Interview: Dave Bayley of Glass Animals
Vulture Magazine managed to track down Dave Bayley of Glass Animals fame and subject him to the hard questions about music videos, their debut LP and their misheard lyrics.
VM: Most of your music videos have an incredibly psychedelic or amazing visual aspect to them. Is this deliberately done to match the music you guys make?
DB: Having the visuals match the music is important to us, so we’ve gone out and found a filmmaker who understands that and whose head works in a similar way to ours in terms of aesthetics. He’s called Rafael Bonilla Jr.
VM: How does it feel signing with and working with Paul Epworth’s new label, Wolf Tone?
DB: Great! Paul produced all the records we loved growing up, Bloc Party, The Rapture, Maxïmo Park. Really cohesive, full records that really work when played start to finish. We wanted to make a record like that. Not just a collection of singles that don’t compliment each other. So working with someone who does that so well and who helped soundtrack our youth is brilliant.
VM: Can you tell us anything about what to expect from your début LP?
DB: It’s gonna be bigger and wilder than what we’ve released before. Definitely a step on from what we’ve released to date. A couple tracks to dance to, and others to lose your shit to. Listening back to it there’s a really wide range of influences creeping in … we love R&B, hip-hop (we’ve been listening to a lot of Dre and Kendrick in the tour van), lots of soul (Otis Redding, Nina Simone), psychedelic groove stuff like Can. It’s kind of a mental cocktail all shaken up and processed in our brains – its exactly the sound we were going for – I think it still tastes like Glass Animals, but with all the flavours cranked up to 10. And maybe a drop of chilli. Can’t wait to share it with y’all.
VM: Do you feel that your brand of music could best be described as “hazy Sunday after a big Saturday night?”
DB: Yeah! I think the new album may include a little bit of the Saturday night too.
VM: What kind of bands/artists influence your music the most?
DB: We listen to a lot of hip-hop as a group. BIG, Dr Dre, Kanye, Kendrick. That and quite a lot of R&B. I guess that’s what we grew up with in the 90s and 00s. Then there are lots of instrumental producers I’m always listening to … Madlib, Four Tet, Burial, Flying Lotus. Lots of Flying Lotus. As for band … Can are a big influence, and LCD Soundsystem.
VM: What’s been your most memorable gig so far?
DB: Colin Greenwood [from Radiohead] asked us to headline a gig he was putting on which was pretty amazing. Won’t forget that. Also, we had a pretty amazing show in Poland at a festival there. We weren’t really expecting to have a crowd, but there were a couple thousand people there for us, and people were singing along … it was crazy. Especially because all the lyrics they were singing were generally wrong. We should probably publish our lyrics at some point.
VM: Apart from gigs and press nonsense, do you have any ideas on what you’re going to get up to Down Under?
DB: I, personally, want to meet a koala, and if possible a platypus. We’re going to have a little band holiday in Aus after we’ve finished the tour. I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet … if you have any suggestions if you wanna hang out let us know.
VM: You’re stuck in a room with Axl Rose, Kanye West and Morrissey. To escape, you have to record a song with one of them, who would it be?
DB: Kanye fo’ sho’. he’s a great producer as well as rapper – check out Pusha T’s ‘Numbers on the Board’.
VM: “Ride my little pooh bear” is a lyric from your gorgeous track ‘Gooey’. Where did this lyrical gem come from?
DB: Haha, thanks for calling it a gem! It’s “Right, my little pooh bear.” I need to sing more clearly. ‘Gooey’ is about youth and naïvety and childishness, and I was trying to sum that up in the lyrics. This particular line is just calling the character in the song “Pooh Bear” as it’s a way to describe that person’s personality in serious depth in just two words. Pooh is quite aloof, succumbs easily to temptation, has very little foresight, and is very childlike. “I am a bear of very little brain, and long words bother me” – Winnie the Pooh.
VM: What’s your favourite export from Australia? And yes, Nick Cave is the best possible answer you can possibly give.
DB: Nick Cave is totally brilliant … saw him at Glastonbury and it blew my brain. Nick Cave, and wombats.
VM: What would you say is the best environment to listen to Glass Animals?
DB: Somewhere you can turn the volume up for a start without being shouted at. There is a house near us that is secretly this kind of crazy rave den, all the walls have been painted psychedelic colours and patterns, there are cushions all over the floors, one room has a jacuzzi, there is a roof garden with exotic plants, and a basement full of revellers, that I think would be a perfect environment, different room for moods. You should check if there is one near you. Our is just in a row of terraced houses, took us a while to find it.
VM: Quick final questions. What’s your all-time desert island album?
DB: Man, that’s tough … I think my favourite album changes hourly depending on my mood. Right now, I’d say The Fugees The Score.
VM: … And would you rather be a front page artist or living in a mountainous shack recording music with mystical sherpas?
DB: Mountainous shack!