Longitude Special: Glass Animals gear up for their return to Dublin

Glass Animals frontman Dave Bayley on storming Glastonbury, being picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church, and getting his shoes stolen in Dublin

“It was pretty feral,” Dave Bayley of Glass Animals tells me over the phone. Strong adjective, but that’s the kind needed to capture a Glastonbury experience.

“We didn’t sleep for about three days. It was absolutely mad walking out on the Other Stage on Friday… you look out and can’t really see where the heads end.”

A slot on the gargantuan Other Stage was just rewards for Glass Animals who’ve been on a marathon tour since the release of second album How To Be a Human Being - they’ve had stints from Singapore to South America, and were even picketed by the Westboro Baptist church in Kansas (“Bizarre,” Dave says). Glastonbury though left Dave “dumbfounded”.

That doesn’t happen often - frontman Dave is a ball of energy, always bursting with mad ideas. How To Be a Human Being’s sound was developed in response to characters Dave had come up with, and part of the fun of Glass Animals’ live show is watching him slip into character.

“I probably get way too into some of the songs, I start doing some really weird shit,” he says. “There’s one called ‘Take a Slice’ - a really sleazy song about lust and prostitution and I really try to embody the character in that, I turn into a weird person.”

A neuroscientist by training, Dave tries to ensure the band stimulates their fans’ brain cells. For a couple of American shows they “redesigned and decorated the entire venue,” with 360 degree sound installations and TVs playing band-made clips. “It made you feel like you were in a jungle - I’m really into that.”

They return to Dublin for Longitude, handpicked for the bill by Mumford & Sons - “an honour,” Dave says. “Last time we had an amazing time - I crowdsurfed by accident. Lots of people spanked my bum, which was hilarious. We’ll try and see if we can replicate it.”

Dublin’s been a land of mixed fortunes for Dave. Their Olympia show last year was one of his favourites. “That venue is beautiful,” he says. “It just keeps going up, you’re totally surrounded by heads. I loved that show so much.”

On their first visit to the city though, a fan stole Dave’s only pair of shoes and led him on a wild goose chase around town.

“They tweeted us pictures of my shoes in different spots… I ended up asking all these Dubliners on the streets, do you know where this is?” he laughs, recalling the fan’s “sheepish” expression when she was finally caught. “I’ll be bringing a spare pair this time, you cheeky guys.”

 

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