Feb 10, 2014
The Glitch Mob

Last week at Sonos Studio in Hollywood, we sat down with and Joshua Mayer (Ooah), Justin Boreta, and Ed Ma (edIT) of lauded electronic outfit The Glitch Mob to explore their new album, “Love Death Immortality,” and their views on the evolution of electronic music technology and instrumentation.

The Glitch Mob - Can't Kill Us [Glass Air]
LessThan3: A few years ago, you guys moved your studio briefly to work on your 2011 EP We Can Make The World Stop. Did you do something similar for your new album Love Death Immortality?
Ed: It was actually this record that we moved out to Joshua Tree, but we also moved back there in Sept. 2011 for about a month. Hanging out in Joshua Tree served as kind of a clean slate for us. We wanted to reboot our whole creative aesthetic, so moving out there was a way to explore new territory. Being out there was magical–it was the perfect place to clear our heads and dive into a new kind of creative world.
Josh: It was a palate cleanser. We could start talking about what we wanted to do, what the goals were, and begin throwing sketches together.
LessThan3: How long have you been working on this album?
Justin: It took about two years or so to finish.
LessThan3: What’s the story behind the album title?
Justin: It took a long time to come up with a suitable title; we spent months and months tossing around ideas. The album name evolved just like the music. You know when a song is done, or when something just feels and sits right. We just kept changing things out and moving things around. Three is a big thing for us. It’s our theme. We were playing around with different combinations of three words to express the feeling we felt in the music, and Love Death Immortality is where we arrived.
Ed: It sums up all the emotions and stories of the record very well.
Justin: It’s still kind of ambiguous too. Some people read it and think “Love Death Immortality–does that mean that you love death? Or is that three separate ideas?” We like that it raises questions.
Ed: It’s a powerful phrase to think about, and that’s always something that we want to leave with the listener. We never want to predetermine what the music or The Glitch Mob means to people. We want them to decide for themselves. There is no right or wrong answer.
LessThan3: Do you think your group name implies a certain sound?
Ed: Totally–the obvious thing would be to think that we make glitch music. That’s where we came from, but I think anyone who listened to Drink The Sea knows there isn’t very much glitchy stuff in it. At the end of the day it’s just a name.
Justin: It rolls off the tongue nicely.
LessThan3: The video for your first single Can’t Kill Us has some incredible visuals synced to the music. Can you tell us about the artist who produced them?
Ed: Beeple is someone who we have been fans of for a long time. One of the coolest things about this project has been collaborating with people that we respect as artists. He was someone that we went to saying “You are amazing.” He is very well known in the video editing world.
Josh: Check out that Flying Lotus video he made–it’s pretty crazy.
Ed: We sent Beeple the record and he came back and said “I want to do Can’t Kill Us.” I was hoping he was going to pick that one, but we let him decide for himself and that’s the one he gravitated toward. He lives in Wisconsin so we were going back and forth with him over email and phone. We gave him a palette and an album cover and some general direction, but at the end of the day, it was his artistry that took it to where it went.
LessThan3: Are there going to be any more videos for the album?
Ed: Not from Beeple, but we have more videos. We have some videos from Dr. Strangeloop and this girl named Suzy C who does awesome work with fluid dynamics and magnets.
LessThan3: What developments in music technology have really impressed you over the past few years?
Ed: Definitely Ableton Live. They are on version 9 now, and over the years they kept it really clean and easy to work in. They updated the right things. We’ve been big fans of Ableton for years. That’s what we made this record in, and we also perform with Ableton.
LessThan3: In what ways do you see musical instruments evolving?
Ed: In regards to the way we perform, we had to have custom instruments built for us because there is nothing pre-existing that works for the way we want to play our show. If that’s any indication, hopefully more people will continue down that path of DIY, build-your-own instrument. I think it’s easily doable with the technology that is currently available.
Justin: As more and more people get into creating electronic music, there is going to be more cool stuff happening. It’s going to let people make music who don’t have an understanding of music theory. People can have the joy and experience of writing music without knowing how to pick up a guitar, though it’s not a replacement for learning how to play one.
LessThan3: What fact about the recording process of the new album would surprise our readers the most?
Ed: The fact that it can all be done on a computer; you don’t need any traditional instruments. You don’t need a multi-million dollar studio. Everything on this record was made inside of a computer.
Josh: We don’t have a huge studio that we go to–it’s a home setup. It was mixed down in a room that wasn’t even treated; it’s just Ed’s living room. All we have is Ableton and some Gemini Monitors.
Ed: The moral of the story is that you don’t need all the gear in the world. All you really need is imagination, creativity, a good work ethic, and the will to tell your own story.
Josh: And patience. And caffeine.
LessThan3: Your studio setup is surprising given how crisp the percussion sounds on the album.
Ed: It’s all plug-ins and mathematics. Not a single piece of analog gear was used. We used a guitar at one point, but the pickup was still digital. That’s not to say we don’t love analog gear–we’ve had plenty of it in the past. This record, for whatever reason, was just entirely in the computer.
LessThan3: You guys have performed alongside Bassnectar at Burning Man, and you’re very well known and respected within the burner community. Have you guys made any plans yet to come back to the playa this year?
Josh: No plans so far, but, we’ve all been there many times. If we can go again, we’ll go. It’s a little piece of home for all of us in a way.
Justin: We played some secret shows there last year.
Ed: Part of the magic of Burning Man is also leaving it up to the last minute. It’s important not to put too much effort and emphasis onto planning Burning Man too hard and just let the magic of it happen.
LessThan3: If you were the first group to perform on the moon, what track would you open up with?
Ed: Maybe Skytoucher? Actually, that’s much more of an encore song, but I think it would be so epic to open with on the moon.
Josh: We’d do a remix of David Bowie’s Ground Control To Major Tom.
Ed: Yeah, or Rocket Man.
LessThan3: Your music has been used in several movie and video game trailers. Are there any movies that you wish you could have made music for?
Justin: If we could have done anything, it would have been the music for the final episode of Breaking Bad. We’re all big fans.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Justin: Baby You’re A Rich Man by The Beatles.
Josh: Crystal Ship by The Doors.
Ed: Ummagumma by Pink Floyd.
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