Thursday, March 20th Atlanta became Moblanta when The Glitch Mob took over The Tabernacle. Before their headlining set I got a chance to talk with Ed (edIT), Josh (Ooah), and Justin (Boreta) aka The Glitch Mob backstage in a very down to earth and involved interview where the guys shared their thoughts on the making of their new album Love Death Immortality, connecting with their crowd, the evolution of EDM, and more.
WRR: At what point did you guys decide that the album that is Love Death Immortality would be such an epic record compared to Drink The Sea which was more introspective?
Ed: In the early talks we had before we even started writing any of the music, just when we were winding down the last tour cycle, we began thinking about what we wanted to say this time around. A lot of those ideas began to develop then with this next record really wanting to go big, have the mood and vibe be very large and grandiose, and speak to many people. We wanted to have the story that is told be very epic, very huge, something that we felt that a lot of people could relate to. Many people have felt the same emotions and feelings that are on this record that we have felt as well.
WRR: So you guys lived in the desert for a month in order to get your minds right to work on Love Death Immortality? I’ve been to Joshua Tree. It’s really a whole different world. Tell us about that experience.
Justin: Joshua Tree was a really cool place to go visit. We have all been hiking there, we have an affinity for the desert. For us moving out there was a way to reboot our creative palate, and figure out what we wanted to say to the world. In a way Drink the Sea was more literally about the desert, and this one even though we went out there doesn’t really feel like it’s about the desert as much as we just used it as a creative palate cleanser. When we were out there we disconnected from every day life in Los Angeles for the most part. There was only this little Wi-Fi connection so we weren’t tweeting and using the internet all day. We were just focusing on the music. It was a way for us to come back together after a couple years of touring and really just reboot our whole thing. That was when the concept for the new record was born even though we didn’t actually finish it out there, it was were the seed was planted.
WRR: What were the pros and cons of releasing Love Death Immortality on your own label?
Josh: It’s mostly all pros.
Ed: Not really many cons.
Josh: There are no cons unless you see a major label as what’s going to make you more famous or bigger or rich, but we don’t really see it like that. Doing our own label we have 100% creative control, and it forces us all to work really hard. We can all focus a lot more on the artistic side of things and fully do what we want to do. It also teaches us to work really well together because we are the bosses of ourselves. We all have to okay everything with each other – writing music, where we decide to put our music, a license for something, or anything. It’s just us three and our team of people who help make decisions and make our dreams come possible.
Ed: There really are no cons.
Josh: No cons. I mean yeah it’s a lot of work, but that’s not a con. It’s a lot harder, and you may not get the instant shine that a major label like an Ultra could just be like oh here’s this guy and BOOM blast it out to their 100 million followers and everybody knows about it. It’s slower, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
Ed: And we may not be as well-funded as a major label, but at the end of the day that’s what a major label is – a gigantic bank. It’s a bank you have to pay back at the end of the day though. The beauty of being our own label was that we may not be as well-funded, but you have to use your brain to get creative on how to be able to share the music with the world and figure out how to get it in front of people. Its cool when it pays off, and we didn’t have a major label bank account but we were still able to pull it off. So that feels good.
WRR: It sounds a lot more rewarding. So what would your dream collaboration be?
Ed: I think it’s probably different for each person.
Justin: We have a couple go tos. I would say right now it would be really fun to make a Drake record like produce all the beats. We just listen to him so much on tour that the beats and production are soaked into my brain. I was actually talking to Josh the other day and said it’d be fun if we just got into the studio and make some hip hop beats because that’s kind of where we come from in a way. That’d be fun to do, but yeah Drake’s my favorite rapper at the moment.
Josh: It’s oddly a really hard question because right now I’m really big into Manchester Orchestra. I love those guys. I think they’re amazing, but collaborating with them really doesn’t make any sense. I don’t want to just pick some random person to collaborate with. so I don’t know… pass.
WRR: No worries. Something to think about in the future.
Ed: I always say Drake or Kanye. Drake for his emotion, and Kanye for the chances that he takes and his outrageousness.
WRR: This kind of touches a little bit on what you mentioned Josh, but what are you guys listening to right now?
Justin: We were listening to Collie Buddz yesterday before the show getting pumped up. We listen to a lot of like life affirming reggae. It’s just good vibes. [meanwhile Ed is cracking up] I think we loaded in to reggae today actually too. We also like weird techno too.
Josh: I think last night we spent like two hours playing different footwork tracks and weird east-European techno shit.
WRR: What artists have you found the most inspiration in over the years?
Justin: That’s a big question. There’s so many between us it’d be hard to pin down just one. Also because the way we work is such a nebulas thing. We mix so much stuff together, and we all three come from very different backgrounds. I will say the core of where we all first started was drum and bass. We all used to like hip hop and really electronic music, punk and rock just the fact that we liked all those types of music blended together into what we’re doing now. We could probably rattle off a really long list. We do have some playlists up on Spotify - so check it out.
ED: Drake… started from the bottom now we’re here… [everyone laughs]. Drake is the answer to everything.
WRR: He really is. Do you find that you have to tailor your sets depending on where geographically you’re playing?
Josh: No, we don’t think about it like that at all.
Justin: When we used to deejay we would but now anymore.
Josh: Yeah, it’s been a long time. We approach it like this is the music we make. We don’t play anyone else’s music.
Ed: This is the experience we are presenting.
WRR: How do you connect with the crowd during your set?
Justin: We talk to them and really feed energy to the crowd. We all have microphones up there, and we’ve always been really vocal. it’s a very interactive set. All of our performance surfaces are tilted towards the crowd so they can see what we’re doing, and we have the big drums that look like Taiko drums.
Ed: We’re really big with being very literal with what we’re doing because we understand that oftentimes watching “live electronic music” can be very confusing - like what the hell is going on up there?
Josh: We’re also big into teaching people who it’s okay to dance. You don’t have to be holding a phone or staring. We get lost in the music, we’re dancing, we’re having a good time, and we’re not up there just to have people watch us. We’re there to create an experience so that other people can dance. Come out, dance, get lost in the music. If you never even looked at us and just closed your eyes the whole time that’s fine too. We really just want people to get lost in the music. We try to provide a place for people to do that. It’s not like hey look at us the whole time! Even though we’re putting on this crazy show with tons of lights and all this stuff and we’re performing, it’s really all about getting people to move.
Justin: It’s the collective experience we’re all having together. We are dancing with you. We are just facilitators of whatever experience people may be having in the crowd. It’s not really about us, it’s a whole thing that’s happening together.
WRR: What are your thoughts about the evolution of EDM and what effect has it had on The Glitch Mob?
Ed: The thing about it is we consider ourselves OGs. We’ve been around before there was even the term “EDM” so to speak, but I think in general it’s a great thing. It’s a great that people call it “EDM” and there’s this understand that oh that’s what it is. Back in the day to us it was just raves. Nowadays I don’t think people even really understand what that term even is. Most people look at is as I’m going to a festival. We’re it’s come now and the mileage it has gained has led to much better produced, much safer, better music experience in general to be had than what “raving” was back in the day. Overall that’s a definite plus.
Josh: We come from a period when “raving” was considered really bad. If you went to raves a) you were probably doing drugs or b) you were some fuck up kid who snuck out. That’s were we came from. To go from that to 80,000 people at a festival where they’re playing “rave” music the entire time, that alone is a full 180 from where it used to be. People are lot more aware now which is cool because it was kind of sketchy back then.
