This month Glasvegas returned with their third studio album, Later…When The TV Turns To Static. Having already met with high acclaim for its mix of fuzzy night-time melancholy and classic Glasvegas sound, we meet to ask them how they made it.
Can you describe the new album? Are there any specific themes?
– This is the part where you start to talk about how kind and handsome you are, and how the album’s brilliant and unique and I think it should change the world, laughs singer James Allen. No, it’s hard to describe the record because it makes it sound like you were trying to mould a certain style all along, and while there’s always a certain amount of calculation that goes into anything artistic I think a lot of the energies and themes on this album are broken. Some of the sentiments, and even the sounds, are unsymmetrical, there’s something not quite right.
So how do you write songs like that?
– For a lot of the songs, even on the first album, it’s not like ‘okay I’m gonna write a song about a social worker and I think a lot of people are really gonna get it.’ You know what I mean? Because it’s quite peculiar little songs and there’s a part of it that’s just an instinctive thing. Themes aren’t really something I go for; if I had the choice I’d rather be in the Bee Gees, he laughs.
– But this is the hand we’ve drawn, says guitarist Rab with a smile.
Are you pleased with the record?
– Aye I’m happy, says James. People ask me if I’m pleased with it and I say yeah, and they say ‘is that it?’ and I say listen, if you knew how fucked up it’s been to get to a place where I’m happy….he laughs. I might seem quite nonchalant now, but you can’t rewind people through the events it’s taken to get you here. The last year might have been a nightmare, but you’ve got to love your own experience. It’s like looking at a picture of yourself when you’re a kid and you’ve got no teeth, you could have looked better if you’d had more awareness, but you’ve got to love it because it’s you and that’s amazing.
And did you produce it?
– I was supposed to be the producer, the band and myself know the way we sound. I don’t want to claim to be some producer that had some vision that took the band a certain way. I think we just tried to capture some of the sounds that came out of the amplifiers, real genius ideas like that, he laughs. There’s a raw nature that the songs demanded and our demos have always been close to how our records sound so I think that’s why we did it ourselves.
On the deluxe edition of Later… you have some sessions you recorded in Boden, Sweden
– Yeah. It’s where our drummer Jonna’s from. So James and Jonna recorded some of the songs on an organ in Jonna’s house around Christmas time, says Rab.
Does where you record change the sound?
– It always does, says James. I don’t know if I could say how California changed our sound, but I think there’s a change in the experience that’s definitely there. I think everybody’s lives are influenced by their surroundings, probably in ways that they don’t stop to think about. Even in Glasgow, the surroundings influence the way people look; everyone’s like that (scrunches up face) because the wind’s always in their face, he laughs.
Finally, as a Star Trek fan I’ve got to ask, why is William Shatner in your new video?
– We did an American TV show in 2009 and he was introducing us, says Rab. It was really weird; we didn’t know anything about it. So we asked if we could use the footage, and he liked us so he said yes.
– It was so bizarre, says James. That was the first time I’d been to Los Angeles and I went to do an interview, and when I got in the lift I thought ‘I recognise her’ and it was the girl from Wayne’s World, and I was like ‘Are you in Wayne’s World?’, he says laughing.
– We hadn’t really met a lot of people laughs Rab, there was no etiquette.
– There’s still none, James says with a smile.
Listen to Glasvegas’ Later…When The TV Turns To Static here, and watch the video for their song If, featuring William Shatner, above. On November 18 they’ll return to Sweden to perform at Berns in Stockholm.