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Fantastical beats: meeting Glass Lux at the Empty Bottle

My interview with Glass Lux started out the best way possible: in a basement with a bottle of tequila. The band was extremely friendly and I am thrilled that I got to sit down with them. As it turned out, we have a lot of common interests in bars and bands. We chatted for about 20 minutes before their set at the Empty Bottle in Chicago last Thursday.

Immediately after the interview, they took to the stage. Emily Morse is a petite woman, and watching that voice come out of her is impressive. I expected her to have a more advanced vocal setup, but that bravado is all her. The chorus of “We Own The Night” encourages crowd involvement and you could see the happiness on Morse’s face when the crowd obliged her.

Glass Lux has been together since 2010 and they have definitely collected a fan base. The band’s music is extremely danceable and as drummer Fonz Mayen puts it in the end of our interview, something big is in store for them.

Rose Blanton: Any gear that you guys are geeking out about right now?

Leo Saucedo (synth) : I play a Juno 60. It’s from 1983.  We’re really into old-school sound, so we use a lot of vintage stuff. It may not work for everyone, but we like it.

RB: Are there any microphones you’re excited about right now, Emily?

Emily Morse: I use a Blue mic right now. We were actually sponsored by them. They gave us the mic and I’ve been using it for four years.

RB: Where did the name Glass Lux come from?

EM: It started nine years ago; it was actually my AIM screen name. It’s a combination, so Glass is from “Heart of Glass” by Blondie and Lux was a brand at Urban Outfitters that I loved (I used to be a retail queen). I just thought it was so cool, I was like, “that’s going to be my band’s name.” And then when Fonz and I started writing music, we actually wrote “I’m a Machine” before we had a name for the band. I then later suggested Glass Lux.

Fonz Mayen: And I was like, “meh.”

EM: But I wouldn’t take no for an answer.

RB: Emily, you and Fonz have been playing together for a long time. Where does Leo come into all this?

FM: Leo and I were actually in a band called Perfect Kiss, and I was playing drums for Glass Lux. I knew we needed a synth player and Leo is the dopest synth player I know.

RB: A lot of songs read almost like fantasy — are you inspired by authors like Tolkien or C.S Lewis?

EM: I wish I could be really in-depth with this answer, and yes, all the writing is definitely like fantasy. A lot of influence comes from urban legends and folklore. There’s this book called In a Dark, Dark Room

RB: YES! I know that book — it’s full of scary stories, right?

EM: Yes! I was a little girl and I would check that book out from the library over and over again. The illustrations are so creepy and weird. I just couldn’t get enough of it. There’s actually a story about a girl with a ribbon around her neck and that’s where the inspiration for “Ribbon Girl” comes from.

RB: For the”Puppet” music video, did you guys pick the director? How did that video come to be?

EM: This guy Gus reached out to us and said he wanted to make a video for our song, and we were like, “cool.” The colors are so weird and you’re kind of like, “what the hell does this mean?” But we ended up loving it.

FM: He made the moving pictures look cool [laughter].

EM: And the girl in it is actually a model here in Chicago. We’re working with him again for our next release. It’s been two years since we’ve done a release.

RB: And what’s your next one?

FM: Phases.

RB: Will that include “White Snow” and “Arrow”?

EM: We’re trying to figure out what to do. Like, a video and single? We’re so all over the place.

FM: We actually wrote a song in New York called “You” and it’s a little poppier.

RB: Your music video for “Disco Light” is hilarious, I love it.

EM: We actually hate that video, but we had so much fun over the four days of filming it. All the people in the video are actually all of our best friends. My friends still text me and say, “can we do a ‘Disco Light’ weekend again?” We had a lot of ideas for that video that never even made the cut. Like, we tried to reenact a scene from Grease.

LS: One of our friends worked for PBR at the time and kind of sponsored the video. He helped us out and we got free beer.

RB: Hey man, can’t go wrong with free beer. So, I know you guys do some recording at Studio 11, but you’re still unsigned. Do you have a label you dream to work with?

EM: It would be amazing to get signed, but right now we’re working with friends.

LS: I mean, Mute Records would be amazing.

RB: You’ve also done a couple of mini tours with CMJ and SXSW. Can you share a little bit about that?

EM: It was really cool. We loved going to New York for CMJ. We have a lot of friends out there, so we got to reconnect with people. It’s a weird vibe out there. You just get inspired.

RB: New York is definitely infectious like that. Comparing New York to Chicago though, do you think this is a good place to start out as a band?

FM: There are so many creative people here in Chicago and I grew up here. It’s up-and-coming, in a sense. There’s more to still happen here.

LS: The second-city feel is good. It’s the whole big fish little pond syndrome. It pushes me to better myself.

RB: What are you listening to now?

LS: Same old, same old. The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order.

EM: I can’t listen to the same shit over and over again. I get bored. I do this thing on Spotify where I go to Discover and it kind of tallies up what I have been listening to and it gives me new stuff to listen to. I’ve actually been listening to a lot of remixes of Arcade Fire.

RB: I LOVE ARCADE FIRE!

EM: There’s a remix of “Sprawl II” it’s really uplifting. I listen to it when I go running.

LS: Yeah, I actually DJ’d with Win Butler. His DJ name is Windows 95! [laughter]

RB: What’s next for Glass Lux?

FM: Phases and probably a video.

EM: Yeah, all content.

FM: Yeah, hopefully touring again. Hopping on with a bigger band.  My gut is telling me something is going to happen.