The Flannelmouth Sessions: Glass Lux
There’s a unique dynamic incorporated in the electronic music of Glass Lux. The melodies are often up-beat and catchy, inspired by the mainstream-pop hits singer Emily Morse karaoked to as a child. Combined with drummer Alfonso Mayen’s old-school beats and heavy 80s synth elements, their music is infectious; and as the crowd surrounding the Lincoln Hall stage proves, impossible not to move to. However, the lyrics are mystic and abstract, becoming even more haunting through Glass Lux’s live performance.
"I didn’t want to write anything that was romantic, because I wanted to relate in a weird way. I read a lot of fairy tales and am really interested in the darker side (of fairy tales). It’s fucked up and I like that,” says Emily explaining the inspiration behind the dark themed lyrics.
Although there are only two members (plus a third rotating musician used for live shows) Glass Lux has a bold presence that is able to fill the stage. They are not shy characters, neither on stage, shamelessly loosing themselves in their performance; nor in the studio as they kickback with champagne and beer, energetically speaking with everyone at Studio 11.
The studio space where the band currently records, located in Chicago’s River North, is a psychedelic maze of mix-matched furniture and knickknacks. There is a dark, yet welcoming vibe, fitting of the energy of Glass Lux. It’s no surprise the band has chosen to settle in Studio 11’s creative space as it correlates well with the group’s inspiration and diverse musical influences.
Both musicians were surrounded by various influences during their youth that have played a part in the creation of Glass Lux. Alfonso, growing up in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, was raised in a musical family with a father who always kept a guitar in the house. Alfonso’s journey started on guitar, but later turned to the drums after his early metal band was unable to find a drummer. From there, Alfonso explored many styles and genres with different bands.
“”I love death metal drumming with the double bass petal break downs and shit. I also love techno and hip hop, but Glass Lux is defiantly a way to express my love for synth pop,” says Alfonso, who aside from playing with Glass Lux, also drums with another band called Perfect Kiss.
Emily got her start in music doing karaoke. Even though she enjoyed the sounds of classic rockers such as Led Zeppelin and Heart, Emily often sang to Top 40 hits, which she credits to the development of Glass Lux’s catchy melodies. Emily continued to sing in high school choirs and performed with pop/punk bands at talent shows and other competitions.
The two crossed paths in the fall of 2014 at Debonair Social Club shortly after Emily’s move to Chicago from Michigan. Through a networking of Facebook friends, Emily was able to contact Alfonso and within 48 hours, Glass Lux formed and put together their first and most popular single, “I’m a Machine”.
As the band is not yet a full time gig for either artist, both have taken an active role over the last four years in not only crafting great music, but also picking up the ropes of the trade from a business standpoint as they navigate the music landscape.
“”I feel like it took us a bit to get our shit together and get serious. We were making music and didn’t really know the business side of everything,” says Emily as her and Alfonso reminisce on the obstacles of Glass Lux’s career, specially the struggles of live shows early on.
"Our early shows were me on the synth and [Emily] singing," says Alfonso who felt the dependence on playbacks took away from their performance. In order for the band to get a richer sound, they decided upon adding a third musician to play synth for live shows, freeing up Alfonso to do live drum work. “We wouldn’t be opposed to adding a fourth or fifth person down the road,” says Alfonso.
Glass Lux’s current focus is on playing live shows during the summer months. Following some local Chicago shows, such as a performance at the Soho House on August 18th, the band will be venturing out on a mini east coast tour. Like any band working to make a career of their art, Glass Lux has established long term goals which they hope to achieve in the near future. Aside from being signed to a label, Glass Lux hopes to continue playing quality shows and eventually gain the opportunity to tour with larger bands.
The future seems bright, and Alfonso speaks with hope. “We like to try new things, play it by ear and see where the wind takes us.”