Nights In

Interview: years & years

With their infectious hooks and synth laden tracks, London trio Years & Years have seen a meteoric rise within the last 18 months.  
 
Having formed in 2010 when Mikey moved from Australia to London, he soon met Emre online after looking for people to start a group. Interestingly, they eventually recruited Olly after stumbling upon him singing in the shower. 
 
It seems their chance meeting would play to their favour as they would eventually sign to French label Kitsuné Records in 2013. However, it wasn’t until their third single Real which was released in February 2014, that the band started to gain mass public attention. 
 
Their follow- up single Take Shelter proved even more popular and a major label offer soon followed, firmly placing them on the main stage.
 
Having topped the BBC Sound of 2015 poll this year, previously won by the likes of Ellie Goulding and Adele, the hype around this band is definitely warranted.
 
Sitting down for a chat they are cheerful and enthusiastic to talk about their upcoming debut album and their plans for the summer. Having played many shows throughout the years and just fresh off a tour having supported chart-topper Sam Smith, you could argue that these guys are seasoned. Yet with so much gigging experience and with a European tour starting this week, do they ever still get nervous before a show? 
 
“I used to get so nervous when we first started definitely,” Emre says nodding. “Every now and again it will still hit me, especially with something like TV. It gets a little bit easier, but you still have moments you know.” 
 
“I’m the same,” Olly says smiling, “I still get pretty nervous, but I think I just got better at handling the nerves.”
 
“The funny thing with the tour is that it has kind of crept up on us,” Mikey explains. “I know that sounds really weird, we knew it was happening, but the reality hasn’t really sunk in yet that we’re going to Europe for two weeks. But yeah, we’re excited, I love Europe,” he adds enthusiastically. 
 
It can not be denied that audiences on their tour will be met with an impressive catalogue of hits. With the ability to mix pop song elements, infectious choruses and a smooth and soulful vocal on top, they have created a deep-house haven perfect for the mainstream –  if they have a formula for making music, it’s certainly a winning one.
 
“To be honest you try not to think of it like that,” Olly explains. “You know when it’s going well and you feel good about the song because you like it I guess. You try not to focus too much on whether it’s going to be a hit or not, if we personally like it, that’s all that matters really.”
 
“Yeah sure anyone can have a hit. Look at Blue (Da Ba Dee),” Mikey shouts, breaking into a fit of laughter.
 
Well if personal taste has guided them so far, it has done them well, as their sixth single King proved a massive hit, skyrocketing to the top of the UK charts in March. Yet with diverse inspirations ranging from Stevie Wonder and Talking Heads to TLC being one of the bands mentioned, what sound can we expect from their debut album Communion?
 
“A mashup of everything really,” Olly explains. “I think with an album you have to consider it differently, so you might not put everything that you have done into it, but we’re really happy with where it peaks and it dips,” Emre says nodding.
 
“I mean we definitely have a way of working. We have synths that we like to use and stuff like that, but a lot of the time with dance music it’s not really bands that make it, so hopefully we have a sound that people recognise,” Emre adds.
 
With a new album set for release and a grueling summer taking on the festival circuit, the next few months are certainly going to be major turning point for the boys. 
 
Well we’ve always wanted to play Glastonbury, it’s definitely our biggest gig so far,” Mikey says. “None of us have even been,” Olly chips in. “None of us have ever been able to get tickets and now we’re playing it, so we’re just super excited,” he adds laughing. “We’re playing Longitude, but we’ll also be coming back to Ireland in Autumn hopefully,” Emre says.
 
There is something truly likable about the band. Maybe it’s their high energy as they talk, or their clear passion for what they do. It is blatantly clear that they are focused, but are still able able to have fun in the process.
 
Before we say goodbye, I ask them what influences their song writing process. “Personal experience definitely,” Olly says adamantly. “I don’t know if you’ve ever kept a diary where you write in it about how you’re feeling, it’s the same process really. It’s very cathartic to be able to create something.”
 
“It’s not just my song when I write it, it’s ours, ” he says gesturing to Mikey and Emre. “It’s Years & Years, and when it becomes a finished song and everyone listens to it, it becomes something new to them. That’s a really cool thing.”
 
Communion is out on June 22nd via Polydor 
 
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