Glass Pony Talks New Studio Album, Life During Lockdown and Big Things For The Fall
Photo: Frankie Cavone
It’s been a summer of perseverance, productivity, and steady growth for up-and coming Delmar, New York rockers, Glass Pony. Always sure to turn heads with their explosive live show, recent months have seen the exciting young band comprised of Eddie Hotaling(vocals/guitar), Greg Pittz (lead guitar), Jeff Picarazzi (bass) and Chanda Dewey (Drums) play to their biggest audiences yet, christen new stages across the state, and finish the recording of their self-produced sophomore studio album. Fresh off a pair of hometown gigs, Mirth Films caught up with frontman Eddie Hotaling for an exclusive peak inside the “psychedelic groove circus’ to find out what makes Glass Pony one of the Capital Region’s most buzz worthy bands.
Mirth Films: How did life during lockdown affect Glass Pony? Are you able to describe what it’s like playing again after so long and how’s it been going so far?
Eddie Hotaling: Getting back to playing shows regularly is an amazing feeling. It’s still tough because we aren’t out of the woods yet, so things aren’t quite the same as before, but I’m incredibly grateful to be able to play in front of people again. It’s been going well. We’re getting ourselves into venues that we’ve never played before and getting ourselves in front of new audiences which has been cool. Lockdown was tough for us. We were just starting to book shows out of the area. We had dates coming up in Vermont, New Jersey and other places we’d never played and they all got cancelled, so that kind of slowed down this great momentum we had been building.
MF: Did you write any new music during that time?
EH: Not as much as I would have liked to, but it was a strange time and you can’t force songwriting. My favorite thing I wrote was a song about living in lockdown called “Bottom of the Ocean”. We were also able to record an album during that time, so that was a great experience that came out of it for us.
MF: How far along is the new album and who did you record with?
EH: The new album is almost finished. Everything is recorded, we’re in the final mixing stage now so it shouldn’t be much longer. It’s a slow process because we produce it all ourselves. I’m mixing it, but with the world picking up again, it’s taking me longer to finish than I had hoped. But, we’re excited to get it out there.
MF: How would you describe your live shows to someone who’s never been? Who are some of your main musical influences?
EH: Our live shows tend to be a mix of high energy rock moments and long, exploratory improv. It’s my personal philosophy that a song and a jam should provide different things to the listener. I think it all starts with a good song that makes you think or feel or just puts you in touch with something bigger or deeper and then in the live setting, you can let that song go wherever it wants to and it can develop a second personality that’s molded by the moment. We also try to make all of our shows different. Collectively, Phish is our biggest influence. But, we don’t sound anything like them. It’s more of a creative influence than a stylistic one. What I love about our band is that we all have that in common, we’re all huge Phish fans, but then we all have very diverse tastes beyond that. Personally, my biggest influence is Conor Oberst. I love how diverse all of his musical projects are while always being rooted in absolutely incredible songwriting. His band Bright Eyes is a huge influence, not only because of him, but because of Mike Mogis’ production as well. Other than that, I’m very influenced by indie artists like Neutral Milk Hotel and 90’s rock like Radiohead, particularly from The Bends era.
MF: In some circles, the term “jam band” seems to have a negative stigma attached to it. Why do you think that is and do you consider Glass Pony a “jam band?”
EH: I absolutely consider Glass Pony a jam band. We improvise a lot, but there can definitely be a negative stigma attached to the term. I think some people tend to think of jam band music as just directionless noodling or soloing. And honestly, sometimes it can be. But I think the people who are drawn to it know that there’s something bigger going on and that exploratory improv can lead you somewhere very special if you allow it to and trust it to. Sometimes it doesn’t but that’s part of the journey and that’s why someone may see a moment that’s not quite full of inspiration and write it off as noodling or self indulgence. I think a lot of people understand that that type of musical experience isn’t interesting to everyone and that’s ok. I also don’t really consider “jam band” a genre or style but more as an approach. If you listened to our songs, I don’t think the first thing that would come to mind is “jam band,” but we are because we jam on those songs.
Photo: Frankie Cavone
MF: You’ve been known to really let yourself go during live shows, sometimes even jumping off stage and performing from the crowd. Which songs in your repertoire get you the most excited and have you ever gone ‘full Cobain’ with a stage dive?
EH: Haha I’ve never had a full stage dive, not sure I could pull that off. I feel very comfortable letting go on stage, It allows me to feel more connected to the moment I think. I am a very introverted person, so my way of connecting to people is through music. I think the stage gives me a little bit of a bubble to live in while allowing myself to be somewhat vulnerable in sharing the experience of the art we’re making. And also, it’s rock music. A rock show should be fun. I think I tend to jump off stage on the high energy, type I kind of songs like “Something Good,” where those guys are shredding and the energy is just through the roof.
MF: It was a pretty mixed crowd at your last Swifty’s show. What’s it like playing in front of your hometown and how has the support been?
EH: Swifty’s is definitely a cool experience for us. We played our first open mic there before Glass Pony even had a name. It’s a hometown show for sure. Delmar has a ton of live music fans, a lot of Deadheads and Phish fans and just a lot of people with a deep appreciation for all sorts of live music, so I think that’s why the crowd is so mixed. It’s not just fans of ours coming out, it’s other local folks who just really like live music too. We’re from the Albany, NY area and the music scene is amazing. There are so many incredible artists with a huge range of sounds that just keep putting out great music and putting on awesome shows.
MF: What can fans expect from Glass Pony as we head into the fall? Any touring plans or upcoming festivals we can catch you at?
EH: Heading into the fall you can keep an eye out for our new album and a release show for that when we finally get a release date. We’ll keep playing all over- we’ll be up at Putnam Place in Saratoga with Groovestick, we’re heading up north for a weekend in October where we’ll be at Orlando’s in Burlington, VT on a Friday night and the Monopole in Plattsburgh, NY the next night. We’ll be at Magic Forest Fest in Coeyman’s Hollow, NY in September and FlyDay Music Festival in East Durham, NY in October. Keep an eye out for some other exciting announcements as well! The next shows we have coming up are Thurs 8/26 at The Linda in Albany and Fri 8/27 at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown.