An Interview with: Years and YearsBy Sj.Cliff
Currently taking the music scene by storm, Years and Years barely have time to breathe at the moment, let alone do an interview. But despite winning the BBCs Sound of 2015, headlining their first tour and stomping the charts I managed to catch a sneaky 15 minutes with Emre Turkmen, the three-piece’s synth lord…
Hey Emre! I’m great thanks, how are you doing?
Yeah, I’m alright. Knackered but good.
I was going to say, I’ve heard that you’re schedule’s a little packed today…
Well, we’ve had a weird schedule for the last few months now, so you could say that. We just came in from Paris this morning, straight here to do a sound check. I didn’t have time to go home! So that’s what I’m going to do, go home and get changed after I’ve done my interviews.
We’ve been having a little read up on you Emre and we’ve found out your background is in Architecture. So what made you throw that in the bin and get into music?
*laughs* I’ve hardly thrown it away, I’ve still got my education and my qualifications so, once this all goes tits up I’ll just go back to being an architect! You don’t lose it I guess – like riding a bicycle.
But, music has always been the thing that makes me happy so it just got to the point where it looked like I could make living out of it and I could give all my energy to it, so it wasn’t really a difficult choice for me.
So from there, how did Years and Years come to be?
Mikey came back from Australia and within a couple of days he’d put in an ad on a musician website, and I was also on the website, and we met up through that to start a band together. We met up in the pub, got drunk and then a few weeks later, Mikey was invited to a house party of a friend who happened to be living with Olly. They met earlier that night and Olly asked if he could be in the band, he’d just moved to London from Wales I think, and Mikey was a bit unsure because he looked like a bit of a hipster – he said he’d get back to him later. So Mikey ended up staying the night on a sofa and when he woke up in the morning Olly was having a shower and singing. He heard Olly’s voice and was like, yeah. The next day he invited him to the rehearsal with me and we all met up in Mikey’s room, wrote a song and that was it!
Everything fittted together really well for you guys then?
*laughs* Well, when you look back on it, I guess so yeah. 20-20 vision yeah?
And this past year has been absolutely massive for you with you singles really taking off and the BBC Sound of 2015 award – what do you want from this year?
The BBC sound of 2016! That’s what we’re aiming for. We just want to keep being a hyped band. Every year we want people to keep saying that “next year is going to be their year; keep that rolling. Then we’re going to do a greatest hits tour… *laughs* No, we’re going to release our album this year in June – that’s finished now. What we want this year is for people to like the album. We’re doing so many shows as well! There are loads of festivals, the tour has started, then we go to South by Southwest and then do some shows around the east and the west coast, then we come back and do a European tour and then it’s festival season…
Phew... Are you even going to remember what your house looks like?!
I know! I’ve only just got back from Paris, it’s only been like three days and when I touched down I was like “God, I missed London”. It was only three days but we’re going to be away for god knows how long this year! I’m going to miss my dog.
Awh! We saw her online the other day!
Yeah, I miss her a lot.
It’s really exciting though. It’s great fun. And, like, weird. We got to play Jules Holland and that was a real dream. And Glastonbury this year, another dream. It’s like, how many of my bucket list things can I tick off before it goes to shit.
*laughs* Now, back to the music! The tracks you’ve given us so far are a real mix of sounds. Can we expect anything different on the album?
Yeah, loads. But, hopefully, it’ll all sound like it’s us and it belongs together. There are three of us and we all have varied music taste as well, so there are songs on there that are pop-y and house-y, there’s a bit of RnB, there’s a bit of heavy electronic stuff and then there’s stuff like Memo which is very minimal and piano-y; it’s just sort of come together. Genre is dead, as we all know and everyone’s got their iPod on shuffle so it’s only natural. We don’t really think about it at all really. It’s not “we want to be…” we just sort of do it. As long as it all sounds coherent…
Like there’s some stuff that isn’t going on the album because we thought that it didn’t really fit and it didn’t sound right with everything else.
Ooh, does that mean you’ve got enough for a special EP?
I have no idea what we’ll do with the offcuts and stuff because some of them I really love. It’s really hard to let go of things to be honest, but you kind of have to.
So yeah, there’ll be a lot of mixture on our album but hopefully everyone will know it’s us and a lot of that is down to Olly’s voice I guess, so as long as he doesn’t lose that then we’ll be alright!
Hopefully! How do you feel preparing for your own headline tour?
I’m quite nervous. We’ve just overhauled our live set up, so we spent all of last week in a small sweaty room with techy guys and just went through everything, because we’re also playing a lot of songs that we’ve never played live before. So, we’re quite nervous and it will be… yeah. Sometimes it takes a little bit before you hit your stride but, hopefully, we’ll hit the ground running.
We’re excited actually, because we used to get way more nervous before shows to the point where I didn’t want to do them, but that was a while ago. Since we did the support tours with Sam Smith and Clean Bandit, and we played night after night, you really grow in confidence and grow in confidence of your band as well. We’ve been with our live drummer Dylan for a year now and we’ve missed playing live. I don’t miss the van trips, but I miss the performances.