ED: There’s better infrastructure for dealing with maybe when things go sideways, how to attack the situation. There’s a lot more awareness to be responsible while you’re out at a festival. Back in the day there was none of that. It was the wild west. In regards to the speed at which music comes out and genres/trends rise and fall that’s something that is purely inevitable. As The Glitch Mob one of the great things is we’ve never really concerned ourselves with that. We’ve always been the outsiders or oddballs so to speak of “EDM” so I think one of the great things is since we don’t really exist in any genre or scene or what have you we don’t need to operate by any of those rules. There’s not really any expiration date to our music. We have the beauty of just being able to exist on our own planet and do our own thing. Obviously the downside of that is you don’t get the sense of “community” that you would get if you were in the trap scene or the dubstep scene or electro scene etc. The tradeoff is that Glitch Mob just exists as Glitch Mob very much in the same way that Pretty Lights just exists as Pretty Lights. He doesn’t really belong to any one scene. He doesn’t really get to be the champion of any one scene, but as a result he just does him. You know what I mean?
Josh: I think a lot of fans of EDM say you got into electronic music through dubstep you go to a dubstep show and hear trap music - you like trap music - then you go to another show and you hear big room house you’re like oh I like that too. I think a lot of people who are interested in electronic music tend to like a lot of different kinds.
Ed: Much more open-minded.
Josh: A lot more multi-genre.
ED: Back in the day it wasn’t like that. If you’re a drum basshead you’re only listening to drum bass. If you like trance, you don’t like drum bass.
Josh: You only went to the drum bass room, and you didn’t think about going in the main room where they were playing trance
ED: It was very, very segregated. You wouldn’t associate yourself with those kinds of people or anything like that. You’d never be caught dead in the main room. It’s a very different ball game.
WRR: I love your positive views on this subject.
ED: It’s all about spreading the positive vibes.
Justin: We always find the silver lining.
Ed: That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. We are blessed with the fact that we have this amazing opportunity. We have arguably the best in the whole world and there’s nothing to be bitter or negative about. We’re just stoked to be able to do what we do, put a smile on people’s faces, and hopefully inspire them in a positive way.
WRR: What’s the most memorable set you’ve ever played?
ED: The thing is they’re all memorable in their own little way. Even some of the worst shows we’ve ever played all have their special place in the saga of Glitch Mob.
Justin: One of the most memorable ones was the Grog Shop which led to the current stage set up. Previously we each had these pods, then one night playing the Grog Shop in Cleveland, Ohio…
Josh: It’s an all punk rock club…
Justin: Our team had to take off a ton of stuff and shove us all on one of these pods. At the time we were like - oh fuck, we don’t have all our stuff.
Ed: It cut our production in half.
Justin: All the sudden we were right next to each other, and we were like this is the shit! It was a very transformative moment that actually led to what we have now. And it was a fantastic show. Our sound system sucked, but it didn’t really matter because the vibe and our feeling being onstage playing was so raw.
Ed: It was totally slam packed. It was nuts, but each show has it’s charm. When you sell out a massive room obviously it feels great, but sometimes the smallest rooms can rock the hardest.
WRR: Do you enjoy playing festivals or club dates more?
Josh: They’re both great, but they’re both just different.
Ed: Very different animals. Festivals are great obviously because you play to these massive crowds probably bigger than you could ever play in any arena. Headlining shows are really special though too because it’s your own thing. At the end of the night we love to jump down and hangout with the fans, and that’s something you can’t really do at a festival.
WRR: What’s the craziest interaction you’ve had with a fan at a show?
Justin: One time we were playing in Toronto at The Mod Club, and a guy got up on stage - was like “Wooo!”- slipped and fell and cracked his head open on Josh’s drum stand. There was blood everywhere. We get really concerned too. We’re like rave dads. We hate to see our fans get hurt, so in that way we’re not super punk rock. There aren’t a lot of crowd surfing moments. That was probably the worst injury that’s ever occurred.
WRR: What shows are you most looking forward to playing?
ED: I would say tonight is one of the big ones, at The Tabernacle. This one means a lot because one of the very early “Glitch Mob” performances was here opening up for Sound Tribe. It means a lot to be able to come back and play as headliners. It’s a high honor and an amazing venue.
I caught back up with The Glitch Mob after their set to take the most epic selfies of my life #TheGlitchMobSelfie #YearOfTheSelfie.
Not to mention one of the arguably most talented female DJ’s in the world Ana Sia opened for The Mob. Oh yes we took an #AnaSiaSelfie too.