Despite Indie-rock band Glass Animals’ emphasis on production, the up-and-coming group’s devotion to live performance is set to resonate with an amped Sconnie crowd as they bring their eccentric sound across the pond.
In 2014, the English band released their debut album, ZABA, which frontman Dave Bayley described as “louder, weirder and stranger” than anything they’ve ever created. Tracks like “Gooey” and “Black Mambo” quickly climbed alternative charts, leaving their unique sound effects ringing in ears everywhere.
Unsurprisingly, Bayley’s creative process was less than conventional.
“I always sleep with my laptop next to my bed,” he said. “I’ll wake up really late at night with an idea, roll over and get my little Spanish guitar out and start playing some chords and humming a vocal line.”
After laying down the bare bones of a midnight idea, Bayley said he wakes up the next morning and continues building a song, generally completing the writing portion within a day.
Though writing the music tends to happen quickly, moving into the recording process takes time, as creating the progressive blend of atmospheric electronics and wild instrumental effects found on ZABA involves a great deal of trial and error.
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“It’s mainly just me fiddling around with stuff,” Bayley said of producing the sounds present in the music. “I’ll see a synth that I just kind of like the look of, but I won’t know how it sounds. Then I end up messing around with it … [Sometimes] I’ll go in with a very specific sound in my head and I’ll spend hours trying to get it right.”
In other instances, Bayley draws inspiration from everyday life to create a sound.
“The sounds can be anything,” he said.“I’ll be walking down the road and I’ll hear someone driving over a bag of crisps and they’ll go ‘Pop! Crunch!’”
Though this intensive and intricate production process has made for an avant-garde album, the band prefers to use live instrumentation on stage. While mistakes happen — sometimes quite a bit, Bayley said — Glass Animals refuses to follow a metronome to keep their music fresh and interesting.
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Not only does the band include live instrumentation to create what Bayley deems a “proper live show,” but they tend to mix up their setlist, catering each live experience to the crowd at hand. Whether the isthmus is sleepy or ecstatic, Glass Animals will be prepared.
“We tend to judge the vibe of the crowd,” Bayley said. “If the crowd looks very mellow and tired, we play more of an ambient set and keep things chilled out,” he said. “If the crowd is up and dancing, and if they’ve maybe taken a couple of ecstasies of something, we’ll speed the tempo up a bit, make the base drum a bit louder and have a dance party.”
Glass Animals will play at the Orpheum Tuesday, Oct. 6.