New York indie/alternative band GLOM have been gaining more and more listeners with the recent release of their second studio album Merit. Contained in this album were catchy lyrics, smooth guitarwork, and elegant vocals; of which not only made the listener crave more, but also sounded just as astonishing from the first playthrough to the 45th. Consisting of members; Sean Dunnevant (guitar, bass, vocals), Peter Beiser (guitar, piano, vocals), Sahil Ansari (additional guitar, drums, auxiliary percussion, synthesizer), Jonathan Crandall (synthesizer, piano, auxiliary percussion), Jonathan Harwood (auxiliary percussion) and Jordan Wolfe (drums, auxiliary percussion, synthesizer), GLOM creates a sound unmatched by other artists in the same genre.
In a recent interview Sean Dunnevant discussed the creation of Merit, as well as the band's plans on releasing a new music video for the track "Matches," and an eventual vinyl release of the album. Featured below is the full written interview, or you can click here to listen to it. Be sure to check out Merit now streaming on all platforms.
2020 has been an intense year, are there any resolutions you're trying to maintain?
"Well, we released a new record, so now I'm just trying to write some more again."
We'll get into it later, but I saw that there was a possible Crocs sponsorship as well?
"It was kind of a funny thing about that, one of my friends runs a brand called 316 and he has been very supportive of us - he knew someone at Crocs the brand, and he sent them the record, and they sent us 22 pairs. With that said, 12 of them were by accident, but 10 of them were for us. They sent us a case of all light blue men's size 6. This was all by accident, I confirmed. The crocs they gave us didn't come in boxes, they were all loose – but this one was definitely intended to go to a store because they were all boxed up and in pairs. But they were like 'You can just keep them, just give them away.'"
I saw that you guys also have some attachments to the Crocs that spell GLOM.
"Yeah those are jibbitz. You can put them in the Croc holes. I have trouble keeping them in mine, and I don't if it's a size related issue. I have size 12 so the hole is kind of big, so they fall out almost every day. I don't want to lose them on the street or the train or anything like that."
Have you been into Crocs long?
"Yeah, I've been a huge fan of Crocs – I got a pair maybe three or four years ago and I wore them a lot, like everyday because they're so comfortable. I got them for a trip and I was going somewhere and I wanted something for the plane that I could slip on and off. I retired that pair when me and my partner moved to New York, and I didn't have any – then I bought some because I wanted to make a little music video for fun and then they ended up sending us a bunch of them. So now I have like three pairs of Crocs personally, which is the most I've ever had but it's kind of cool."
How did you come up with the band name GLOM? Does it stand for anything?
"Well so basically, so this won't really go into the origin story but like this will just go into the origin of the name. So when we started the band – when it was just me and Peter – I was reading a book called Meet Me in the Bathroom which was about the New York City music scene like the early 2000's. Like from 2001 to 2010 or so. There was a lot about the Strokes, and there was a quote in the book that was like, 'Even before they were a band, they would go to a bar, and people at the bar would glom onto them.' I read that and was like that's cool because in high school me and Peter and the other members of the band would play Strokes covers. We were looking for a name for the band for a long time, like for two years when we started the project. We started the project in 2013 or 2014 but didn't get serious with it until we got a name."
GLOM consists of six members total; including you, Peter Beisers, Sahil Ansari, Jonathan Crandall, Jonathan Harwood, and Jordan Wolfe. How did you guys all meet each other?
"So me, Peter, Sahil, and Jonathan all went to the same high school, all same age too, so we've known each other since middle school. We grew up together and are all the same age. We started playing music together probably around the 10th grade and fast forward a couple years later – I was in a touring regional East Coast band, like a reggae band – and that's how I met the other Jonathan because he was the keyboard player for that band. It's so confusing because at one point in time, everyone in GLOM besides Jordan was also in this reggae band for a little bit. Everyone was involved in that band at one point in time, and then when that band dissolved Peter and I started GLOM and we got the rest of them involved over time. Jordan also went to our high school, but he was a little younger than us; like he was a freshman when we were seniors."
