Q&A with Glabs

Two years ago, the Parisian musician, composer, songwriter and producer Glabs took a leap of faith to start releasing his own music, which was first picked up by fellow French music lover Sodwee. A year later and we had the evocative, cinematic and expansive EP, Here I Go, which imagines various points of human experiences inspired by life, death, relationships and Glabs’ background in making music for films.

One month back Glabs hit that 100% promising mark - sure fire proof that his step into the unknown has continued to bring in new supporters of the project. Here we ask this Promising Artist about his inspirations, taking the production reigns, all-time favourite artists, ones to watch from the French music scene, and whether we might be hearing more from Glabs in the near future.

Our user have known about Glabs since Sodwee’s discovery two years ago, but when did you first hear about HumanHuman?

To be honest, I released my EP by necessity, without following any usual way. I just sent an email to few music journalists and I was surprised to have a very good feedback. Sodwee was one of them, and I heard about HumanHuman during a discussion.

How has the online music world, with its bloggers, tastemakers and listeners, reacted to your music so far?

As I said earlier, I was pleasantly surprised to receive so many articles and comments on my EP, sent confidentially. I was glad to read that most of the time tastemakers had understood what I wanted to say; the emotions I would like to transmit.

You made quite an unconventional introduction with a finished EP, titled Here I Go, around a year ago. It appeared seemingly out of nowhere from our perspective, which we know isn’t true, so what was the catalyst for this EP?

The catalyst of this EP was to be the closest to my mental pictures. Each song have its story, it's scenario, its storyboard. My hope is to be able to convey it to the listeners. This requirement has led me to take some particular production choices, such as leaving some imperfections on purpose, to be more organic, closest to the truth, and authentic. My guide wasn’t to have the sound that would meet standards, but to have the best illustration of my brain, and touch the listener’s sensitivity.

As discoverer Sodwee commented on your artist profile page, the EP is “self-produced from A to Z.” Is that the case?

Yes it is. I have completely self-produced this EP, I have played all instruments, all the records and mix. Except the final mix of two songs , produced at Hinterland Lab by Francois Baurin and the mastering produced at Globe Audio Mastering by Alexis Bardinet. Lyrics are co-written with Jennifer Jordan.

There’s a startling amount of variety across the EP - piano ballads; rough acoustic guitar recordings; cinematic electronica. Why so diverse?

Only the stories and emotions were the restrictions of this EP. For an example, the song “Stealing Tomorrow” is a sci-fi story talking about the solitude of a man who has been isolated underground from the rest of the world because he doesn’t match to an ideal genetic code. But, he will realize that there is a whole crowd who wants to scream his existence. I would like to transmit this into the arrangement and the instrument usage.

I didn’t want to restrict myself, and was hoping that my personality and my music’s color will be sufficient to have a conductible line.

Do you also have eclectic listening habits? Who are some of your all-time favourite artists?

Yes, as a child i did have very eclectic listening habits. Accented by my job which is to write music for a variety of movies, and to find the most suitable music for pictures, I have to be able to write a large variety of musical styles. It’s very difficult to mention one and not another. But it’s going from Schubert to Kate Tempest, passing by Dhafer Youssef, Warhaus, The National, Alt-J, Patrick Watson, Archy Marshall/King Krule, Son Lux...

Possibly one of your current picks may be Bastien Picot who features on the post-EP single “MOVE ON”. What brought about this collaboration?

The collaboration with B Picot on this single was a beautiful opportunity in my life. A friend told me about him, I had to ask him to sing on my song composed originally for a movie, and we've shared a very good feeling about music. Some mutual music inspiration and good vibrations.

This newer track has some noticeable differences in the sonic elements and production, which a richer, crisper sound than we’ve heard previously from you. How did you approach recording and producing “Move On”?

Yes, as previously said, my EP, Here I Go, was my first official released under GLABS and I wanted it to be singular, the closest to me, with asperity and authenticity. “Move On” is probably closest to sound standards.

Overall, your music has a strong sense of solitude, do you prefer to write music alone?

Yes, I used to write music alone. Maybe I‘m wrong but I think it’s difficult to find an alter-ego composer, especially for this particular EP where I have tried to transmit inner feelings. I’m confident with life to make me change my mind, but I love to work with singers, authors.. and to share with other musicians. I would love to hear a remix of “Here I Go” too...

Songs such as “Star Rocker” and “Here I Go” have this pervading sense of loneliness bolstered by a cinematic production and carefully chosen instrumentation. What did you hope to convey through these songs?

Your question is funny because those two songs are talking somehow about the birth and the death. The two moments of our life where we can say that we are alone for sure. This loneliness could be oppressively difficult, but in my stories, there is a lot of comfort, warm feelings and hopefulness. The light is always somewhere and the cinematic production help me to translate this ambivalence.

Photography by Assaf Matarasso

What might inspire a song for the Glabs project?

I don’t know, to be transparent, it can be a lot of things. Usually more a human emotion than society criticism.

Are you currently working on any new material? Perhaps something we may hear in 2018?

Yes, I have already composed new songs, and I would love to release some this year.

When did you first get into music? And did you always imagine pursuing music in a serious way?

I was initiated to music when I was six-years-old. I started violin at eight-years-old and learned to play other instruments on my own as a self-taught artist. I rapidly felt the need of expressing myself instead of playing covers. I was searching a way to pursuing music seriously, as a professional and I started as a FOH and Studio sound engineer but I wasn’t completely happy. So, few years ago, I said to myself “Here I Go!”

You’re currently based in Paris, how would you describe the music scene over there? Does the scene differ from the rest of France?

I’m not a big French music listener. I'm used to listening to music from UK, USA, Nordic countries, Africa or South America. We noticed a return from the 80/90's, with an excess of naivety which is disturbing me. Most of the French artists I like are singing in English. I'm not sure the Paris Scene really differs from the rest. Maybe Paris is a showcase city, where you can discover a wider variety of artist, where artist are coming with prospect to be famous and meet the biggest one. Paris is very cosmopolitan, most of Parisians are not born here...

For any visiting music fans, do you have any recommendations of artists or bands to watch out for in Paris?

The French artists or bands that I would recommend: Her, Papooz, Agar Agar, Rone, French 79, Radio Elvis, Albin de la Simone, and Mathieu Boogaerts.

This article is written by Hannah Thacker and was published a year ago.

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