“WORDS: CALLUM HURST
Illusive, mysterious, ghostly, are all words that have been used to describe Long Island’s Post-Hardcore veterans, Glassjaw over the last fifteen years. Cast your minds back sixteen years to the distant past of 2002, things were very different. Music was in a very different place, Nu-Metal was on it’s way out, the rise of the modern pop star was taking place as rock music started to be forgotten. Somewhere in the midst of this, Glassjaw released their second full length, Worship and Tribute, which aside from two low-key released EPs would be the bands biggest musical output for the next fifteen years.
Fast forward to the recent past of December 2017, at long last Glassjaw dropped their third full length Material Control, their first full length in fifteen years. We caught up with vocalist Daryl Palumbo and guitarist Justin Beck to talk all things Material Control, as well as how it feels to bring one of the world’s biggest cult bands back to life.
“after so many years THUS has been a slightly different and perhaps more notable experience.” – daryll palumbo
“It’s exciting to put this new release out.” Comments Palumbo. “We’ve been a fully functioning band for quite a while, although having a full length after so many years has been a slightly different and perhaps more notable experience.” It feels as though the band somewhat have an idea of the impact that this record has on the wider scene as a whole. To have Glassjaw exist in the capacity that they currently do, alongside bands that they have played a huge part in influencing is something that can only feel special. Almost as if the post-hardcore lifecycle has come full circle.
This album feels like it has been one of this scene’s most hungered-after releases since the release of Worship and Tribute back in 2002. When asked about whether the band were aware of the anticipation surrounding Material Control, Palumbo replies, “The reception was more enthusiastic than I think we were anticipating. Although people like things for a short amount of time than typically cool off a bit, so we’ll see about the hype.” Frustratingly, Palumbo’s take on the disposable nature of this scene is all too real. With the rise of streaming culture, music is certainly a commodity that has become less viable as the years have passed. However, with a record of the calibre of Material Control, Glassjaw still feel vital and certainly demand your attention.
“it was a return to some of our original concepts and sonics…”
Currently, we live in a very fortunate time. So many ‘cult’ bands from the early naughties have made strong comebacks, with the likes of At the Drive-In and Refused reuniting. However, where do Glassjaw fit in? It’s not as if they completely vanished for 15 years. Palumbo, Beck and co. still had a recorded output, with the release of the two hugely underrated EPs, Our Color Green and the slightly off kilter Coloring Book. However, they still felt slightly more unattainable than their fellow post-hardcore counterparts that had disbanded entirely. “I think we thought of the sound on the new record as a return to some of our original concepts and sonics.” Reflects Palumbo. “That might be where the sound feels so different to some people.” There’s a whole generation of kids who have grown up in a Glassjaw-less world, this sound is completely different to some of the more popular corners of alternative music today, it’s nothing like they’ve heard before.
Although it was somewhat surprising that this record even saw the light of day at all, possibly the biggest surprise was the inclusion of the Dillinger Escape Plan’s Billy Rymer behind the kit. Beck reflects, “ Billy didn’t influence our writing style as much as he allowed us to execute the parts as expected and then some. In the past, I’d always be changing parts to accommodate any which drummer on deck, with Billy our parts where child’s play for him and it gave us the liberty to drive it home. That said, he did influence the end result of the record. He’s an amazing drummer and he’s got great energy and vibe which keeps it technical and gully at the same time.”
Throughout the band’s career, they have experienced several bouts of inactivity. Be it down to Palumbo’s debilitating bouts of Crohn’s Disease, or the numerous lineup changes that the band has gone through, Glassjaw have often checked in and out as they pleased. “Why breakup? Why take it there?” States guitarist Justin Beck. “Glassjaw is a fun hobby that a few people happen to fuck with and since it doesn’t really operate on a fiscal calendar, doesn’t report to a board it has freedoms to come and go as it pleases. Glassjaw is a free spirit, she does what she wants. No need to quarantine her and make it official.”
“Glassjaw is a fun hobby that a few people happen to fuck with.” – JUSTIN BECK
For Glassjaw, the whole operation has always felt incredibly DIY. Be it coming from the Long Island hardcore scene, or the time period into which the band was birthed, the heart of Glassjaw’s operation has always felt incredibly self-made. “We’ve always done our own marketing since jump, this is something we enjoy doing. Try to connect with the people who care.” States Beck. It’s this self awareness that makes Glassjaw still feel so special. In an era where 90’s revival is rife, these guys have continued to push what gave them so much credence in the first place. Moreover, with the tide changing in the music industry, it takes true gall for a band of this size in order to employ such a headstrong DIY attitude.
The bands relationship with the United Kingdom has always thrived. Be it the fabled Brixton sellout on 7/7/7 or this years Arctangent headliner, Glassjaw have always felt at home in the UK, rather than their native United States. “Our relationship with the UK is very dear to us. It was the first place to welcome us with such open arms when we were younger. Our first UK show was with the Deftones almost 20 years ago and it’s still one of our fondest live memories. Coming over the UK is always a special thing for us.” States Palumbo.
Glassjaw are to rock music like bees are to the environment. You never tend to notice much while they’re there, but when they’re gone, the affect can be catastrophic. We are incredibly lucky to be living in a period of time where so many great bands from the early naughties have made incredibly strong comebacks and after all this time, Palumbo and Beck are still sitting on their thrones as the kings of Post-Hardcore.