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Olly Alexander on going solo with Years & Years: “We didn’t fall out, we’re all mates”

By | Published on Friday 9 April 2021

Years & Years

Years and years ago a band formed. They called themselves Years & Years. But then last month they announced that they weren’t a band anymore. Was that the end? No. Sit comfortably, dear reader, for this is the story of how Years & Years became an Olly Alexander solo project…

“Yeah, so, I’ll tell you kinda the honest truth of what happened … me, Mikey and Emre met, like, ten years ago, right”, Alexander tells Capital FM. “We’ve been in this band for a decade, and in that time, we’ve just kinda grown apart musically, right? We kind of stopped making music together, and when we announced that I was going to be Olly Years & Years, it had kind of like been a long time coming, if that makes sense”.

“We all got into a new way of living our lives and working together quite separately”, he goes on. “Then after the pandemic, I feel like we had all this time to really reflect on what was going on and it made sense that we kind of went our separate ways. I’ve been writing all the songs for this new album, and Emre’s working on other stuff, he’s got his family to raise and so it’s just an honest thing. We didn’t fall out – we’re all mates and stuff – so it’s definitely different but I’m really excited as well to kind of do my thing this time”.

Yes, OK, that all makes sense, but why not just lay Years & Years to rest and simply perform as Olly Alexander? He explains: “Do you know what, I did think about that, and we actually did talk about it too. But, for me, I love Years & Years and these songs that I’ve written like ten years ago, some of them, I don’t want to let them go, I wanna still do it, so … it just felt right to stay as Years & Years, I think”.

So there you have it. It’s not a complete split, of course. While Emre Türkmen has left the group entirely, bassist Mikey Goldsworthy will continue to perform at Years & Years live shows. But in terms of recording and fronting the project, Alexander is now definitely going it alone.

Alexander, by the way, was on the God damn radio to promote the first Years & Years single since the announcement of the restructuring of the project, that being ‘Starstruck’.

Commenting on the track in a press statement, he says: “[The song] came together one night at a studio in the countryside outside of London. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen so many stars, you get used to them not being there when you live in the city”.

“Since we’ve all had to stop, all I’ve wanted to do is go out and dance”, he goes on. “So I’ve been putting all that pent up energy into the music. ‘Starstruck’ is about the rush you get when you’re with somebody you’re really into, it’s about holding onto a good feeling and not letting it go”.

“Like most of us, I’ve spent the past year at home, and I wanted to create something super positive and fun for people – and myself – to bop along too. Whatever we’re doing or wherever we are in life, I think we all deserve three minutes of interstellar ecstasy”.

Yeah, you thought he was going to say it was all about looking at the stars and being struck by the scale of the universe, or something, didn’t you? Classic red herring there. It’s true though, London is shit.

Anyway, watch the video for ‘Starstruck’ here: