Glass Animals' singer Dave Bayley enjoys easily discovering new tunes on streaming sites, such as Spotify (iOS, Android), Apple Music (iOS, Android), and Amazon Music (iOS, Android). But, like most audiophiles, today, the psych pop frontman misses the context provided by the album artwork, band photos, and lyric sheets that historically accompanied record, cassette, and CD releases.
To give listeners insight into the characters who inspired Glass Animals' recent singles: "Life Itself," "Youth," "Season 2 Episode 3," and "Pork Soda," off the band's critically-acclaimed, Top 20 sophomore album, " How to Be a Human Being," Bayley's turning to more contemporary media: websites, social networking, and video game apps.
In a recent interview with Download.com -- ahead of Glass Animals' summer tour, which includes stops at Panorama, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza music festivals -- Bayley explained how he uses today's tech to deepen his audience's appreciation of his music. He also gushed about his favorite recording software, social media apps, and emoji and the app he'd invent to save humanity.
"How To Be A Human Being" is loosely based on characters you've met touring, over the past two years. Where is the line between truth and fiction?
I've taken little bits of stories I heard, thrown a little bit of myself in there, and added some fiction and made these slightly stranger than real-life characters.
To bring these characters to life, you're developing contemporary, interactive elements, along with traditional music videos, including a website for "Life Itself" and "Pork Soda" a Tumblr (iOS, Android) page for "Youth," and an endless runner video game app: Glass Animals S02E03: The Game (iOS, Android) for "Season 2 Episode 3," which was also used in Apple's "Shot on iPhone by Linda H." commercial.
I think technology is great for music. I mean, you can listen to any song from anywhere in the world, and can consume as much music as you want to, now, for $10 a month. That's something to celebrate. But the one thing that you really do miss is that you don't really get a sense of the context for a lot of that music. You end up sniffing around quite basic, black-and-white screens and track lists with small photos. You don't really get a sense of where that music comes from.
When you got the vinyl, you'd get a poster, photographs of the band, the lyric sheet -- all these little bits of art work, to give you a sense of how the music was made and where it came from. It would give insight into the lyrics that you wouldn't have caught without it. Now we are missing that, so we have made an interactive, Web-based, modern alternative. That was the idea.
How did you decide on which interactive element to use for each character?
The main thing is that I wanted it to all be very accessible, via the Internet, anywhere. And the other thing is that I wanted each site to fit the character's personality. So, the first character, for instance, for the song "Life Itself," he's a bit of a weird dude who makes all these strange gadgets in his mom's basement. He's sort of product of the '80s, maybe. So, he's got sort of old, retro Geocities websites with loads of stupid GIFs everywhere and an earth spinning around and some stars twinkling.
Having that type of website really helped add his personality. And the second character had a Tumblr because that sort of character might have a Tumblr, and that says something about them -- what type of website they're using.
Watch the "Life Itself" video:
I'm into conspiracy theories, so I've found some weird stuff about that, like stuff that might be secret air bases and maybe a place where they keep aliens. I don't even know if I believe in that. But me and my friend are very into it, and we're thinking of starting a TV show where you go out and explore the weird stuff that you've found on Google Maps.
Your music is on a lot of streaming sites. For example, live versions of the aforementioned tracks can be found on a "Spotify Live" EP, recorded in collaboration with Spotify, Tumblr, and Vinyl Me, Please during Glass Animals' Tumblr IRL event at The Village, in Los Angeles. If you had to choose, which is your favorite music streaming service?
I use them all, and they all have different stuff on them. And all the sites have amazing exclusive content now, so I don't think I could name a favorite.
I do listen to Beats 1 radio a lot, and I probably listen to that as much as I listen to the actual radio. But yeah, I use them all equally. That's part of my job, though, to know and understand these platforms. As a musician, I think it's important.
Which apps do you use when you're setting down tracks?
A lot of the ideas start off as little ideas that I record in the middle of the night into Voice Memos on my phone. I also have another app, Voice Record Pro (iOS), which is slightly higher quality, that I just started to use. That tends to be the beginning of the idea: I wake up in the middle of the night and sing or play guitar into one of these apps and record it, and that's the start. Then I put it into the computer, and from there, I use mainly Ableton and Pro Tools -- two digital audio workstations that I use. You can link them into each other, which is called "rewiring." It's very nerdy, but you can play Ableton through Pro Tools and use them both at the same time.
Which social media apps do you use the most?
Who do you follow on Instagram that puts the rest of us posters to shame?
I think Katy Perry has a very funny Instagram. There are some funny posts about her dog. Her dog is hilarious. There's a great photo of her dog getting stoned with Snoop Dogg. I follow nerdy music stuff, as well. I follow NASA because they put up some amazing shit, and National Geographic as well.
What's the first app you remember using?
My first app was probably Instagram. I didn't get a smartphone until about two or two and half years ago. I had an old-school Nokia brick, so I was quite late on these apps. I got into VSCO Cam (iOS, Android) early on. It's a good one. I still take good photos on that quite a lot. It's quite simple but quite effective photo editing.
What it the most overused app, in your opinion?
Well, I'm a person of not too many words, so I do think people sometimes go on Twitter a bit too much. They should Just chill! When people go on those huge Twitter rants, oh, it's just not what it's for.
Which emoji do you overuse?
Someone just told me the other day that it's called a "high five," but I always thought it was a kind of "Namaste, putting your hands together and kind of bowing" emoji. I don't believe them and still use it as a Namaste. I also use the dancing girl in the red dress; that's one of my favorites that I use all the time.
When is an appropriate time to use the dancing girl in the red dress? I use it a lot on Cinco de Mayo.
I use the dancing girl whenever anything is exciting, literally anything, or if I'm going dancing. If someone is really pissing me off, you can do an elephant emoji and put the little gust of wind behind it, so it looks like it's farting. I also do that when I want to tell people to shut up, and they're just blowing hot wind!
Which app would you invent to save humanity?
One that could help people have less anxiety and call it the "Anxietapp." You open it up and it tells you, "Everything will be OK." I think that would probably be the most useful thing for humanity at this point. If you're still anxious, you could swipe right, and it would be a picture of a kiss that just says, "Chill out." I think that would be most helpful with their health. People need the Anxietapp!