- Posted on Mar 14th 2011 9:52PM by Spinner
True Panther Sounds
How did you arrive with the name Glasser?
Glasser was the name of a character in one of my dreams. A peripheral character. I just liked the name and, it turns out, it's a very common Jewish last name... I don't really remember what the real dream was. There was nothing that actually happened with this person; he was just around, and that was his name, and I woke up with it in my head.
When listening to 'Ring,' your voice stands out obviously. Talk about developing your voice over the years.
There wasn't so much the discovery of the sound -- I think I tried really hard to figure out how to sound like other people for a long time. For instance, Joni Mitchell, who's a really big hero of mine: I wanted to try to write music like hers, and sing like her, for a really long time. I never really succeeded in doing either of those things, but then I was just in the mood to be writing music still. Then I realized, it wasn't about her -- it was more about my own form of expression and figuring out what I can do. Since she did something that was so uniquely hers, I could do something that was uniquely mine as well.
Do you play every instrument on 'Ring?'
I don't, actually. I sort of arranged each thing. Well that's not true; I worked with our producer as well. Most of the sounds you hear come from me -- a lot of the sounds, I made with my computer that were then recreated with real instruments, like drum beats and certain string parts and marimba parts, and those things were sort of redone.
So how do you go about constructing the songs that we hear on this album? Is it a lot of layering, or recording then going back and piecing it together?
Yea, Yes! It's all of those things. It's sort of something that seems to come over me. I have ideas that I follow and see if I can match what I'm hearing in my head as best as I can.
Do you start with rhythm and then put your voice in last, or does your voice sort of guide everything?
I've done both methods, I think they're both valid. Vocal melodies are obviously really important for me. I think that there's so much vocal layering on 'Ring,' because in some of the songs I couldn't figure out what the lead vocal melody would be, so I made like 15 and just kept them all. There are certain songs that are very driven by the beat -- for example, on the song 'Home,' I made such a confusing beat and I got thrown off and realized I was playing it differently in the second half of the song than I was in the first half of the song, and then it sort of dictated what the content would be and it all came together at once. I wrote it on an airplane.
Are there any other weird places that you've recorded parts on?
I think that the airplane is definitely the weirdest. All of the stuff I've written on airplanes has been the weirdest stuff I've done. But usually it's weird in a way that I'm happy with. One of the times, the airplane was so loud that I didn't actually hear what I was recording and ended up getting some really fun extra stuff.
To me there's sort of a tribal sound to 'Ring.' Can you talk about that?
I suppose you're talking about 'Apply,' which is the one people so often refer to as tribal. At the time, when I was making those sounds in my head with the drums, I did not think I'm gonna make something tribal. I thought, 'I'm gonna make the most guttural sounding thing I can.' I think the word tribal comes up so much because tribal music is known for being physical and guttural, and that's the thing I was going for. I was making such cerebral sounding music that I wanted to make something physical as well.
I read that there was a philosophical reason behind calling the album 'Ring.'
Well, when I started out making 'Ring,' I wanted to do something that wouldn't just be a collection of songs -- it would be a whole. They would all be parts to a whole. So I started out thinking there were so many loops on my album, what if I could just make the album a giant loop that would start over when it ended, and that was one factor in it. When I went on making it, in that fashion, each song sort of had a pair that it went with, I mean a partner that it went with. Thematic partners throughout the songs and all of the songs related to that form of instability in one way or another, except for one that was all about the only thing in my life that I feel is stable, which is my best friend whom I love -- or my love for my best friend; that's the thing that's stable. So I sort of framed that stability, that core of stability, in these rings of instability symmetrically. So the first song relates thematically to the last song, and the second song relates to the second to last song, and so forth... until you get to the middle crown jewel.
Catch Glasser's SXSW Sets on Thursday, March 17 at Central Presbyterian Church (200 E 8th St.) 10PM, and Friday, March 18 at Club de Ville (900 Red River) 12PM.
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