PICNIC are a band that find beauty, humility and even at time hilarity in mundane, everyday life. Hailing from Sunderland, part of the greater Tyne and Wear area where famously, not a lot happens. PICNIC not only take the best of a boring place, but they deliver their music with stacks of energy to spare too. Their newest track ‘I Need Everybody’ is a perfect example of this.
Eddie Scott is the guitarist and primary lyricist of the band. He’s an extensive and talented songwriter, with a vision to pursue this as a professional career.
He explains that ‘I Need Everybody’ has been maybe the longest a song has ever taken for PICNIC to write “took fucking ages” he jokes. “It took over a year, maybe longer, to get to where it’s at now.”
“I had the chorus melody/hook for a while but could never get it to fit into a tune. The first time I properly brought it into practice was pretty close to what it is now though, once I’d worked out a verse.”
The process having taken so long was more than unusual for the band, who usually decide almost immediately if music is worth pursuing. Previous singles from 2019 such as ‘Wishful Drinking’ and ‘Girl’s Night’ came together in far quicker circumstances.
“We all thought this one was worth sticking with though” Eddie says, “I was quite persistent with pushing through as I thought the chorus was pretty strong.”
A big chorus is key to any PICNIC song, just look at ‘Wishful Drinking’ or even older cuts like ‘I Ain’t Got No Money’ for example. You can‘t accuse them of doing anything in half measures.
Disco beats, hooks for days and lyrics that demand singing along so shouldn’t come as a surprise when Eddie lists off some of PICNIC’s influences from the process of making ‘I Need Everybody’.
Bon Iver, Carly Rae Jepsen and Hockey Dad are mentioned among others. All the artists on his list are fairly different in style but you can hear bits of all them in PICNIC. One thing PICNIC do well is take little bits of pop culture from everywhere and mash them in such a way you wonder why no one else thought to put them together in the first place.
Also on the list are Vulfpeck which easily make the most sense with PICNIC. The way Vulfpeck make an array of musicians fit perfectly in sync appears to be a big part of the PICNIC blueprint.
When talking about how the single first came to be in its earliest stages, Eddie tells about the six demos that came before the final cut, saying they were “all completely different, with only the chorus hook staying the same throughout. Once I’d sorted a verse though everything else sort of fell into place.”
Over the past year or so, ‘I Need Everybody’ has been in PICNIC set lists, giving audiences glances into the inner workings of the single reaching its final form, although how audiences have reacted hasn’t affected how the band see the song.
Despite this, he adds that it’s always been one to go down well at shows. People like to mention ‘I Need Everybody’ in particular when chatting to the band after gigs.
So even if the general public’s opinion hasn’t affected how the song progressed, the band have always known they were onto a winner.
Moving onto the changes the band have consciously made about ‘I Need Everybody’, he recalls that there were only two big ones in the year it took to make the single.
The first change was the bridge, “[it] changed during the recording process, just through messing about with different pedals etc. I still play the old bridge part live as it was recorded in a different tuning.”
The second was an old verse from their previous guitarist Danny, who wrote “lovely sort of country/emo” part which lost its way in the process.
“When we started layering everything up and experimenting with sounds the vibe changed and [the country/emo part] just didn’t fit. That was a bit gutting at the time but the decision was pretty unanimous.”
The group element of PICNIC’s writing cannot be understated, it’s explained. Although Eddie is the one to bring ideas to the table, it takes every member to bring a song to it’s final form.
“I’ll usually plant the seed and come to the rest of the guys with an idea, or how I think the full song should sound, but then we jam things out and it ends up evolving.” he says.
“Without the input of everyone in the band PICNIC tunes just wouldn’t sound like us; the melody and lyrics would be there, but all the extra stuff that gives us our sound just wouldn’t.”