Thursday, June 25, 2015

Interview: Gliss on 'Pale Reflections'

Victoria Cecilia and Martin Klingman are Gliss, a dream pop duo that is releasing its fifth album tomorrow. Although they had been working on music separately - Cecilia being in LA and Martin in Berlin, they managed to create an album that is cohesive and faithful to their fans' as well as their own expectations. Buoyant synths, airy reverb-laden guitars and gorgeous vocals make up an album that you will not be able to quit listening that easily. 
Fp2t had the pleasure to talk to Martin about the new album.
How would you describe the current sound of Gliss?
Martin: The current sound of Gliss is inspired by looking at Rothko's work, riding my bike through the streets of Berlin and of course all life experience. When I look at his work, I imagine long deep dreamy paths that seem never ending. There are many amazing paths here in Berlin and these days and nights all wash together...very much like 'Pale Reflections'...a bit of dirt and beauty woven together...the record turns and floats like a bird leaving the nest in the search of independence. You recently reissued your debut album on the occasion of your 10th anniversary. What has changed and what has remained the same in the course of these years for Gliss? 
MartinKick In Your Heart will always remain a classic for me. The title track is def a gem. It's simple and has a vibe. We recorded the instruments live and then put the vocals on top in my home studio. We have always been quite hands on with our craft. We have changed as people and we have remained the same, just as the music has. I think you can't help but grow and explore in life and in music. What seems like a victory today, can appear a failure down the road and vice versa. The Velvet Underground are a classic example of people doing something off the main road and eventually finding a larger audience. There are things that explode overnight and are never to return. It's all a mystery to me. Our music has always held an element of loss, while holding the light of hope. Anyone that has lived an adventurous life has seen the ups and downs that reflect this impression. Victoria sings quite a bit these days and has become a very accomplished mixer. She mixed the album, which is wonderful. We love working on the records in the complete journey.  
Is there anything new about the creation of this album? Has anything changed in the writing or recording process? 
Martin: I guess working on two continents can be a bit of a change. I flew back to LA to work on the record last year. I pretty much slept on a couch and looked out the window to a beautiful view of Griffith Observatory. I'd get up, have a coffee and start recording until I realized I'd forgotten to eat. Then I would come back to was a good experience. Once I was back in Berlin, we kept working on the final bits. Harmonies, synth parts, beats...I think you just keep at it until you say...wait, I think it's done...Let's mix it and get the artwork together. It was really an adventure. I did the design of the cover and Victoria mixed the record, so we really shared the complete making of the album. This is my favorite part about it this time. Just doing what we feel on our own and letting it be. It's a very honest record.
As music writers, where do you place more importance, on the lyrics or the music?
Martin: I always place the greatest importance on melody. If there is no melody I lose interest. Lyrics come second and they are having a greater and greater level of importance for me. I started taking a writing course and found myself loving telling stories and expressing this other side that I really had no idea existed. The professor was very encouraging and he just pushed me to expand and explore. That's my motto these days: Expand & Explore ! I like not second guessing my initial ideas. This is important for me now in my life. I found my best work was right there as the pen went to paper or the recording was happening. My best ideas happen when I am in the moment forgetting about what will be tomorrow and where I will be in 20 years, let alone, next week. I moved from LA to Berlin and they are quite similar in many regards. They are also very different. It shakes the ground you walk on and opens a new layer of the man you are and the man you yearn to be. I hear about people finding themselves in Berlin, but then they leave and go on to do what it is that they discovered about themselves. Then there are others that just never leave and bask in the glory of a very open and closed culture. It's a bit a mix between New Year's Eve and church. Very celebratory !!
What is 'mirrored' in 'Pale Reflections'?
Martin: Victoria wrote the lyrics for 'Pale Reflections' and I have a feeling she wouldn't expand too much on it. It's a track that def has weight and sincerity. It sums up Gliss in many ways. The dark beauty as the ship sails into the night. She comes from the north of Denmark, the very tip, where the ocean roars with distant winds and isolation from the popular world. You can imagine the level of creativity this would corrupt within you. I hear it in her writing and it's very profound. Respect, all respect. I love the synth ideas and breaks in the track 'Mirrored'. It feels like the ice is shattering around you and you realize, wait !! Life is short, so let's fucking explore the vast edges of the world while we can. Let's go !!! Which city do you find more inspiring?
Martin: That's a tough question for me. My inspiration generally comes from having time alone. After I have gone on the adventure and settled back down in my cave, I can then let it come out. It usually happens early in the morning when I have not fully woken up and the dreams of a child still exist. The boy that believes in the world beyond takes over and spills out these melodies and chords. To be in a childlike state is a good place when writing. The last thing I want to be doing when I am writing is considering things from a logical point of view. Let the poet be the fool & let the fool dance. Cue the music!
Which bands have you been listening to lately?
Martin: I listened a great deal to Ariel Pink this year for current releases. He went to an Arts school in California where some of my friends went and it doesn't surprise me one bit how creative and fearless he can be with his music. Ja, I love it, he allows me to go to that place of a child and get lost in it. That's very rare. I saw him play in Berlin and it was such a beautiful combination of genius and chaos. It worked...I felt like I'd been through some sort of serious journey in the end. I just rode my bike home in silence. Other music I have been digging into is Vessel, early Nick Cave...the first two records are incredible, lots of Stereolab and always classical music.
What does the near future hold for Gliss? What are your next plans?
Martin: The future involves writing, traveling, shows and working on another record. We are meeting up very soon...I can't wait! We are already working on a new one. We like to keep going and staying creative. I have tons of songs I have written here in Berlin and can't wait to start seeing which ones will work with Victoria's ideas. She just sent me some incredible basic tracks yesterday. We are lucky to need music. I don't choose it, it chooses me. I am also looking at some more classes to take. I love learning... What would you like people who listen to your new album to take with them?
Martin: I assume the noble request is to go out and do what interests them and to follow their hearts regardless of the world. If you want to start gardening then go do it and to learn how to fly, just go for it. The biggest hurdle is the first step. Once you take it, things start to change. I am excited about the unknown...the part of life we can't see. So take with you what you want, its your life, but just be freundlich. 

'Pale Reflections' is available digitally and on CD via the duo’s own label Kraftwööd. The first 100 albums will be numbered, signed and include handwritten lyrics for 1 song, so hurry up and order your copy here!

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