Now this wasn't a New York high school from my understanding.
"It was in Maryland, in the D.C suburbs."
Would you say that Maryland is where the band is originally from, or would you prefer it would be New York?
"It's confusing because I definitely consider myself from Maryland, but the band was started here in New York for sure. We're all from the same area, take it for what you will but the band was started here."
Merit has a lot of groove to it. Do you think that everyone's involvement in the prior band has influenced the music you guys play in GLOM?
"I would probably say yes, but maybe not so much from that previous band. But it's music that all of us enjoy. I'm really influenced by – its hard to speak for everyone else in the group – but I'm really influenced by a certain era of music. It's all from the late '80s to '90s or so. Like D.C hardcore scene, a lot of those bands; Bad Brains and Fugazi. The post hardcore thing, a lot of it was more groovy than hardcore was, so it really plays a part in writing the songs and stuff. I wanted to emphasis in stuff that you can move along to. It also goes along with the fact that there was a certain period where I was really into the '80s Bruce Springsteen. Like Born to Run to Born in the USA, that era of Bruce that I was really obsessed with when we were writing the first GLOM record. Maybe you can hear it, I don't know, I don't know how to describe it because no one has really said it sounded groovy before, but rhythm plays a big part because four out of our six members were drummers."
Would you say Merit separates itself from the first LP Bond because of this Bruce Springsteen influence, or because of the punk influence?
"I think that the first record's overall vibe of it was more important than the songs, in my opinion. We were all listening to the War on Drugs that year, or the year before. So that has the vibe that we were trying to go for it in a way. I was more focused on vibe rather than songs, rather than Merit which was more songs. When the songs were in their demo phase it had more of a punk thing, a little more early emo vibe, like Rites of Spring, American Football, Captain Jazz, stuff like that. The songs were the same, but the sound that I wanted to go for when I was running those demos were more of a raw, aggressive, Mid-West sound. When Sahil records stuff it has his touch so it sounds the way that it does because of him, but the influence was through that early era of emo. You're the first person that's asked to talk about it, so it's tricky."
Six people is typically unseen in the indie music genre, how do you guys go about the songwriting process?
"It's tricky because Peter and I are the principle songwriters. So, the first one we were definitely writing more collaboratively, but on Merit I wrote nine of the songs, and he wrote one of them. But when you go into the studio it's a different situation because people start putting their touch on it and stuff. As far as lyrics, we help each other when we need it, but for the most part it was one of us doing the most of it and then getting the vibe."
You guys recently released a music video for the track "Fomo," "Crocs," and "Merit" what other tracks do you plan on making music videos for?
"Well the one that took the most effort was the 'Fomo' video, that one was really a project. But that's not to say, you know the 'Crocs' video was something that Peter and I were experimenting with for fun. The 'Merit' video – the guy who does a lot of art for us, his name is Raleigh – he made that drone video in like 2016, and then I put the lyrics on top of it. With that sense, whenever we get inspired, or uncover some footage that we can use then we'll do one. Ideally there would be 10 music videos, right now there's one more plan for 'Mint' but I don't know if it will work out or not. It depends on if there's another lock-down or not."
What are some of your ideas for the music video of "Mint?"
"One of the original ideas I had for the 'Mint' music video was like a live version of it. A little more stripped down, just drums and guitar. That's all it is on the recording, just drums and guitar, and then all the other stuff was laid on top of it. There's no bass on that song or anything, its kind of cool. Someone did a review of it, and I thought it was really funny because obviously I appreciate every piece of press that comes out for it, but all of the facts were a bit iffy on what they said. Like they said that the bass sounded really good, when there's no bass on it. They said that Peter was singing on it, but I was singing on it. At the same time, a lot of our life when we were playing in bands in high school and stuff, a lot of the time people confused our voices anyway, so that part wasn't as funny to me. But that no bass thing was just – just for me to be a little nerdy about that stuff."
