On the eve of releasing their album of I Need Everybody covers, I got the chance to speak to Eddie from PICNIC to discuss everything about the project. Starting at the beginning, Eddie explains that “ It’s definitely a very ‘lockdown’ project, and I highly doubt that it would have happened without us being in this situation.”
It all began with Conor Jobes of noyou and Jackson Vert of Club Paradise and Ghost//Signals who took ‘I Need Everybody’ and made it their own before the album was even thought up. “They both decided to cover the track off their own backs after watching my guitar playthrough on Instagram.” After being impressed by those two covers, Eddie had the idea to put out feelers and see how far the idea could go.
When it came to deciding on a cause to help the decision was “quite an easy one” he states, adding “I know people who rely on foodbanks and volunteers that work in the soup kitchen, so I’m all too aware of how necessary this service is.”
All of the proceeds for the album are going towards Sunderland Foodbank. It is part of the Trussell Trust, a charity that operate a large majority of the foodbanks in the UK. Sunderland Foodbank operates from 8 locations across the wider Sunderland region and relies on funding from churches, community groups and individuals now more than ever.
On an unfortunately sour note Eddie continues to say that “It shouldn’t be necessary but it is, that’s the reality, and rather than debating the reasons why the best thing we can do at the minute is ensure people in our city aren’t starving.”
“Raising money for a foodbank is a positive thing, but it is tainted by the fact that we shouldn’t have to, there should be no logical reason for them to exist in our country.”
Not one to shy away from his mackem roots, Eddie talks about how all of PICNIC share this pride in being from Sunderland. “we love the city and everything that it has gave to us so any chance we get to give something back we will.”
He mentions that all too often Sunderland is dealt “the shitty end of the stick.” It’s no secret that the government enjoy pretending the North doesn’t exist but areas such as Wearside feel this neglect more than others. “We will always fight [Sunderland]’s corner, pandemic or not.”
Getting back to the album itself, he’s not short of praise to give to the artists featured, calling the synth pop that Field Music and noyou delivered as “absolute bops”. Lauren and Matt’s came as a surprises as Eddie was only expecting to hear from Matt (Dunbar) and it was wonderful surprise. Field Music’s addition also came as a surprise to him as the Mackem duo are a household name here in the North East.
Speaking on the other songs he says “Goodnight Kid’s pop punk kick off is class, Elizabeth’s pure pop rendition is right up my street, the Plastic Glass lads morphing it into a bluesy 90s indie anthem, St Buryan supplying the 00’s pop cheese, Mt. Misery are one of my favourite bands and their take was everything I hoped it would be and more.”
“Joe Ramsey’s Nick Jonas-esque ad lib to close the album, Sophia’s lush harmony arrangements (and the only version to change the time signature) and I love John Gatenby with my whole heart so his smooth as Lurpak vocals all over it was a dream to listen to.”
“Faye Fantarrow’s super raw and DIY interpretation really hit me, I think she captured a real desperate side of the character that I’d never really explored; I love how rough around the edges it is, it feels like a really authentic take on the story, big fan. I’d say Holly Rees really nailed that as well.”
So yeah, just those ones, the rest were shite.” He jokes. Hopefully.
You can get PICNIC and friends’ I Need Everybody covers now over on bandcamp. It’s pay what you feel with a recommended donation of £7, not forgetting that all proceeds are going directly to a good cause. Try and purchase today if you’re able whilst bandcamp’s 15% fee is waived.