With the creation of Years & Years occurring almost over four years ago, 2014 unquestionably has seen the trio gradually place themselves upon the music scene and proudly define their place. Distinguishing themselves as “soulful electronic pop” when attempting to categorise their music but “happy with whatever people take away from it”, Years & Years’ musical technique has supplied a fulfilling and engaging crossover mixture, enthralling fans of an array of genres.
Conceiving their name through a “brainstorm session” where “Emre came up with Years & Years and it was the one name nobody hated”, Years & Years came to exist in 2010 after Michael ‘Mikey’ Goldsworthy and Emre Turkman met online when searching to fashion a band, then acquired their vocalist through the peculiar story of hearing Olly Alexander singing in the shower, forming an ensemble which is “definitely a friendship” more than a professional outlook with the group unsure “how anyone could cope otherwise”.
Growing from strength to strength in 2013, Years & Years came to capture 2014 by swift force, finding themselves catapulted into not only the forefront but also into a numerous selection of successes.
These achievements include supporting artists such as Clean Bandit and more recently Sam Smith, having two of their songs claiming the title of Radio 1’s Track of the Day and securing an appearance on Later With Jools Holland. “I’m really proud of performing on Jools Holland. That was a really big moment for all of us, to be on the line up with all those acts on such a critically acclaimed show. It was a real moment,” Alexander says. With all this and more happening in such a short period, a whirlwind of accomplishments has really been spawned. “It’s hard to have proper perspective on it when you’re inside of it,” Alexander states. “There’s so much work to do so I try to stay focused on that… I’m always racked with anxiety that things will go wrong.”
The ever-growing list of triumphs for the group have been met with support from a collection of artists such as “Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith” who have each been “so supportive, it has been really amazing”.
Years & Years generated a style which could simply slot into a vast amount of genres and it spirals from the diverse selection of music they grew up on. “Emre grew up on The Beatles and Marvin Gaye, Mikey on classical stuff and Radiohead and I listened to a lot of singer songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Jeff Buckley as well as soul music and R&B,” Alexander reveals. “I don’t think you can help but be influenced by the stuff you grew up listening to.”
Constructing and devising songs from such assortment of influences and approaches in music comes in a particularly simple way for Years & Years though.
“I’m always writing stuff on the piano,” Alexander says, “so sometimes I’ll bring a top line and chord progression to Emre and Mikey and we’ll work something out or I’ll write something over the top of something Emre’s created. Our sound has developed and changed over the years, we never set out to make music of a specific genre, we just picked up instruments or tried software we liked.”
With the ending months of 2014 slowly clasping at the feet of everybody, it closes a year of complete highs for Years & Years but also represents an exciting new chapter for the band to further their growth. 2015 is set to provide the band with a playground of opportunities, something which Years & Years have in already planned. “We’re still on tour supporting Sam Smith until December and we hopefully gonna finish most of the album by the end of the year. Next year we’ll be putting out more music, doing our headline tour and then releasing the album,” Alexander divulges. “I get out of breath seeing that all written down.”
This feature is taken from the December 2014 issue of Audio Addict. View it on Issuu here, or pick it up along the South Coast.