Olly Alexander of Years & Years brings the group to The City with the concept album “Palo Santo.” (Courtesy Ed Cooke)

Olly Alexander of Years & Years brings the group to The City with the concept album “Palo Santo.” (Courtesy Ed Cooke)

Years & Years’ Olly Alexander keeps focus on music

About a decade ago, British actor Olly Alexander launched quite a career, appearing in overseas films (“Enter the Void,” “God Help the Girl”), TV (“Skins”) and onstage, acting alongside his good friend Ben Whishaw in 2013. But he hasn’t accepted a new part in recent years because he has no spare time, thanks to fans’ overwhelming positive reaction to “Communion,” the 2015 techno-pop debut of his trio Years & Years. He’s still stunned by it. “It sometimes feels like a lottery ticket I’ve won, like, ‘Wow! How did this happen?’” says Alexander, 28. He put a lot of time and thought into the group’s recent sophomore effort, a concept album called “Palo Santo.” “So I haven’t done any acting, I mean nothing,” he says.

What amazing experiences have you had as you rocketed to stardom?

There were so many. 108 days ago I met Rihanna — that was a big one. And we had a sold out show at Wembley Arena — again, how the hell did that happen? And playing Glastonbury was just incredible. Ever since I was a little kid, Glastonbury has always been the biggest and the best festival, so that was definitely a lifetime moment. I feel like the world has expanded for me. Now I’ve been to all these countries and cities that I never would have seen otherwise.

Did you explore each town? Or just relax in the new hotel room?

Sometimes it’s nice to just stay in the hotel and do nothing. But on our last tour of the States, I would find different things to do in every city. In Cleveland, I went to the most popular cemetery. I mean, who knew? In Minneapolis, I went to a waterfall that was supposed to be very beautiful, and it was. In San Francisco, I went to the Castro, obviously (he’s been out since age 19), then went by Harvey Milk’s old office, then had some good Chinese food in the Mission, and went to Muir Woods, which was such a magical place, I felt like I was communing with the goddess of nature.

And “Palo Santo” is a futuristic concept album?

I just have a personal fascination with science fiction, and specifically AI, and the way it’s changing what it means to be a human being. So I depicted an android society that’s obsessed with human beings, because they’re modeled on us, but they lack the capacity to fall in love.

Maybe you could turn it into a screenplay for your return to acting?

I would love to. But it would cost a lot of money, and it would require a lot of time. But I am open to doing something like that.

IF YOU GO
Years & Years
Where: Warfield, 982 Market St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Oct 28
Tickets: $28 to $40
Contact: www.axs.com

CommunionOlly AlexanderPalo SantoPop MusicYears & Years

Just Posted

Danielle Baskin, right, and friends hung a Halloween store banner on the sign of a mostly empty tech campus on Monday as a prank. (Photo courtesy Vincent Woo)
‘BOOgle!’ Pranksers wrap Google’s SF office park in ‘Spirit Halloween’ signage

The goof says it all about The City’s empty tech campuses

Alison Collins, a member of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education, listens during a board meeting. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Alison Collins speaks: Embattled SF school board member confronts the recall effort

‘It’s important for folks to know what this recall is about. It’s bigger than any one of us.’

Passengers board a BART train at Powell Street station on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Powell Station death serves as a grim reminder. BART doors don’t stop for anyone

What you need to know about safety sensors on the trains

Is the Black Cat affair a distraction from the recovery of The City’s storied nightlife industry or does Mayor Breed’s behavior inadvertently highlight the predicament the industry’s been in since San Francisco reinstated indoor mask requirements on Aug. 20? (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner, 2021)
Mayor Breed mask controversy highlights nightlife businesses’ plight

‘It’s what all the venues and bars are living every single day’

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>

Most Read