By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Described as “a mix of indie-folk, orchestral arrangements and well-crafted acoustic songwriting,” you’ll find plenty to like on Glenn Echo’s upcoming 12-track debut album, ‘Fixed Memory,’ due out Oct. 15, 2021.
The project, launched in 2015 by N.Y.-based multi-instrumentalist Matt Gaydar, was named after the street he grew up on and is sonically comparable to the likes of Big Thief, The Books and John Luther Adams.
For ‘Fixed Memory,’ he enlisted the help of producer-engineer Peter Brownlee, which helped Gaydar realize his vision for the album was to showcase the strong correlation between music and memories, a glimpse of which can be heard in the single “Drink Up This Fire.”
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with him about ‘Fixed Memory’ and more.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Glenn Echo – This is the million-dollar question and I guess overall, I think the answer still remains to be seen. I think it might hurt the actual creation of art, something that I think takes a lot of time, space and focus. From what I’ve experienced, social media actively changes my brain to crave instant gratification and continued stimulation, things that often are opposed to the process of creating. I find myself having to make a more regimented schedule for both art making and social media in order to not have my time dominated by scrolling. It also has become a signifier of professionalism and popularity, for any number of mediums. Many venues and people in the music industry use social media metrics as a tool to judge the worth of someone’s art. I disagree that social media presence and reach has anything to do with the quality of the art itself. Because being an artist in late-stage capitalism basically forces you to be a small business owner, social media ends up playing a kind of outsized role, but I will say it can be an amazing tool to connect to listeners and other artists.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Glenn Echo – Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced me to cancel two different tours I had set up. Last April, Glenn Echo was going to go out with a full band with Eliza Edens on her album release tour and then recently, I have decided to postpone a little national month-long tour in October for my album release due to the rate of spread of the Delta variant. This latest postponement has been the hardest, because this time around, it has been more up to artists to make decisions about public health, cancelling shows, requiring masks and vaccination proofs, etc. and it puts us in a difficult position. I want to be playing shows, but it would be absolutely heartbreaking if anyone in attendance contracted Covid.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Glenn Echo – I usually venture outside, going for a nice long hike or doing some work in my garden. It really is an important daily practice to get my hands in the soil and/or get deep into a trail. It has become a method for me to step away from the digital world and just be.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Glenn Echo – I have been coming back to a number of albums in the past couple months – Michael Nau’s ‘Mowing,’ SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE’s ‘ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH,’ Slauson Malone’s ‘A Quiet Farwell, 2016-2018’ and ‘Vergangenheitsbewältigung’ from Crater Speak and Ahmad Jamal’s ‘At The Pershing: But Not For Me.’ I’m also super excited for James Blake’s new album.
Music Bugle – What’s something that you wish happened less in today’s music industry?
Glenn Echo – I wish there was less of a rush to be constantly making new “content” in the music industry today. With streaming services and social media, as an artist, you have to release things consistently non-stop to “stay relevant.” In the past, it seemed like artists were more able to really take their time creating. Of course, there have been plenty of prolific, super-productive artists forever, but it seems like there used to be more space for the process. Nowadays, everything is pressured to keep up with the algorithm and this sense of urgency and I wish there could be some space given to artists to make something they are really proud of, even if it takes more time.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Glenn Echo – I’ve always liked this James Blake quote I read and wrote down in 2016, although I can’t remember where I originally read it – “I realized that when it comes to making music, it wasn’t important whether I was happy or sad – it’s about sensitivity and your reaction to the world.” I love this idea that songwriting and creating music, or any art, is about tuning in to a deep sensitivity of whatever feeling inspires you. I think that’s where true genuine art comes from.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your latest material?
Glenn Echo – This album is my debut! I mean, I’ve been making music and even full albums for over 10 years, both under my own name and as Glenn Echo, but I consider this to be my first serious piece I want to put out there into the world as my official debut album. Hopefully, it will introduce folks to what Glenn Echo is about and create a solid foundation for further experimentation and growth.
Music Bugle – What was the moment that made you want to become a musician?
Glenn Echo – I have been playing music since I was really young, starting with piano, then clarinet in school, but I’ve been drawn most to the guitar since I was 10 and it has always been a natural communicative style for my expression.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Glenn Echo – I come from a suburb outside of Boston, where I am proud and grateful to have developed a deep relationship with being outside, because I would seek that out. I grew up next to a cemetery and pond, so it was easy to go for walks out there and develop being comfortable in that much space. Similarly, I worked for seven years at a landscaping company as a young person, which led me to work at farms after that and that really solidified my love for plants and working with nature.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for by the end of 2021?
Glenn Echo – By the end of 2021, I hope to have a lot more music recorded and mapped out for the second Glenn Echo LP. I have written a lot of new songs this year and am itching to get in to the studio with them. Would love to get the next album out by 2022.