Q+A: Glass Owls

Glass Owls

Glass Owls recently revealed that a new album, Out From The Darkness, has been recorded and is being prepped for release this June. So far the singles ‘She Transcends’ and ‘Tired Of The Internet’, both taken from the album, have been released, as well as a music video starring Wayne Anderson for the latter.

I spoke to Tom and Anthony from the band about some of that. You can read all about it below.

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So tell me about Wayne Anderson.

T: Wayne’s a nice guy. He is really into his collections of records. We actually got to know him pretty well.

There’s very little about him anywhere. Everyone seems to know of him, but nothing about him.

A: There are a few profiles of him on the internet that are all fake. He doesn’t have a computer, he doesn’t want a computer. When we took the song to him, he said “this is nice, this is how I feel”.

Is that what the song’s about?

T: Not really. It’s basically a comment on the crassness and availability of porn.

A: I told Camilla from The Audience the other day what the song was about, and she was surprised. Our manager was a bit worried about people reading into it, but most people don’t. Yeah there’s the layer that says everyone uses the internet too much, that everyone should go outside more and stop trawling for ass on Facebook. Really though, it’s a step by step account of someone having to find their dose of porn for the night.

T: That one line “she’ll be fine” is about when you get to that point where you’ve had enough searching and just settle on whatever half decent looking video you’ve found.

What happens then?

T: The climax of the song.

How’d the actual video process go? Whose idea was it to get Wayne?

A: It was kind of a weird coincidence. We were just getting drunk with our flatmate and he said ‘listen guys, you needa get this Elvis impersonator who hangs out in Newmarket and your music video will just be him singing the song’. But he didn’t have the name of the guy. We took that idea to Eddie Fifield, who directed the video, and he suggests we get Wayne Anderson. Of course, having seen the documentary I’m like ‘fuck yeah’. So I tell my flatmate and it turns out Wayne was the guy he was talking about anyway.

T: Originally the video idea was for the song ‘Best Of Us’ but it worked out so much better with ‘Tired Of The Internet’ just because of Wayne’s attitude to everything.

A: We went to his house and took him the lyrics. He had his own ideas for how the lyrics should go but of course we’d already recorded it. When it came time to record the video he just sang his own lines anyway.

When are you planning to release the full album?

A: June 6th. After we get back from England.

Tell me about recording it.

A: It took three months to get the recording band tight enough to record. We spent a year doing demos at Djeisan Suskov’s (producer) house, and they morphed so much in that time. Djeisan really took on a true producers role. He helped us arrange basically every song

It was really cool to actually record it in such a confined time too. Our previous experience recording was just in Dave Parker’s bedroom, multi-tracking everything most of the time which can get quite tiresome. This album is mostly a mix of live rhythm tracks and guitars. It was nice just to get in there and nail the takes.

Any stand out moments?

A: I remember on the last day, our engineer Alex just sat down at the piano and did this most amazing take for ‘God Device’. I was just sitting there balling my eyes out at how amazing it was. Not just the take, but it was a really beautiful moment. We hadn’t even thought of doing it. We’d gotten to know him over a few days, but we had no idea he could do that.

Does the album have a concept?

A: They’re a collection of songs written between us over two or three years, where we were kind of in a similar place mentally. I guess there’s the running theme of heartbreak, death and transgression. The wider idea is coming from a bad place to a good place. Death to life.

T: Take the song ‘God Device’, which is a break up song, but it’s about girls leaving you to become more devout Christians, which has actually happened four times. It’s fucking raw. They attribute the relationship not going well to God not wanting them to be with me.

Do you think they just used it as an out?

T: I think it’s used purely as an out. It’s got nothing to do with whether God thinks it should happen, it’s just if you’re compatible as two people. If it isn’t working that’s fine, but you shouldn’t use an excuse externally to get out of something. You can say it’s compromising my relationship with God and that’s fine, but to say God doesn’t want us to be together is another thing entirely.

A: There’s some pretty dark shit in the album. You know when you get to the point where you invest yourself so heavily in someone else, you just assume it’s never gonna end. It’s a really bad place to be because when it does end you’re kind of left wondering what to do.

Is the album title Out From The Darkness reflective of that? Transitioning?

A: Yeah I suppose. It’s a hard thing to do. Purely down to your own virtue you have to wrestle your brain into a new place. It’s a hard thing to do.

I was still living with my parents at the time, and I worried the fuck out of them. I was supposed to be moving out, but I was so obviously messed up by what had happened that they had to sit me down and ask me if I was doing the right thing. If it was safe for me to be on my own right now. That’s kind of why that moment recording ‘God Device’ hit me so bad. So much shit had gone wrong in the time coming up to recording the album, but then to be sitting in that room hearing it being played so beautifully… it was emotional.

Is that why it took you three years to get to the point of recording new material?

A: Yeah there were a lot of complications, especially to do with the band. Chris has been great, he’s been there with us since the beginning. We’ve been through quite a lot of drummers though. There’s this concept that you should be a tight unit and ideally you stick with those people for the duration, but it’s a difficult thing to do – priorities change.

T: Early on, a drummer would just get too smashed before shows. Another guy left to be a chiropractor.

A: After that we had Ivan (Sal Valentine) who was great but he was starting out doing his own thing with The Babyshakes so he couldn’t hang around for long. We were working on preparing our last drummer to record the album and we moved into a flat with him to try and get tight but things didn’t work out. Alex Freer (Artisan Guns, The Eversons, Clap Clap Riot) played drums on the record and we were really happy with the results.

T: Djeisan was the one that made us realise we don’t really need a ‘band’ to do the album. We could just get session musicians and have us as the core of it. Ideally we would like to have a set band again though.

A: Now things are actually really good though. All the toil and trials are done and everything’s fallen into place. We’ve got the video, the album and this opportunity with Great Escape, but we have to work on keeping it like that.

Watch the video for ‘Tired Of The Internet’.

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