He Aint Heavy: An Interview With NYC's Glaser Brothers
Understandably, New York City's customarily hearty music scene was hit, hit square and hard during the pandemic and, although there is a reopening plan in place, it's fairly complex for some of The Glaser Brothers' favoured haunts to reclaim their original mojo they took moons to establish. "Over time, we have played almost all of the venues downtown and in Brooklyn, so to see them all shuttered for so long has been difficult," Jordan admits as I listen to him and sibling Justin to study their nucleus.
"We are hoping that they can reopen fully soon because people are itching to see live music at full scale. Frankly, there are tons of illegal underground rave type parties happening, so it's a bit frustrating not to be able to play live when I see what's going on, but I'm sure we'll be back on stage very soon." The main idea is to dip their toe in the water through cute acoustic shows in the coming weeks placed at outdoor venues, tentatively claiming live music back to its rightful owner. Weather permitting, we guess.
Witnessing that tight brotherly bond, I enquire about the twosome's childhood and for a musical memory etched in their minds. Justin treasures the fact that they were bathed in melody from a young age, adoration from both, but it was a coming-of-age occasion as experimental teens that strikes gold. "So we have been playing together since we were little kids, but I'd say high school was the time we started to perform in public."
There was one year that we decided to play the Allman Brothers song, Jessica, with a band we put together in front of the whole school. I played the full piano part and solo, and Jordan played the full guitar part. It was really the first time we played at capacity with each other in front of a pretty large audience. The video lives somewhere on YouTube!" he laughs of the notion.
Heavyweights Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Dave Matthews Band were on constant repeat in their household; Jordan decides whether the rock 'n' roll gods they worshipped when finding their way as young men can be interpreted in the music they compose today? "I think we had big phases with each of those bands as we progressed musically and learned to jam with each other on their songs. As we got older, our tastes started to expand individually, so I think our songs reflect a bit of our teenage love of those bands, but also some of the bands we listen to more now."
Debut album For Future Reference flits breezily between synth-pop, piano ballads, and indie vibrations. I ponder whether this design was rooted from the outset, or an organic development, enveloping their comfortableness in bouncing ideas off one another, free from judgement with permission for honesty? "For Future Reference is a collection of songs that we had been playing together for a few years acoustically."
"Once we went into the studio, the sounds, instruments, and layers started to naturally build on the tracks during production based on how the songs felt to us jamming on them for years." Justin clarifies selecting imagery, "Think of it like, you're a kid given a black and white picture, and you have to colour in the lines. We essentially coloured in our own black and white pictures during the recording process."
Jordan chooses a track that he holds aloft and that their nearest and dearest feel a singular pull towards if pushed. 'Best For You is one of our favourite songs to play. I love Justin's writing on this song. And being able to sing the lyrics always has the same passionate effect for me. I think our family has been supportive of all of our music and tries not to pick favourites, but Best For You has the most streams on Spotify, so make of that what you will," he chuckles.
Holding tremendous gratitude, Justin heard phrases and moments from their sonic past brought to consciousness and immortalised in their record, and- between the performing pair- the lads manage all instruments."We play everything between the two of us in the studio. I play all of the key and synth parts, and Jordan does the drums, guitar, bass and most of the vocals. I do some harmonies as well."
The recording process was a joy of plain sailing: "Watching our songs come to life was one of the most satisfying feelings. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to bring our art to life and share it with the world," he closes with a firm nod.
Glaser Brothers, like the masses, utilised social media to its full potential to touch base with listeners last year but greet the reintroduction of much missed physical and atmospherical connection. For Jordan and his brother, it is full steam ahead, no stopping. "We performed the album in its entirety a few times on Instagram Live during Covid but are now in rehearsals to get it ready for live performances in front of actual people. We are hoping to announce some shows in NYC soon." Expect the release of unheard recordings in the upcoming months. "We have a lot of exciting things in the works and can't wait to share them. We are not slowing down."
Article by Beverley Knight