INTERVIEW: The Glitch Mob

glitch mob

The Glitch Mob is not your typical electronic act. Seriously, go to one of their shows and you’ll see that there’s way more to their set up than the typical laptop and lights combo. This summer, they are touring with “The Blade”, a fully customized stage show that can be scaled to fit any venue. Last weekend, The Glitch Mob melted faces as part of Saturday’s Governors Ball lineup, introducing the audience to their newest release Love, Death Immortality. I had the chance to chat with edIT (Edward Ma), Boreta (Justin Boreta) and Ooah (Josh Mayer), the frontrunner’s of LA’s Beat Scene, about breakfast, tattoos and what makes them stand out in an era where laptop DJ’s are king. They also showed me where my voice memo utility is on my iPhone5 (damn you Apple, for changing the name and making me look silly in front of The Glitch Mob).

FW: Welcome back to New York! It’s been a while.

TGM (Ed): 2011, so three years.

FW: Have you guys done any New York stuff?

TGM (Josh): We had a bagel this morning, at Ess-A-Bagel in Midtown.

FW: Dude. No. Brooklyn Bagel!

TGM (Ed): Yeah, I know. It wasn’t Brooklyn Bagel. We were just talking about that actually. The one in Williamsburg . . . Didn’t it close?

FW: Okay guys, we don’t have to talk about bagels.

TGM (Josh): No, we can talk about bagels all day!

FW: Nah, I ACTUALLY want to talk to you guys. So you’re here for the Governor’s Ball Music Festival, so let’s talk festivals. You guys just did Coachella. How was that?

TGM (Ed): Amazing! We’ve been there a couple times before too.

FW: Awesome, and now you’re doing this, and you guys are bringing “The Blade”.

TGM (Josh): Yes, “The Blade” is here!

FW: So tell me about it. What’s everything that goes into “The Blade”? What makes the blade “THE BLADE”, and why is it called “The Blade”?

TGM (Ed): Well these two guys came up with the name “The Blade”.

TGM (Justin): Yeah, we wanted to name it we were thinking it’s similar to something like the Daft Punk pyramid, I mean it’s obviously not a pyramid, but we were looking at the shape, and we were thinking it kinda looked like a spaceship . . .

TGM (Ed): But it looks kinda like it has turbine razor blades on it, so it became “The Blade.”

TGM (Justin): It’s just called the blade because it looks REALLY BADASS. If it’s a spaceship, then it’s like the Evil Klingon spaceship, not the good guys.

TGM (Ed): The blade is basically just this fully customized stage instrument that we stand in and perform our music in at the same time.

TGM (Justin): And the visuals are all integrated into the whole thing too.

TGM (Ed): It’s not only our set piece but it’s also our instrument that we perform. It’s fully customized all the way from obviously the way that it looks, to the way that it’s shaped, to the way that our instruments sit inside the thing. It’s also all of the software that was needed to make it communicate properly with the audio world and visual world. It’s basically just The Glitch Mob’s customized stage show that they perform in.

FW: Awesome I’m really excited to see it.

TGM (Ed): Yeah, We are too.

FW: Do you find that festival audiences are more receptive to a stage show of that magnitude than maybe an ampitheatre or a different kind of venue?

TGM (Ed): No, I wouldn’t say more receptive.

Random Girl: Excuse me, do you know what the WIFI password is in here?

TGM (Ed): Nope, I’m sorry.

(laughing – See that was the part where some random chick came up in the middle of the interview and asked The Glitch Mob if they knew the Wifi password in the middle of the interview, and they were perfect gentleman. She had literally no idea that she was asking The Glitch Mob for a Wifi password.)

FW: I love it. And you guys took The Blade to Coachella?

TGM (Justin): That was the first time that we had taken it to a festival and the Sahara tent is massive, it holds like 30 or 40 thousand people in that thing, so we designed it to scale to that size. In some ways the blade feels too big in a really small venue so it felt at home there in a big festival.

TGM (Ed): Yeah it worked, so even though the physical pieces don’t get any smaller, the whole thing grows in shape depending on the space and where the lights go.

FW: So how are you feeling about playing in the daytime here?

TGM (Ed): This is our first day show. We prefer night because when it’s not dark it’s hard to get the full impact of the show but at the same time, we’ll see what happens! We don’t know.

FW: Maybe it will be like, well I know you guys are going to Bonnaroo next week, and there’s always this one afternoon show there where people completely lose their shit, so maybe this one will be like that.

