Artist Interviews

Q&A: Glasser

By | Published on Tuesday 5 October 2010


Glasser, aka Cameron Mesirow, released her debut EP, ‘Apply’, last year through Young Turks, its title track a sparse concoction of syncopated percussion, sloping synths and echoing vocals, almost tribal in sound. A perfect way to announce her arrival. Her debut single, ‘Tremel’, released in March, took a different approach, using the same elements but filling out the gaps with a more dense electronic sound; a marked development in the Glasser sound.

Entitled ‘Ring’, Glasser’s debut album was released on 27 Sep via the Matador-owned True Panther Sounds. We caught up with her to find out more.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started singing when I was a kid with my family because they are all musical. I always loved singing and hoped that I could someday sing in a band, but never considered that my voice could be a tool for writing until I got frustrated trying to write on the piano and guitar. I found that my voice yielded more interesting results.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
What inspired my album is a long list of art and music, and a sudden willingness on my part to experiment with sounds and feelings and risk looking silly. It was the privilege of freedom that I granted myself.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
When I make a track, I usually start out with a melody that I decide should either be represented by my voice or by an instrument. I will also sometimes begin by creating a beat, usually by trying out very simple things and then messing them up or layering them in a way that sounds spastic or fidgety. I come up with all of the melodic parts with my voice and try to record them as best I can with instruments or by singing and, by the end, I usually have too many parts and have to take some away. Sometimes I get so many vocal parts that I can’t decide which should be the lead vocal line and I get stuck and have to leave it behind for a while.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?

The artists that influence my work are many. I have spoken a lot about Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush in interviews because they were the artists that inspired me to use my voice for instrumentation, but my influences go far beyond their variety. I love R&B music, and some hip hop; I enjoy watching pop music change but I don’t always feel connected to it. I get a lot of inspiration from visual art. I love Gerhard Richter, and just received a monograph of his for my birthday. I also love Yoko Ono and some other Fluxus members. My closest friend is a visual artist and we have a collaboration called Auerglass, which combines conceptual art with music making. This project has had a huge impact on how I develop Glasser.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

What I would say to someone experiencing my music for the first time, is that I hope they have the opportunity to listen closely. Sadly, a lot of people are not listening very closely when they hear new things lately, so they don’t allow themselves to know how the music really sounds. Since I started receiving press about this project, I have become acutely aware of our human need to generalise and define. It makes sense and is a forgivable offense as we’re all guilty of it, but I have tried to become more mindful when making my own sweeping statements.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
My ambitions for this album are to reach people who would be interested in this kind of music, and not just people who are of my same age group and community. I would like to create a new type of live show that touches on all of the non-musical influences of this piece of work.