Photo: Pooneh Ghana

Glass Animals Find A Way To Expand Their Reality With Dreamland

Oxford’s ephemeral psych-pop masterminds find creative ways to cope with limitations for the release of their new album.

The global pandemic has put a lot of strain on nearly every aspect of our daily lives, but whether you’ve noticed it or not, it’s also found a way to impact some of us while we’re sleeping. Glass Animals’ frontman Dave Bayley can attest to this. 

Speaking to us from his studio in East London, surrounded by his instruments and two giant palm trees, Bayley is bathed in a purple light while candidly chatting his way through a jam-packed day of interviews. His demeanour is already colourful and friendly, but he lights up exponentially when we ask if he’s been having any crazy dreams lately. “Oh my god, yes! Haven’t you?” he practically shouts in his thick English accent. 

It seems rather fitting when you consider the band’s new album is called Dreamland. When we ask him to elaborate, we are transported into the mind of the young man who has created the fantastical world in which his ephemeral psych-pop band lives and thrives. The same world that has delivered them more than five-million monthly listeners on Spotify, and a Mercury Prize nomination for their 2016 album, How To Be A Human Being.  

“I’ve been having this recurring dream where I’m in this crazy big warehouse with all of these corridors, and there are these three cats which appear at the end of one of the corridors,” Bayley stops, almost hesitating whether or not he should go on, but he’s already started. “One is red, one is blue, and one is yellow [laughs]. The red one shoots fire out of its eyes, the blue one shoots ice out of its eyes, and the yellow one shoots electricity out of its eyes. Then they chase me through this giant warehouse until they corner me and try to kill me.”

Needless to say, Bayley has a vivid imagination, but that’s likely because he’s always working in the studio, on projects that extend far beyond that of his own band, with credits including Joey Bada$$, Flume, Wale, Khalid, and most recently Denzel Curry’s “Tokyo Drifting.” 

Glass Animals built their reputation on their majestic live shows, turning their infectious creations into high-energy dance parties. As they prepared to roll-out Dreamland, the band was forced to flex their pandemic party muscles, elevating their status and building hype through an interactive Dreamland TV experience. Complete with four hours of original content, using their Instagram as a pseudo remote to direct fans through hours of unseen footage across different “TV channels” (Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Twitch, YouTube, Instagram and The band also turned their website into an open-source website that resembles a Windows 94-esque operating system, complete with secret pancake recipes (hint: check the trash!) and hosted Mario Kart tournaments on Twitch.

“The idea for this album came at a time of confusion and uncertainty,” Bayley says. “I spent weeks devastated that our big plans to bring this album to you in real life on a stage were shattered but, somehow, in all the uncertainty and before all the unknowns, right now seems like the most insane, but also the most apt time to reveal this record.”

Dreamland is available now via Polydor/Universal Music Canada