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PUSH THE SKY AWAY There’s not much info available online, so how much can you learn about Glass Animals in the flesh? A lot, Bryget Chrisfield discovers after trailing all four band members – frontman Dave Bayley, guitarist/keyboardist Drew MacFarlane, bassist/keyboardist Edmund Irwin-Singer and drummer Joe Seaward – for a day.


ll four members of Glass Animals wander out through the doors of an inner-city hotel pushing a bellboy trolley loaded with equipment. They look dishevelled, but still offer up smiles and wear sweaters on this sunny, 30-degree day. All of them are noticeably pale, but cute. Drummer Joe Seaward, sporting a Misfits t-shirt, quickly lights a cigarette on the pavement. Once all their gear has been packed into the maxicab, it’s all aboard and we’re off to ABC Southbank Centre. En route, Glass Animals excitedly ask what

rappers don’t have… he’s not afraid to push boundaries. “It’s weird, I mean you sit down and you think about what he’s doing, then you try to do it yourself and it just doesn’t work, but somehow he pulls it off.” Seaward is equally enthusiastic about Kanye’s production discography, singling out “a Pusha T track called Numbers On The Boards, which is just so cool – it’s amazing.” So how do the pair feel about Kimye? They both laugh and Bayley enquires, “Do you feel like it’s faked?” Um, a little bit. “‘Cause I – am I allowed to say this?” Seaward steps in, “You’re not allowed to say that.” His bandmate suddenly turns diplomatic: “I dunno anything about it. I don’t sorta read tabloid stuff like that. I kinda just listen to the music.”

the rhythms and how changeable they are within a single track. ”Yeah, I get what you’re talking about,” Seaward jumps in. “[Hip hop] is what we listen to when we’re not having to do the band music… Dave grew up with it.” “I was living in Texas [from] when I was about seven to 15 and that was when I kind of started discovering music, aside from my dad’s music collection, and there were only two radio stations in the city that I lived in: one of them played really awful country music and Christian rock, that was disgusting so I didn’t listen to that very much, and the other radio station was kind of gangsta rap and stuff – Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, yeah! Dr Dre production after Dr Dre production and I listened to that quite a lot. Mum didn’t like it much.” So seven-yearold Bayley traipsed down the halls rapping about bustin’ a cap in yo’ ass? “Pretty much!” he chuckles. “She definitely walked into my room a coupla times like, ‘What are these lyrics? These are awful!’ Um, I didn’t really know what they meant at the time, you know, I was so young. I used to sing about bitches.” And hos? “Bitches and hos.” “My neighbour used to sing that Prodigy song Smack My Bitch Up,” Seaward contributes. “He found that [song] when he was about three or four and he came out and was like, “[puts on a toddler’s voice] Smack my bitch up.” And no one corrected him? “No, they didn’t. It was great.” Unlike the band’s frontman, Seaward was “born and bred” in England although MacFarlane was born in the USA and brought up there until he was about nine. Because Bayley’s dad was “a science guy”, his

“I TEND TO DISGUISE EVERYTHING THAT’S REAL WITH WEIRD CHARACTERS AND WEIRD WORDS, AND MIX THINGS UP SO BASICALLY PEOPLE CAN’T REALLY UNDERSTAND THE LYRICS AND WHAT THEY’RE ACTUALLY MEANT TO BE ABOUT.” Victoria’s state animal is (this scribe shoulda known it is Leadbeater’s possum) then make general enquiries about our flora and fauna. As the maxi-cab passes Melbourne Recital Centre, guitarist/keyboardist Drew MacFarlane and bassist/keyboardist Edmund IrwinSinger recall having performed there as part of a choir a couple of years back. (They later tell me they were billeted in the affluent suburb of Canterbury with a lovely family who gave them a lot of freedom.) After all the gear has been lugged into ABC’s foyer, we’re all lanyarded-up and a friendly triple j cameraman ushers us through to the studio where Glass Animals will record their own single Gooey plus their choice of cover for Like A Version. Once inside the studio, we are greeted by an excited Alex Dyson from Breakfast With Matt & Alex, who informs us that, as of half an hour ago, Kanye West postponed his Australian tour. Glass Animals are set to perform a cover of West’s Love Lockdown so their choice is accidentally serendipitous. Caroline's International Label Manager, who is visiting from the UK, does a happy dance. It turns out the band’s love of Yeezy goes way back. “Kanye’s a pretty fricken cool guy,” frontman Dave Bayley gushes. “I got into him when he was doing production stuff, because he used to do a lot of production on Jay Z records and I was like, ‘Oh, who’s making these beats?’ And it was Kanye. And then he started rapping and he’s just got this really amazing freedom of rhythm that a lot of producers and other 12 • THE MUSIC • 4TH JUNE 2014

Seaward offers, “His kid’s got a cool name, North West.” All in the control room are aghast at Glass Animals’ take on Love Lockdown, with breathy percussion and Bayley’s hastily recorded vocal sample that he prepared earlier through a laptop mic. While performing Gooey, the question is raised as to whether or not egg shaker percussion is worth sacrificing guitar for. The egg shaker is ditched. Bayley’s vocals sound perfect, however he always believes he can do better so they record another take. A decision is made to go with the first take after all. If you listen to the beats in Glass Animals’ tunes, you can tell they love hip hop. “Can you?” Bayley asks. Yeah, just in

family relocated wherever the research jobs were. “He got a job in the UK after a while,” Bayley explains. “I remember when I first moved to Oxford I didn’t like it very much because it was so cramped. It was like a big city and I was used to having all this space [in which] to do whatever I want – you know, jump around, be a kid. We came to the UK and for the first year or so when I was there I didn’t appreciate it, but then when I was in my teens I was like, ‘Yeah, the city’s the place to be when you’re growing up through those teen years’.” Back out on Southbank Boulevard, the boys load their equipment back into a maxi-cab, inhale quick gaspers as required and then it’s off to Kane Hibberd’s photographic studio in Cremorne. In transit, the lads collectively baulk at the price of cigarettes in our country then are further shocked by the grizzly images on the packets. We all marvel at the black goop (probably from studio headphones) that has attached itself/melted on to MacFarlane’s ears. There’s a request: “Does anyone have any spare socks?” And then it’s revealed Glass Animals are sharing one suitcase (or so they say). Having recently caught Sohn at South By Southwest, Seaward predicts the Vienna-based English musician will be huge. When asked to share some other South By Southwest highlights, Bayley enthuses, “Oh it was wicked! We hung out with George Clinton’s hype man. He was living nextdoor to us.” Seaward intercepts, “Yeah, we woke up one morning and he was just sitting on the porch of our house smoking a joint, and we were

The Music (Brisbane) Issue #41  

The Music is a free, weekly gloss magazine of newsstand quality. It features a diverse range of content including arts, culture, fashion, li...

The Music (Brisbane) Issue #41  

The Music is a free, weekly gloss magazine of newsstand quality. It features a diverse range of content including arts, culture, fashion, li...