Interview: The Glitch Mob Talk Beginnings, Cooking, Live Sets
Los Angeles-based electronic live act The Glitch Mob have gradually rose from being outsiders in the LA DJ scene to some of the pioneers in glitchy, heavy bass music. Josh Mayer (Ooah), Justin Boreta (Boreta) and Edward Ma (ediT) were originally part of a DJ collective in the mid 2000s and after realizing they were the most serious about music, formed The Glitch Mob together. This has turned into an incredibly fruitful relationship, netting two full-length albums, including Drink The Sea in 2010 and Love Death Immortality last year, as well as several EPs. The group has brought their electric live show to festivals around the world like Coachella, Ultra Music Festival, Leeds Festival, Open Air and many more.
After giving away hundreds of dollars worth of Glitch Mob apparel last week, we had the chance to chat with Josh Mayer (Ooah) about the group's beginnings, how they craft their live sets, songwriting, cooking and much more. Stream their recent EP Piece Of The Indestructible and get advise from Ooah on how to introduce your friends to The Glitch Mob later on in our chat.
MT: I saw in one interview that one member called you the Ryan Gosling of EDM, is there a reason why?
Ooah: We always have had these funny nicknames for each other over the years. When we first started The Glitch Mob as a DJ collective back in 2005/6, there were like 10 people in The Glitch Mob it wasn't like a band -- it was just like a DJ collective. We had all these funny names like we used to call edIT the Crop Master and Boreta was the Ice Man and there was like, like this guy Random Rob and Anesteer and RD and a bunch of other just kind of west coast producer/DJ's that we were friends. We all just had these like ridiculous nicknames that kind of just carried over from that time.
MT: I guess how did you guys whittle down to three from that large collective?
Ooah: It just kind of naturally happened, like the collective thing was not very serious and was just kind of this fun thing that we had did at one point in time. Then once The Glitch Mob name started to get like a tiny bit of momentum really the people that carried the torch for it were me Eric and Justin and this guy that goes by Kraddy we were like the most serious about it and from there we actually started to write music together.
We didn't actually write music off the bat with them. We did a couple remixes and he actually wasn't even really there for most of that part. She was kind of doing other stuff so he would kind of pop in and out but really when we started making music it ended up just being the three of us. Because our kind of collective vision was all on the same page and everyone else kind of went off and did their own thing.
MT: Speaking of remixes, how did the Metallica remix happen?
Ooah: That came about through, through the X-Games. They thought that would be kind of cool if they could get two of the artists working together. They just hit us up and they asked us if we would want to remix a Metallica song and it would be the theme song for the X-Games this year. We never actually got to work with Metallica or meet them, but it was kind of cool thing to get to do because a couple of us grew up definitely listening to a lot of Metallica. It was definitely an honor to get to remix a song of theirs. We wish it was one of their classic songs instead of a new song, but it was still really cool to get to do it.
MT: How much does your live show impact your song writing?
Ooah: When we wrote Drink the Sea, it didn't impact the live show at all. We didn't even know how we were going to perform the record. So it had zero impact on how the live show was going to happen. Then after we wrote Drink the Sea we went back and figured out how to perform with it live. Then this latest album Love Death Immortality we took all the things that we learned touring Drink the Sea and applied a lot of the live elements that we learned from that into the album. So when we were writing the album the latest album it did impact a lot of the live show. We kind of wrote the album with performing it live on our mind the whole time, thinking about what parts would translate and how we wanted to perform it. We had the intention to write music that was going to reach kind of a large, larger audience and a bit more high energy, a bit more of like the traditional electronic genres type. We definitely set out to play large stages on some cool festivals. When we were writing the music that was kind of the intention. We were like, "Hey what would it sound like if we wrote a record that would be played live on Coachella stage at night."
MT: How do you choose the songs in your live set because it's all your own music. Do you have a set list or do you do it on the fly?
Ooah: There is definitely a set list, a number of set lists we have made over the past two years. Putting a set together is pretty in depth because there's this whole room of learning a song which takes a very, very long time because every song is broken down to every little sound. So we spent time just deciding a set list, figuring out what songs work together and kind of the ebbs and flows of the set.
