Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with The Glitch Mob

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with The Glitch MobNow that Electric Zoo is over, it’s time to sit back and reflect on all the hard work that has gone into such a great event. This event brought thousands of people from all over the world to see some seventy artists perform over two days in New York City at Randall’s Island Park. The festival featured some of the biggest names in electronic dance music playing host to guys like Pretty Lights, Kaskade, The Chemical Brothers, Moby, and more. Even the world’s number one DJ showed up on Sunday night for a set. Armin van Buuren played some old tracks as well as some new hits from his latest full-length disc titled Mirage. There were multiple stages setup and DJs playing non-stop for twelve hours a day two days in a row. One of the acts that I was excited to see perform is sitting with he here today. When you think about a DJ being on stage performing you don’t imagine there being more than one man (or woman) up there spinning. But this group, similar to Above & Beyond, brings three guys to the stage. Their sounds are unforgettable, often times seemingly epic, and they have come together as friends first to produce some top notch beats. I had the chance to see them perform at Electric Zoo and will be seeing them here in Indianapolis as well. Sit back and get to know the guys in The Glitch Mob.

Where did the name The Glitch Mob come from?

That’s a funny story. What happened was in the early days we were all individual DJs. We were playing our own music. Then one day we were all playing shows back to back. We were all friends, so we decided to do it all at the same time. We all hooked up our laptops and it worked. It was an experiment.

We played a couple of shows like that and we were thinking of all these names we could call ourselves. Our promoter told us that we had to pick a name. Then one night we were all hanging out at a friend’s house and just brainstorming and goofing off. We eventually came up with the name The Glitch Mob. We thought it was cool. We ran with it. There was not much more thought into it than that. It was tongue-in-cheek and nothing short of funny! We didn’t expect anything to happen after that.

You guys have a very unique sound. How do you coin a sound like that? What genres do you guys fit in?

It was really just a progression from everything we had been listening to and producing and consuming. It wasn’t very calculated, it was merely that we wanted to hear a certain type of music and we wanted to make it. We came from punk and all types of electronic. We are big fans of guys like Aphex Twins and even Warped Records music. That angle mixed, we all used to be in drum and bass, and as the tools progressed it’s really what came out. There wasn’t a whole lot of thought put into it. It was symptomatic of what was going on in San Francisco and in LA in all the underground parties on the west coast. It was a mixture of hip-hop and electronic music. There was a lot of house and break beats, really crazy sound design to it with our sensibility with underground hip-hop.

You guys are performed on this year’s Electric Zoo lineup. How excited were you about that?

Oh yeah, we were really excited for that. New York is one of our favorite places to play and some of our favorite artists are playing there. It’s a huge honor to play in New York and to share the stage with so many amazing acts.

What is the biggest crowd you have ever played for?

We played for about 10,000 people at Red Rocks in Red Rocks, Colorado. We also played at Coachella, which was close to that. I think it holds a little less than that though.

The smallest?

(Laughs) The smallest we have played for lately was in Romania, actually. We went to play a show over there on a European tour. We have toured Europe a couple times, and we have had a few huge shows there, and it’s a really fun place to play. But this was a last minute show and it was an unannounced show, did it on a whim. We went and played and there were about twenty people there.

You are also coming through my hometown in a couple of weeks. You are playing a show at The Vogue. You guys ever played Indianapolis before?

No, we have not. We have not played anywhere in Indiana. We have played a lot of new cities. We played mostly towns we have not been to before. Just cool little towns. We have had a bunch of people emailing us and saying they are going to come. We will see how the Indianapolis show turns out.

I really dig your logo. Who designed that?

We had Sunny K do that. He has designed all the album artwork for The Mars Volta. He has worked with some other awesome artists. We got a chance to work with him and jumped on it.

You guys are all over the social sites. Do you prefer one network to another?

Not really. We just like to find new ways to communicate and get in touch with fans. Whatever the next thing that pops up is, we will be on it. We try to spend our time equally on the social sites really.

Where did you guys all meet?

