My outdated, hardly reliable iPod was at 8% when the Apocalypse arrived. Vaguely futuristic crafts descended upon a typically traffic-y Los Angeles, its citizenry not even flinching at the airborne alien doom, too preoccupied with the more perilous task of getting home in rush hour without accident, injury, or-heaven forbid—a headache. Who could blame them, though? Isn't this what Hollywood was preparing us for all these years? The millions of dollars invested in educating the popcorn-eating public on how to appropriately react when Megatron and his sinister compatriots touch down, touting monologues they've waited light years to recite? Undoubtedly, in the face of a calamitous invasion, we've learned that it's best to just wait. It doesn't matter if you run around screaming and flailing, cower in the corner and cry, or stand open-eyed, mouth gaping, astounded by what's going on, so long as you hold on long enough for the Shia Lebeouf's, Will Smith's, and Tom Cruise's to sort out their messiah complex and save the day. So naturally, I waited, killing time by utilizing that last 8%, turning up the volume to ear-decimating decibel levels, and selecting a grinding, grimy, industrious, electro-inspired remix of Matty G’s “West Coast.” After all, Armageddon is best served with Electronic Dance Music.
Haters are always going to hate. Theres always going to be someone looking up at you saying, Hey Im better than you, why am I not where you are? If they havent figured it out by now, they probably never will.
The remixers of the aforementioned song are none other than The Glitch Mob, a Los Angeles-based three-piece supergroup, who famously combine elements of traditional band performance with modern laptop DJing in their spectacular live show. Currently, their lineup is comprised of Ed Ma (edIT), Justin Boreta (Boreta), and Josh Mayer (Ooah), though at one point Kraddy and Kitty-D were also part of the group. No matter the constituents, the Mob have consistently churned out complex, beat-driven tunes—which were initially embedded with techno-ic, highly edited and distorted sound bites which very well may have been sampled from over-caffeinated space droids from… the future. The “Glitch” in the band name. Since these efforts, they have unleashed a slew of remixes and a 2010 debut, Drink the Sea, to much acclaim, offering a glimpse of the “Mob” aspect of the group, the creative tour-de-force spawned when three equally talented DJs and producers channel their output, singularly. Yet another aspect of the “Mob” is a community-centric relationship established with their fan base, fostered through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, essentially summed up by the phrase displayed atop the latter page: “Spread love. That’s what a real mob do.” Naturally, when such a community is created, antagonists and criticizers emerge from the wire-works of the blogosphere to rain down unwarranted torrents of disapproval and scorn, invaders from a world foreign to that inhabited by The Glitch Mob which contrastingly champions “life, love, music, bicycles and people.” But this is something the mob has learned to endure. The fan community carries on without noticing the assailing extraterrestrial tyrants, patiently awaiting the next dose of sonic epic-ness, time halting momentarily until The Glitch Mob's robotic, vocoder voice reassuringly proclaims “We Can Make the World Stop,” as heard in the title track to their newly released EP of the same name. It would seem that to The Glitch Mob, haters are just another “glitch” in the system.
I had the chance to abduct edIT for a brief interview. Here's what he had to say about besting the Apocalypse.
How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
That reminds me of another interview I read from you guys, where you discussed your method of basing some of your tracks around a narrative, employing sounds and production effects to exhibit the general feelings encompassed within the imagined story. Basically illustrating “Adventure Time” through music. What is the most outlandish or obscure “story” you have tried to recreate sonically, and what song did it become?
The apocalyptic end of the world where the aliens attempt to obliterate mankind, but mankind prevails can be heard in the West Coast Rocks remix.
Is that somehow metaphoric for the backlash from critics and fans alike you guys have dealt with? What has been the most ridiculous critique you’ve heard regarding your live performances or music in general? Though subjective, has negative criticism affected the way you’ve experienced other artist’s music or even your own?
