It’s been four years since The Glitch Mob released their last album, Love Death Immortality. That’s a lifetime in the music industry, but for edIT, Ooah, and Boreta it’s just long enough to completely conceptualize an emotionally moving overarching creative work that speaks to the dance floor. In an industry that has become driven by the viral single, the Glitch Mob seem to defy conventional wisdom. With each cycle their fans wait on bated breath for the first sign of a crunchy bassline and chill-inducing synth to drop, signaling the inevitable new album and of course a chance to witness The Glitch Mob shredding The Blade.
Prior to today’s release of their new album, See Without Eyes, the trio teased us with glitchy little bits and pieces including “How Could This Be Wrong” a song that was nearly cut from the album but was injected with a haunting vocal from Swedish born Tula. And “I Could Be Anything” that sees The Mob pairing beautifully with Elohim who provides a silky sweet vocal and comes with a Coachella approved remix from the one and only Space Mom, Rezz. What these songs exemplify is The Glitch Mob’s innate ability to find the balance between music that is emotionally transcendent and poised to cause complete annihilation to a dance floor.
And with each (self) leak, the visual concept of the album has begun to emerge, a key component that has always played a critical role in the ethos of the group. This will provide the backdrop for the groups intensely anticipated stage show and the debut of The Blade 2.0, the custom-crafted instrument that the collective performs within. The newest iteration of The Blade is proof positive that The Glitch Mob will always stand at the intersection of music and technology. The handcrafted stage breaks the wall that traditionally stands between laptop DJs and the audience, allowing those on the dancefloor to see that they are really at the controls, like a robotic rock band, and definitely not updating their Twitter status. In partnership with Dell and Alienware, the guys have commissioned the man behind Daft Punk’s iconic pyramid, Martin Phillips to help bring their concept to fruition.
We sat down with Boretta of the Glitch Mob to get the lowdown on how they continue to stand at the crossroad of music and technology.
The Blade 2.0 is a massive upgrade from your last stage design. What inspired this switch up?
The Blade is a living, breathing organism and it evolves just like the music. After touring it for a few years in 2014 - 2015, we had a huge list of improvements we wanted to make. 2.0 is a culmination of everything we learned on the last tour, combined with a lot of custom new technology that wasn’t possible until now. It’s going to be a pretty crazy show.
Your stage designs have progressively done more to let the audience in on what you are actually doing to manipulate music and use technology to create sound. Why is it important to you that you let the audience in on what many live electronic acts keep hidden behind walls?
Before we decided to start performing live, we toured as laptop DJs. The laptop screen created a wall between us and the crowd, and we wanted to break that down as much as possible to connect with people. We also wanted to use touch screens to show people what it is we are doing, in the same way, you can see what a guitar player is playing. There’s no off-the-shelf way to do that with electronic music so we created our own instruments. It’s important to us to inject as much humanity as possible into the entire musical process.
What happened to Blade 1.0?
Some of it has been recycled into the new show. We’ve considered bringing it on tour and setting it up in the lobby of venues so people can slay their friends.
You guys are incorporating VR into your new concept. How do you see this starting to become a part of the music experience?
The VR experience we’re working on is going to be incredible. It will allow you to completely immerse yourself in the world of the music, in a way that isn’t possible in any other way. You’ll have to see it to really get it, but we’re very excited about this one. It’s a collaboration with our friend Strangeloop and TheWaveVR.
Can you talk a little bit about the idea of The Blade 2.0 being able to be controlled completely remotely, possibly across large distances?
We could theoretically control it remotely and play a show from anywhere. However, the goal is to bring us closer to the people in the crowd, not take us further away, but it is definitely funny to think about being able to play multiple shows at once from an evil genius mainframe control center. However, we keep it offline at venues for security reasons.
It seems that there’s always been an element of risk-taking involved with your work. How has that driven you to be more creative and inventive with your creative vision?
Our goal is to make timeless music that is an authentic expression from the heart. We love everything about the music creation process and connecting with our fans. It’s creatively refreshing and invigorating for us to push ourselves and try new things; to get out of our comfort zone. Also, building a technically complex custom live show is logistically risky as it can easily crash. Being creatively risky drives us.
How do you continue to push the limits of sound design with each and every album, yet still maintain that signature sound that your fans have grown to love?
We are constantly learning new techniques, refining and honing the craft. There’s always new stuff to learn, areas to improve. We are students, and the music is a record of our journey.
You are all products of the rave scene. How does it feel to see the thing that helped create The Glitch Mob finally take hold in a big way in The States?
We are grateful beyond to be part of the electronic music movement and to have contributed in some way. We truly believe in the power of music; it’s primal social cement, as Oliver Sacks said.
You used braille to hide a message when you first teased the lyrics for “How Could This Be Wrong” in a nod to the album title “See Without Eyes.” Where did the concept for the album arise from?
There’s a lot more to see with your eyes closed...
Your music has always been equally bangin’ and emotionally enthralling. How do incorporate those feelings into the live experience?
Thank you. We craft the music to work on the dance floor as well as being a rich listen. At the core of it, we want to get out of the way and let the music do the talking.