Talking to Glyphs about glyphs and music


text: Magda Rucinski

Electronic pop duo Glyphs have two EPs to their name, and have just released an infectious single “Locks and Keys,” available now on their bandcamp. It’s a polished, downbeat electropop song that might just take over your soundscape after one listen. The appropriately moody video for “Locks and Keys” was filmed in New York, London, and the delightfully English-sounding town of Walton-on-the-Naze.

We caught up with the two easygoing troubadours, producer Matt Wilkie and singer-songwriter Mark Walsh, via Skype the other week.

Magda Rucinski: How did you come up with the name Glyphs?

Matt Wilkie and Mark Walsh: It’s not a very exciting story to be honest. We came up with a lot of different names but none of them really seemed right, then Matt’s girlfriend Indira had a dream we were called Glyphs. It seemed to fit the music and artwork so we kept it.

MR: Your Tumblr page says you “formed in 2010 due to an inescapable situation.” What was that inescapable situation?

Mark: I’d just come back from travelling and decided to move down to London to look for work. Luckily Matt had a spare room at his place where he said I could stay for a while. I ended up there nearly three years. Seeing as we couldn’t escape each other’s company, we decided to make music.

MR: You just finished a music video for your new single “Locks & Keys.” What can you tell us about the video?

Mark: A friend put us in touch with a director called Andrew Ryland so we met up with him, and it turned out we happened to be travelling to New York at the same time. We thought this was too good an opportunity to miss so we batted a few ideas about and told Andy the sort of thing we were after, and he came up with the concept for the video, which really suited the feel of the song. We later recruited actress Emma Britton to play my long-suffering girlfriend in the UK scenes.

MR: Genre can be a tricky question. How would you describe your sound?

Mark: It’s quite hard to describe your own sound. I think it’s essentially pop music, but thanks to Matt it has influences from a lot of different electronic genres.

Matt: Yeah, I suppose it could be described in as a number of genres, but it is essentially pop music.

MR: What’s your songwriting process like?

Mark: It really depends on the song. Sometimes I come up with the melody and lyrics first and Matt produces a beat to match; sometimes Matt writes a track in its entirety and I’ll come up with a melody to work with it. More recently we’ve worked together on songs from the beginning, which was the case with “Locks & Keys.” As for lyrics, the first line or two tend to just come to me with a melody, and from the basic theme or idea I come up with the rest.

Matt: As for me, the process is probably a little more protracted. I usually start with a bass line or a beat and just piss about with it until it starts to sound interesting. Mark tends to prefer a more traditional structure to songs, with proper verses and choruses, whereas I would be quite happy to keep messing about with a song and end up with it being 10 minutes long with no chorus. I suppose it’s quite helpful to have two people working together with such different approaches to songwriting.

MR: You’ve done a cover of Ginuwine’s “Pony.” Was that a fun deviation from your usual material or is your music influenced by R&B?

Mark: We do enjoy listening to R&B, especially early nineties greats like Timbaland and Missy, but I wouldn’t really say it’s an influence on our music. We wanted to do a cover of something quite different from our sound, and this seemed like the ideal choice.

MR: What’s next for Glyphs?

Both: We’ve got another video that’s being edited at the moment, for a new single called “Minor Victories,” and we’re aiming to start playing live around London again soon.

Matt: We’re always working on new material as well, so hopefully we’ll have some more releases in the not too distant future.

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