UK band Glass Animals reveal the Australia-themed tattoo they’ve promised to get on their rear ends to celebrate the success of Heat Waves.
UK band Glass Animals reveal the Australia-themed tattoo they’ve promised to get on their rear ends to celebrate the success of Heat Waves.

Glass Animals’ Aussie tattoo plans

When British band Glass Animals were tipped to make No. 1 on triple j's Hottest 100 with Heat Waves frontman Dave Bayley made a bold promise.

If they did top the world's biggest radio poll he'd get a tattoo on his backside to commemorate the feat. His bandmates made similar promises.

After the Hottest 100 victory in January, commercial radio belatedly discovered the song, added it to high rotation and Heat Waves has now spent six weeks at No. 1 on the ARIA chart, going double platinum. "It's absolutely bonkers," Bayley says of the experimental pop song becoming a mainstream hit (it's currently climbing the US and UK charts).

"It's a very personal song, I wrote it alone in a room late at night, it feels strange so many people have heard it. The song is about missing people and not being able to see them for one reason or another. In this case it's because that person has passed away. But the lyrics are quite subtle, everyone's missing someone right now I think. And it's made it across to Australia when we haven't been able to …"

British band Glass Animals are surprised by the success of Heat Waves. Pic: Elliott Arndt
British band Glass Animals are surprised by the success of Heat Waves. Pic: Elliott Arndt

INK THE MOOD

The song's ongoing success in Australia - the country where Glass Animals scored their first radio play and played their first ever sold-out show - means Bayley is committed to the tattoo. He's asked fans on Instagram to send in their designs; a tattoo parlour is booked for May once they've reopened in the UK.

"Some of the submissions look more painful than others," the tattoo-free Bayley says. "I want the outline of Australia, and don't worry Tasmania, I won't forget you. I want to be proud of this tattoo. I want to look at it and smile thinking about all the amazing things that came from this song - we saw videos of people dancing to Heat Waves on the beach in Australia during the Hottest 100, that made me cry, I had to call my mum. That was the first time we saw anyone dancing to the song because we can't tour obviously."

 

BEHIND THE MUSIC

There's an interesting history to Heat Waves. Bayley, who writes most of the band's material, was alone in a London studio late at night, when a man in a suit sitting at a piano complimented him on Heat Waves as a work in progress. That man: Johnny Depp.

"I'm 99 per cent sure it wasn't a dream," Bayley says. "It was a strange evening."

When he was in LA pitching songs to "one of my favourite pop artists" he dug out Heat Waves - the mystery artist passed on the song.

"I was a little hesitant to play it for them, because it is so personal, but I also know that's what this person wanted in the songs they were looking for. Especially in this current moment, personal things and honesty are what people need and appreciate. This was one of my favourite artists, one of the best singers in the world. But I guess now I'm glad we kept it."

Bayley is now working with more artists, from a punk band to a cartoon theme, and can't be pressed on whether the "amazing" artist he's working with was the one who turned down Heat Waves.

"Some things are happening which are kind of scary but exciting. There's stuff happening I never thought could happen. I just can't talk about it."

Dave Bayley of Glass Animals (pictured in glasses) is writing for other acts. Pic: Ollie Trenchard
Dave Bayley of Glass Animals (pictured in glasses) is writing for other acts. Pic: Ollie Trenchard

TOUGH TALK

The success of Heat Waves is even more incredible given that when Glass Animals were set to release their third album, Dreamland, last August their management gave them some tough love about pandemic listening habits.

"Our managers said 'Look, let's put this record out and start writing the next one because it's going to absolutely tank, everyone's just listening to nostalgic music from their childhood right now. Next'. And I said 'This is my baby! Your albums are like your child, you want to give them the best shot possible'. I do feel insanely lucky, some artists really need touring. I felt we were one of them to be honest."

Glass Animals are scheduled to start touring in the UK at the end of 2021, pandemic pending, and Bayley hints they've been locked into an Australian festival, potentially later this year.

"I have some Australian dates in my calendar, I know when they are, I can't say when because everyone will know when and where it is. But we are coming."

Originally published as Glass Animals' Aussie tattoo plans



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