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Glass Animals Reflect on Their Biggest Year Yet: “It’s Absolutely Bonkers”

Frontman Dave Bayley discusses spreading joy in a year when everyone was still "feeling a little bit wavy"

glass animals interview
Glass Animals, photo by Meredith Truax
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    Our 2021 Annual Report continues with a wrap-up interview with Glass Animals. As the year winds down, stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles about the best music, film, and TV of 2021. You can find it all in one place here.


    While attending San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival over Halloween weekend this year, I witnessed a full circle moment with Glass Animals: six years prior, on the Sutro stage, I had seen this band play songs from their tropical-tinged debut Zaba to a decently large crowd for a 3:00 p.m. set. This was by no means their first big festival, but frontman Dave Bayley fondly remembers it as “the biggest crowd we’d ever had at that point.”

    Fast forward to late October of this year, where Glass Animals took the mainstage before headliners The Strokes and played to a crowd that was easily eight times larger than their 2015 set. It was indeed a victory lap for the British quartet, and Bayley’s earnest bewilderment at the sheer size of the audience was a joy to watch.

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    What’s more, is that this victory lap took place in the peak of “Heat Waves’” record run to the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, weeks before a major Grammy nomination, and in the midst of the biggest surge in popularity that the band has ever experienced.

    All the while, Bayley remains extremely humbled and grateful for the support. “I was pretty sure this album was going to be a bit of a rubbish one, that it was just going to be a fart in the wind in the noise of the pandemic,” he says about the success of “Heat Waves” and their third studio album, Dreamland. “Everyone was listening to the records they grew up with, and I didn’t really see our album fitting into that. It’s absolutely bonkers.”

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