Glass Animals have had a convoluted and fascinatingly varied career so far, one that’s seen them genre hop, drawing on influences from indie to hip-hop, and progress their style from the deeply abstract to the pointedly personal.
Frontman Dave Bayley is open about the band’s journey, which feels like a learning curve combined with a growth in confidence of self-expression, a step up to addressing the emotional and the heartfelt.
“Some songs are so personal I find them hard to perform, like ‘Agnes’,” frontman Dave Bayley says. “I need to be emotionally ready for it, it’s very deep for me and quite dark. I’ve stopped playing it for now, until I feel ready.”
Bayley traces much of his style back to his childhood. “I got a radio when I was about 11, and listened to a lot of hip-hop,” he says. “My small town in Texas, where I lived at the time, had two radio stations, just hip-hop on one and country on the other. I loved the way hip-hop made me feel. I still love artists like Busta Rhymes and Timbaland.”
“I actually have all my sounds on my computer organised by those producers, in folders called ‘Timbaland style sounds’ or ‘Pharrell style sounds’, so they’re a huge influence on my production in particular. It helps me find things, it’s the way my brain works. It makes sense to me. In a similar way, I have all the Apps on my phone organised by colour. It’s just what works for me.”
In recent months, following the launch of the album ‘Dreamland’, single ‘Heatwave’, in particular, has been a remarkable journey, peaking on the UK charts last week at number five, almost a year after release, and reaching over a billion Spotify streams. “It blows me away, I feel very very lucky, I wish I could understand it!” Bayley says. “I’ve always had this philosophy that great songs grow. I remember when I first heard Florence and the Machine, and it took a year to be on the radio. It’s great to have a little taste of that.”