Dave Bayley performing with Glass Animals in 2016.
Glass Animals are an English indie rock band from Oxford consisting of members Dave Bayley (lead vocals, guitar, tambourine), Drew MacFarlane (guitar, keys, backing vocals), Edmund Irwin-Singer (bass, keys, backing vocals), and Joe Seaward (drums). The group released their debut album Zaba in June 2014 as the first release on producer Paul Epworth's label Wolf Tone, and their second album How to Be a Human Being on August 26, 2016, to critical acclaim. The band has toured internationally and featured on line ups at festivals such as Austin City Limits, Glastonbury, Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Reading/Leeds, Falls Festival, St Jerome's Laneway Festival, Southbound and Bestival.
2012–15: Zaba and various EPs
Bandmates Bayley, Seaward, MacFarlane and Irwin-Singer were friends at secondary school in Oxford and formed Glass Animals in 2010 when at university. They first performed live at Oxford's Jericho Tavern on April 9th 2010 supporting Chapel Club. The band released their debut EP, Leaflings, on May 28, 2012, which included the single "Cocoa Hooves". It was released on independent label Kaya Kaya Records, a subsidiary and imprint of XL Recordings (part of the Beggars Group of labels). Lead singer and guitarist Dave Bayley was attending medical school at London King's College but quit once Adele's producer Paul Epworth saw the Glass Animals performing in London and signed them to his label Wolf Tone.
In 2013, the band put out another single, titled "Black Mambo". It appeared on Glass Animals' second, self-titled EP, which was released on November 12, 2013. "We didn’t really know anything about the music industry or the music world. We were just trying to figure out who we were, what sounded good to us," said lead singer Dave Bayley when asked what the band was doing during the period of time between the release of "Black Mambo" and their debut album. The Glass Animals EP also saw the band collaborating with Jean Deaux, a soulful hip-hop teenager from Chicago, on a song titled "Woozy".
The following year saw the band releasing three more singles: "Pools", "Gooey", and "Hazey", along with a short remix EP of Gooey that featured the song "Holiest", a collaboration with Argentine indie pop singer-songwriter and producer Tei Shi.
All five singles ("Cocoa Hooves," "Black Mambo," "Pools," "Gooey," and "Hazey") were featured on the band's debut album, Zaba (stylized as ZABA), which was released on June 6, 2014. The album received generally positive reviews and brought the band to over 7 million listeners on Spotify the following year, with the songs "Gooey", "Black Mambo", and "Toes" becoming the most popular from the album on Apple Music. Two deluxe versions of Zaba were released in August 2015. The Amazon version had exclusive stripped versions of the singles "Gooey", "Black Mambo", "Hazey", and "Cocoa Hooves", while the iTunes version included bonus tracks "Psylla" and "Exxus" (previously released on the band's second EP, Glass Animals) along with remixes of "Black Mambo" and "Gooey".
The band performed the single "Gooey" on Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2014, and again on The Late Show with David Letterman on February 24, 2015, and toured extensively after Zaba, visiting both hemispheres and played over 130 shows in 2015 alone. Their October 2015 US tour included two sold out shows at The Wiltern in LA and sold out shows across America including T5 in NYC, The Riverside in Milwaukee, and The Midland in Kansas City.
A collaboration with American hip hop recording artist Joey Bada$$, titled "Lose Control", was released on October 6, 2015. The idea for the song was apparently sparked during a randomly shared studio session.
2016–17: How to Be a Human Being
On May 16, 2016, the band released the lead single, "Life Itself", from their second album How to Be a Human Being. It features a more boisterous, percussion-driven sound than Glass Animals' previous singles, leading many fans to believe that the album's sound would set it apart from Zaba. "Life Itself" peaked at number 14 on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart and spent 26 weeks on Sirius XM's Alt-18 chart, peaking at number 1. Dave Bayley stated in an interview that the song was about "a sci-fi obsessed dude who spends most of his time alone inventing strange things and writing stories about ray guns or looking for aliens on Google Maps." A music video for the song was released on June 7, 2016. The band also created a website based on the character from "Life Itself".
On July 25, a second single from the album, "Youth", was released along with its music video. The song is supposedly based on a devastating story that a stranger once told the band about her son. Dave Bayley said in an interview that the strange combination of happiness, sadness, and nostalgia in the song "kind of made me feel like my heart was being ripped apart but [was] also optimistic in a weird way... that combination of emotions is what this song is getting at." The band also revealed that the upcoming album would follow in the footsteps of singles "Life Itself" and "Youth"—each song would tell the story of a different character. On August 15, the band announced on Twitter that a website for "Youth," Dizzy On Caffeine, had been released.
Four days before the release of the album, on August 22, the band released a third single, "Season 2 Episode 3", about a girl who "spends her entire time watching TV, lounging around, not doing anything, being high, eating mayonnaise from a jar." It featured a prominent sample of the beat from "I Live Above the Hobby Shop" by Chicago synthesizer McFabulous. The song was used in Apple's "Shot on iPhone by Linda H." advertisement.
The full album, titled How to Be a Human Being, was released on August 26, 2016 by Wolf Tone and Caroline International in Europe, and Harvest Records in the United States. The album received critical acclaim for its "sense of wonder" and "immediate impression", though it was also met with some mixed reactions, for critics felt that it was somewhat premature. On January 4, 2017, Glass Animals performed their song "Pork Soda" from the album on the Late Late Show hosted by James Corden.
After their performance on the Late Late Show, Glass Animals visited Laneway Festival's in six different cities (Singapore, Sydney, and Auckland, among others). During their time in Australia, their three singles from How To Be A Human Being -- Youth, Life Itself, and Season 2 Episode 3, respectively -- came in at 38, 63 and 98 on Triple J's Hottest 100. Glass Animals frontman Dave Bayley also collaborated with electronic musician and producer Flume during his Australian visit, his vocals appearing in Skin Companion EP II's track "Fantastic". In addition, Glass Animals officially announced "Pork Soda" to be the fourth single from How to Be a Human Being in March 2017, and released a website and official music video for the song on March 7, 2017.
- Dave Bayley – Lead vocals/Guitar/Tambourine
- Drew MacFarlane – Guitar/Keys/backing vocals
- Edmund Irwin-Singer – Bass/Keys/backing vocals
- Joe Seaward – Drums
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Sales|
|How to Be a Human Being||
|"—" denotes albums that did not chart, or were not released in that country.|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Lose Control" (with Joey Bada$$)||2015||—||—||—||—||—||Non-album single|
|"Life Itself"||2016||—||48||—||14||21||How to Be a Human Being|
|"Season 2 Episode 3"||—||—||—||—||42|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
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