TGM (Josh): I love daytime shows. I love going to festivals during the day. Even at Coachella I love the daytime shows so much because the night sometimes gets a little too crazy for me. I’d rather perform at night, but as a festival goer, I love the daytime vibes. Why not celebrate during the day? Why does everything have to be at night?

FW: I’m excited! I’m probably going to say that 50 more times.


FW: I feel like your albums are pretty different from what’s popular in EDM right now. How did you achieve making them play like fucking rock albums?

TGM (Ed): The funny thing is, we didn’t really set out to write this music with the intent to be EDM artists. I think it’s more that EDM promoters book us because we have a good show, we make electronic music and it works for their festivals. But we don’t necessarily think of ourselves as EDM artists making this for EDM fans. We just make music. At the core of it, all of our music stems from the emotions and the feel of it. We set out to tell a really epic story, and as a result it feels very rockin’.

TGM (Josh): (laughing – pats Ed on the back) Well said man, well said.

TGM (Ed): It’s different than traditional EDM in that regard, but to us, we don’t necessarily consider ourselves quote unquote “EDM” group, those are just the kind of shows that we tend to play. Very much in the same way that a band like Empire of the Sun [plays EDM festivals]. I think the dude who books Electric Daisy Carnival just loves those guys, but you don’t look at them and think “THAT’S AN EDM ACT!” It’s almost like the farthest thing from EDM, actually.

FW: Yeah, I noticed that Matt & Kim play a lot of the electronic lineups too.

TGM (Justin): We actually will end up playing a lot of stages with Matt & Kim.

TGM (Ed): And we don’t hate on EDM culture – we totally love it, and embrace it but of the same token, I think most people who are outside of the EDM culture would think – yeah, The Glitch Mob makes electronic music, but they’re not Martin Garrix or someone like that.

FW: How do you find that the audiences compare between a full blown EDM festival and a more eclectic lineup?

TGM (Ed): The great thing about the massive EDM festivals is the production value is always through the roof. That’s one thing that’s amazing is that these promoters set out to create this larger than life experience where it’s way more about the festival experience as a whole rather than who is on the lineup. Governors Ball has a really cool lineup, so maybe the people that would come to this are true music lovers. At EDM festivals they market it as though the headliner is YOU, [or rather] the festival goer themselves. It’s all about the experience and they never list the lineup by headliner. It’s always listed in alphabetical order, in order to level the playing field. It’s a way to say that the festival goer is the headliner. Who’s playing? Well, who really cares. It’s a different way of looking at it, whereas Governor’s Ball has a really cool lineup. It’s a different thing.

FW: Who is your typical audience? I keep hearing about “The Mob”. These guys are your babies?

TGM (Justin): The mob is an invite only “fan club”, and I don’t even know if fan club is the right word for it. But we have some very hardcore, die hard fans and we’ve also developed really close relationships with them throughout the years. I think because we interact personally, the people who like us REALLY like us. Some people will get tattoos, and there’s a whole art movement with people doing Glitch Mob inspired art. I think people like to particpate. The mob themselves is a group of people that we’ll meet up with at shows. We had this things where Ed was giving haircuts, and another time we all compared tattoos. We find ways to really interact on a personal level with our fans. We hop down. We really like breaking down the wall musically and also just getting rid of the levels of hierarchy and just hanging out with people, and we take all of that and we put it back into the music. Wait, what was the question again?

FW: I was just asking about who your typical fan might be.

TGM (Ed): Yeah, that’s the thing. There is not a typical audience member, in the way of like if you’re a punk band you have a bunch of punk rockers at your shows. With us, the audience is really diverse.

FW: Sweet. So let’s just talk about your tattoos. Tell me about your sleeve here.

TGM (Josh): Hmm. I’m not sure what there is to talk about. It took a long time to do, and it looks cool. This one is by this girl Rox who helped design all of the merchandise for Glitch Mob. She’s a good friend of ours.

TGM (Justin): We all have a Glitch Mob tattoo!

FW: Wow, that’s going to be really embarrassing when you guys, like, aren’t a thing anymore.

TGM (Ed): (laughing) Oh wow, THANKS!

FW: Kidding! Totally kidding!

TGM (Justin): This one’s also by the guy that did Josh’s tattoo. His name is Phil and he’s at Old Crow in Oakland.

TGM (Josh): There’s lots of friends of ours who are tattoo artists.

FW: So what’s next for you guys? You just released the new album Love, Death, Immortality.

TGM (Justin): We’re touring!

TGM (Ed): Endless touring.

TGM (Justin)We have festivals back to back, then we’re going to Russia, and then another tour over there. We just got back from Europe, so yeah!


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