Years & Years Reveal The Meaning Behind 'Sanctify' And A New Song Title

7 March 2018, 19:40 | Updated: 2 May 2018, 10:33

Years & Years Sanctify Lyrics Meaning
Years & Years. Picture: Press

By James Wilson-Taylor

We chat to Olly, Mikey and Emre about what inspired their sultry new sound, details on their new album and the secret collabs they have in store.

Years & Years have finally unveiled their sultry, synthy bop 'Sanctify', the first single taken from their upcoming second album due out later this year.

It's been three years since the band released their debut album, Communion, which reached number 1 on its release in 2015 and went on to sell over 1.5 million copies. The album spawned 4 platinum singles and earned the band 5 BRIT Award nominations. Their last single was 2016's 'Meteorite', which was included on the Bridget Jones' Baby soundtrack.

So, to celebrate their grand return, we caught up with Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen to chat about the track, the meaning behind the lyrics and how it plays into the album narrative as a whole.

According to Olly, 'Sanctify' was partly inspired by experiences from his own personal life.

"So 'Sanctify' is basically a song about a guy who's struggling with his sexuality," Olly explained. "I've been involved in that experience. I've been on actually both sides of that experience and it inspired the song. And it's got a sort of throwback R'N'B vibe mixed with a bit of...something else."

That "something else" may well be the work of Britney Spears as the boys apparently took some inspiration for the track from the minimalist production of her classic singles.

Plus, the boys appeared to give away the title of a "French-themed" song on the new album that has a sprinkling of disco to it, potentially titled 'Rendez-Vous'.

Mikey: "Swinging, dancing, Rendez..."

Emre: "It's kind of Abba. I had Abba in my head...There's a disco garnish."

Olly: "You know how Britney has a French song on 'Glory'? We're just copying her..."

Ooh la la!

Years & Years - DNA (live from BBC 1 Sound Of 2018)

Elsewhere, Olly discussed how he wrote 'DNA', the track they previously debuted in a recent radio live session,

It was inspired by his experience making the documentary Growing Up Gay for the BBC last year. You can listen to the song above.

"I'd been looking through loads of my old diaries, 'cos I've kept diaries since I was 13. And I wanted to write a song about myself as a young kid around that age," said Olly.

"And that's just what inspired it...For the documentary I went through all the old diaries and it brought some things to the surface and I thought 'oh I want to write a song about that'. Which is cool. I never expected to write in that way but I'm glad I did."

In total, the boys wrote around 40-50 songs for the album with the tracklist still being finalised.

One of the major collabs that had been rumoured for the album was legendary duo Pet Shop Boys who were said to have written a song together but as of yet, the band are not sure exactly when we might get to hear it.

"We did work with the Pet Shop Boys but that song...I don't know if I can say this actually but it is still being decided who will take that one," Olly explained, hinting that the song might be released by another artist other than Years & Years and the Pet Shop Boys. "So I don't know. I'm sure you'll hear it. One day."

The album will feature a couple of interesting collabs but the boys are remaining tight-lipped on who they may involve for now. One thing we do know for sure though is that Olly is fully ready for the rise of #20GAYTEEN!

It's happening people!

Years & Years new single 'Sanctify' is available now. The band will play a series of summer festival dates later this year including Fusion Festival in Liverpool.