Like Headliner, upon first hearing the slickly-produced Your Love (Déjà vu) pumping out of the radio, you might be forgiven for assuming that Glass Animals, with their polished, Timbaland-esque hip hop-infused bouncy beats, are an American outfit. Take one look at their balls-to-the-wall, surreal (and recently, DIY for covid reasons) music videos and there is no question that a wonderfully British sense of humour lies behind this exciting electronic pop band.
The band’s singer, songwriter and producer, Dave Bayley is getting his first ever tattoo on his bum, he tells Headliner on a Zoom call, where he’s sporting round glasses, a thick, retro-looking red knitted jumper with a flamethrower on it that you’ll recognise from Glass Animals’ Space Ghost Coast To Coast music video –“my mum knitted it,” he jokes – and possibly pyjama bottoms.
“I live right above the studio; I put on trousers today, but quite often I don't,” he admits. “I just wake up, get some cereal and come down to the studio in my pyjamas and work. I never have to leave.”
The reason for the tattoo traces back to a time when Bayley promised to get a tattoo in said area if the band went to number one on the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2020. Sure enough, the band’s sleeper hit, Heat Waves secured the coveted No.1 spot, and with it the future of Bayley’s as yet un-inked body (again, see the Space Ghost Coast To Coast video).
“It's happening soon; I've actually just booked my tattoo appointment today! I promised that I would get the outline of Australia tattooed on my bum if we got a number one in Australia, and it happened!
"I asked fans to submit designs and got so many it was actually really hard to choose. This is my first tattoo. Sorry, mum. But it's happening. I might have to get a tattoo for my mum as well...I won't put that one on my bum. I think she wanted me to never have a tattoo and to be buried ink-less.”
Due to the success of the band’s third album, Dreamland in 2020, it’s easy to forget that it was released during a worldwide pandemic, which really hit home for Bayley when they became the first UK act to top the Triple J Hottest 100’s annual list in 11 years.
“The Triple J Hottest 100 is a huge thing. Everyone takes a day off and goes and sits on the beach with a portable speaker and listens to this countdown of the hottest 100 songs of the year, and there were all these videos of people waiting – anticipating what was going to be number one.
"When they said, ‘Glass Animals, Heat Waves’ everyone was dancing and cheering; that was the first time we actually got to see people listening to this record, because we released it in the pandemic. We haven't toured it or played any shows around it and it was amazing to see videos of people enjoying it. It made me cry, actually.”
Speaking of Heat Waves, the blissed-out, woozy tune was actually released in June 2020, but only made its debut in the UK top 40 in January 2021, and has been on heavy rotation on radios ever since. Bayley is as baffled as anyone as to why the song suddenly blew up.
“I have no idea! I've been trying to pinpoint an exact moment. It's just been such a gradual growth, although we did get used in the FIFA 21 soundtrack, but that was a long time ago so I don't think that was directly related. It's pretty weird.
"Ultimately the song is about missing people, and maybe everyone's just missing people. Maybe it's resonating, but whatever is happening, it's really heartwarming and lovely. We're very lucky.”