British electronica trio Years & Years are doing their first Swedish gig at the Way Out West Pre Party this Wedenesday. Radar had a chat with frontman Olly Alexander.
They got their first break via French label Kitsuné and the release of the EP Real. After that a first place at the BBC’s Sound of 2015 and a second place at The Brits Critic’s Choice Awards followed. But the journey to prizes, hype and a just finished debut album (with just some finishing touches to go) started in a shower…
I read that your fellow band member discovered you when you were singing in the shower. Is that true?
– Haha, well I’ll tell you what happened, it’s not as exciting as it sounds. I had a house party and Mikey was working with my roommate so he came by. Some people stayed over and then in the morning I was having a shower and Mikey heard me singing.
And that’s how he found a singer for his and Emre’s band?
– Yeah, I’d been saying I wanted to be in the band and I guess when he heard me he realised I wasn’t lying about being a decent singer.
A lot of bands start off as childhood friends deciding to make music together. But with you guys the forming of the band came before the friendship. Mikey and Emre met online while looking to start a band, and then you joined. Are you close friends now or band members first and foremost?
– Both. We’re good friends now, and I think you have to be because you spend so much time together. Like all day everyday so if you didn’t like each other it would be… hell.
Last year we were just this band some people knew about and after winning the BBC’s Sound of 2015 we were on the news all of a sudden
You’ve released music through hyped electro label Kitsuné, what did that mean to you as a band?
– I was so happy having them release our music. It was such an opportunity and especially for me a really big deal since I’ve been listening to their compilation albums while growing up, as a way to find new music. They gave us our first break.
Quite a few of your songs have been remixed. If Years & Years would remix an artist, which would you choose?
– I don’t know… I guess it depends on the song. But I love Movement, the Australian band, so it would be cool remixing one of their songs.
You won the BBC’s Sound of 2015. Can you explain the meaning of that, to someone not living in the UK?
– It’s a really big deal. BBC is this massive cultural influence when you grow up and this list has been a really good prediction of new talent. Like everybody winning the prize have moved on to become great successes selling tons of albums, so it does come with some pressure as well…
What did it change for you as a band?
– Last year we were just this band some people knew about and after winning this we were on the news all of a sudden, so it’s quite a strange leap to make. We’ve been looking at those lists, wanting to be a part of that and now we are.
You’re doing your first show in Sweden on Wednesday, what are your feelings about that?
– I’m so excited, and it’s my first time in Sweden! This is a showcase gig but we’re definitely also looking forward to returning and doing bigger gigs, maybe in the summer at festivals and stuff.
And finally, name three of your biggest wishes for 2015!
– The first one would be the album to get good response and people getting something from it. And then that people keep on coming to our shows, feeling engaged. And the last wish is that we tour more. I would really like to see more countries.
The Way Out West Pre Party is a showcase party organized by Luger and Universal, in collaboration with Radar Magazine. The event will take place at Mosebacke on February 11th 18–21.30pm. Read more about it here.