Amidst the iconic skyline and electrifying pace of New York City, emerges Glimmer, the NY-based grunge/shoegaze ensemble that’s been capturing the imagination of both old-school purists and new-age aficionados alike. Their sonic palette, a harmonious blend of heavy, fuzz-laden guitars drenched in dreamy reverb, carries an undeniable aura. One can’t help but draw parallels to stalwarts like Failure & Hum, yet Glimmer’s sound is undeniably their own.
Having made waves with their summer debut single, which garnered nods from prestigious platforms like BrooklynVegan and CREEM Magazine, the band has been relentless. They’ve made their presence felt across the bustling NYC gig circuit, and their recent live sessions have further solidified their reputation as a must-watch act. Their music is a testament to the city they call home – vibrant, diverse, and ever-evolving.
Their latest single comes as an exciting evolution in their musical journey. Reflecting on their sound, the band says, “Play what sounds good to you.” This ethos is evident in their music. It’s a delightful amalgamation of genres, influenced by the grunge, shoegaze, and ’90s college rock they grew up on. Yet, it’s the band’s authenticity and commitment to their craft that truly sets them apart.
Not ones to rest on their laurels, Glimmer has been hard at work, gearing up for a full-length release in 2024. With a firm grasp on their roots and a clear vision for the future, the band is poised to continue their upward trajectory. Their upcoming performances, including a slot at the revered SXSW festival, are further testament to their burgeoning reputation.
However, amidst the cacophony of accolades and a packed schedule, Glimmer remains grounded. For them, it’s all about the music, the message, and the connection with their listeners. As they put it, “The vibe of our music and lyrics can sometimes be depressing, but overall I like to think there’s an underlying positivity there. I guess the message is to try and be happy if you can.”
Check out our full interview with the band below.
The essence of Glimmer’s sound seems to be drawn from the rich blend of grunge, shoegaze, and ’90s college rock. Can you share the philosophy or ethos behind blending these genres?
I don’t think we do it on purpose really. I’ve always gravitated toward loud, distorted guitars and layers of fuzz, but I also like melody and good songs. It’s the type of stuff we all grew up on, so inevitably it comes through in our music. “Play what sounds good to you” I guess would be the philosophy.
Your debut single “Self Destroyed” garnered attention from renowned outlets like BrooklynVegan and CREEM Magazine. What was the inspiration behind this track, and how did it feel to receive such recognition?
Yeah it’s really cool. It’s nice when people pay attention. I feel like anything that can put the songs in front of more ears is a great thing. ‘Self Destroyed’ was the first riff I wrote for this band after a really long break from music. I know that because there’s an huge gap in the voice memos saved on my phone, and that riff was the first thing after like a year or something. It was more of a reflection of where my head was at at the time and what I’d been listening to, with no pre-conceived notions of what the band was going to sound like. I’d say that song inspired Glimmer into existence.
With “Place in the Sun” taking a slightly different sonic direction, incorporating catchier vocals and anthemic choruses, what influenced this evolution in your sound?
Nothing in particular influenced that evolution, and to be honest, each song we write is always changing and morphing back and forth between melodic and dissonant. Sometimes even within the same song where both of those elements are there. I’m a huge fan of catchy songwriting — ands like Oasis, Superheaven, Hum etc. — but I also like super noisy and heavy stuff as well. I originally thought we’d release ‘Place In The Sun’ first, but we decided ‘Self Destroyed’ was a better introduction to the band.
New York City has an insanely vibrant and diverse music scene. How has the city’s musical landscape influenced Glimmer’s style and approach to music?
There are so many great bands that are constantly doing so much, and I think that’s been the biggest influence. It’s a reminder to keep working and playing shows and putting out music. As far as our style, ultimately I can’t help but be myself when writing but I definitely check out what other people are doing musically and am constantly inspired by that.
Forming earlier this year and gaining swift momentum, what do you attribute to the rapid rise of Glimmer within the NYC music scene?
I think mostly it has to do with our work ethic. From day one each of us have put everything into this band, whether that’s practicing, writing, booking shows or whatever. I guess when you do that, good things are bound to happen. I like to think it has something to do with the music as well. At least I hope it does.
Sharing the stage with renowned bands like Cloakroom is no small feat. Can you describe that experience and any learnings you took from it?
That’s was our second show and it’s pretty amazing that we got on that bill. Cloakroom are awe-some people and amazing live. We were definitely grateful to share the stage with those guys. I’d say any time you play with a band that tours constantly you pick up little things here and there.
