• A Visit With The Glass Canoe

    By Alana Crawley

    The Glass Canoe was originally the title of an award winning book by Australian author David Ireland. The book’s main character, Meat Man, viewed the world through the bottom of his beer mug, which he referred to as his very own glass canoe. A couple of months back we introduced you to a new interpretation of The Glass Canoe (click here for more). This time however, the interpretation is sonic and musical, rather than literary. There are four main characters in this version, and it goes a little bit like this…

    Inspired by their fascination with sounds, David Korrigan (vocals, guitar, electronics) and Max O’Reilly (vocals, guitar, electronics) recruited friends Drew Galindo (bass) and Blake LaGrange (guitar, effects) to accompany them on their exploration of the world of sound and effects.

    Chimera, their first LP, takes you on a sonic journey through the different dimensions of psychedelic electronic rock.  Each track is comprised of its own unique blend of atmospheric sounds and effects, harmonies, and rhythms, which intertwine to build an overall suspenseful, exciting, and mysterious album that is rank with emotion and creativity.

    I recently interviewed The Glass Canoe to discuss their beginnings as a band, their song-writing process, what they are working on now, and more.

    First Ideas

    AC:  “For each of you as individuals, what is it about music that makes you want to get up every day and do that?”
    MO:  “I just really love music I guess.  I like that it’s an art form that uses both sides of the brain; it’s creative and it’s emotional but it’s also really technical.  It’s kind of like math and art combined.”
    BL:  “For me, I’ve kind of just appreciated it ever since I was little.  I never really understood it; it was just a part of my growing up and then to figure out that I could do that and I had that in me was really exciting.  It’s always changing, too.  It’s never stagnant.  If it keeps changing, then you’re always tied to it and that’s exciting for me.  I love just seeing where the music goes.”
    DK:  “It’s kind of the same for me.  I like sounds a lot, and experimenting with them.”
    DG:  “I’m interested just because I never felt like I was actually good at it so it was always something that was difficult for me to do.  I like that I have to put that effort into it and kind of force my brain to be creative.”
    AC:  “Did any of you guys grow up in musical households?”
    DG:  “My mom can play the accordion.”
    DK:  “My mom and sister play the clarinet.”
    MO:  “My grandpa is a composer, my mom plays violin, and my dad is a sound engineer, so I kind of grew up with music.”
    AC:  “That’s awesome.  Did they try to instill music into you when you were young?”
    MO:  “Yeah.  I mean I was around it a lot and I just naturally had an interest in it when I was growing up.”
    BL:  “In my family, nobody is a musician.  I know my grandma would play piano, but everybody’s grandma played piano, so no one really played music.  It was really just my interest because I saw my friends playing piano when I was little, so I took piano lessons for like ten years and then realized the guitar exists and then I got into that.”

      “So how did you guys meet?  Have you always kind of known each other?”
    DK:  “Blake and I have known each other since the third grade and we’ve been doing music together since about sixth grade.”
    BL:  “Yeah, our first band together was in sixth grade.”
    DK:  “We started recording when we were about fourteen and then we met Max through mutual friends.  And then we met Drew at a show when we were in a high school band.”
    DG:  “I was in another band that was playing before them and….they were just better.”
    MO:  “I remember we were at a place with our band and we were just like ‘Oh, we need a bassist,’ and we were like ‘Well, Drew seemed cool.  Let’s call him up.’
    BL:  “Max, and David and I have kind of been through a lot ever since we were young.  Especially me and David.”
    AC:  “And did you guys have like a single defining moment when you were like, ‘Let’s make a band called The Glass Canoe,’ or did it just happen?”
    DK:  “Well yeah, I just kind of got tired of doing what we were doing, which was kind of like pop-rock.”
    DG:  “Bubblegum Pop.”
    DK:  “I just wanted to experiment with sounds and melodies and stuff like that, so I got Drew to come with me from the other band and then Max joined after that, and then Blake heard us recording after the first couple weeks, and then joined.”

    AC:  “And how do you guys write your songs?  Is it just one or two of you who do the majority of the writing, or is it a group thing?”
    DK:  “Max and I write pretty much everything.  We write it on acoustic guitar or piano and then just go from there and kind of just build the songs into whatever we think they should sound like.  We’re not really close-minded about it and we don’t try to put a genre with the song before we record it.”
    MO:  “Whatever suits the song, we just kind of let it go from there and we go off of each other’s ideas and develop it into what it sounds like.  We like to start with the chords and the melody and build the song and make it strong just like that and then add all the stuff on top to give it the style.”
    DK:  “And then when we’re mixing and we take it to the actual studio, Blake comes in and does his thing and adds his sounds.”
    AC:  “Who would you guys say is your biggest musical influence?”
    MO:  “A big influence for David and I, at least, is XTC.  I think they’re huge on our influence list in terms of like melodies and song structure.”
    AC:  “So you guys just put out an album called Chimera.  What does that mean?”
    DG:  “It’s a mythical creature-beast, comprised of many different animals.”
    DK:  “There’s a couple of different definitions.”
    MO:  “Yeah, but we saw this drawing that’s half human and half animal or plant and we just liked the drawing a lot.  That kind of is like how the music is, too.  I don’t know if we were thinking about this so much when we were making it, but it’s kind of a blend of different things.  But mostly, we just liked the word and the drawing.”
    AC:  “And did you guys record that album all playing together, or was it more like each person laying down their individual tracks?”
    DK:  “We always write the albums as we’re recording them, so we don’t actually practice ever while we’re recording the album.”
    MO:  “Because we work with sounds so much, we just like to record it and have it down so we can play it back and hear it and see what we have to change.”
    AC:  “And I hear that you guys are working on something new already?”
    DK:  “Yes, we’re working on another album!  We’ve been working on it since about five months before we released Chimera, just writing ideas and recording demos and now we’re laying out all the tracks for the final takes.”

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