10 Minutes w/ Years & Years
Interview by Fran Tirado
When Years & Years sat down with Hello Mr. just before their free performance at Samsung 837 in New York City, they are visibly jet-lagged. The three of them, Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy, and Emre Türkmen, sit snuggly on the couch looking tired, but ready for the whirlwind of their next few days – a music festival in Montreal, Chicago, another in San Francisco, Hungary, Sweden, and even more across the UK. Most recently they were in Toyko where, in their spare time, they went on hikes, visited the Inari Shrine (a temple filled with little stone fox statues), and the Studio Ghibi museum.
Fran: Did you get to go to Harajuku? I haven’t been there in years but at the time I went, Gwen Stefani had just come out with Love. Angel. Music. Baby., so it was a very formative trip for me.
Olly: OOoh, that song! [sings] “Watchu waitin, watchu waitin, watchu waitin fooor?” I used to have these songs I called “lucky songs” and whenever they came on, I felt I would have a good day. That was one of them.
F: What were the first albums you ever bought?
O: Willenium, Will Smith. Or maybe it was Baby One More Time.
Mikey: Savage Garden
Emre: Prince’s Greatest Hits II
F: What’s something distinct about your fan base?
O: They’re very creative. They all have good artistic skills – drawings and poems.
E: Someone gave me a cork made out to look like me, with hair made of string.
O: Someone made Russian dolls of us once. I was the big one.
F: That was going to be my follow-up question. Favorite 90s R&B song?
O: I really love 3LW – that one song [sings] “No. I’m. Not. The. One. Say it again, say it again, OOoh!” A classic.
M: Blackstreet, “Don’t Leave Me.”
O: Donell Jones “Say What.” In fact, the entire Save The Last Dance soundtrack.
F: Favorite break-up song?
M: “Mambo No. 5” [laughs]
E: “Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen
O: “You’re Not Good Enough,” Blood Orange
F: Oof, that’s a deep cut. You can’t even listen to that song ironically later.
O: Yea, it’s just straight up “He broke my heart.”
F: What are your musical guilty pleasures?
M: “Mambo No. 5” [all laugh]
F: "Mambo No. 5" is an acceptable answer to all of these questions.O: I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, but Kesha. And Avril Lavigne.
E: “Baby When You’re Gone” by Bryan Adams and Melanie C.
M: Maybe Lighthouse Family. [Emre groans]
F: Most important question. Who are your musical heroines?
O: Whitney and Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos.
M: Gwen Stefani
E: Justine Frischmann
O: Oh, Eva Cassidy, Beyoncé.
F: Implied.E: Selena, Madge
F: Have you ever gone to a concert alone? If so, which most recently?
O: I went to an MNEK concert alone recently. He's a british soul singer
M: Antony and the Johnsons, before, when she was called that.
E: I’ve never been to a concert alone. I like to go to the cinema alone.
F: I strongly recommend going to a concert alone. I like seeing movies alone too, but I do not recommend seeing Tarzan alone. Anyway, what’re y'all doing after the show?
M: We’ve got an early flight tomorrow so—
F: Well, thanks so much you guys!
All: Thank you!
O: [walks away singing “No More (Baby I’m a Do Right)”]