Treasure Island Music Festival Interview: Dave Bayley and Joe Seaward of Glass Animals

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Last weekend the San Francisco Bay Area underwent its 10th annual Treasure Island Music Festival and in short, it was definitely a weekend to remember. From the festival’s alignment of assorted activities, there was everything from Human Pinball, food trucks, vinyl vendors where you could go crate digging and more. But obviously, it wouldn’t be a music festival without the musical component.

The festival had a variety of number of musical acts such as Ice Cube, Young Thug and more, just to name a few. One of the music groups who played Saturday night was the popular indie rock band from Oxford, Glass Animals. We got a chance to chat with lead singer Dave Bayley and drummer Joe Seaward.

The festival was currently underway and so to hide from all of the noise, I got to chat with these guys in their dressing room where we chatted about the future of indie music, what releasing their second album feels like and the hard hitting questions like what Dave and Joe are going to be for Halloween.

TYF: You guys just released your sophomore album, How To Be A Human Being. How has your sound changed and developed since the first album?

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Joe: What do you think?

TYF: I think it’s a little bit different. You guys definitely experimented with different sounds and developed since the first album. It’s more experimental.

Joe Seaward: Yeah, I think it’s very different. I think it’s bolder. I think it’s a bit braver. For the first album we wanted to make it perfect. We spent a lot of time making sure that everything was perfect. I think this time around we were less worried about being perfect and were more focused on the energy and the sort of vibe as to what we were doing. I think that translated into our music sounding more intense and has more energy. There are definitely still ebbs and flows and some songs that are more chill. But it’s a bit more angular to me.

Dave Bayley: Yeah, our first record we were shy. We became more comfortable making harder, more grittier noises.

TYF: How did the second album come about? Do you guys usually write while on the road?

Joe: No, Dave locked himself in a room.

Dave: I just locked myself up in my room for two weeks.

TYF: Is that usually what your writing process is?

Joe: Well I mean, that’s how it was for this one. We’ve only really done it twice.

TYF: How long did it take to make this record?

Dave: It was quite quick. After locking myself up in my room, it took about a week and a half and then we did demos.

Joe: It was intense. You [Dave] came back with like 12 demos.

Dave: Yeah, I didn’t sleep for like two weeks.

TYF: Oh, really?

Dave: We spent the next two to three months just tearing it apart. We were trying new things and pointing out the weak points.

TYF: Was that a similar process to how you guys went about the first album?

Dave: The last record was a lot more gradual.

Joe: It [writing process] definitely evolved more since the last one.

Dave: Yeah, definitely the whole locking myself in my room helped me start with the vocals and the lyrics. Starting with the core, staring with the basics of the album. Then the sound came later. For our first record, the sound and beats came first so it was sort of flipped this time around.

TYF: Oh cool!

TYF: Speaking on the music, I feel like indie music has sort of grown in recent years. Where do you guys see the future of indie music heading towards?

Dave: It depends on what your definition of indie music is. [laughs] I don’t know what indie music is anymore.

Joe: To me, it’s sort of guitar based like the bands we listened to growing up and we were kids. That was indie music.

Dave: The definition of indie music has changed 10 times in the last 10 years. I don’t know. I grew up listening to the Arctic Monkeys so I’m always going to think that’s indie music.

Joe: I wouldn’t classify that was indie music.

Dave: But apparently people do. I don’t know. Are we indie music?

Joe: What does indie music mean?

TYF: There’s a particular sound that I hear in your music that makes me want to call it indie music. Also, there’s a sort of hidden popularity that comes with indie bands. I don’t know how to describe it.

Joe: Would you think it’s more so the size of the band thing than sound?

TYF: I don’t think it’s the size of the band but it’s more so the sound. But I do agree that since indie music has become so popular now, genres are beginning to blur. So now is indie music just mainstream music? The definition continues to evolve and take on a different shape. 

Dave: Yeah, I don’t really know what it means. So I can’t really say where the future is, if I can’t understand or define it currently. I don’t even know what it is in the first place. [laughs] But on a broader scale, everything is getting blurred. All genres are getting blurred so you can speak on it as you would any other genre. Who knows these days.

TYF: Switching gears, you guys have performed in various settings, some that were more intimate and others that held thousands of people, such as the Greek theater. Do you guys have a preference and do venues change and direct the vibe of the show?

Dave: Each show is different and has a completely different tone and energy. We played a show of 100 people recently, which we haven’t done in ages and you can see them and their sweat and it’s great energy. This [Treasure Island Music Festival] is a different type of energy. I don’t know how many people are here. Do you know?

TYF: I don’t know but as the day progresses, I’ve seen more and more people. The rain and the fog doesn’t stop the Bay Area folks. [laughs]

Treasure Island Music Festival I Photo Credit: Bailey Greenwood

Treasure Island Music Festival I Photo Credit: Bailey Greenwood

Dave: So yeah, loads of people dancing and jumping up and down.

