Olly Alexander on Years & Years becoming a solo project: “Pop became a dirty word”
Written by ABR on 22/01/2022
Olly Alexander has opened up about Years & Years becoming a solo project, saying that “pop was like a dirty word” towards the end of the group’s run as a three-piece.
The singer-songwriter/actor sat down with NME for this week’s Big Read cover interview in which he talked about Years & Years‘ 80s-inspired third album ‘Night Call’ (out today, January 21).
- READ MORE: The NME Big Read – Years & Years: “Going solo was like a break-up”
Following on from 2018’s ‘Palo Santo’, the new record marks the first full-length from Alexander since he parted ways with his former Y&Y bandmates Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen.
“We could never really agree on what we liked in the music and what direction we wanted to go in, so that made the songwriting process difficult,” the singer told NME of the experience of working as a trio.
“It was never lyrics; [Goldsworthy and Türkmen] would never touch lyrics. It was just, like, general direction: how ‘poppy’ something was gonna be. Pop was, like, a dirty world, which is a little crazy.”
Alexander did, however, go on to concede that “arguments over music can really help you make something good, and I think it did with us”. He added: “Like, I really love all the music we made, but it always came with its own complications.”
Despite not being involved with the creative/writing process this time around, Goldsworthy is due to tour as part of Years & Years’ live band. Alexander said the reunion won’t be “weird”, but instead “like having your bro back”.
“Mikey’s just the best person to have on the road because he just plays his Switch and has bants with the lads,” he told NME before reflecting on the “huge adjustment” of going it alone on ‘Night Call’.
“You’re kind of in a relationship when you’re in a band,” Alexander told NME. “I mean, I’m still in a relationship with these people, but it’s just a different one now. It was like a break-up, and then you have to speak about it in interviews.”
Elsewhere in the Big Read cover feature, Alexander spoke about his turn in the hugely successful It’s A Sin, how the series informed the sounds of ‘Night Call’, and said that Lil Nas X has “completely changed the game” in terms of artists being more openly queer.
He also talked about collaborating with “legend” Kylie Minogue on a remix of ‘Starstruck’ and the disco-inspired single ‘A Second To Midnight’.
In a four-star review, NME‘s El Hunt hailed Years & Years’ latest album as a “collection of well-crafted bangers, most of which are begging to be blasted out of a subwoofer as debauchery rages”.
Years & Years will hit the road for a UK tour this May – check out the full schedule below.
19 – Brighton, Centre
20 – Bournemouth, International Centre
21 – Birmingham, Resorts World Arena
26 – London, Wembley Arena
28 – Manchester, AO Arena
24 – Dublin, National Museum of Ireland
25 – Glasgow, Bellahouston Park
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