Name: Glitch Mob
Members: Josh "Ooah", Justin "Boreta", Ed "edIT"
Labels: Glass Air
Current Release: Piece of the Indestructible
Musical Recommendations: Boreta: Dawn of Midi - Dysnomia is my favorite album as of late. It’s phenomenal, unique, complex, beautiful. Also, Stephan Bodzin - Powers of Ten. His new album is so epic, I can’t get enough.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences?
Ooah: We all started writing / producing music years ago before we formed The Glitch Mob, we started writing TGM music in 2008 with a few remixes and later went on to writing our debut record, Drink The Sea in 2010. We all come from an eclectic background of music from early drum & bass to hip hop to hardcore punk and metal to experimental electronic music like IDM, etc.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you?
Ooah: We have never really tried to emulate other artists, we definitely pull inspiration for different styles of music that has influenced us over the years but really when we get to writing music we just tell our story. We don’t actually listen to music during the writing period, we try to keep our head clear of anything going on in music at the time, this helps us not get persuaded by what is currently out there. We attack music writing through storytelling and what will best achieve the translation of our message and emotions.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
Ooah: I don’t think we view them as challenges, but more as stylistic decisions that we wanted to explore to gain the most emotional experience. We have always experimented with sounds, structures and mixdowns over the years. In the beginning we would do a more aggressive approach to mixing and engineering, such as having very crispy and razorblade like synths with huge distorted drums, more of a “hip hop” style mix. Then getting into Drink The Sea, we tried a more drastic rolled-off analog and organic mix to help tell the story of that record. And currently we are using a bit more of a new well-polished approach to the mix as to have every song translate with precision on massive sound systems in different venues. None of these were challenging, more exploratory.
Tell us about your studio, please. What were criteria when setting it up and how does this environment influence the creative process?
Ooah: We all have very modest and simple home studios that all consist of Apple computers, UAD Apollo sound cards, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-Series keyboards and Genelec monitors, we rarely use outboard gear anymore. Environment is huge when it comes to creativity, we tend to keep everything simplified as far as the way the rooms are set up even down to the tool set of plugins as to keep us from diving too deep down the rabbit hole. When we have an idea, keeping everything available and ready to use will get us to the final result a bit easier so that we can capture the feeling and emotion that we come across in writing music.
What are currently some of the most important tools and instruments you're using?
Ooah: I named a few in the last question but as far as plugins go we use most of the iZotope stuff, Native Instruments, UAD, Omnisphere 2, DMG EQuilibrium, ReFX Nexus & Vangaurd, LFO Tool, Serum, Arturia, etc… the list keeps going (laughs).
Are there any promising solutions or set-ups capable of triggering new ideas inside of you as a composer?
Boreta: We have used almost every single DAW in existence, we have used outboard gear, synths, etc. Right now, we focus our efforts on Ableton Live. It has a slightly limited toolset
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
Boreta: Right now, our process starts with “sketches” that we all make individually. We create seeds of ideas, and then bring them all to the table, pick the best ones, and then shape them from there. In our collaborative process, it’s great to have a starting place, so that when we all sit down, there is already momentum in a certain direction.
With more and more musicians creating than ever and more and more of these creations being released, what does this mean for you as an artist in terms of originality? What are some of the areas where you currently see the greatest potential for originality and who are some of the artists and communities that you find inspiring in this regard?
Boreta: For us, we are not very connected with any “scene” necessarily. We are off in our own little world, telling our own story. We also don’t listen to a lot of other electronic music, so I don’t think it affects us very much. We are very supportive of our friends and fans, and in Los Angeles there is a very vibrant creative scene. It’s a great place to be, to see everyone creating cool stuff. However, when it’s time to write our own music, we tend to unplug from that as to not be influenced very much.
How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
Boreta: Our compositional process is not very improvisational in the performance sense. There’s a lot of messing around in the studio, playing with samples, new synths and plugins, new technological techniques. But we don’t really “improvise” in the sense that we play. Sometimes when we’re writing melodies, we will jam out for a while and choose the best parts to create lead lines.
How do you see the relationship between sound, space and composition and what are some of your strategies and approaches of working with them?
Boreta: Negative space is something we use a lot. We will move things around the slightest bit, sometimes you can not even hear it, but you can feel it. Space, whether temporal space like this, or physical acoustic space like a reverb, is used a lot to create a sense of dimension in our music. We want each song to transport you to a new world.
What's your perspective on the relationship between music and other forms of art – painting, video art and cinema, for example – and for you?
Boreta: For Glitch Mob, the visual side of of things is very important. It’s not necessary, but it adds a layer which helps complete the story. We write the music so that even if you are listening in the dark with headphones, it still tells the full story. The way we work with visual artists is to let them work with very few limitations - we supply mood boards, inspiration, palette, and direction. They are free to interpret the work in their own way, to have a pure reaction. It adds another layer for people to understand the music through, and almost always, we understand our music differently even when we see the album covers or video for ourselves.
What's your view on the role and function of music as well as the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today - and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
Boreta: The world is in such rapid change right now, I think it’s difficult to say if there is any task that artists ought to serve. I can only speak about our own mission, and that is to take care of our fans. To have a conversation, a true relationship with people through music. It’s a feedback loop of inspiration.
Listening is also an active, rather than just a passive process. How do you see the role of the listener in the musical communication process?
Boreta: We think of the listener as a passenger on a roller coaster, a subject in a film, or someone in a crowd of people reacting to the energy of the room. A lot of it comes down to the energy of the music - the complete picture, the flow. The subjective listening position is a very important piece for us. When we are working on music, we listen in many different environments to change subject position, and try to understand how it sounds in different environments. Sometimes it will be outside in nature, exercising, lying on the ground in the dark, etc.
Find out more about The Glitch Mob on their Facebook page or their personal website.