Joe: I can’t choose a favorite. They’re fun for different reasons. One is more exciting and people are right at your face and you’re feeling their energy. When you’re on a festival stage in front of more people, at the beginning of the show you have to give more energy because you’re further away. Physically, we’re just further away so we have to bring in more energy and that rests a lot on Dave. When the distance grows, it’s easy to feel removed. When you’re playing in small venues, you can feel the crowd’s energy because they’re right there and you feed off of that. They’re both require different mindsets but are both very fun and I like that we get to do both.

TYF: What are some of your pre-concert rituals before going on stage?

Dave: Uh, are we allowed to say?

Joe: I don’t know.

TYF: [Laughs] 

Dave: We cannot tell you what our pre-game ritual is.

Joe: We have a ritual but it’s a very personal ritual. It’s just something we do before shows. We just get together five minutes before the show after 30 minutes of warming up then have a drink, have a pee.

TYF: [Laughs]

Dave: You have to pee before you get on stage.

Joe: Yeah, if you forget to do that then you’re in trouble. But yeah, there’s no crazy, weird sort of sacrificial blessing that goes on.

TYF: Lighting candles? None of that.

Dave: [Laughs] No.

TYF: Have you guys gotten a chance to check out the festival so far?

Dave: We got a chance to walk around earlier in the afternoon.

TYF: Oh, okay. What are you guys looking forward to? Besides performing, of course.

Dave: Seeing Ice Cube perform would be cool.

Joe: Seeing Young Thug perform would be fun. Sigur Ros tomorrow too.

Dave: There’s a lot of good stuff. I hope the weather holds out for everyone.

TYF: I hope so too. This past week, we’ve gotten a lot of sun in the San Francisco Bay Area which doesn’t happen often so it’s unfortunate that the weather is a bit bad on festival weekend. 

Before we wrapped up our interview, we wanted to have Dave and Joe answer a set of rapid fire questions where they had to answer each question with the first thing that popped into their head. 

TYF: What song do you currently have on repeat?

Dave: I’ve been listening to a lot of soundtracks. I’m not sure why.

TYF: I totally get you. I love movie soundtracks; they’re beautifully well done. 

Dave: No song in particularly but have been listening to a lot of movie and tv soundtracks.

TYF: What was the last cd you bought?

Joe: I haven’t bought a cd in the last 20 years.

TYF: Awe! I bought one recently.

Dave: What did you buy?

TYF: I bought OneRepublic’s new album, Oh My My

Joe: Cd or a record?

TYF: What record have you guys last bought?

Joe: I bought my last record when we were over at Sydney.

Dave: I think the last one I got was the one I got for you [Joe], Voodoo by D’Angelo. A vinyl I bought recently was was Mustafa Özkent, which is Turkish funk. It’s really good. It’s freaking good.

TYF: What was the first concert you went to?

Joe: I saw a band called Hot Chip. You saw Bloc Party.

Dave: Oh yeah, I saw them at O2 Academy Brixton, which is where we will be playing at and it’s madness just to be on that same stage that they performed on. I remember seeing some of my favorite musicians there, Bloc Party and LCD Soundsystem. It’s pure madness! It’s going to be very nuts.

TYF: If you could tour with any musician (living or dead) who would it be and why?

Dave: Jimi Hendrix would be good. Doing a collaboration with Jimi. Also, The Rolling Stones.

Joe: Lots of people in the crowd.

Dave: Lots of people in the crowd and tons of fun backstage with The Rolling Stones. Nowadays, I don’t know.

Joe: LCD Soundsystem would be fun and Radiohead. I would also like to watch D’Angelo for a month.

TYF: For a month straight?

Dave: We talked about it the other day. Not like it would actually happen but it would definitely be cool.

TYF: What was the most favorite place you’ve visited while on the road?

Joe: Oh gosh. Lots of place. Missoula.

Dave: Yeah, Missoula, Montana. It’s weirdly cool. I didn’t expect anything to be in Montana.

Dave: Austin is cool. Austin is wicked and Portland.

TYF: Haven’t been to Portland yet but have been to Seattle, which is basically San Francisco 2.0. 

TYF: Lastly, With Halloween just around the corner, what’s your favorite horror film?

Dave: Horror film? I thought you were going to ask us what we’re going to be for Halloween.

TYF: Let’s also add that too. [Laughs]

Joe: It’s not a film but I really enjoyed Stranger Things. It’s not really horror, huh?

Dave: It’s eerie like on the edge of your seat sort of thing. That’s good. I watched David Lynch’s film, Blue Velvet. Have you seen it?

TYF: Unfortunately, no. Is it a psychological thriller?

Dave: Yeah, it’s just really psychological. I don’t know how to explain. It just sort of bends your mind.

TYF: If I can’t sleep after watching it, I may have to blame you.

Huge thank you to Glass Animals for taking the time during the festival weekend to chat with us. Their new album, How to Be a Human Being, is available wherever music is sold.

 

Camille lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. You will most likely find her wandering around local bookstores, going to a concert or enjoying the sights of the city by the bay. This Captain America fangirl enjoys attending book events, re-watching her favorite Disney movies and obsessing over the latest entertainment news. You can find her on Twitter @itscamille_ann.