Glass Mountain: ‘Seeing a band live should be different to hearing them on record’
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Yorkshire has always been a fertile breeding ground for new music, and alt-rockers Glass Mountain are the latest product of the region

HQ’d in Bradford, their anxious guitar-driven music is already turning heads. With their debut EP Glacial out this week (June 10) and a special launch show in Leeds the same night, Alex Nelson sat down with the band’s Harry Hanson to find out more:

Hi Harry. Could you introduce us to everyone in the band and tell us what they do?

“Sure. I’m Harry and I play guitar and sing, William plays bass and keyboards, Lewis plays guitar; and Jonny plays drums.”

What’s the story behind Glass Mountain? 

“William and I knew each other from previous bands, and we were both at a loose end over the summer and wanted to get on with all things musical. So we got together and just wrote loads of ideas.

“We were seeing how it all fit together – it was feeling really natural and exciting so we got together more and more often to jam. It soon became apparent we needed a drummer and William knew of Jonny.

“We got together and just played for hours. Our single ‘Glacial’ came from our first get-together as a three piece, so putting that out first was cool.

“As we developed new tracks in the studio we decided another guitarist was needed so that we could make this all happen in a live context.

“I study with Lewis and we had written a few ideas together in the past, so he came along to a rehearsal and it just clicked – so we asked him to come on board.”

How would you describe your music, and why should people listen to you?

“We came up with our own name for what we do … we call it ‘Yearn / Sorrow’. We thought about all the things we like about music from our favourite bands and stuck some keywords up on the walls to stop us veering off on too many tangents. Those words were heartache, drama, sorrow, yearning.

“We felt after the recording process that ‘Yearn / Sorrow’ fit really well, but the other words are definitely a conscious thought process as we write together.”

What sort of bands influence your own music?

“As individuals we all have different influences which I think is something that works strongly for us. It means we can try out loads of ideas in the writing process and stumble upon something we never expected.

“As a band we have collective influences, these include: Codeine, Dinosaur Jr, WHY? and The Cure.”

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Do we detect a hint of shoegaze in there too?

“There is a hint of it, I suppose. But Codeine are a bigger influence. Way slower than shoegaze and much more potent. Their songs have so much sadness, it’s quite amazing.

“To me, there were a handful of good shoegaze bands around, and a lot of less decent bands jumping onto that bandwagon. But we do admire My Bloody Valentine and Pale Saints a lot.”

Your debut EP comes out this week; what can people expect from it?

“There’s a varied sound on the EP which comes from different influences, and the fact we wrote it for ourselves and not to a set trend. It’s an honest EP to us and we went into the production with a fearless approach.

We thought ‘anything is possible’, and if we make something that we all love unconditionally, then people will hopefully really connect with it.

“‘Glacial’ is the opening track; we put that out as a limited 10” clear vinyl single in April. It was our first ever release and it’s the centrepiece of the EP.

“The entire EP definitely has an underlying theme of anxiety and overthinking, and that comes across more prominently in ‘Glacial’ as it’s much more direct lyrically.

“‘Over Thinking’ is an odd one; the chords and the idea of an almost hip-hop approach to the drums came very quickly, but then the words were the hardest thing ever. I got stuck with it, and William was on holiday.

“The unfinished track came on his iPod and he walked to the shop and bought paper and coloured pens. He sat at the side of the pool drinking gin, and didn’t stop until the words were finished. It’s a song about fear, anxiety and not quite ever conquering those dark thoughts.”

You’re celebrating the release with a special launch show at The Library in Leeds that night. What can fans expect from the show?

“The EP Launch party is certainly a special night for us, and we have a few tricks up our sleeve to make it very memorable, including an extra song which we have never played live before and may never again.

“Aesthetically there’s going to be something different, which ties the gig in with a track from the EP. I can’t say too much about it, because we want it to be a surprise, but we have thought long and hard on the set. It’s a big gig for us.”

You’ve only been playing live for a couple of months; how have you found the transition from the rehearsal space and studio to the live stage?

“The transition took some time to knock into shape for sure. Our live sound is a lot heavier, especially on tracks like ‘Medicate’.

“To me, seeing a band live should be different to hearing them on record. It’s a different feeling. We love playing live as a band.”

The video for ‘Glacial’ features all sorts of luminous paint shenanigans. How did the idea for the clip come about, and what was it like to film?

“The original concept for the video was to shoot a performance video featuring the whole band with paint on us and instruments, in the basement of my Dad’s café. We did one run through of the song, filming just my face to see how things looked under UV lighting.

“It looked stunning and at that point we all agreed that’s how the video should be – just one person, one shot, no edits. it was captivating.

“Getting the magical take took a lot of effort: there were several people including Jonny and Lewis sat around me, out of shot. It was their job to carefully apply the paint.

“I was miming to the track running at double its normal speed – not easy while people are rubbing paint into your face.

“If anyone made a mistake, we had to stop, I had to shower and change and then we’d go again. Exhausting but also very rewarding.”

What can we expect in the future from Glass Mountain? 

“We’re already working on EP 2 and we have three songs written for that, so that should keep us all very focused and creative through the summer.”

And, finally, Bradford / Leeds always holds an exciting music scene; which other new bands from the area should people be listening to?

“There are some good bands around. One of my favourites currently are a Leeds band called Chest Pains – they’re a really cool sounding band and people should definitely check them out live. We also really like Menace Beach and Orielles.”

For more information on Glass Mountain’s EP launch party, check out the Facebook event page

They also play the following additional live dates:

June 14: Temple of Boom, Leeds [with Elvis Depressdly]
August 8: Wharf Chambers, Leeds
September 4: Bingley Music Live

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