We were all friends first. It was through a music scene at first, but then just became about having similar interest in friends. I met Josh because his girlfriend was my ex-girlfriend’s friend. Stuff like that. We were all buddies before we started to playing music together.

You guys have a ton of releases. Where do you find the energy to continuously put out new stuff?

Lots and lots of hard work. Time management skills are really important. We work a lot. It’s an all day all and night thing. All day every day really.

What should someone expect seeing you perform live for the first time?

To have an immersive time. It’s a physical show. Aim to get lost and go somewhere else for that period of time. It’s really fun and interactive. Nothing short of dirty, grimy heavy music. With an emotional twist. (Laughs)

Why did you decide to put Drink the Sea on vinyl as well as on disc?

We are all vinyl collectors ourselves. Vinyl is not for everyone, but for people who are into it, there is nothing that can compare. Vinyl is still a reliable media. Every CD you buy, ten years from now you won’t have that CD. It will be scratched or you will lose the case. Especially thinking twenty, even thirty years for now. If you buy a record, it will play for a long time.  It is the most permanent and collectable way to collect music. We also aimed to make a record that was classic that you could still put on.

Tell me a little bit more about the production behind Drink the Sea.

It took a long time. It took nine months from the day we started until we got it back from mastering. It was crazy. We were touring in between and we tried to step outside our comfort zone and do something different. It was a long and involved process. We wanted something different from what we did in the past. It took a lot of research and development. We tried to use different technologies too. It took almost a year but turned out how we wanted it to.

Do you prefer performing overseas or here in the States?

We have not had a lot of bad experiences over there, but it was still an awesome show in Romania. They are totally different than shows here in the States. We just enjoy performing anywhere really. It’s totally different over there and the sounds that people like. It’s a huge honor to get to play our music and to travel while doing it.

Tell me a little bit more about your record label, Glass Air.

That came about because we took so long working on the record, we just wanted to get it out as fast as possible and have complete control over the way it came out. Shopping for record labels take a long time. It could have taken another year if we had not found a record label. It might not even be out now, and that’s crazy to think that. We wanted to get it out, have our say on how the art is going to be, and how the campaign would run, and not have to answer to anyone. Glass Air was just a name we chose and it was an off the cuff decision. We might develop to a full label, but we have our hands full right now.

Out of all the material you have produced, do you have one favorite track?

No, definitely not. (Laughs) We have been asked that before and no, our favorite tracks change throughout time. It’s hard to narrow down to one song.

I recently did an interview with Pretty Lights, and while his work is a lot different than yours, I still hear some similarities. I asked him about having his work in movies or on television shows and he said he was open to trying anything once. But your music fits this same mold. Has any of your work ever appeared on the big screen or on television?

We have had some stuff in TV and film here and there, but it’s not something we set out to do. Our stuff sounds cinematic because that’s the music we make. It comes out like that. We like to make stuff sound pretty epic. Something being cinematic is a good adjective. If someone wants to put it in a movie, that’s cool.

What was it like working with La Roux?

We didn’t work with her directly. The label gave her the song, so it’s legal remixes, but we didn’t get to work with her actually. We are big fans. It was an honor just to get to work with her voice. I have not even met her.

Do you guys have a favorite venue?

I would say Red Rocks right off the bat. As far as US venues go, that is one of the most amazing venues, besides the sheer size and the sound quality. It’s like being on Mars or something.

Do you prefer big crowds like what you will see at Electric Zoo or smaller crowds like you see in nightclubs?

There are pluses and minuses to both. I think we love playing big festival stages. We also really like the really small intimate venues a lot. I think we really perform best when we have an interaction with the crowd and have an intense performance and energy transfer with the crowd where they are going off us and we are going off them. Both of them can provide that in different ways.

Where do you guys see yourselves in five years?

Still on tour. (Laughs) It’s a great place to be.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

Just the music. When we wrote the album, the last one anyway, we tried to leave it as a classic to stand the test of time and to focus on the storytelling. When all is said and done, we are just trying to make good music. We are trying to make music that moves people.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

It’s funny because we get asked this question a lot. I don’t really have an exact answer. Just live. Live the creative adventure.