DANCING IN THE DARK WITH JESSICA WINTER OF GLASS
IF: Can you tell us a little about your relationship with Scott and how you came to work together musically?
JW: Scott and I first knew of each other when I was about 16 years old down in Portsmouth. I was playing piano and singing for a mutual friend who also happened to be Scott’s drummer. It’s weird because we never actually met. He saw me play but we never spoke. We finally met when I moved to London a few years later, he was recommended to me by a drummer as ‘the best guitarist in the world’ so I thought I’d give him a go…….. Turns out they were right so I’ve not let him escape since.
IF: What are each of your roles in the band as far as instrumentation and songwriting, both during the recording process as well as live?
JW: Scott mainly plays guitar and I mainly play piano but we are more drawn to strings, synths and beats nowadays. Scott is a hook machine first and foremost and I am a melody maker. I really love doing a full production on the songs before we take them into a bigger studio, I think it’s important to get the vibe before you go in as usually, a big fancy studio will have absolutely every instrument and synth and sound you can imagine and sometimes your sound can get lost in awash of layers and effects.
IF: How do you typically approach writing a new song?
JW: Sometimes Scott will write an entire song and sometimes I will and sometimes we finish each other’s off……. 😉 We are quite competitive and it pushes us to be better. There’s never a set thing we do, it just happens at random. I prefer that I think, if I knew a set format or theory behind writing then it might make music a little less magical to me.
IF: What are the benefits as well as any restraints of being a two-person band?
JW: It can be both good and bad. We have certainly felt all extremes of working together so closely, who knows how long we can continue but we are sticking it out for now!
IF: Do you foresee adding new members in the future?
JW: We have a live band now, Lisa Martin on drums and Theo Spark on bass.
IF: You describe your music as CRANCE, Cry and Dance. Are we crying because it feels so good to dance, or are we dancing because it feels so bad to cry?
JW: It can be all those things! I think of it as a reflection of the writing process and the performance; sitting at the piano pouring out your sadness and then putting it to music that makes you move. The performance; experiencing those memories on stage but also letting go and expressing it through movement.
IF: In a recent interview you mentioned “Broken Bones” being your favorite song because it was born out of a traumatic experience with your brother. Can you talk more about this particular experience?
JW: My brother suffered from paranoid psychosis and when I looked into his eyes, he wasn’t there. ‘I’d take those broken bones if I could fix them, hold you close, make the most of what is left’
IF: You also mentioned preferring to collaborate with filmmakers and dancers to other musical artists. Can you talk a little further about this?
JW: People have very strong ideas and opinions on music, especially other musicians. As an artist it’s important to stay confident in your own identity and to keep developing it. There are so many pathways you can merge into, usually working with another musical artist is just watering down your own sound to blend with each others. Not every time! I love working with dancers, dancing is the perfect partner for music and it’s inspiring and also enhancing to what you are doing.
IF: What responsibility do you believe filmmakers and artists have in the collaboration process when working with a band? What role do you feel music videos play in the overall message or meaning of a song, or even the image of a band?
JW: Artists are exciting to work with, they can capture an atmosphere in a still image, they can put a twist on something and make it larger than life. My favourite photographer / artist is Luke Nugent. He manages to make everything slightly alien and other worldly. Mint & Lime Films are amazing at making music videos look cinematic for us struggling artists, they work with a lot of us South Londoners.
IF: Is it important for you to have an image to go with the music? Seeing vs Hearing. What effect do you think seeing a bands image before ever hearing has on the listener? Would you encourage your audience to listen before seeing? Or vice versa?
JW: Image is important to people due to the age of the internet. If I’m online and I see a photo of an artist, I won’t listen to them if the image doesn’t appeal to me and I’m sure this happens with lots of people too……. So photos need to sum up everything you are about – which is hard to do in one shot! However – we are almost back in radio age with streaming services such as Spotify / Apple Music etc – listening to their playlists and related artists is discovering with ears first again and this is a very good thing. Less visual stereotyping. The next problem artists will face are the Algorithms of the streaming services. If your art doesn’t fit into a pure genre, you’re less likely to be on the main playlists and listeners won’t receive as diverse an experience as they might from listening to a human DJ.
IF: We first discovered your music through Soundcloud, a place where we typically search for new artists to connect with. Recently you took your music down from there. What was the intention behind this?
JW: Not sure…… it might come back soon…….. maybe I had a funny 5 minutes………
IF: The lyrics for ‘’Be Careful’’ are oh so strange. How much of this is literal vs sarcastic and or fantasy. Especially when considering the video, which seems to portray a domestic dispute of sorts – Is this song truly a warning, or perhaps the idea of fear from fully surrendering to another person for life?
JW: The lyric writing was a 50/50 split with Scott on this song, he had one idea and I had another which is probably why you’ve said that! He took it in the more sarcastic way but at the time I was getting out of a relationship where things had got heavy very quickly so I was very much literal. For me it truly is a warning, be more scared of the people that want to tie you down and trap you – those people have their own insecurities and you don’t need to be burdened with them…….
IF: The video for this is particularly striking, as are all of your videos. Does the video better explain the lyrics or add further to its ambiguity?
JW: The video represents a few things to me, repetitious behaviour, the repetitious dance. Standing unified yet violent and destructive within that unity, being trapped. Also it’s quite funny…..
IF: In the song “What It Is To Believe” you sing “We play a strangers game.” In the video, you murder a man in a restroom who appears to be a stranger, perhaps a man you had just met at the bar that night. It’s strange because know one seems to be aware of your actions. What is this song about?
JW: The girl (me) is blissfully unaware that her actions were bad and it represents the power of belief. The same for the bystanders who believed maybe she was just dressed up in Halloween, like something like that could never have happened. We aren’t condemning belief or religions, just describing how powerful belief can be. ‘Armed with words, stones and flames, we took to the streets in a strangers name. Oh what it is to believe’
IF: What can we look forward to from you both as far as any releases or new material in the near future?
JW: Our new song ‘Vulnerable’ is out Feb 4th on Supernatural Recordings. We have made a lyric video for it. Huw Stephens at Radio 1 premiered it on Monday and has picked it as his track of the week so we are very excited about that. We have our first headline show in London in March where you can buy tickets for it here: Tickets
IF: What is the best thing coming out of the UK right now that we’ve most likely never heard?
JW: Have you heard a band called SWEAT? They are great. Also our friends, Strong Asian Mothers.