There have been some pretty cruel things said on the Internet that actually don't have anything to do with the music. They are personal attacks, and sometimes it really makes you wonder why these people are so angry. Honestly all the haterade has just made us grow thicker skin. It doesn't really affect us anymore. Haters are always going to hate. There's always going to be someone looking up at you saying, "Hey I'm better than you, why am I not where you are?” If they haven't figured it out by now, they probably never will. So at this point, we just have compassion for all the haters. We personally would never go onto an artist's Facebook page and tell them that they suck (even if we didn't like their music). We personally believe that nothing positive or constructive comes from those types comments and we would rather use our voice to inspire people instead of putting them down. However the Internet is an open forum and there are some freaks lurking out there.
Perhaps these attacks stem from jealousy? Or the assumption that artists/musicians are exalted to the level of superhuman deity, when in reality they are just as human as anyone else. As a human, what turns you on?
Life, love, music, bicycles and people.
What turns you off?
People acting out of line.
How do you spend a typical day?
Making or performing music.
Whom do you spend most of your time with?
My band mates and our road crew.
Do you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner?
No breakfast, but I have a super food shake in the morning. Lunch, sometimes. Dinner, all the time.
Do you cook?
Yes, mostly Asian food. But I have been known to make a mean chimichanga.
Do you have a favorite cocktail?
Does sparkling water count?
What kind of music do you listen to?
Currently: The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Warpaint and Phantogram
Is your house typically clean or dirty?
A little bit of both.
Do you have any pets?
A dog named Killer, and a cat named Homue.
How do you like to spend your free time days off?
Climbing hills on my bike.
What the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
Listen to music.
Music. Yes. Let's get back to the music. Which song has been the most difficult to “reverse-engineer” from the studio-produced version to what is performed live? Have there been any songs that were difficult to create and produce in the studio, but surprisingly easy to recreate in a live situation?
Our remix for Krazy Baldhead was a tough one to translate into a live track because it is so long. However I think we did a pretty good job. “We Can Make The World Stop” was quite a beast of a song to write however it didn't take that long to prepare it for the live set.
Your shows are obviously physically demanding. How many calories do you burn per performance? Have there been any injuries resulting from your performances?
Hah! No hard stats on that, but plenty of sweat drenched clothing garments. No injuries yet (knock on wood).
In other interviews, you have highlighted a pre-show ritual: saying a quick mantra, followed by 10 seconds of silence. Could you tell us what that mantra is?
We say, “Here’s to the now." It's just a general idea that we like to keep close to us. It just helps to remind us to live in the present.
Do you have any post-show rituals?
We love to come down from the stage and hang with fans. It's become part of the whole experience for us. Another ritual of mine is that I have to take a shower right after the show. That's mandatory.
Speaking of interacting with fans, what is the most colorful/memorable incident you have involving a fan or fan relations?
There's a fan of ours called Grant Korgan. This is an email he sent us:
Quick story: 9 months ago I broke my back and sustained a spinal cord injury in a snowmobile accident here in the mountains of California. During the long months in the hospital, many friends came, hung out, brought food, smiles, sat back and rocked some of my favorite glitchy beats with me. Knowing my connection to your music, the drive it creates in me, and my always-burning desire to dance at your shows, one friend named Jasmine Hasi went the extra mile. Unbeknownst to me, she sent you boys an email describing who I am, my love for your music and my current (and temporary) situation. Day after long day went by until the moment I was released to go home. When I rolled that shiny new wheelchair into my house for the first time, there on my floor was a FedEx package with the return address: "The Glitch Mob.”
The docs told me I had little chance to stand let alone walk. I never took no for an answer, always believed I would dance again, and everyday with "Crush Mode" in my ear-buds, I left nothing on the table, going all-out in therapy knowing I would rise... One month ago I beat the wheelchair, and last night for the first time since the accident, I stood top deck at the Knitting Factory here in Reno, held the rail, and in preparation for your January show, danced my fucking heart out to the hip-hop funk and soul samples that is “Pretty Lights”!!!
From shows you guys played in the Reno/Tahoe area to the Sea of Dreams last New Years, some of our (my amazing wife and I) favorite moments are dripping to the beat of our favorite digital drummers. You guys have inspired me in many ways to push, to move through any negativity, and to never loose the dream of dancing once again with the Glitch Mob...
I just want to say thank you for the gifts you mailed, thank you for doing what you do, and thank you for helping me reach my goal of 120% recovery!!! In huge Gratitude" -Grant
Not much can follow that. Well done.