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Medical no longer matters for Bayley; Glass Animals frontman Dave Bayley ditched medicine to pursue his music career. He tells Marion McMullen about his prescription for success.

WHAT do you do when Adele's Oscar-winning music producer unexpectedly turns up at your very first London date? "We saw Paul Epworth's name on the guest list before the show and it blew our minds. But we convinced ourselves it wasn't the same person," admits Glass Animals singer songwriter Dave Bayley with a laugh. "We thought 'there must be loads of people out there with the same name. It can't be him. It must be another Paul Epworth.'" It wasn't until after the show, when Paul came along and introduced himself, that they realised he really was the same guy who had worked with Florence and the Machine, Plan B, Coldplay, Cee Lo Green, Paul McCartney and Bruno Mars and picked up an Oscar with Adele for the James Bond theme song Skyfall.

"He basically was responsible for the soundtrack of my youth," says Bayley.

Paul was equally impressed by the Oxford band and their music and they are one of the first signings to his Wolf Tone label.

Their debut album Zaba is released next month and is already attracting widespread attention.

Radiohead are fans - Colin Greenwood even promoted a local gig for the band - while DJ and performer James Lavelle has them headlining a night at his 2014 Meltdown Festival at London's South Bank and they will be playing live dates across the country next month including Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle.

It's a big career change for Bayley who was studying medicine and has a degree in neuroscience.

He never had any intention of forming a group, but insomnia at medical school led to him spending his spare hours listening to music and messing around on a half-dead relic of a laptop gifted to him by his father.

The result was the ambient electronica of Golden Antlers, which became one of Glass Animals first songs.

Managers, artists, promoters, agents and lawyers were in touch within days of the track going online.

"When we first started we didn't even know what a PR guy was," chuckles Bayley. "We were going what the heck is a PR? What do we need managers and lawyers for? We were so naive."

Bayley grew up in a small town outside Boston and later moved to Texas. He was 13 when he came with his family to the UK and one of the first people he met was the band's future guitarist Drew MacFarlane, who introduced him to Edmund Irwin-Singer and Joe Seaward.

They shared a love of music and went to concerts together.

They were 17 when they took to the stage for the first time at a friend's birthday party.

The guys stayed in touch even when they went off to university. Joe went to Brighton to study anthropology and Ed and Drew were doing music at Cambridge.

"I listened to music all the time, but I was focused on medicine and music was a hobby. I was half-way through university when I realised I might actually be able to do music for a job and I dropped everything to do it."

Bayley says there was silence for about 15 minutes when he first told his parents he was giving up medicine, but adds now his mother is possibly their biggest fan and keeps track of what people are saying about them online.

Meanwhile, Zaba is undoubtedly set to become one of this year's most striking debuts and was created in Paul Epworth's own studio.

With Bayley producing and Epworth as A&R and mentor, the band were free to record, improvise and write at their own speed.

The album is inspired by the scenarios of Apocalypse Now, The Island of Dr Moreau, Heart of Darkness, The African Queen and Mosquito Coast as well as Kanye West, Nina Simone and the Velvet Underground.

Bayley says: "The sound of the record is like a backdrop of man-made wilderness.

"I used to be really into super-clean, no flaws production, but now I like the context and soul that mistakes, chopped samples, and swirly white amp-noises give you.

"We definitely were a bit self-conscious, we were once afraid to do something bold. Now when we're together in the studio we don't worry about those things. In fact, we don't worry about anything at all."

A lot of their ideas come when they get together in The Shed, a hut in the Oxfordshire countryside. "It's isolated and we can go there and make as much noise as we want without p---ing anyone off... well, apart from a few animals I suppose."

And what if Glass Animals had not come along? "I'd probably be finishing my degree and sitting in a hospital talking to psychiatric patients." | Zaba is released on June 9 through Wolf Tone/Caroline International. Go to www.facebook.com/glassanimals/soundcloud.com/glassanimals for further details.

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Glass Animals. From L to R: Edmund Irwin-Singer, Drew MacFarlane, frontman Dave Bayley and Joe Seaward
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 23, 2014
Words:821
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