Did you guys ever reach out to that writer and let them know?
"No, but what's funny about it was that our label, the team with us, they were the ones that pitched it, and I had sent them all the facts about it and they just went rogue. For me it was really funny, but I still really appreciate it so I'm not knocking it. Any press is good press."
What was the creation of the "Fomo" music video like?
"Just for a little reference, the rest of the band besides Johnathan lived in New York since like 2013 or 2014 for the most part. I was commuting up from Baltimore up to here every weekend to work on stuff. This was up until 2020, and the day we started filming for it was the day that my partner and I moved here. So that was the 29th of February, so what was crazy about it was that we started filming at that, that was the last GLOM show that night too. Then obviously all the COVID stuff happened like two weeks later, so that was another hurdle to start filming but it was also cool because Sahil was able to get a lot of really unique footage of the city because no one was around. So you could get really cool shots of the streets being completely empty and stuff like that. That was also when people didn't know anything, or what to be doing. So a lot of that footage was for people who he had baked bread for. So a lot of that footage is driving to deliver that bread, so that footage is us delivering bread. With that said the footage of it came out really nice because his vision was to have all of our friends in the video, we didn't get all of them but we got some of them because some people left, or weren't down to be in it. Another hurdle was trying to get the Super 8 developed because it was hard because a lot of the stuff here was closed at the time, so we were looking into getting it developed or scanned in the West Coast, but it was way more expensive. But we found a place over here that was decently priced and so we walked it over and dropped it off. Then that was that and the video came out really well. I really enjoy it. Its interesting because that piece – or all the GLOM stuff – is mostly for us, just to keep prosperity sake, or to just have a record of all our friends and stuff. Even the music, it's us to listen to and I can be like, 'Oh I can remember when we recorded this this was a lot of fun.' It's cool that people are liking it too. I feel like if you're making it for yourself, it works out because realistically speaking when we first started GLOM, we made music that I would want to listen to myself, so if people hear the demos that will probably never surface, they were pretty much just for us, but they became what they are now. The Merit demos there's definitely a greater chance of them coming out soon, but then the problem is a lot of them are really really similar to the final version. Like the 'Fomo' one is like 75% identical to the demo. When I made all the demos myself, that's exactly what the real version of it sounds like. Sahil wanted to keep it pretty true to what the original idea was. But then again some of them are way different, like the 'Merit' demo is just an acoustic guitar, that one's cool I like that one."
The album artwork for Merit was created by Rachel Hayden and shows a pink and blue moon with a rather neutral face on it. Where did the inspiration for this artwork come from?
"Well for a reveal, Rachel Hayden is my girlfriend. I had always wanted to use some of her art as the record – and everyone in the band wanted to as well. When we were recording it I had an idea for it basically using a line drawing she had done, but then once the lockdown happened we had a lot more time to really start messing around with more stuff. So there was a lot of back and forth, but when we finally decided on this one it was really deep in the archives. That painting that she had done was four or five years old and she didn't have it anymore because someone had bought it. So we had to use a photo that she took of it from 2014 or 2015."
Did she create the artwork for the singles as well?
"Yes, that was a little bit more of a cut and paste situation. All of those faces were in one painting, and then we designed it from there by cutting them out. That's another one that was from a set a couple years ago, so it was harder to get a higher quality for it because its not there anymore. I think it looks good."
Do you think that she will be designing the artwork for GLOM's third LP?
"I would say so because she has been able to make a lot of, that's been what she's been working on mostly, just painting the last six months. So the new stuff is really cool and will really fits with the next record, or the next music. But we're hopeful because sometimes something else will strike. I really like the idea of using photographs of living things, but at the same time, I think that by using her artwork has been going really well, it really fits the brand of GLOM right now. Right now the struggle is working on the new songs."
What current artists are you guys musically influenced by?
