We spoke to the former Crystal Castles frontwoman about shoplifting CDs, Trump's presidency, and her long-awaited solo album.
Artwork by Harry Gassel
On July 17, 2015, Alice Glass shared her first solo single "Stillbirth," accompanied by a powerful statement from the former Crystal Castles frontwoman about "an abusive relationship that started when I was a teenager." Co-written and produced by ex-HEALTH member Jupiter Keyes, the track was a bared-teeth confessional which saw the Canadian singer cutting through buzzsaw synths and industrial percussion with striking lyrical clarity.
While she's been musically quiet since—only dropping tantalizing hints about her long-awaited debut album in a rare handful of interviews—Glass has been anything but silent when it comes to raising awareness about political and social issues including the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, Donald Trump's administration, and sexism in the music industry. Last year, she was also recruited for fashion designer Alexander Wang's fall campaign, and has been hard at work in the studio on the upcoming LP. Of her new material, she told THUMP over email, "Some songs sound more like being eaten by fire ants and some songs are like being slowly consumed by a snake."
In the meantime, the singer's turned in what might possibly be our most eclectic THUMP Mix to date, drawing largely on the songs she's had in heavy rotation recently. This includes Veracom's excellent chopped and screwed edit of Future's "Turn off the Lights," a double shot of 60s Singapore pop band the Quests, and plenty of goth rock and black metal.
Stream the mix below, download it via WeTransfer, and read our conversation with Glass about teenage shoplifting, self-care tips, and more.
THUMP: Where did you record the mix? What's the perfect setting for listening to it?
Alice Glass: I recorded this is my bedroom while it was raining. In your room doing repetitive household chores. Things like brushing your teeth until your gums bleed or filing your nails down too far.
Is synesthesia a real thing and if so, what color is this mix?
Snow over trash bags.
You put Future's "Turn on the Lights" on here, which in my opinion is one of the best love songs of the last few years. How did you discover the song?
I'm not sure! I really love how his voice sounds in the chorus.
Am I correct in assuming some of the songs on here was music you listened to growing up? What's the most recent discovery?
Yes! I shoplifted the Lurkers CD when I was about 14. It's probably the most happy record I have. I named one of my dogs, Shadow, after that song. This is mostly music I've had with me for awhile and this mix just fits the mood I've been in lately.
You've been vocal about your experiences being in abusive environments in the past, can you talk a little bit about the importance of artists speaking out on different issues in light of Trump's presidency?
We're living in a different climate since Trump got into office. Pathological lying has been normalized and vulnerable groups of people are afraid of losing their rights. I feel like we are all at risk of losing certain rights. It's been an overwhelming month and everyday is something new, some new fucked up story surrounding Trump or his administration. It's causing people a lot of anxiety, but we can't let ourselves just accept this.
It's really important that artists be outspoken. We need to know that other people out there that we feel a connection to also aren't okay with what's happening. It gives us a feeling of community and hope when our contemporaries and people we admire speak out for what is right. A lot of people on the other side are criticizing artists for being vocal, but that's just a strategy to silence us. People in the arts and entertainment industry have a lot of influence to help progressive ideas gain strength.
What sort of tips would you give to people who might feel emotionally or mentally defeated by the political state of the world right now? How do you practice self-care?
We're only a little over a month into this presidency and it's already really fucking stressful seeing all the things that this administration is trying to do. Honestly, I've been struggling with it a lot. We need to stay aware of what's happening, but it's exhausting, and personally some of what I'm seeing reminds me of my previous bad situation.
I'm just trying to find positive distractions, immersing myself in the things I like to do like petting cats and dogs and reading the same books over and over.
In a previous interview, you described your solo album as sounding like "a kitten eating their hoarding owners as they die," is that still the overall vibe?
Yes! That's how the record feels to me. I knew how I wanted things to sound early on, sinister and sweet, but it's evolved now. Some songs sound more like being eaten by fire ants and some songs are like being slowly consumed by a snake.
What else can you tell us about the upcoming record? What do you think people will be surprised by the most about it?
That you can hear my voice clearly.
Remain In Silence - "Lonesome Hours"
Future - "Turn on the Lights (Veracom Lights Out C&S)"
The Zeros - "Don't Push Me Around"
The Lurkers - "Shadow"
Coldworld - "Cancer"
VODUZ - "Blair Witch"
Sakura & The Quests - "My Boy Lollipop"
Rita Chao & The Quests - "How to Catch a Girl"
Lustre - "Moonlight Meadow"
Max Mertens is on Twitter.