400 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ, 85003
Doors 6:30 PM / Show 7:30 PM
This event is all ages
It's less than 48 hours after frontman Dave Bayley has applied the finishing
touches to Glass Animals' second album and he's contemplating where he and
his bandmates found themselves only two years ago. "It's mad, we were in our
friend's basement playing to four people," he laughs.
Fast forward to six months ago and they were rounding off a tour that catapulted
Dave and bandmates Drew MacFarlane (guitar), Edmund Irwin-Singer (bass) and
Joe Seward (Drums) around the world and back; climaxing in sold-out shows at
The Wiltern in LA and Terminal 5 in New York, via huge festival slots in Australia,
the US and - of course - Glastonbury.
Have they been able to gain any perspective on all this worldwide success? "I
don't know if I have!" Dave wonders. "It's such a strange position to be in. I
always thought Glass Animals would just be a fun thing to do with my friends. To
be able to do it as a career is totally mental. I haven't had time to think about it. I'd
probably go crazy if I did."
Indeed, given the successes, Glass Animals would be ripe for the cliched 'difficult
second album' experience. Every tour has sold out, they've hit 200 million streams
and debut album 'Zaba' shifted over 500,000 records. For a band on a label
backed by legendary producer Paul Epworth no less - the pressure to up the ante
had potential crippling side-effects.
Dave doesn't bat an eyelid when it comes to the mention of the sophomore slump
phenomenon at all, though. He simply didn't have time to get himself in a pickle.
Instead, only six months after getting off the road he's already plotting what the
stage sets are going to look like, how the artwork will take shape, and so on.
The new LP - titled 'How To Be A Human Being' - has come together so fast
you'd assume they wrote it on the road. "No! We didn't have time," says Dave. "It
happened as soon as we came off the tourbus." Before his suitcase was even on
the ground, Dave was setting up shop in their small studio space in Hornsey,
North London by himself.
Writing the skeleton of the album in a week and a half over Christmas, he was
desperate to put the experiences of the last two years onto paper before he forgot
them. "I had the most successful time I've ever had writing," he says humbly. "I
had all of these stories in my head."
Mapping out the skeletons of the songs proved to be an entirely different process
from that taken on 'Zaba'. "Last time, I started with beats and electronic
soundscapes, and this time I started mainly with chords, vocal lines... sometimes
even lyrics. I tried to invert the whole process," he explains. The majority of the
writing, sonics and production was taken care of in an intense 10-day period.
Then in January, Dave began polish out the stories, lyrics, and music, perfecting
the parts. He would send the bear bones of each song to the band. He would
bring the demos to the band, and as a group they would develop the music
further, experimenting with the arrangements and instrumentation.
As indicated by lead single 'Life Itself', the new sound is bigger, bolder and far
more ambitious. Dave makes a point of not listening to his contemporaries when
making music, preferring to look inwards to the world Glass Animals have built. In
crafting this record, his thoughts returned to one factor he couldn't even dream of
on 'Zaba' - the huge live audiences they'd been drawing. "You sense what the
crowds react to: big drums, bass, high tempo."
As Glass Animals' live set evolved, so did their sonic aspirations. Dave himself is
like an electro Einstein, forever pursuing his next lightbulb moment. "That instant
when a melody pops into your head and you know that's the one, or you sit down
at a piano, hit four strange chords in a row and think - ooh that works! There was a
conscious effort to make this record harder, angular and in-your-face. I started
The band would use first takes, shabby recordings, and sounds that resonated
with soul, despite their technical imperfections. Much of this proved to be a
punk-like reaction to the high-polished nature of pop Dave was hearing on the
radio. "I was paranoid that's what we sounded like," he says. "On the last record I
had the opposite mentality. Everything had to be perfect. This is more gritty.
We've shaken that mentality now."
'How To Be A Human Being' is about people. Many of his lyrical ideas came from
live recordings of people saved on Dave's phone, as though he'd been operating
as some sort of roaming journalist all this time. "I try to sneakily record people,
and I have hours and hours of these amazing rants from taxi drivers, people we
met outside of shows, people at parties. People say the strangest shit when they
don't think they're ever gonna see you again...and sometimes they'll break your
heart with the saddest, most touching stories." The voice notes sparked ideas for
characters that Dave developed, writing an album like a TV screenwriter might
approach a script. "I'd obsess over what they ate, where they lived, what their
furniture looked like, what they wore," he laughs. "Some of it's quite
autobiographical but said through the eyes of someone else."
Their fascination with the human condition is understandable given their relative
isolation a few years ago. Back in Oxford, studying medicine at university, the
thought of being a real-life viable band wasn't something that crossed their mind.
They were living in a bubble. "We spent those years really isolated, just making
our own noise. Then all of a sudden we crashed into this place where we were in a
different city every day, meeting so many characters every day."
From the depths of 'Agnes' to the danceable humour of 'Life Itself', this second
album is a zeitgeist-leaning, intrepid exploration into what makes us all tick, told
from the viewpoint of four guys who have experienced life in its most extreme and
unexpected form for the past two years. It doesn't just connect with your feet - it
connects with your brain, your heart, your soul.
'How To Be A Human Being' is a multi-layered, nuanced album that uniquely
splices together 40 years of sonic history in a way that's emphatically
forward-sounding. In the characters and themes explored, the record creates a
world for fans to inhabit. With every listen comes further insight, not just into Glass
Animals' universe but the human condition itself.
Jagwar Ma is a musical project, est. Nov 2011 by Jono Ma and Gabriel Winterfield.
It all starts with the single "Come Save Me". A celebration of love and loss, lifted by human harmonies only to be sliced apart by the sharp contemporary programming of the song acting as dagger to the tale. This juxtaposition of voice and electronics being a signature of Jagwar Ma.
Their collaboration started in 2010 at a performance by FLRL, the Sydney based kraut-experiment that was "a band without members" and a stage of revolving musicians. Their musical history already well known to each other at the time, Jono from the band Lost Valentinos and Gabriel from Ghostwood.
Those shared stages at FLRL shows gave way to studio jams and home recordings, radio frequency manipulation, TR808 patterns, MPCs loops, vintage amps and a treasured 7 inch collection. Jagwar found a soul in and amongst all that electricity. Described as sounding like J-Dilla playing Primal Scream covering the Beatles.
In Australia "Come Save Me" has been embraced by Triple J who spun it to the #1 most played spot on the station. In the UK it was released through a new 7's label started by two A&Rs from the legendary XL Records. In the US the song finds high rotation on airwaves of the lauded KCRW and the bands signs with the Windish Agency.
Currently the band is ensconced in a castle in France bouncing beats through the dungeons, singing through its hallowed hallways and breathing life into their debut album for the summer of 2012. The first ever festival appearance in Australia for Jagwar Ma will be the 2013 Big Day Out!