Two years in the past, Glass Animals drummer Joe Seaward suffered a fancy cranium fracture in a biking accident in Dublin, and needed to endure neurosurgery. He’s since made a full (astonishing) restoration. However for singer Dave Bayley, at his hospital bedside, it was a wrestle to be as optimistic as Seaward’s different family and friends. He’d studied neuroscience at college, and knew how critical his bandmate’s accidents had been.
“I used to be caught on this mentality the place the longer term regarded actually s***,” the 31-year-old says. He and Seaward had been childhood friends, who’d fashioned the psych-pop band in Oxford with their associates Ed Irwin-Singer and Drew McFarlane.
“I didn’t know if Joe was going to outlive, or recuperate,” he continues. “In a time like that, all you may appear to do is begin interested by the previous.” He compares it to peeling off a band-aid – as soon as he’d taken one off, extra adopted. The recollections that resurfaced on this time are what impressed the brand new Glass Animals album, Dreamland.
I’m speaking to Bayley over Zoom from his dwelling studio in Hackney, east London. He strikes the digital camera round to point out me the pink partitions, lush inexperienced crops, and an array of devices, together with the Spanish guitar he purchased for £5 at a flea market when he was 17, and nonetheless makes use of.
In comparison with its predecessor, the Mercury Prize-shortlisted Learn how to Be a Human Being, Dreamland is autobiographical, shot via with recollections of early childhood rising up within the small metropolis of Faculty Station, Texas. It tackles every thing from formative relationships to masculinity, specifically the poisonous expectations of younger boys that Bayley – who’s delicate, emotionally clever, and sometimes fairly shy – was confronted with. There are glimmering synths that rocket overhead like taking pictures stars, trippy hip-hop beats, bossa nova rhythms, warped electrical guitar strains, the brassy horns of their 2019 observe “Tokyo Drifting”, and a implausible pattern of “Deep Shadows” by Sixties Michigan soul singer Little Ann. All of that is interspersed with audio from dwelling films of Bayley’s youth, augmenting the album’s bittersweet theme of misplaced innocence.
“You don’t realise till later how darkish all of it is,” he says, of childhood gender stereotyping. “It’s so ingrained – being advised to play American soccer and basketball and conceal your emotions, and be this sort of macho superhero. That’s undoubtedly not what I used to be, and I felt actually s****y for not being that.” He addresses this on Dreamland track “House Ghost Coast to Coast”, about certainly one of his childhood greatest associates.
“We found every thing collectively,” he says. “Dr Dre, Eminem… we used to tug up the aerial on our boombox to catch completely different radio stations.” When Bayley moved to England, aged 13, he and his pal drifted aside. A while later, he heard the information that the pal had been caught attempting to convey a gun into an area college. “The world can change individuals in methods you by no means thought had been doable,” he says. “We have to begin difficult that. It’s f***ing harmful.” Within the track, you hear Bayley greedy for concepts as to what would trigger the particular person he as soon as knew (“We had been simply two Texas toddlers/ Pokémon, bottle rockets”) to do one thing like that: “Have been you bored of gender norms?/ Of being alone, no mama dwelling/ A foul divorce, or unhappy we are able to’t/ Afford the garments our heroes personal?” In his breathy, trilling vocal supply is a simmering anger, born from an intrinsic must fathom the unfathomable.
“They’re a greater particular person now,” Bayley tells me. “It’s a uncommon story – they’ve rebuilt their life.” In America, he factors out, residents who dedicated crimes as minors can apply to have their information expunged: “It’s in all probability a great factor to do, a minimum of on this case,” he says. “He’s a brand new particular person so far as I do know.” Have they talked since? “No. It’s bizarre, we had been so shut. And it’s exhausting to imagine somebody you knew that properly may transfer so removed from who they was. However at that age you’re like a sponge, and darkish stuff, like pretend information, will get in. You take up it.”
At first of this 12 months and with Seaward absolutely recovered, the band had simply set out on a tour to kick off their new album marketing campaign, when the coronavirus pandemic took maintain. They discovered themselves backstage at a gig in LA, being knowledgeable by a nervous supervisor that this may in all probability be their final present for a while. “It was mad,” Bayley says. “We threw every thing behind a truck – I believe it’s in Nashville now.” The band have been discovering new methods to entertain their followers; Bayley and McFarlane lately carried out the one “Warmth Waves” on a road nook in Hackney. It was solely once they bought shooed away by police that they realised they’d missed the “no amplified dwell music” signal, posted subsequent to the large billboard selling their album.
“It’s been fascinating,” he says, of how the music business has been compelled to adapt. “The panorama has flattened and you may sort of do no matter. There aren’t actually any guidelines.” Bayley, who in our first interview in 2016 admitted that he had issue speaking about private issues, has developed too. It began with the track “Agnes” – a few pal who took their very own life after fighting dependancy – which closed the final file. It stays their most viscerally emotional observe to this point, a lot in order that they not often carry out it at dwell exhibits.
“Writing that track opened the door to this album,” Bayley says. “However enjoying it dwell was by no means simple to start with. The saving grace was latching on to the optimistic facet of the track, the great recollections, then holding on for pricey life and hoping that you just get via the efficiency.” It was the band’s label, Republic Data, which persuaded him to incorporate it on Learn how to Be a Human Being. “I realised they had been proper,” he says, “as a result of my favorite songs are often those which are extremely private. And so they make you’re feeling much less alone.”
That stated, there are different tracks to which followers will probably commit a while making an attempt to decode. Initially introduced because the narrative of a relationship, “Helium” touches on themes of guilt and sexuality, but in addition how “your foundations are going to get f***ed up as you grow old”. “I suppose I wished you greater than I assumed I did”, Bayley sings, with each remorse and reflection.
“It’s meant to be obscure sufficient that you just interpret it as a relationship, these awkward fumblings at the start,” he says. “That displays a lot on life typically. Nobody has any bloody thought what they’re doing. [The song] begins with timidness and insecurity, and the top is saying ‘That’s OK. Do what you may with it.’”
Dreamland is out on Friday 7 August