Olly Alexander

Move on up

Words: Ruth Morgan
Photography: Mike Massaro 

When frontman Olly Alexander gives out advice on how to make it in a band, it’s wise to listen… 

London-based electronic trio Years & Years have been nominated for a Brit Award, followed in the footsteps of Sam Smith and Adele by winning the BBC’s Sound of 2015 poll and are about to embark on their first headline tour. When frontman Olly Alexander gives out advice on how to make it in a band, it’s wise to listen… 

1.    Buddy up

“Be in a band with people you love, your friends. You’re going to have all sorts of highs and lows along the way, late nights, early mornings and a lot of important decisions to make. All that is so much easier with your mates around you. When you all know each other well and, most importantly, like each other, it’s easier to get things sorted.”

2.    Find the fun

“Have a good sense of humour. Things will be crazy, and if you can laugh about it you’ve a much better chance of enjoying some of the stranger situations you’ll find yourself in. It’s easy to say, but it’s genuinely important. Laughter gets us through a lot.”

3.    Be a player 

“Practice. A lot. You should know your instrument extremely well, so keep playing. You have to completely believe in what you’re doing, that belief stands you in good stead for success. It’s like the 10,000 hours rule, that it takes that long to truly master something. It takes a lot of time to get good. And it doesn’t matter if you f—k up a bit, in fact you should f–k up along the way and make mistakes. It’s the only way to learn, it’s a good thing.”

4. Write on

“Write as much as possible. Writing’s key for any authentic artist, and you’re going to write 100 bad songs for every good one in my experience. Songwriting’s such a difficult thing. It’s good being in a band so you have other people to bounce off, as sometimes I’m really not the best judge of my songs. It’s like a muscle and you have to keep working it. Every now and then you’ll get a flash of inspiration and a song will just happen.”

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01 2015 Redbulletin.com

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