The biggest band to come out of Oxford since Radiohead, Supergrass and Foals, Glass Animals have had an incredible 2022.

In March they went to number one in the US with their sleeper hit Heat Waves, setting a new record for the longest time to reach the top.

The Oxford indie group's song spent 59 weeks on its slow ascent to the summit of the Billboard Hot 100.

And in January Heat Waves was seventh in the top 10 best-selling singles of 2022 based on combined streaming and sales activity throughout the year.

Not bad for a song that front man Dave Bayley said "didn't think it would really go anywhere" because it came out at the start of the pandemic.

At the 2022 Brit Awards, the band were nominated for Best British Rock Act and Heat Waves for Best British Single.

And they received their first Grammy nomination in the Best New Artist category.

So how could they top last year?

"It was an incredible year... I feel so incredibly grateful," said Dave. "But I don't think it's worth trying to repeat history.

"I like the idea of changing direction and doing something completely fresh.

"The goal has always been to create something that we find interesting and unique, and focussing on that is how the magic of the past few years happened!

"So I hope to continue writing and recording with that in mind.

"2022 opened up some wonderful opportunities to collaborate with other artists and on other projects and I'm so excited about what might come out of that pipeline in ’23.

"I have been so busy with touring that I haven't had any time to get in the studio.

"I'm dying to get back in and make some new music."

And despite global success Dave still makes it back to his home town of Oxford where he can occasionally be spotted in its finest pubs and eateries.

"I head straight to the Old Bookbinders in Jericho and then to Pepper's Burgers," said Dave, who once lived in Walton Street.

"I'm a bit of a foodie and there are some amazing restaurants in Oxford. Chiang Mai, Mamma Mia, Gurkha village in Kidlington, Polish Kitchen... all banging.

"You'll find me there stuffing my face." 

Schoolfriends from St Edward’s in Woodstock Road, Glass Animals was formed in 2010.

Dave, who had a music scholarship, had arrived from Massachussetts and Texas in the US, where his father had been working, and quickly bonded with Drew MacFarlane – who had also been brought up in the States.

“I came here from America when I was 13 and the first person I was introduced to was the only other ‘American’ at the school,” Dave told the Oxford Mail.

“We were both fake Americans because we were British but had grown up over there."

Drew introduced him to Edmund Irwin-Singer and Joe Seaward, the other members of Glass Animals.

“We just happened to be the people at school who listened to leftfield music, and liked soul, rock & roll and r’n’b when everyone else was listening to Snow Patrol," he said.

Despite the scholarship, Dave said he felt "pretty amateur compared to the others" when it came to musical talent.

Drew played guitars as well as organ and violin, Edmund played keyboards and bass as well as cello, piano and choral singing, and Joe was a natural drummer.

Dave started songwriting at King’s College, London, where he went to study medicine — later curtailed into a degree in neuroscience.

He wrote and produced all three Glass Animals albums - Zaba, How to Be A Human Being and Dreamland. 

“I was a bit of an insomniac,” he said. “So I spent my spare time fiddling around writing music.

“I wrote a couple of tracks, showed them to Drew, and he helped me fix them up, put them on the internet, and get a bit of attention.”

Their signature hit Heat Waves has been described as 'woozy' or 'dreamy' but a wilder side comes out on stage.

“Seeing us live is different from hearing us on record," he said. "It’s more intense and dancy. We pick up the tempo, have a bit of fun and party!

“And, for some reason, people think it’s okay to party harder because I’m there with my neuroscience degree!”


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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

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