Interview: Glass Fortress
[gallery type="slideshow" link="none" size="full" ids="123516"]
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today? Jose: In the beginning, my parents got me into music. Then later on when I started writing a science fiction novel it inspired me to start writing the beginnings of American Love Vol 1. If I hadn’t passed that onto Louie to work on, I would still have the same day job I got now.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music and how does that influence your creativity? Jose: I am constantly thinking of new tunes or songs ideas. I listen to a lot of music and it helps to inspire new song ideas. After some time my brain will pull out a song idea and in the fog of me waking up in the early morning. I can sometimes write up a chorus or song idea or even record a song melody so that I don’t forget how it is supposed to be sung.
How long has your band been around? Since November 2013
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music? Glass Fortress was founded in Des Plaines Illinois. It a suburb of Chicago, home to some pretty good bands and artists.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you. Louie: I thought glass fortress was kind of an oxymoron and funny, yet kinda cool and serious-sounding Jose: I agree. I wanted to be transparent and yet, memorable.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played. Louie: My favorite show moment was playing at a Best Buy grand opening and there was this little Indian girl who started dancing to my band at the time, and when we finished our set, she started bawling her eyes out, and the manager asked us to keep playing. We played every song we knew haha
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already? Louie: My favorite place to play was the Fireside Bowl, and the Prodigal Son was a great place to play and The Mutiny. I never got to play the Metro or House of Blues, so I guess those would be nice to play.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket? Louie: Honestly, any "dream lineup" I’d wanna play are with are lots of musicians who aren’t around anymore. Bluesmen like Son House, RL Burnside, or Mississippi Fred McDowell; bands like: The Who and Led Zeppelin's original lineups, Sam Cooke, stuff like that. Though current artists I have respect for are the Alabama Shakes, Leon Bridges, and the Greenhornes.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Be patient and work on your endurance. It takes a long time, years to find good musicians that will not only work with you and the band but also that are not flakey and are not just enthusiastic one second and unresponsive the next. Don’t waste your time waiting for them to come around since we did and we lost almost two years of progress because of it.
Take your time in finding the right recording studio, engineers that you click with, and understand your musical direction. Some would like to charge you hundreds of dollars per day/hour and are located in the middle of nowhere. Find one that is local, reasonable distance drive wise, and priced right for what they can deliver. I am so grateful that we found Matt Mercado at Sonic Palace Studios.
It’s way too easy to get excited and caught up in music, listening to it, making it. Always keep in mind that you need to be balanced with the music stuff and all that is entailed with it. It has to fit in alongside your family / personal life. I feel that our music isn’t worth much if you don’t have family or friends to share it with.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be? Get into the studio right away, don’t waste time and energy on flakey people. It’s sad, but it happens. Move on and move forward because you will find someone more professional later on. Studio time and a great engineer to work with, are key.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why? That’s a hard one for me since some of the songs were inspired by important people in my life that I’m very close to. I honestly couldn’t choose just one.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Jose: Louie and I bounce ideas past each other, we practice the song, make it singable, tweak things, and then record it on our phones. Then we go over it separately and work on it to make the song better if it hadn’t really come together right away. Some songs were already done and just needed chords or some tweaking. Louie has written some masterpiece songs and I just try to not look silly next to him.
We both write songs and add to each other. There have been instances when I felt emotional about something and we worked on how to describe that in words to fully explain how I felt. For other songs, it will revolve around a specific idea and we build up the words around it.
Jose: For me, anything can inspire a song. A feeling, a memory, a specific idea, or saying we want to have in a song or indigestion.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music? Jose: Encouragement, positivity, and showing what a situation or a feeling that you have, for what it really is and how it feels. Making sure that the idea is authentic is essential to a song is at its best.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them? Jose: When Louie and I practice or go over a song idea, we will first leave our egos at the door. What we do is along with the mindset of what is good for the song to be the best it can be, that it’s appropriate to all audiences, and what is best for the band. We have had some lively back and forth, some strong discussions and we always come to a consensus on what we will do for each song. Sometimes disagreements will come up, we are not superheroes just old-fashioned homegrown imperfect human beings. In the end, sometimes an issue is fixed by having multiple versions of the same song so that we can artistically express how we want to. If there ever is a huge disagreement on something that we can’t resolve then I would rather let my bandmate try his idea/way so that we can see how it would work. In the end, Louie is my friend and I would rather have him as my friend for life.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
We are looking at re-recording Mother’s Smile and the release of the song “First Love” in February 2021. Stay tuned for the date which will be announced soon. Our Merch store is in the works as well for early 2021.
We’re also looking at getting a music video going for the song “Science Fiction” Our 1st Official Music Video. It’s based on the idea that we had earlier when we were first going over the song. We’re storyboarding is now trying to get the ideas down as we visualize them. We want to give it the respect and dignity that Anime deserves since it is after all that inspired the song in the first place.