Do you want to be mesmerised by a world of foggy melancholy, lyrical sophistication and glorious pop hooks? Well, let me introduce you to London’s Glitches. The band bring what they call “Organic Imperial Grooves” to the table, it’s indie of the highest level, pristine clean lines of electronics coupled with simmering vocal intensity, sumptuous harmonies and infectious soaring dance rhythms. We catch this band at a pivotal moment in their career, itching to start work on their début album after they play Glastonbury for the first time, talk about the good things all coming at once for these guys.
I caught up with Robbie Parks (lead vocals, keys and sampler) to discuss the band’s ascension over the years from formation to where they are now, playing Glastonbury and what’s to come from their début record.
You’re playing Glastonbury this year, congratulations on that. How excited are you about that? Any bands that you are definitely going to check out?
Thank you. We’ve actually known for a while (since the end of 2013) so it has been somewhat difficult to keep that fact under wraps. We had been under strict orders to keep it quiet, so it’s all the more satisfying that we can actually tell our fans.
We are so excited about it. It’s the festival which we always really regarded as announcing your arrival in the UK music world. We feel like it’s a really good bellwether on all the hard work we’ve put in all these years. One of the great things about Glastonbury is that you will play loads of shows over the weekend. We’re going to be playing at least three shows, so it’ll be hard enough work.
There are so many acts to look forward to! M.I.A., Lykke Li, Dolly Parton, Warpaint just to name a few. Of course, there are always going to be those secret acts that we all rush to. I’m sure we’ll be there too.
I hear that you’re ready to start work on your début record. Do you have a mission statement in mind going in to working on the record? How much material have you got saved up ready for the album?
We’ve always been big on making the album more than just a set of songs. We admire albums which have been a product of a strict and narrow discipline. Albums should be varied of course, but they should also tell a coherent story, and be a real reflection of where the band is in a particular space and time. We’re strong on keeping it within a limit of where a listener will pay attention to the whole thing in one sitting (around the 45 minute mark), so we’re aiming to be really particular about that.
We have a good 35-40 song ideas going into this recording session. Straight after Glastonbury, we’re going to record in the middle of Wales to record the core of the album (with the orchestration coming later). It’s going to be a new experience for all of us, so it’ll be exciting and scary in equal measures.
It’s been quite a while since you released any new material. What have you been doing since the release of the RGB EP?
We’ve been working hard! We’ve been to SXSW 2014, building a loyal team and fanbase, but also mostly really hunkering down and writing some great songs. We realised at the end of last year that we had an opportunity of a lifetime in a chance to really make this band thing work. We had blindly gone into it at university without any idea of the gargantuan task that would await. We realised that with a bit more work, we could write a truly great début album. So, over the first half of this year, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.
There’s plenty of stuff coming for you in the rest of this year and for a long time to come.
When inspiration strikes are you one for opting for the pen and paper or do you reach for your phone?
I have several Moleskines full of the junk that my brain pours out. It’s a cataclysmic mix of soaring highs and crushing lows. It’s difficult reading back through it sometimes. Mostly I’m staggered that I experience that range and depth of emotion. Being overtaken by emotion is one of those funny things that you never realise you’re in until you’re out of it. Your brain literally changes chemically to make you feel like that, and you lose all sense of a reference point. I always try to capture that feeling when I write.
I use my phone a lot, too. I often find myself talking about my daily business in a densely-populated place when a melodic idea takes me. I sing into the phone to try to capture the idea. Most of the time it’s nothing. However, when it is something special, it’s the most satisfying feeling. It feels like creating something from nothing.
It seems that art and dance are very big influences to your band, is this true and do you see these elements making a larger impact on your band in the future?
It is certainly true. We do like to try to see our art in the context of other art forms. We like the term ‘ekphrasis’. It’s like riffing off other art forms to inform and relate to your own.
You’ll have to watch this space for developments. What I will say is that the future is definitely there, for both live and multimedia. We are really excited with how our expanded art sensibilities will filter into how our online stuff works. I want a stream-of-consciousness so people can really know what’s been going through me to get to where I am as a writer.
Do you have any plans for a national tour across the UK this year?
Yes but recording our album is definitely the focus for the summer. Once that’s done, we’ll be taking to a town near you.
You must have collected some great gig memories over the time you’ve been together, is there a particular moment that stands out in your mind as being memorable, a crazy moment perhaps that really surprised you?
The most ridiculous moment so far is probably playing Berghain in Berlin at the end of 2013. I think this will be self-explanatory to anyone who knows about it or has been. To anyone who hasn’t, it’s just the most ridiculous and decadent place where anything goes. It had always been up there to play since we’ve wanted to be in a band (along with Glastonbury).
Are there any tricks to replicating your sound live?
Be Unafraid. Sound good, whatever your limitations.
You hear all the time from blogs and music websites, who we tip for greatness in the coming year, so I wanted to turn the tables a little and ask you, who do you tip to be huge or at least break through into mainstream consciousness in 2014?
What’s the most enjoyable part of being in a band?
Realising we made the right decision to stick at it.
What’s the least enjoyable part of being in a band?
The constant uncertainty.
A special thanks to Glitches for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below: