Indie-pop boys Years and Years are going to be absolutely massive. They’ve just unveiled their new single Desire, and we love it – it’s a layered slice of catchy pop music, and it’s got an absolutely cracking chorus. We had a chat with Mikey from the band about Desire, their forthcoming debut album, and covering Blu Cantrell classics:
You’ve just unveiled your new single Desire – can you describe it for us?
‘It’s got this nineties house vibe, with a bit of Chicago house thrown in there too. It’s a bit of a blend of everything we’ve been doing for a while, to be honest, and I suppose that sound-wise it’s most similar to Take Shelter. It’s kinda funny, because we wrote this one around the chorus, and that’s the opposite of how we normally do it – we normally just kind of write it as we go along, or build it from a verse or something, but for this one we took the chorus and wrote the song around that.
You’ve just started a huge tour as the main support to Clean Bandit – how’s it going?
‘It’s going really well! We’re just glad that it’s going well – we’ve changed a few things up and mixed things around a bit to suit a live environment, so we’re just glad that people seem to be liking it. The reactions have been good, anyway.
Do you feel any more pressure playing a support slot than you do playing one of your headline gigs?
‘I’d say that there’s definitely been more pressure for every show in the last year, but I think there’s more pressure surrounding a headline show. This might be because everyone is actually there to see you, whereas with the support slots… Sometimes people just don’t have a clue who we are, so there’s a little bit less pressure there.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
‘Ooh, that’s a tough one… I’d say that it’s probably a new song called Worship. We’ve only just put it in the set, so it’s good fun to play. I also get to play electric bass and keyboard on that, which is nice! It’s got a really good R&B groove to it too.
What’s the best thing about playing live?
‘The best thing is probably when the fans start singing along – it’s hard to describe how that feels, but it’s amazing.
When can we expect an album from you guys?
‘Hopefully spring next year. We’re probably about fifty percent through recording it – we’ve recorded about five or six songs for it, which is good. The thing is, each track goes through stages, so it’s hard to tell how much longer it’ll be before they’re ready to release. I’d say that each song exists in about two or three different versions before we actually get it finished.
Can you talk us through your songwriting process?
‘Well, Olly comes from a singer-songwriter background, so he usually comes in with a vocal melody and some piano chords. We then usually come in and turn it into a Years and Years song in a rehearsal studio by laying some bass and drums and things over it.
What’s your favourite Years and Years song?
‘Hmm… I’d say that my favourite is Take Shelter. I just love the instrumentation of it, and I still love playing it live!
Why did you decide to cover Breathe by Blu Cantrell for the Take Shelter EP?
‘We definitely wanted to do a cover, and Olly really likes that kind of music… Want to know a secret? I’d never even heard that song before we chose to cover it. The beat from that song is amazing, so that kind of sold it to me personally.
What made you want to start playing music in the first place?
‘My Dad is actually a double-bass player, so he used to give me music lessons – that’s how I got into it. I then started a band with a few friends, and I guess Years and Years sort of came out of that.
Which song do you wish you’d written?
‘I’d have to go with Get Free by Major Lazer. I just think that it’s perfect, really.
You guys spend a lot of time together on the road, but which member of the band has the most annoying habit?
‘Probably Emre, because he always zones out. It happened right before this interview, actually – we were all talking about something in the van, and then he turns around and tries to start a conversation about the exact same thing!
Who’s your ultimate musical icon?
‘Maybe David Byrne from Talking Heads, or David Bowie. The guy’s a genius. His constant reinventions are just amazing, and to have so much great music… He is the ultimate, and he’s such an elaborate showman.
What do you hope to do in the next year?
‘It’d be amazing to get the album finished, and to tour off the back of that. We’re doing so many different things right now, what with all the touring/writing/recording – it’d be nice to just be able to focus on one thing for a change!
Describe yourself in three words?
‘Hmm… Persistent, abnormal and humorous.