Then we spend all the time putting it together and rehearsing and practicing. It's a lot like a traditional band in the sense of making a set list, except we try to meld everything together in kind of a head nod to the DJ culture where we come from. Like performing live songs but finding ways to kind of mix them together.
MT: Have you ever gone into a set and wished you had included a different song versus another?
Ooah: Yeah definitely and then we end up changing it the next time. But for us creating a set is very in depth and it takes a lot to learn all the songs and how they flow together so we try not to change it too much. We will build multiple different sets and then on each tour play different sets. Then by halfway through the tour we have figured out that set D for example is the one that is crushing this tour, so we'll roll with that one.
MT: How was recording at Joshua Tree?
Ooah: Yeah it was pretty cool man. We just decided to rent a house out there for about a month and just get away from the daily life of LA, social media, phone calls and all that kind of stuff and spent some time with each other talking about what we wanted to do. We were able to discuss how we were going to achieve this thing, write demos and sketch ideas. It really set the tone for how we wanted to approach the current record. It's one of our favorite places.
MT: Are you going to try and record your next record in a similar environment?
Ooah: Yes, we plan on it. We've talked about a few different options, but we would like to go and at least get the jumpstart somewhere else just to so we're not just in the comfort zone every single time. It just helps us stay creative and try new things and be out of the elements of our comfortable studios that we've built over the years.
MT: Have you thought about your next album?
Ooah: Yeah exactly, yeah we definitely have been talking about it quite a bit. Just in kind of loose general terms, there are not concrete ideas or anything like that. But we end up just talking about the creative process a lot with each other and different ideas that we want to try and different inspirations that have come along the way. It's at one percent right now.
MT: If I were to introduce someone to your music what should be the first song played?
Ooah: "Fortune Days." It is kind of one of our more popular songs and there's just something about it that just has this really fun, uplifting yet emotional journey on it. It's also just one of my favorite songs. It just has this really bizarre time, timeline thing, bizarre structure and everything about it literally says Glitch Mob to me.
MT: Would each member say something different? Would Boreta and edIT say something different?
Ooah: Yeah, one would probably say "Drive It like You Stole It."
MT: The mixtape version or the regular version?
Ooah: Oh man, they are both so good. I love the mixtape version but either that and maybe the "West Coast Rocks" Remix, that's one of our original remixes that we made years ago.
MT: True, I guess what is your vision for Glass Air?
Ooah: It's hard to say. We've definitely talked about building it out and releasing other artists on there and we have done a couple it's all been family stuff like Pantyraid albums and Yaarrohs' EP, which have all been family. We have definitely talked about it, but for us it's just staying focused on our thing like writing music, performing and creating new stuff is first and foremost. We have a very small team of people that we work with and it's not top priority to build it out and have it be an OWLSA type thing. It's there as a platform for us to host all of our music and release everything. Maybe one day it'll grow into releasing more music, maybe when we are on the road less or taking a small break from writing.
MT: Judging from your snapchats you all can really cook. What are some of your best personal recipes?
Ooah: Me and Justin Boreta are always trying new things. Lately our thing has been pan fried soft shell crabs which is a recipe that I grew up eating from my dad. His mom used to all make these pan fried soft shell crabs as well, so lately that's been our kick to find different ways to make tacos out of them. One of my personal favorite recipes is I do like a vegetable wok stir-fry over different textured rice. Just keeping it simple and really bringing out the flavors in each vegetable, not overdoing it with too much sulfurs or anything like that. Just getting all the vegetables nice and crisp and cooked to perfection over different kinds of rice. A nice light vegetable meal is one of my favorites.
MT: Who's the best cook?
Ooah: It's hard to say me and Boreta definitely is a definite toss-up, some might say him some might say me. I think Justin is an incredible cook. Some of his ideas and recipes are phenomenal and he might say the same about me, at least I hope he would.
MT: What are something people might not know about you guys?
Ooah: We hang out quite a bit outside of making music and touring. We still hang out and spend time together and just hang out as friends. We think it's really important in the music industry as well. Yeah we're all best friends.
MT: Yeah, so what else do you guys have coming up?
Ooah: Not much honestly. We have another, 5 or 6 shows coming up. Some Southeast shows, a couple festivals in New York, Chicago area and then that's it. Then we're going to try and get into the creative zone again. There's one other thing coming up that we can't talk about just yet.