"I think that what's weird about it is that from a songwriting standpoint is that I don't really listen to a lot of music in general, which is kind of weird. I think it's pretty interesting when coincidentally I hear something newer, or a playlist that a GLOM song is on, I think, 'Oh wow, this is kind of interesting, this has a similar feel.' But I think a lot of that has to do with production techniques and trends that are currently popular, which isn't knocking anything, but it's weird. People have said that about this record, that there are influences in it, but it must be subconscious."
What artists would you like to tour with once COVID is over?
"I really like Slow Pulp and Big Thief, but at the same time I don't really see GLOM and Big Thief being similar musically. But I mean there's definitely a collective consciousness because it's all looped into the same era. Beyond that I really like The War on Drugs, Beach Fossils, like the 2010s era of music. At the same time if someone asked us to do a tour, we'll do it."
Did you guys get any notice before the last GLOM show ended?
"No, we had no idea that it was going to happen. What's weird about it is that I remember January of 2020 we went to LA, and I remember in the airport that a lot of people were being more cautious. Then when we came back to the East Coast it wasn't as bad, no one thought it was going to happen. We played a show and then the next week we were looking for jobs, and then I got a job and my first day of work started on the 15th of March, and then New York shut down on the 16th. So, at my training at the job they sent out an email saying that they were closing for two weeks. It was pretty crazy. We had two shows booked in April at the Mercury Lounge in New York which was going to be pretty cool, we even had a show booked with Boyish and I was really excited for it and that obviously didn't happen. So maybe it will get rescheduled for 2022. Johnathan still lives in D.C so I haven't seen him since February."
How do you guys have band practice?
"We don't, the whole band hasn't been in the same place since probably – we recorded something for Jordan that he was working with and he released a single– and we haven't been all in the same place since June."
Can listeners assume that there won't be any GLOM live stream shows?
"Not with the full band. What's ironic about it is that with there being six people in the group, it's kind of sketchy to all be in the same place. We did a couple livestreams with me, Peter, and Sahil. Those were fun, but we haven't done one of those in a minute. Another band from New York asked us to do a fundraiser video, it will be a live video, but it will just be me and Peter. I had a vision to do something a little more stripped down. I wanted to make it like those Radiohead videos of Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke playing, just the two of them with the drum machine and I was like, 'We could do that! That would be really fun.' So maybe it will be like that, but it won't be three people. The problem with it is that I have these ideas for stuff and they don't necessarily work out. For example I am a little more cynical with this kind of thing. With the 'Crocs' video, I don't think people like it as much as I do. But then the people that do like it, are the same people who have the same sense of humor as me. There's a show called Nathan for You and How To with John Wilson which was released this year, so I wanted to make a music video that was like that. I don't think the YouTube algorithm or whatever – it didn't help people like it. Which was fine. Sometimes stuff is a sleeper hit. There will also be a 'Matches' music video! That was a real effort, Raleigh did a great job on that. The promo footage on Instagram of that is from that video, so you can see that, it's a little taste of what it'll look like."
When do you think the "Matches" music video will come out?
"Jake and Matt from La Reserve, the label, are pitching it to blogs to see if anyone wants to premier it on their website. Hopefully March or so, we're planning on releasing new music in March or April, it'll be singles but there will be an EP, but time restraints are a little weird because Sahil is building a new studio, so that will be a little bit. Definitely by the summer though, like 2021 there will be two songs out. You can honestly hear them out now because they're on our Bandcamp and we put it out for a fundraiser. But there will be new versions of them, and then there's also some new songs. But we'll see, everything I'm saying right now is very tentative because at the same time, we still have to promote Merit, but we'll see."
In an interview with When I Make It To LA, you mentioned that you felt like you were in a "pretty serious lull" creatively. What do you do to break yourself out of that lull?
