Elbow’s Guy Garvey on playing The Queen’s Jubilee concert and “energetic” new material

The frontman tells us about the power of 'One Day Like This', Elbow's next move, and what slot they'll be playing at Glastonbury

Speaking to NME at the Ivor Novellos yesterday (Thursday May 19), Elbow frontman Guy Garvey talked about the “honour” of playing the Queen’s Jubilee concert, the power of their song ‘One Day Like This’, progress on an “energetic” new album, and when and where you can expect to see them at Glastonbury 2022.

Garvey was in attendance at the London ceremony at Grosvenor House to present the Ivor award for Best Album, and caught up with NME on the red carpet just a few hours after Elbow were announced to perform at the Queen’s upcoming Jubilee concert alongside the likes of Queen, Diana Ross, Elton John, Duran DuranCraig David, Eurovision singer Sam RyderElla EyreElbowAlicia KeysHans ZimmerMabelJax JonesCeleste, Andrea Bocelli, Sigala and Nile Rodgers and more.

“We’re going to do a turn for Lizzie! It just feels like another party and we’re honoured to be asked,” he said. “It’s lovely and we don’t take anything for granted any more. It’s 20 years since I first walked into Grosvenor House. At that time it was for our first Mercury nomination in 2001. That feels wild that 20 years have flown by. We never assumed we’d be on these lists or asked to play things like that. It was a massive honour to be asked to play the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, and an unexpected one.


He added: “It’s a cause for national celebration and we get to strut our stuff!”


Asked about the secret to why the band have become synonymous with celebrations in the UK, Garvey put it all at the foot of their single ‘One Day Like This’ from their breakthrough 2008 album ‘The Seldom Seen Kid‘.

“It’s that one great big song we’ve got, isn’t it?” he replied. “When we were writing it we were feeling that it might become a popular anthem. The balance of the song is that the tone that it strikes is not saying that everything’s rosey, it’s saying ‘this moment is rosy’. That gives people reason to throw their mouth open and their head back in song.

“We certainly didn’t expect it to be as popular as it’s been. It’s allowed us to keep writing the rest of our music. We’re working on our 10th studio album at the moment, and that song has certainly afforded us some years of that.”


Elbow, 2021 (Picture: Press)

Garvey said that the band’s next album – their 10th – would have a very different feel to their more laid-back 2021 album ‘Flying Dream Pt. 1’.

“That’s an album that was in the planning for many years,” he said. “Weirdly, the pandemic gave us the opportunity to do something that was easy and gentle. There was a conversation about when to release it – whether to wait until the bottleneck of music to be released.

“We felt that it was more important for our fans that it came out as close to the time that it was written in as possible.”

He continued: “At the end of the day, it’s a very gentle song about friendship, childhood, and romance. We’re all spending time with our kids, remembering our own childhoods, and it’s a very North West-centric record. Since its release, we’ve had all kinds of people telling us that it’s their favourite record. We don’t think we could have spent our time better.

“Now it’s really good to get back to playing the other side of what we do.”

Guy Garvey singing live onstage with Elbow in 2021
Guy Garvey performs live with Elbow, 2021. CREDIT: Getty

Asked about what their next album might sound like, Garvey replied: “Who can say? I would imagine that this period of celebration is going to go on for a while. The shows that we’ve got booked, coming up in the next few months, are going to go off – if last September’s shows are anything to go by. It’s still the first time we’ve been playing material from [2019’s] ‘Giants Of All Sizes’, which is a big, angry record.

“The shows in September had loads of energy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was taken onto the next record.”

The frontman also said that the landmark of the next record being their 10th was playing on their minds, as well as most of the band reaching 50.

“With the fact that it’s Number 10, who knows? There’s some kind of marker in our heads that it’s the 10th album,” he admitted. “Also, most of us turned 50 that year. ”

“The most hilarious thing to happen when we got together in Brighton, where we recorded ‘Flying Dream Pt 1’ in the Theatre Royal, was that we hadn’t seen each other in months, we all gave each other a hug, we went to look at our notes and everybody pulled out bi-focals! We all went bi-focal the same year!

“I can’t believe we’re still allowed to do it, and I can’t believe we’re still allowed to do it in each other’s company.”

Credit: press

Among their upcoming shows is an appearance at Glastonbury 2022. Asked about where they’d be playing at the Worthy Farm festival, Garvey revealed that it would be on the main stage on the Sunday ahead of Kendrick Lamar headlining. Quizzed on who else he’d be looking forward to seeing, he replied: “Everybody else! I’ve been to so many gigs already. After this I’m going to see the Oh Sees, followed by Alt-J at Brixton.”

As well as shows and new material, he said the band might also be considering celebrating the anniversaries of earlier records after marking 20 years of their debut album ‘Asleep In The Back‘ last year.

“The lovely thing now is that every now and then, someone syncs one of our old songs to a movie and it gets some new interest,” Garvey said. “The benefits of streaming means that all of your music is available all the time, then it leads people to the albums. There are all kinds of reasons to pick up on stuff.”

He added: “We might at some point in the future play whole albums on tour, randomise it even. I really love the All Tomorrow’s Parties set-up. When I curated Meltdown Festival a few years ago, that was so much fun. I think if all of Elbow were asked to curate a festival then it would be quite out there. Let us do it, it would be a good one!”

Elbow have a summer of tour dates kicking off in June and running through the summer. Visit here for tickets and more information.

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