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WPGM Previews: Years & Years Live At Empire Control Room – SXSW 2015 Music Festival (Day 5)

Austin, Texas is beginning to say goodbye to their vast amount of acts as the SXSW Music Festival draws to an end. The six-day festival has seen over 2000 bands perform and entertain the large crowds that have flown from all around the globe to hear both new and old bands play their favourite songs. The last full day of SXSW manages to boot the pre ‘post gig blues’ for another day with big names and faces getting the crowd screaming for an encore one last time, one of the standout performers on tonight’s itinerary are BBC Sound of 2015 winners Years & Years, who will be performing live at Empire Control Room tonight.

British electronic trio Years and Years consists of multi talented frontman and keyboardist Olly Alexander, bassist Mikey Goldsworthy, and synth player Emre Turkmen. Their music has an original twist of 90’s House music, combined together with Electro Pop, influenced mainly by Radiohead and Diplo. Years and Years formed in 2010, it began when Goldsworthy met Turkmen online after moving to the UK from Australia. After a short while, Olly was recruited into the band as lead singer, following the event of Mikey hearing him sing in the shower. However, the band were originally a 5-man band, with members Noel Leeman and Olivier Subria, sadly leaving in 2013.

The band’s debut single “I Wish I Knew” was released in July 2012 on Good Bait label; at this point the band still had all five members. However, the next year took a different turn to what their fans thought would happen. 2013 led the band to sign to French label, Kitsuné Records, but this time, as their new iteration of three members. In September of that year, “Traps” was released, followed by “Real” a few months later, the video for which starred Misfits actor Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, and garnered over 3 million views on YouTube.

Later in 2014, Years & Years swapped record labels to Polydor Records where they released their fourth single “Take Shelter”. The track flew to #1 on the UK iTunes Electronic Chart. Following their new found success, the band also released “Desire”, which propelled the band to their first UK top 40 single at #22. Their last single “King” was premiered as Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record in the World’ on BBC Radio 1, and later went on to land at the top of the UK singles chart. 2015 has been a big year for the boys so far. The band won the well-respected BBC Sound of 2015 in January and were also nominated for the BRIT Awards ‘Critics Choice’, and their debut album Communion, is due to be released on June 22.

Also one to look out for tonight is Earl Sweatshirt who will be performing live at Hype Hotel. Sweatshirt, real name Thebe Neruda Kgositsile, is an LA rapper and producer and member of Hip Hop collective Odd Future. Despite being only 21, the young musician is signed to both Columbia Records and his very own label Tan Cressida. He rose to fame in 2010 on the back of his debut mixtape Earl which garnered recognition and critical acclaim, and was even cited as one of the best 100 albums of the decade so far by Pitchfork. After a stint at a Samoan boarding school, Earl returned to the US to release his major label debut album, Doris in August 2013.

Discovered on MySpace in 2009 by Tyler, the creator, before joining Tyler’s Odd Future collective, Earl Sweatshirt was included in XXL’s prestigious ‘Freshmen List’ in 2012, and was nominated as ‘Rookie of the Year’ at the BET Hip Hop Awards in 2013. Earlier this month, Earl Sweatshirt announced his third studio album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, which is to be released next week (March 23), he also debuted “Grief”, the lead single from the album a few days ago, along with visuals which have been watched over 500,000 times on YouTube already, you can pre-order the upcoming album on iTunes here.

Make sure you catch Years & Years or Earl Sweatshirt tonight or even both of these acts if you can manage it. For more information on Years & Years’ gig at Empire Control Room, alongside the likes of Tunji Ige and ASTR, go here, and to catch Earl Sweatshirt headlining at Hype Hotel, with preceding performances from Ryan Hemsworth and Tei Shi, click here. For the rest of what you can expect from SXSW 2015 Music Festival’s final full day, go here.

Words by Meg Benbow // Edited by Ayo Adepoju

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