How has the journey been, transitioning from the conceptual phase of the band in early 2023 to playing packed shows in such a short span?
It’s strange, you have this small idea of what the band should be…and then it all starts happening in real life and it’s awesome to see it come to fruition. Playing live rules so we are psyched to have been able to play so many shows already.
Grunge and shoegaze are genres with a rich history. How does Glimmer balance paying homage to the genre’s roots while injecting a modern twist?
I think at the core our songs are pop songs. But because I mostly listen to heavy shoegaze stuff or dream pop, sonically that inevitably makes its way into our sound. I like the idea of mixing catchy melodies with heavy, loud, noisy guitars. It’s not a new concept but hopefully we do it in our own unique way.
With plans to release a full-length in 2024, can fans expect an extension of the sound in your singles, or are there surprises in store?
Yeah the full length will be more of what we’ve been doing, but there will definitely be some surprises. We don’t want to create just a collection of singles, but a body of work that can stand on its own. There will be more atmospheric type stuff, soundscapes and slower songs mixed in, for example.
SXSW is a significant milestone for any band. How are you preparing for it, and what do you hope to achieve from this platform?
Being new, I’d say we just want to experience SXSW as a band in general. We want to play as many shows as possible because I believe that’s what makes us better. I’m not sure you can prepare honestly, but we’ll try. We’re always trying to make our live shows as tight as possible, so even though festivals like SXSW can be hectic, I think we’ll be ready for it.
The dynamics of a four-piece band can be intricate. How do Jeff, Jaye, Johnny, and Kevin synergize their individual musical influences to create Glimmer’s signature sound?
I think we’re all on the same page as far as what this band should sound like and everyone is extremely dedicated, so that makes it fairly easy. We do have many of the same influences but I think going forward, you’ll start to see more of that individualism come out in the music. But mostly if it sounds good to us, we do it.
Given the cyclical nature of music trends, where do you see the future of grunge and shoegaze in the next decade, and how does Glimmer plan to evolve with it?
Those genres have been around for over 30 years now, so I can see there always being an interest. Where it’s going I have no idea. But as far as us evolving with it, we’re just going to keep writing songs and doing our own thing without trying to think about it too much. Honing in on what makes you different is the key. You have to put blinders on in a sense and not worry too much about trends or what anyone else is doing.
From your recent live sessions and performances, is there a particular moment or experience that stands out as emblematic of Glimmer’s journey so far?
I’m not sure about the rest of the band, but even though right off the bat things were sounding pretty good live, for me personally it took a few shows until I felt like I really played great and things really clicked. I do remember when that happened though and it was an awesome feeling.
With a bustling schedule of live shows, studio time, and releases, how does the band manage to stay grounded and connected to its core values?
It’s crazy, everyone in this band continues to surprise me with their willingness to do everything that’s thrown at them. With two of us in Brooklyn and two of us in the Hudson Valley, it can be a challenge to coordinate practices and everything else we do. But somehow it works. I think that actually grounds us and allows us to not take things for granted.
Many bands from NYC have cited the city’s energy as a constant source of inspiration. Can you share a quintessential New York moment that has directly influenced one of your tracks?
The fact that I no longer live in NYC and am now upstate has a direct influence on things, though I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly what it is. But there is a peace that comes from being up here, which allows me to have a clear head to focus on music. I lived in Brooklyn for a long time and that change is absolutely a part of why the songs are what they are.
As you look forward to more studio time, can you give us a glimpse into Glimmer’s songwriting process and how a track typically evolves from an idea to a fully fleshed-out song?
Yeah it’s pretty simple these days. Because we all live in different places, we’ve had to do things somewhat remotely. But basically I come up with a song idea and demo it on this Tascam I have, then send it to the other guys. They check it out and when we get together, we work on it until we think it’s finished. I’m hoping as we have more time to rehearse though that we can expand our ideas even further.
The indie rock scene is ever-evolving. Are there any emerging artists or bands from NYC or elsewhere that Glimmer draws inspiration from or looks up to?
There’s a huge heavy guitar/shoegaze scene in NYC right now that has so many great bands. MX Lonely, Velvet, Superbloom to name a few. It’s an awesome time to be in a band and honestly there’s so many good bands from all over the place at the moment. It’s inspiring to maybe be a small part of it.
Finally, beyond the milestones and accolades, what is the core message or emotion that Glimmer hopes to convey to its listeners through its music?
The vibe of our music and lyrics can sometimes be depressing, but overall I like to think there’s an underlying positivity there. I guess the core message is to try and be happy if you can.