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Bayley and Seaward were childhood friends, but they didn't start making music together until they finished school. Bayley had been writing and recording songs in his spare time, and ultimately drafted Seaward, MacFarlane and Irwin-Singer to play with him. While they were still at university they released their debut EP, Leaflings, in 2012. Though Bayley had planned to go to medical school after graduation, Glass Animals captured the attention of acclaimed producer Paul Epworth, who signed them to his label Wolf Tone in 2013 and released the Glass Animals EP, which included the single "Black Mambo." In 2014, the band released their debut album, Zaba, which blended electronics with indie guitar music and was co-produced by Bayley and Epworth.
Glass Animals spent much of the next two years touring the world and gathering stories from the people they encountered (which Bayley secretly recorded on his phone). The group used these tales as lyrical inspiration for their second long-player, which they recorded in late 2015. How to Be a Human Being, a concept album with each song telling the story of a different character, arrived in August 2016. After Seaward was involved in a near-fatal accident in 2018, the band remained on hiatus through the drummer's recovery. Glass Animals' third set, Dreamland, arrived in 2020. The quartet's first fully autobiographical record, Dreamland saw the group shift towards more personal, emotionally driven material. ~ James Pearce