"I forgot about that interview, you did your homework. It's tricky because a lot of the time – I don't want to say this for everyone – but sometimes you just have to buy a new guitar. Just look at the facts here, I bought a new guitar in March of 2019 and I wrote half of Merit that week with that guitar. And having that lull and not moving, not having money, I feel like a lot of my inspiration comes from the instrument. Lucky enough, through my job I met this guy called the Doctor who hooked me up with a new guitar the other day. It's pretty nice. So yeah, I'd say that I got out of the lull – I can't speak for Peter because he's been writing some songs, I don't think the instrument has to do with his lull – but for me I think the lull has been broken for now. It comes and goes, I haven't been as productive musically as I was in 2019 so right now there are only three or four songs that I'm working on right now, maybe five. So we'll see."
What are you guys looking forward to in 2021?
"Well it would it be cool to play another show, I'm not banking on it though, but maybe. New York in the summer was in a good spot with number of cases and stuff like that, but then it got cold really quick in September. I think what we were going to do was play a show in the park, like drop a pin, we play a show at a park in Brooklyn. People were doing that, there was a lot of jazz going on in the park. One of the sickest ones I saw was in August, they had amps and everything and there was a full on Grateful Dead cover band. Peter and I were playing on Sahil's studio room almost every week and record little acoustic videos for our sake, so maybe we'll do something like that. I just think it's tricky to play a show with people there in a tighter spot, that's why I think playing in the park would be fun. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone together."
You gave a sneak peak at a vinyl release for Merit two week via an Instagram story. What variants of the record can listeners expect to see?
"The test hasn't even shown up yet, so I'm waiting on them. I want to do a pink vinyl which is an option – or yellow, yellow would be cool. It's definitely going to be at least black. We've never done vinyl before so I want to see how the press works. We're putting them out ourselves, we have to try to generate venue somehow because you don't get enough through streaming. We're also going to do a t-shirt run too with the cover art on it, and tote bags to go with the vinyl. So it'll be a little bundle potentially, it's just really hard to get the merch because places are staffed at half capacity, or there are delays. To be perfectly honest we have our friend Sam with clothes through Slow Process, that's his brand, he made tote bags with us and we finished it in April but we can't find anyone to print them. The t-shirts are a little easier because it's a shirt, but then shipping them out again, it's just tricky."
What is your favorite track on the new album and why?
"Everyone in the group has a different answer, but I'm going to say 'Matches' and what's funny about it is that when we finished the record – between November and January when we were mixing it – full disclosure I wrote 'Matches' in like 2018 and 'Matches' was going to be on Bond but it ended up being too late. I never thought of that one as a single, I always thought it was more of a throwaway song so when that one was done I was really into it, but I thought that there was no point in releasing this as a single because the guitar solo is like three quarters of the song. But the label really pushed for that to be the single, obviously it worked out because that one got a lot of positive feedback. But yeah, I would say 'Matches' and then there are other days when I listen to 'Wash' and I really like that one. Then there are other days that other songs have their huge moments where I'm like, 'Wow, 'Fire' sounds really good today.'"
If you were trapped on a desert island and could only listen to one album, what would it be?
"If you asked me that question five years ago I would've said Abbey Road by the Beatles because I was really into that record for a long time, like most of my life. My dad was a huge Beatles fan so I grew up listening to the Beatles. Another fun fact, the original four members, Peter, Sahil, me and Jonathan were in a Beatles cover band for a couple years. That's how me made money back in the day. I was the Paul McCartney and then Peter was the John Lennon, so he would do the John parts and I would sing the Paul parts. But now I would say probably A Deeper Understanding by the War on Drugs, or my number one record of all time is Rather Ripped by Sonic Youth because I could listen to that one everyday if I needed to."
Any announcements or people you'd like to shout out?
"I'd like to shout out all the people who made it possible for us. Jake and Matt, Rachel, everyone in the band, everyone at Self Edge where I work. Also the whole music group in Baltimore, there's a lot to name but they're there supporting since day one. As far as announcing anything, there's nothing really to announce, 'Matches' music video one day, vinyl one day, tote bags one day, and new music one day."