It’s rare when a band’s first visit to Norwich takes place in the LCR, the biggest gig venue in the city. Glass Animals’ rise to top billing has been fast and furious –this young Oxford foursome make music that takes the best of funk and soul and mixes it with a touch of electronica with an indie slant. Following their entirely sold out headline tour late last year, they’re back with their second album How To Be A Human Being, and their latest single Pork Soda is big at R1. I spoke to bass player Ed about collecting stories, not knowing what they’re doing and how excited they are to play Reading Festival.


ow did the band get together?

We were friends at school together in Oxford but then we all went off to different uni’s. So Dave started writing some tracks on his computer and we met up in the holidays and he told us “right, you’re in a band with me!”. We bought a few instruments and messed around as you do with friends. But that was only during the holidays, and we only started taking the band seriously when we all decided to take a gap year after uni. We all moved home to Oxford and that’s when we started making music properly and gradually started doing some gigs. Your music is full of smooth funk and soul, with loads going on in each song in terms of layers. When the band first started, what sort of sound were you aiming for? At that time we were into all sorts of different things. Growing up we were all into Te Beatles, and Dave grew up in America and was heavily

into hip hop which I think you have also hear in our music. When we were teenagers we all listened to a lot of guitar music – Te Strokes and Bloc Party. It actually turned out that the guy who produced a lot of their music is the guy who owns the label we’re on! When we found out he was interested we were so excited because he worked with all these bands we loved when we were teenagers. Dave and Joe were more into dance and electronic music, like Mount Kimbie and Bonobo. Our sound comes from all the music that we’ve listened to in our lives, we never sat down and decided what we wanted to sound like, we just started making weird noises and worked out what sounded cool! You had a sold out headline tour last autumn in the UK, Europe and American, and now you’re heading back out on the road. When we released our first record we didn’t know what we were doing. We just put it


out and waited to see what happened. Te whole of 2015 we killed ourselves in terms of touring. In America in particular we got bigger and bigger which was so exciting. So we’re just going to carry on doing that and see where it takes us. Do you think that’s a wise move for young upcoming bands to get noticed, to do a lot of touring early on? It does sound like a pretty old school way of doing it, doesn’t it? We were pretty lucky with Spotify – a lot of bands don’t like it because you can’t make any money out of it , but for us it’s been great because it got our music out to a worldwide audience. Tat was how we got fans and enabled us to do gigs in American and then build it from there. It’s a crazy business, and all we’ve really done is chase this wherever it’s taken us! Your second album came out at the end of August last year. Te title is How To Be A Human Being – how do you feel the album would help us

to learn that? Ha ha! Well the idea was that the songs off the new record are all characters, a mixture of people. We collected people’s stories, which were often pretty crazy, especially the ones from America, we met lots of weird people and had hilarious, weird and sometimes really sad conversations with them. Tey opened up to us because we were foreign and musicians, and people seem to think that musicians are a different breed of person for some reason. We collected all these stories and Dave sat down and mashed them together into characters, some based on the stories, some based on people we know, and some based on us. It’s basically a collection of stories and that’s what the title reflects. A lot of the characters are quite extreme. What’s your favourite song from the new album? Hmmm, interesting. Te last track on the record is very personal to all of us,

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