Since their debut EP in 2012 Glass Animals have gradually become the biggest band to come out of Oxford since Foals. Their catchy yet complex songs effortlessly blend psychedelic pop with indie rock and alternative R&B. We managed to catch up with frontman Dave Bayley while they embarked on their sold out UK tour, which included a night at the extraordinary Brixton Academy.
What was the first album you ever bought?
I think it was something a bit silly. Maybe it was Toxicity by System of the Down, it wasn't my favourite record. I still listen to them sometimes, I went to see them in concert the other day.
How would you describe your style in three words?
Oh My God. Maybe that's it. It's impossible to answer, it's like describing your own personality or something. Other people are much better at it.
What's the most memorable concert you've been to?
I think my most memorable recently was when we did a show with Blink 182 in America. We went to watch them afterward in the crowd and there was this huge mosh pit right in front of us. Then Ed, our bass player, pushed me right into this mosh pit when I wasn't expecting it. I couldn't get out, people just kept dragging me back in and throwing me around. My clothes got all ripped up and for that, I will never forget it!
What's your favourite song to play live?
That's like choosing a favourite child. I can't do that. Actually at the moment, I'm enjoying the song Take A Slice but don't tell the other songs.
What's the last book you read?
The last one I read was called In a Free State by a guy called V.S. Naipaul. It's about the price of freedom and race. It was written in 1971 but it's still so relevant.
What are your plans for 2017?
A lot of touring! We've got some new things we want to do with the set design and show. I was hoping to see Beyonce at Coachella but that's not going to happen anymore sadly.
What's the best thing about your job?
We meet so many people and you get to hear so many amazing stories. People are always telling us such bizarre things, sad things, crazy things. Crazy things happen to me every day as well. Like yesterday, I found myself in a guy's shed. I went to meet this guy who was going to do some pyrotechnics for a show and I knocked on his door and his mum answered. She took me through to this like shed that this guy lived in behind the house. He just had racks of guns all over the shed and pictures of all these naked women. It was so bizarre. And he told me about these fireworks that he's going to make for us. I don't think we'll be going with him sadly...
What's the worst thing about your job?
I don't get to spend enough time with my friends, I'm always away from home.
Have you got a dream venue that you would love to play?
Space would be pretty cool, I don't think anyone's ever played in space. Technically no one could hear us because it's a vacuum but that's okay.
What's the worst gig that you've ever played?
We had a gig that was the worst but also kind of the best gig that we've played. We turned up in our tour bus in Salt Lake City, Utah. We turned up and the bus driver was like you're here, you're at the venue. We got out and we were in the middle of the suburbs with like 5 houses around us with no venue in sight. This kid comes walking out one of the houses and he's like "Yo, what's up Glass Animals? You're at the venue". He took us into the venue and it was a garage. There was like one working speaker, no lights and one plug socket for all our equipment. It was this tiny garage and he had sold like 400 tickets to this thing. It went off, it was crazy. No one could fit in the garage, obviously, so people were just people were hanging from the ceilings and looking through windows. It was absolutely nuts.
Have you got a favourite TV show?
I've actually given up TV for lent. But just before that I was watching the OJ Simpson stuff with Ross from Friends. It's really good, it's some of my favourite TV from the last couple of years.
What bands would you say you find inspirational?
There's a huge list, I could probably go on forever. I listen to a lot of LCD Sound System, I'm a huge fan. I'm a big Beatles fan, especially the later psychedelic stuff. We all like Radiohead. I'm a huge Hip Hop fan, I listen to a lot of Dr Dre, things that were produced by Pharrell back in the day and a lot of Missy Elliot too.
Where would you say the best crowds are?
Really weirdly we had a show in Cambridge recently and it just went totally mad. There was a mosh pit for every song, even the slow ones. It was really strange. It was just so unexpected as normally Cambridge is quiet an intelligent city where people are calm and they watch but not this time.
How's the tour going?
Really good, it's been absolutely mad. We're very very lucky to have all the shows sold out and the crowds have tripled in size since the last tour, which was totally unexpected. The energy is amazing, it feels like a festival every time.
Have you got a favourite film?
Well it's not a film but my favourite kind of thing to watch is Seinfeld. I always have it on in the background. There's this really weird film by Jim Jarmusch called Coffee and Cigarettes. It's got like some rappers, Tom Waits and Iggy Pop. It's a wicked film.
Where do you tend to find inspiration for your songs?
Everywhere. Meeting loads of people and hearing their stories is the main source of inspiration. Just life.
UK fans can catch them on Friday the 14th of July at the Latitude Festival alongside the 1975 and Mumford and Sons. Currently the band are touring throughout America and with 52 upcoming gig dates worldwide you should definitely check out this phenomenal band live. You can see the quirky video for Glass Animal’s new single Pork Soda below.