“We were part of the news when we won!” An interview with Years & Years

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From winning the prestigious BBC Sound of 2015 to a number one single, not to mention their debut album Communion also hitting the top spot in the UK, 2015 has been a fantastic year so far for Years & Years; but its been a long time coming. Formed in 2010 when bassist Mikey Goldsworth and synth player Emre Türkmen met online, the band have been diligently plugging away for the past five years. They recruited vocalist Olly Alexander shortly after the bands initial formation (after hearing him singing in the shower!), and in 2012 the band’s debut single ‘I Wish I Knew’ was released.

A handful of singles and three years later, the band found themselves reaching critical and commercial acclaim, which culminated in them finding themselves on numerous ‘one’s to watch’ lists at the end of last year, including the Brit Critic’s Choice shortlist, and with ample support from the BBC.

“I definitely feel like it’s helped, in a big way,” vocalist Olly commented, when asked about the winning the BBC Sound of, adding: “I mean, we were part of the news when we won! So many people got to know us from that and it was a really amazing platform for us.”

Following this support from the BBC the band have reached dizzying heights, with their single ‘King’ hitting number one in March and their debut album, Communion, repeating that success. How long had the record been in the works though?

“A long time!” Emre answered immediately, “But we didn’t camp in the studio for an extended period of time all in one go as we’ve been so busy, especially after the BBC thing! We’ve been touring, first support tours and then we did our own headline tour, and we travelled a lot and stuff, so we managed to do it in pieces. So it took a long time for it to get here.”

“Some songs on there are like two years old,” Mikey added.

The band have had a crazy festival season so far, with the shows continuing throughout the rest of the summer, and into autumn when they start their next (almost entirely sold out) headline tour in the US & UK. Were there any festivals they were particularly looking forward to playing before the festival season started? “Glastonbury,” Olly answered instantly. “A lot of them [festivals]will be new for us, like Reading and Leeds and T in the Park and some Scandinavian festivals that will be really cool, like Oya festival in Norway, and Hard fest in LA. Yeah, it’ll just be amazing to just play to be able to big crowds as we haven’t really done that before.”

And were there any festivals they’d been to as punters? “I’ve been to Reading once,” Mikey told us, with Olly adding: “The festivals I went to were really weird drum and bass festivals and we’re not going to be playing them!”

A few months after our interview, Years & Years are now midway through their festival season, which has included a packed out set at Glastonbury and numerous other sets at festivals across the globe, all intermingled with television appearances (they recently performed ‘King’ on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon) and promoting the album. Safe to say this is probably Years & Years busiest summer ever, but it doesn’t look like they’ll be slowing down any time soon.

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Snack queen and entertainment journalist. Records Editor 2014-2015 & News Editor 2013-2014 for The Edge.

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