made an actual tune was 2011.” Harvey: “The same for me: it was around 2011 when I started to take it seriously. I was DJ’ing from the age of about 4, 5, so I’ve been involved with music for about 16 years now.”

Sounds Like: Rhys: “I always describe it as music for the people. We draw influence from so many different genres and have loads of different inspirations and you can hear that in the production, but lyrically always very relatable.” Harvey: “Everything yet nothing you’ve heard before. Lyrically, we’re relatable and relevant; production-wise, we’re a combination of genres and sounds that people don’t usually mix together. For example, on ‘She Don’t Dance’, I used disco breaks and indie guitars combined with an ‘80s synthwave bass and, normally, that wouldn’t make sense, but with the vocal added on top we managed to make it work.”

First Music that Inspired Them: Rhys: “For me, I couldn’t tell you the exact song, but it would’ve been something off of Kano’s Home Sweet Home. I used to write all the lyrics down from that album and that eventually evolved into writing my own lyrics. I was about 9 when that album came out, so I never knew it would ever turn into anything serious. But yeah, that album definitely inspired me to write my first lyric.” Harvey: “It was a video of Araabmuzik on an Akai MPC chopping and sampling a Skrillex tune. I remember watching it for the first time and thinking how mad it was. Later that night, I went home and bought myself the cheapest drum machine I could find and started making beats.”

Few in this world are better equipped to guide us into the overwhelming hedonism of the post-lockdown session than fraternal duo Everyone You Know, aka half-brothers Rhys Kirkby-Cox and Harvey Cox. Hitting the same boisterous notes as The Manor and The Streets with a bit more focus on the club, the duo have been making themselves heard a lot lately. Most recently, they teamed up with another new star, Joy Anonymous, for the reassuring anthem “Just For The Times”, a track they described at the time as “something special, something everyone can relate to, and something timeless that gives people hope and prosperity.”

But for all their cocky swagger, there’s a contrasting softer side. Despite titles like “Kids On Whizz” and “Charlie”, their tracks often pair Harvey’s brooding, late-night electronics with breathy, soulful vocals from Rhys. Given their upbringing, that combination was all but inevitable. As half-brothers, it was their father’s taste in music that united them, but both their mothers were dedicated ravers. “Growing up, there was always music playing in both my households,” Rhys tells TRENCH. “Our dad was a huge hip-hop head and always used to make CDs and tapes to play in the car. My uncle was really into his garage and hip-hop too. My mum loved her R&B and was always banging out Destiny’s Child and artists like that. My step dad was big into Brit-pop and my step mum loved her house and dance music. And then they all loved the old Motown and soul records. So I literally grew up listening to everything. And I’m very grateful that this was the case.”

It was a similar story for Harvey, whose mother raised him on a strict diet of club classics from across the decades. “My mum loves her vocal house,” he says, “old skool, soul, disco etc.” Although it was only 2018 that they released their first single as EYK—“Our Generation”—they’ve been making music in one form or another for roughly a decade now. In the very earliest days, their process was somewhat rough-and-ready—a far cry from the polish of their recent output. “I can’t remember the first full track I ever made,” Rhys says, “but I can remember the first beat I ever made; I cut up a vocal from 2pac’s ‘Changes’ and sampled that. If I listened back to it now, I’m sure it would be woeful. The first time I ever recorded vocals on a track was over something like Ghetts’ ‘Artillery’, I think.”

But for Harvey, it was always the production side that appealed; his formative years spent sampling and crudely chopping up beats, beginning with a soul classic. “It was a sample of Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross’ ‘Stop, Look, Listen’,” he says. “I sampled the first 8 bars, added a few drum breaks over it and thought it was the best thing ever made. I remember I kept playing it over and over again.” EYK prefer not to focus too much on past achievements (although their inclusion on the FIFA 20 soundtrack is a rare exception), instead focusing on their future goals. “The next big goal I’d like to achieve in the next 12/18 months is to sell out Brixton Academy,” says Rhys. “I’ve seen some class shows there over the years. So to sell that out in the next year or so would be wicked. I’d love to take all my family on holiday, too, as a little treat.” “I have a few goals,” Harvey adds, “one of which is to release our debut album. Another is to help my parents retire.”

With each new track comfortably cruising into seven- and even eight-figure streams, that sort of success is more than likely.

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on April 15, 2021