Interview with Jason Paxton from Glorie
Obvious fact alert: writing good, compelling music is hard.
Perhaps not-so-obvious fact: writing instrumental music, in which one cannot focus or fall back on the lyrics but only have the music to focus on, might be even harder. Doing it well and having it reach an audience, now that is a challenge. It is one that Jason Paxton and his Glorie outfit are eager to take on (like me and shark wrestling).
Glorie are an experiment instrumental band out of Memphis, Tennessee that got together in 2009, and were formed by Jason Paxton. The other members of Glorie are Jonathan Kirkscey, Rob Brimhall, Andy Saunders, and Jeff Hulett, and have played with acts such as Cat Power, Jay Reatard, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Al Green. PeteHatesMusic immediately loved new tracks Sunshine Then Nightmares and Smoke, and sought out the band for an interview. We caught up with Jason Paxton over email to discuss influences, playing and arranging songs in a live setting, and the all-important mystery of how to name an instrumental song.
PeteHatesMusic (PHM): How did you guys get into making the instrumental music that you make? Did you listen to a lot of instrumental bands hence the direction, or did you feel your strengths did not lay in singing and lyric writing but moreso in fusing the melodies of a blend of genres?
Jason Paxton (JP): Yeah I listen to quite a bit of instrumental stuff. I feel the music opens up a whole lot more when there are no lyrics involved. Your mental imagery is not constantly focused on what the singer is trying to sell you. I started this band with hopes that it fills some kind of musical void out there in the world along with writing music I personally want to hear.
PHM: You guys just released an EP and previously released an album. With each new release, do you look back and say “Okay, we did THIS last album, let’s not do that on the next album.” Or is it just an evolution on what jumps into your head, and what other music you’re listening to?
JP: I guess it’s more of a feel thing with each release. I think we’re always looking to do something differently but maintain some kind of theme. It’s just not so deliberate.
PHM: How much inspiration do you take from other instrumental bands to try and create something both better and unique sounding?
JP: Although i listen to a few instrumental bands, alot of my music is is probably derived from shit I listened to in my teens and twenty’s and has been warped around in my head so many times that it comes out sounding like none of it. When I write, I try not to listen to much music at all. It gives me more of a reason to write and helps not to fuse too much of what I’m listening to into my own music. The music just comes out and I hope it sounds unique enough to separate us from the gazillion other bands out there.
PHM: I listen to a lot of instrumental artists and I’ve always wondered how bands name instrumental tracks. Will you guys let me in on the secret?
JP: That’s top secret shit man! I just listen to the song and usually some kind of title will pop up in my head usually having to do with some kind of theme going on in my life that is loosely connected to the style of the song.
PHM: How difficult was the video for Full Circle to make? I read that it was made entirely on an iPhone!
JP: Alex Warble is totally fucking nuts! I’m not sure how difficult it was to make though. You’d have to ask him. We have a release show/art show with him on March 30th. Really excited to be doing that.
Glorie – Full Circle
PHM: Have you ever changed a song live, or discovered a new musical program or sound and wish you can re-do a past track or effect? Or do you just accept what is recorded and have fun with the live versions of the tracks?
JP: Sometimes we’ll change the live version of the song different from how we recorded it. It just depends what fits right when we play it live. I’ll drive my self bonkers during the production, recording, mixing, and mastering stages. I pretty much lose my mind, then a couple months after mastering I’ll just accept it. I go crazy over the most minute things. Usually taking a step back will provide some perspective and I won’t give a shit about it as much.
PHM: Since instrumental music naturally lends itself to background music for movies or television, would you consider writing a track specifically for a commercial, or have you thought about doing a movie or video game soundtrack?
JP: Well, we’ve already done something like that for a local commercial. It helps pay the bills but for me dampers my creativity a bit trying to make a client happy. Jonathan is currently writing scores for a few local independent films. He’s way more flexible like that than I am.
PHM: What does 2013 have in store? Any tour dates up to your great neighbour in the north (hint: that’s Canada!)? We would love to have you!
JP: We’d love to but right now almost everyone in the band has a toddler. Andy, Jeff and I all
had kids back to back so we’re all really busy right now. We also need more touring connections to make it a more worthwhile endeavor. We have a shit ton of gear and just don’t want to hop in a van and play for 5 people in some bar and come back home. Hopefully one day.
PHM: Whether you like it or not, you are a guest-editor on PeteHatesMusic.com! What new bands (or artists) would you tell all of our readers about?
JP: Oh man, probably Led Zeppelin, The Budos Band, Grails, some old DJ shadow.
Glorie have a ton of sounds up at their Soundcloud page that I recommend you dedicate some time to. Purchasing their music and getting them to come to your hometown might be cool, too.