GLUM Interview: “I’m not prepared to compromise”

glum interview

GLUM’s Anhedonia EP is out now.

What would you do if you suffered from anhedonia, an inability to feel pleasure in usually enjoyable activities? I think I’d probably not be much good for anything at all. That is not the case with Rory Nash however. The vocalist and guitarist with Brighton based alternative rock trio GLUM has written an EP named after the issue. It is evident from one listen that it is a raw and cathartic trip for Nash as throat ripped vocals, feedback, and compressed distortion rip through the five song set.

We recently spent a bit of time talking to Nash about the Anhedonia EP, Nirvana comparisons, and the state of the music industry.

Overblown: Your most recent record is called Anhedonia which means: “inability to feel pleasure in normally pleasurable activities”. Where did the title come from?

Rory Nash: The last however many years. I have borderline personality disorder. Unfortunately the ‘anhedonia’ state comes and goes regularly. A lot of people tell me good things about myself and the music, I honestly don’t know how to respond. I have no value of myself and try and avoid others having it of me, as I find it so hard to deal with. If people tell me good things about me, I find the negative, the less I have to do that about myself the better.

I went through suicide support and saw a psychotherapist for a long time to bring me back from the very edge. It was close. It comes down to I’ve got an anti-ego. I hate myself. You end up thinking lowly of people for thinking highly of you, but over time I’ve started to quite enjoy other people’s reaction to that. That acts almost the same as an ego now; I’m almost normal now. I find criticism quite fun; I know what to do with that. It’s funny seeing people’s reactions to someone being insulted and dealing with it unexpectedly, it’s normally just that I agree.

Even if I didn’t have borderline, look around, I honestly find it hard to believe anyone who opens their eyes wider than their immediate surroundings can have this constant state of happiness everyone seems to be chasing after. The world is at a tipping point, both figuratively and culturally, half the people want to desperately ignore it the other half don’t. I’ve always been the doom and gloom bringer, life and soul of the party, the problem is now people agree. I find GLUM quite hopeful now, we live in a culture so devoid of talking about the shit stuff, but we do. Fair enough the metal scene probably still covers it but I find that ‘glamorisation’ whereas grunge is just miserable bastards who wish they weren’t so miserable. I guess I don’t really want the world to end and all the animals to die out, I don’t find death cool. I miss my friends. Oh, and it’s a cool pretentious word.

O: It seems to me that the track ‘Breeding Ground’ is about people going to pubs and clubs to pull. Is that accurate?

RN: Yes.

O: You guys hail from Brighton but according to Spotify, most of your listeners live in the US. Does that surprise you?

RN: We moved down to Brighton to start recording the album, before that I basically had been sat in my room for 3 years in a village in the middle of nowhere so not really. We’ve spent almost everything we have on Facebook advertising. That’s a lot cheaper in the States than over here. If people think globalisation has failed I’d be quick to point out music doesn’t have borders. We’ve sold more vinyl to the States as well.

If we’re honest people can only listen to something if they know about it. I think grunge/alternative rock does a lot better out there as well. How many people over here have heard about Bush? They’re headlining festivals in America. Please if you do listen to them don’t go past the 2nd album, thank me later. The other thing is the magazines that tell people about music care about popularity because they’re under pressure to sell adverts, music has been forced into an era of having to make it before you make it.

It’s a terrible place to be in for new bands. Look around, it’s like good bands are following the same timeline as the elephants. We’re left with shitty talent shows and people selling their integrity because otherwise you just can’t do it, you need money and a hell of a lot of it. I’m not prepared to compromise, I’d prefer to take the hardest route if it gets the best result, it’s about the music for me not the money. I could write you a whole article on that to be honest, if you want? If you don’t, I’ll write one anyway, I think it’s something that really needs to be talked about, I think we’re being left with really poor music because of it, no risks are being taken.

O: In their premiere for the video for ‘Life’s Been Better’, Clash suggested the you are perfectionists. Is that accurate?

RN: 98%, no… 100%

O: You financed the recording of your EP via Kickstarter. Would you recommend this approach to financing a music project?

RN: I would advise totally against it. That’s mainly down to the fact that’s not how it was funded. I think we reached £250ish in backings, mainly from my family. So definitely weren’t funded there. My Dad died 2 and half years ago, that’s why I started the band. He left me some money that my Mum said I could use when she realised how serious I was. We used that instead, beats being able to live in a house.

I think we didn’t get much response because I couldn’t think of many ‘prizes’ people could get after it was done other than the EP. But that doesn’t cost very much, a plastic cup of coffee in London maybe. You’d have to sell a lot of coffees to afford to record an EP, let alone an album, and what’s worse is that the person buying the drink won’t even know what it tastes like before they invest. It’s hard to try to do something new, people are happy with what they are comfortable in. The reality is if you can’t come up with the money yourself at the beginning no-ones going to invest.

This is just continuing the article I’m going to write though. Kickstarter is like a label, you have to do what everyone wants you to do. I prefer doing something real and if people like it, then that’s special to them, not trying to do something they will like. That’s fucked up, that’s Instagram, that’s Coldplay. I seriously hate Coldplay so much, is that a sound you make when you miss someone? No. Euphoric loss? Oh la la la… fuck off.

O: Some have accused GLUM of being derivative of alternative rock bands such as Nirvana. What do you make of these accusations?

RN: To be honest, at the beginning, I hated it. I used to cry, cut myself and shit. Some of that’s sarcastic, some isn’t. The truth of the matter when you are being compared to one of the greatest band’s of all time. How are you going to feel? Obviously I felt crap with all that praise.

At the beginning, I tried not to sound like them, tried to sing differently, change bits of the songs. But I realised if I did that I had to try and be someone else, not who I am. The reality is I think when you’re mentally ill and get given a guitar you don’t tend to end up sounding like Coldplay. It’s hard really, when you’ve listened to a band religiously for the last 17 years you end up considering whether any other sound is even music. I wonder if Nirvana listened to Pixies. I wonder if Pixies had listened to Iggy Pop and the Stooges. I wonder if they had listened to The Velvet Underground. I wonder if they had listened to early blues. I wonder, you get my point, nothing’s truly ‘original’. I mean would we be able to speak a language without others around us.

All this individualism is mental nowadays. Nirvana seem to have this ‘untouchableness’ to them, which I agree with really, they’re special, but what’s the first question you get asked when you say you’re in a band? Who do you sound like? Well… a little bit like Nirvana… Are we trying to sound like them? No. I think people will move away from that comparison later on, when the public gets the album, that’s us fully developed and it’s quite safely GLUM, not the N word.

O: What is a GLUM live show like?

RN: Rare. Do you think it’s wise for a person who sees himself through other peoples’ eyes to stand on stage in front of hundreds of people? Probably not, but we do it. I take beta blockers… the result for the audience is either amazing, or mildly satisfactory. It depends if I get through my panic attacks really, the beta blockers have helped. You’re not supposed to drink with them, but that really calms me down. They’re rare because we’ve spent the last 4-5 months recording our debut album and self releasing this EP, there hasn’t been much time to practice enough to serve the songs and the audience to the degree we want to. It has to be the best it can be, remember. It’s never fun seeing bands before you have some songs to listen to first though is it? One job at a time. 2017 we’ll be having heart palpitations in front of audiences again. For now you have Anhedonia, I understand.

O: Favourite record of 2016?

RN: Anhedonia, obviously. No… ermm… go listen to Tigercub. They’ve just released a great album. It’s called Abstract Figures in the Dark. Other than that and a few others, music’s a bit stale at the moment really isn’t it?

Find GLUM on Facebook and pick up the EP over here.

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