Martyn Rudd of Screaming Tarts magazine has kindly published an interview with me discussing my research into Anthony Glass, and the music that has been created as a result.
In the first of our brand new “Ones to Watch” feature, we chat to former AKP frontman about his new band, GLASS.
So who are GLASS and what does each member do within the band?
GLASS are Alexander King – vocals and guitar, Andy Curry – vocals and synths, Jim Stafford – Bass and Dan Whiting – Drums.
Tell us a little about Anthony Philip Glass, your research into him and how said research inspired you to form the band…
I inherited the contents of a storage locker around the beginning of 2008 and the first thing I found was a chapter of a story about a young boy who builds this vast machine in his father’s library that can apparently transmit things through time, like a radio. As I dug around in the boxes of paperwork I discovered reams of press clippings, diary entries and official documentation that seem to suggest that the boy in the story was a real person, who grew up in London but who travelled around showing off this machine to interested parties. I was writing songs for what was to become my new band, and the name seemed to fit, and as I was writing it was as if the events of Anthony Glass’s life were somehow informing what I was doing. I was having ideas and I didn’t know where they were coming from.
GLASS are formed from the ashes of AKP. How does the music of GLASS differ from that of AKP?
It differs pretty much totally. With GLASS I wanted to go back to the bands that influenced me and made me who I am as a person, and I’m now of the age where I’m a lot more confident and experienced, and hopefully a good enough musician that I can do my influences justice, while still bringing a lot of new ideas to the table, express emotions and tell stories in a very honest way. So although I don’t play really fast guitar solos anymore, I feel I’m a much better guitar player than when I was in AKP. It’s more about the spaces between the notes now.
Who are your influences?
Mainly post-punk, deathrock, new-wave. Bands like Christian Death, Public Image Ltd, Pixies, The Auteurs, Gary Numan, Gang of Four, Swell Maps. But I also like weird stuff like Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Mindless Self Indulgence. I have pretty awful taste in music to be honest.
You recently released your debut album, “The Sound of Glass”. It would be great if you could go through the record track by track briefly explaining what each song is about…
To be honest, the songs are about atmospheres and creating emotions within the listener. I could tell you what each song means to me, but I couldn’t tell you it was the “correct” interpretation. I dream a lot of my songs. I’d be interested in hearing what your readers think the songs are about!
Which is your personal favourite and why?
I’m my own harshest critic so I usually only see the missed opportunities rather than the triumphs. But “This Odyssey” is a sturdy pop song, and I think the end refrain of “When the Rain Falls” is probably the best piece of music I’ve ever written.
What has the reaction to the album from fans and the music press being like so far?
Honestly, overwhelmingly positive! I don’t usually send my stuff off for review because I’m frankly terrified of being shot down, but this time we’ve really put the album into a lot of hands, and so far everyone has loved it. I think it resonates with different people for different reasons. Plus, it’s such a joint effort with all the guys in the band, that I feel protected. It’s easier when you’re in a gang, you don’t feel as threatened by mean journalists.
You’re based in York. What is the music scene there like at the moment?
It sounds a bit sniffy, but I’ve played in bands in the York area for about 18 years and I’ve never once felt part of a scene, maybe other bands have I don’t know. I can tell you there are some great bands coming out of York, a lot of very innovative young bands who are just going crazy and it’s fantastic. I think York has more good bands per capita than places like Leeds or Manchester that have that traditional hype machine built in.
You guys are really tight live. What can the people reading this yet to see you expect from one of your shows?
Well, when I look out from the stage, people look transfixed! I don’t know if that’s because they’re in the moment with us or if they’re just bemused by what they’re looking at, but it’s good to keep people’s attention! We play half an hour of continual music with no breaks – all the songs are joined together with these deafening ambient noise loops, so there’s no respite once you’re in our world. It’s an experience, it’s not like a gig in a traditional sense.
What are you future plans?
We’re really enjoying getting to know everyone on the dark/alternative scene and we’re meeting some fantastic people – DJs, magazine editors, promoters, other bands. Our aim is to really become a fixture on the alternative circuit, play bigger gigs, and hopefully get some festival slots sorted out. Then of course, we have to work on the next album, and I’ve still got a storage unit full of old documents to sort through…