We spoke to Drew MacFarlane from Glass Animals about the origins of their band name, inspirations and going on tour with Jagwar Ma and Little Dragon, backstage at The Albert Hall in Manchester last month
What have your experiences of Manchester crowds been over the years?
They’ve been good, really good! Most of the shows we’ve done over the past few years have been small, club shows, which is always messy, party fun, but I do love that. Manchester crowds are great!
I first saw you 2 years ago at Gorilla, and tonight you’re playing here at The Albert Hall. Does it ever feel like the past 2 years have been a crazy whirlwind?
Yeah, it’s hard to keep track of it, but you’ve just got to keep your head down and go forward, whilst hoping for the best. That seems to be working for us!
You probably get asked this a lot, but I’ve never been able to find a clear answer… How did you get the name ‘Glass Animals’?
I think the true story is probably much more boring than that, we thought up as many names as we possibly could over a long time and eventually we just got bored of thinking of them and chose the first one that Dave could think of, which was Glass Animals. It’s probably a reference to a Tennessee William’s play called ‘The Glass Menagerie’.
I first heard one of your songs, ‘Toes’, on the soundtrack to the film ‘Taken 3’. Are you a fan of that film series?
It’s really bad but I genuinely haven’t watched any of them… I’m really bad at keeping up with films and TV! My favourite TV show from the past few years has been ‘True Detective’, especially the first series. And I’m a big fan of ‘The Wire’.
You’ve got a show coming up in April, at the Santa Barbara Bowl with Little Dragon and Jagwar Ma, which is an incredible lineup! How did that show come about?
We’ve been fans of everything Jagwar Ma have released since they started, and it’s only in the last year that we’ve started to get to know them. We were in Australia in January/February time so we got to hang out with them properly. As for Little Dragon, we haven’t met them yet, but when we were starting this band I remember thinking how banging their music is, it’s really cool, tweaked, synthpop music. So it’s mad to be playing with them, they are one of my favourite bands, I’d say.
Dave and Joe [bandmates] have been very vocal fans of Radiohead and Bloc Party, but what inspires you to make music personally?
Definitely Radiohead. We grew up with their music. We love them so much that we often forget to mention them! ‘In Rainbows’ is in my top 2 or 3 favourite albums of the last 20 years. It’s a phenomenally constructed and beautiful piece of work. I went through a BIG obsession with D’Angelo [laughs]. ‘Voodoo’, on vinyl, is one of the best sounding records I’ve ever heard.
You’re signed to Paul Epworth’s label Wolf Tone, and he’s a major producer who’s worked with Adele and Florence + The Machine. How does it feel for him to have so much faith in your band?
A bit mad, but very nice and very cool! He’s a great guy, so much fun to work with and so full of ideas.
Your music videos are insane! ‘Gooey’ is potentially the weirdest music video I’ve ever seen – but what inspires your videos?
For this album, Dave had these characters in his head and he had super deep ideas about each one, like what they usually eat for breakfast and what their mum’s shoes are like, lots of weird things… And there were also ideas about what their life story was, so we would give those ideas to a director and he would come up with an idea, based on the images of the actors we hired as each character. The ‘Gooey’ video was a bit more random, it was someone’s idea and we just thought ‘Yeah, why not?’ [laughs].