Dave Bayley is the lead singer of Glass Animals. In 2018, he got a 'traumatic' phone call about his bandmate.

This article deals with suicide.

You would think the lead singer of one of the world's biggest bands would be extremely happy, right? 

There's the success, the fame, the fans who adore you, the money and travel too. Many would assume that once you've reached the top, you would be feeling pretty good about yourself.

Dave Bayley is the lead singer of British band Glass Animals, known for their 2020 chart topper 'Heat Waves'. It became the number one song around the world. But behind the scenes, life hasn't been perfect for Bayley and his bandmates. 

They almost lost one of their own.

In 2018, drummer Joe Seaward was involved in a bike accident that almost ended his life. He was left with a severely broken leg and brain damage due to a complex skull fracture.

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Video via ABC News.

It took two lengthy operations to repair the damage and it left Seaward unable to walk, talk, eat, read or write, suffering from short-term memory loss. It took time and significant effort to rebuild his life.

Bayley says it was undoubtedly one of the most traumatic moments he has experienced, seeing his friend suffering. 


"It was super scary. I really did think it was over for a while. I remember the phone call vividly and I was like, 'I'm getting the first flight back.' His dad had played it down so much on the phone, so it didn't sink in until that exact moment when I saw his [Joe's] face," Bayley tells Mamamia's But Are You Happy podcast.

"He had been hit by a truck, basically. So the state of his head was so shocking."

Before music, Bayley had been studying medicine. He had an acute understanding of just how precarious his friend's situation was, particularly with a brain injury.

"I've lost a couple of friends and then potentially losing another one — especially a best friend like that — was just going to be a lot. It definitely does put things in perspective. I think it just made me feel absurdly lucky to make music at all, and do anything at all with Joe."

In 2020, the psych-pop band released 'Heat Waves' and it was topping the charts both in the UK and Australia. It even won Triple J's Hottest 100. 

"There's a real kind of joy and freedom that the success of that song allowed. I don't think anyone expected it. Producers were like, 'I don't know what you did but go ahead and keep doing it.' That's a lucky position to be in," Bayley notes. 

Listen to this conversation on But Are You Happy. Post continues after audio.

But it's a complicated song. You see, although it has a boppy beat, the meaning is far more personal. It's inspired by the death of Bayley's best friend, who took his own life.


As he previously told Billboard: "I lost someone really important to me, and around their birthday, I start to feel a bit weird. So I was sitting back and feeling nostalgic and reflective. That's why I was really nervous around releasing it, just because it was personal."

Reflecting on seeing people so happy when the song is performed live, Bayley tells But Are You Happy that they likely don't realise the pain behind the lyrics. 

"You have to latch onto that happiness when you see the happiness in people's faces [in the crowd]. I think the first five times I played that song I broke down afterwards, and we had to play it at the very end. And now we still play it at the very end because that was just a remnant of me crying after performing it," he says.

Ultimately, Bayley is someone who knows loss and trauma awfully well. In spite of it all, he's learned something profound about happiness. 

"The internet presence is the curated, happy version of everything. Right now in this moment, I'm very happy. I think the thing that makes me happy is doing the things that make me feel grounded. That's hanging out with people who know me best and that I love."

You can listen to the full conversation on But Are You Happy now

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

Feature Image: Instagram @glassanimals.

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