INTERVIEW: Glassmaps





AS it has been a little while since…


I last spoke to Glassmaps; I felt it was right to poke my head around the kitchen window (if that works as a metaphor…) and see how things are! Joel Stein (also of Howling Bells) has been talking about his latest single, My Head My Heart, and its personal origins.

I ask the Australian artist (based in Brighton right now) how naturally the song came together; whether he has had a packed and hectic last year; where he heads from here – Stein tells me how life as Glassmaps differs to being part of Howling Bells.


Hi, Glassmaps. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi. I’m good, thanks. My week has been colourful…

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m awkward in social situations, but, I will give it a go…

I grew up in Australia where my first band, Howling Bells, was born. After touring and playing with Howling Bells for some time, I eventually felt the need to pilot my own ship, thus giving birth to ‘Glassmaps’.

My first album was recorded in Las Vegas in the rehearsal space of Mark Stoermer, the bassist from The Killers. I am currently in the process of recording my second album and can’t wait to finish it. I believe in the truth and being able to express it. To me, art is one of the most powerful forms of self-expression and self-realisation.

Can you tell me about My Head My Heart and what the origins of the song are?

The song is, literally, about my own personal battle between the head and the heart. I was in a destructive relationship. The beginning riff of the song was conceived on a phone app called Bebot in a hospital waiting-room in Germany. The rest of the song was written in my home that night (until the early hours of the morning). It was a long night...I wanted it to be as forthright as Arcade Fires’ My Body Is a Cage.


PHOTO CREDIT: @littletrousers

It sounds like the song came together in parts. Was it easy to put together – or was it a long process getting it all right?

I guess it did come together in parts. To be honest, some songs are like trying to get water out of a stone: you can hear it all in your head but just have to find a way of extracting it. This song was like that…

You have been busy the past year. How has life been since your debut album came out? Have you had a chance to rest and reflect?!

Life has been pretty much the same…except I just bought a yacht. Just kidding. Now, seriously, I don’t really rest; I’m an addictive writer. I get high on it. Music is everywhere. Ahhhh!


I believe you played The Great Escape Festival. What was that experience like?!

I loved playing The Great Escape. It’s a brilliant festival and I would love to be part of it every year.

Is there new material arriving later this year do you think?

Well. I would like to release new material this year but I’m not sure about releasing an album or an E.P. - I love a full body of work rather than just singles. Even though most of us listen to albums or music in fragments, I still believe in a body of work.

Still thinking


PHOTO CREDIT: @littletrousers

How does life as Glassmaps differ to your work with Howling Bells? Has it been a learning curve working solo?

One day there’s four of you and then, all of a sudden, you’re stuck with the man in the mirror. I’ve always been comfortable working alone: now, I just do more of it. There are pros and cons. I mean, you can create anything you want without anyone else’s input. On the other hand, it’s a great thing to have someone else’s eyes and ears: sometimes, it’s hard to see the wood from the trees.

What comes next in terms of material from you? Might we see more before the end of the year?

I’m not sure what the plan is. I might make a phone call after this interview.


Can we see you tour this year? What gigs do you have coming along?

Hopefully, there will be a tour this year...

What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

I’d love My Head My Heart to get a massive synch on an awesome movie that breaks box office records. That would be cool. Oh…and also quit my day-job.


PHOTO CREDIT: @littletrousers

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

There have been some really surreal and big moments. I’d have to say the first Howling Bells tour was with a band called Forward Russia. One night after a show we were all jammed on our little tour bus called Road Runner...

We were all drinking apple juice listening to music as loud as possible and dancing all within an inch of each other; the windows were shut. It was pure energy. It was pure fun from the heart.

Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?

Sketches of SpainMiles Davies

OK ComputerRadiohead

TNT Tortoise

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

If you don’t believe in yourself then no one will.


Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Andy Shauf – although, I’m not sure how new-new he is.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Not really. I love being with music. I run to unwind and I like to read. I’m reading Born to Run (Christopher McDougall); man, that book is insane! I also just read The Dude and the Zen Master. Absolutely brilliant.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

How about Andy Shauf again - with a song called The Magician. Cool melody and groove.


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