Patchchord News correspondent, Ethan Tomlinson, recently interviewed Brighton-based grunge band, GLUM, about their recent spot on Tigercub’s hometown, headline show, and their upcoming EP release.
For those of us who don’t know much about you, when did you first decide to form a band, and why?
Simply put it’s why we’re called GLUM. Personally, it’s come from years of mental illness, hospitals, drug addiction, suicide support, topped off with the passing of my Dad. Living in so much chaos you start to see things from a very different perspective. If anything, it gives you the confidence to be who you are. Our culture seems to me going down the pan with no-one, especially in music, seeming to deal with it just by acknowledging and talking about it. As a generalisation, our generation especially seems to be increasingly valueless. It feels to me we’re all putting on happy faces and desperately chasing distraction, which is creating one of the most ugly states of the world since humans have been on the planet. On one hand we’re telling people to stop smoking… pursue ‘The Career’… put money in your pension plan… but if you feel anything like me you don’t see a future with the way we are currently living. You feel hopeless. I’m just trying my hardest not to give up. Hope to me comes from acknowledging it and doing something about it. That’s hope.
Currently we seem to be living in entertainment addiction, and that to me is really depressing. I find the band hopeful in its depression. I guess it’s like admitting you have an addiction, it’s the first step to getting better. Do you like GLUM? Haha. I don’t think people can really argue with it anymore. I think culture’s values are suffering post religion. I don’t think there needs to be a ‘point to everything’ to have a point; I think we should be more concerned about our personal integrity. That seems to be lost in the hopelessness and I see a lot of people hurting themselves while they are concerned purely about daily happiness. Careerism is depressing. Individualism is rife. Fame is cheap. Entertainment is boring. Pleasure is over rated. This amount of words is probably too much for people’s attention spans. I’m tired of it all.
You recently played the biggest show in your time as a band, how did it feel to open for a such a unique band in Tigercub?
They’re my favourite band right now. I’m not a big fan of most newer artists and music to me is getting very stale. Tigercub have given me some hope in modern music, not only that but that they are creating such a buzz. That’s really cool. I want to tell everyone about them. That’s what music used to do to me as a kid. That’s fucking cool. When you hear a song, and want to share it with your mates, not because you’ve been asked to, or in industry terms, where it’s going to get you, that means something.
To be on the bill with them for what’s your first ‘proper’ gig. That’s really cool. But yea, I mean the most people I’ve played to before that was at my Dad’s funeral. With all that meaning, maybe quite a lot of personal pressure. To then be pushed up to main support. I couldn’t say to the others no! Fuck me… Am I ready for this? No worries, we’re headlining Green Door Store next month. I’m just trying my hardest not to give up.
What did you think about our live review?
Pretty spot on to be honest. The line-up was something special. As said, Tigercub are a beast of a band and they are finally getting the recognition they deserve, although personally I think they deserve even more. They’re the best band in Brighton if not the UK right now. Seeing them only reaffirms that. To support them, like said before, well that’s a little nerve racking. Calva Louise stepping in last minute were immense and then to follow Sick Joy who are a band I’m already very excited about and already perform with such confidence, well, I’m just glad we all survived. To then be made main support, with Our Girl pulling out, on basically the first day you’ve ever played in front of anyone let alone a sold out show in place you use to go see the ‘big’ bands, well it’s something else on the emotional rollercoaster.
It’s strange for me, I grew up in a bedroom on my own in the middle of nowhere in isolation and just have to get these songs out of me, then suddenly you’re playing in front of a sold out show of people because a great band like what you’re about and your songs. There was a great comedian Mitch Hedberg who had this brilliant joke about being a comedian compared to a cook; comparing being a comedian to then having to be an actor; to a cook to then having to be a farmer. That’s somehow where I’ve ended up in the music world. Writing songs and playing them live are two completely different ball games to me. One releases this darkness from me, the other one creates more of it. But… That’s what makes us so different I think, I think it’s going to a be a case of audience’s getting to know us rather than us getting to know an audience.
Bertie and Josh are not only the two best musicians I know they are two of my best mates and are raring to take to the stage and deliver our songs, yet they’re also the most supportive friends I could hope to have on stage with me, pushing us forward, pushing me to be out there. We’re not a well-polished machine, we’re a punk band and we’re on edge, like the songs, and the performances match the chaos of that emotional state; it’s un-rehearsable. Music is stoic to me really, not needing fun to still be important. This is just real, raw energy, there’s no show to be had with us, it goes the way you feel, and with me that could be anything. Seeing us live you are joining us on the edge, it could go anywhere. I think that’s who our fans are. That’s kind of exciting I think. The songs deserve to be there and we’re just their servants. Our audience are in it with us, they are our support and hopefully our songs become theirs.
You have your second EP, ‘Compassion Fatigue’, coming out very shortly, who would you say are your biggest influences on the style of music you’re producing?
Well growing up I had two favourite artists… Nirvana, which will be no surprise to anyone and… Robbie Williams. I’m not gonna justify that, I’ll just emphasise that ‘Life Thru a Lens’ is a great album. I didn’t grow up in a ‘scene’ and I’ve never fitted in anywhere. Sound wise, Nirvana is to me what a guitar should sound like. But really the songs are what it’s about to me and the best songs come from your emotions. So, for me the biggest influences, what I see, everything. I haven’t sat down to try and be like anyone else, I just have to get these feelings out, and music has always done that for me. No modern songs seem to do that for me. It’s counselling, my way of being able to talk. I think too many people focus on the style and sound now, doesn’t that mean the songs have become meaningless? Music is becoming an advertisement for something else; a brand, a tv advert, a joke, van’s fucking shoes. Music is the product in my ears. It’s about time someone made it that again.
Following on from that, what can we expect in terms of evolution in your sound on the new record?
Better played, better recorded… better. That’s the plan from everyday onwards as well. The songs to me are always as important as each other, there’s no filler and it’s just about getting each one to the best it can be. As we get better, they sound better. I think we’re almost there on this EP. We’re better than we were on the first one… I’ve been playing the guitar for longer than 4 months now, and I’ve got two very talented musicians in Josh and Bertie fighting with me. I am always striving for the perfectly produced song… There’s a mistake in my favourite song by Pixies, ‘Where Is My Mind’, I won’t tell you where… I’m probably not the best person to ask as I hear everything. You can decide for yourself on February 9th.
You’ve already started this year on a massive high, at Concorde 2, how far do you see GLUM going this year?
At this rate and my lack of self-preservation we’d like to use this interview to announce we are willing to headline Glastonbury this year. I heard Jack White has just announced some shows as well… maybe we’ll be main support.
In all seriousness though, we’re headlining Green Door Store on the Thursday 22nd February with three bands who could all be headliners themselves, they’re bands we’re fans of; Projector, Ragweed and Five Kites. We’d happily support any of them; check them out. That and our next self-release and then recording our debut album, well my mind hasn’t got time to think what’s next. I just really appreciate all the support we’re getting. I’m just trying my hardest to carry on.