INTERVIEW: The Glasses
Seattle's New Rock 'N' Roll Offering (Nada Mucho)
By: Alex Steininger
Will Wagler used to front the Seattle-based indie-rock outfit Seymourglass. After the band disbanded ("Failed recording sessions and broken hearts mostly", as Wagler puts it), Wagler pushed on, adopting a new name, The Glasses, and continuing on with his indie-rock outfit.
Their debut EP, Sunbreaks, was released released on Seattle indie Nadamucho.com Records, an online music magazine that grew limbs, one of the branches being the new indie rock record label division. "Band members quit and new ones joined, we needed a re-birth," Wagler says of the name change. "We wanted something simple and recognizable, and 'The Glasses' seemed to be a natural progression. I think it originated from being offended when an old girlfriend told me I looked better with glasses on."
Known for his humor, Wagler continues, telling me a bit about the ex. girlfriend that influenced his band's name.
"When I decided to stop 'seeing' her she took a shovel to my bicycle. Twice."
It is themes like this, relationships gone bad, and other odds and ends of life and romance, that fuel the songs of Sunbreaks. But it is the jangle-y, head-boppin' indie rock sounds that recall the band's lighter side - their fun side. The side that just wants to rock out and have a good time.
"Much of Sunbreaks is about escaping frustration and the sun as a metaphor for the good times amidst all the lows that life deals us," Wagner describes. "I'm pretty sure all the songs mention the sunlight (or lack of) in one way or another. The frustration part comes from all the things in life that could be good -- lovers, work, family, friends, etc -- but usually aren't."
Recording itself could have, and should have been good. But, it too offered up its own frustrations.
"Recording was chaotic. The CD was tracked all around Seattle. We recorded the instruments in the basement of a house in Ballard. The vocals were finished in a studio next door to Discovery Park, and the mixing took place in a web design office in Greenwood," recalls Wagler.
"It took ridiculously long," he continues. "It was drawn out over nine months from start to finish. This was because of a midget budget and arranging our busy schedules (including the engineer's). Also, during the mixing sessions we discovered that I have a medical condition known as 'Artism'. Loosely put, Artism is the psychological state in which artistic stubbornness supersedes all rational (and even some irrational) thought."
Being a relatively new band, the band went into the studio with their live set, having only played it out once under the moniker The Glasses, and chose the four freshest songs to put to tape.
"Only three of our songs were really fresh," Wagler tells me. "Since we were going to be playing the songs ad naseum during recording, we chose the ones that we were still infatuated with. 'Girl Called Hope' was only a couple of months old. That song was written in its entirety by the second time we played it. It didn't have a name until we went into the studio."
Despite the relative fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants attitude towards the recording of the EP, Wagler put a lot of thought into the lyrics and the themes surrounding the lyrics, especially the title cut.
"The song 'Sunbreaks' evolved out of an older, more contrived tune I wrote. The one on the EP works for me on several levels," proclaims Wagler. "I enjoy singing and playing it live, and its meaning is important to me too. The idea is that life's challenges and uncertainties are interspersed with a few sun breaks now and then. It has that mysterious, resonating effect on me. The dead center of the song has this kind of Carpenter's harmony that gets me every time."
The band is currently booking shows and playing around their hometown of Seattle, with hopes to play as many shows as they can throughout the Pacific Northwest in the coming months. As for their future goals and ambitions?
"Our dream is to have a rabid following of early-teen girls," Wagler says, half joking, half serious. "We're shooting to reach what marketing strategists call 'the Mary-Kate and Ashley' demographic. It's the same audience that Beverly Hills 90210 was aiming at. They aren't so judgmental--or discriminating."
Look out for the Sunbreaks EP (Nadamucho.com Records) and this indie rock outfit to play your town -- soon (if you live in the Pacific Northwest).