I was fortunate enough to get a chance to ask Daniel Anderson, the man behind Glowbug, a few questions about his ninth release as Glowbug, “Headhunters”. I also got a chance to hear a sneak peak of the new album and have included my review of it here as well.
“Headhunters” is completely full of hits, start to finish. If you were a fan of “Suit of Swords” be prepared for even more catchy tunes than even “Heatwave” and “The Cockroach”. The second track off the album, “I Need A Lover” delivers an amazing new wave reimagining that comes straight off of 80’s college radio.
TGH: I hear some Talking Heads influence on “I Need A Lover”. Is that near the mark?
Glowbug: The Talking Heads are an influence on almost everything that I do musically, so I don’t think it’s far off at all. Watching ‘Stop Making Sense’ when I was a kid changed the way that I looked a music and performance. The way that David Byrne carries himself and creates an identity on stage that isn’t all about being some badass rock star has always been fascinating to me. There’s an alienation to it, and a certain cerebral nature that I’m always trying to get at with my own stuff, resting right under a thin veil of pop music.
However, to get back to your original point, I always thought of “I Need A Lover” as more of an homage to a different kind of 80s song. Early Janet Jackson or even Prince comes to mind. Those were definite reference points in writing Headhunters.
With an Album name like “Headhunters”, you would expect some dark tracks, but “Two Tigers” is straight up running through a Bornean rainforest trying to escape from actual Headhunters, or tigers, or both. And failing to do so. It is why you will get this album.
TGH: “Two Tigers” is one of my favorites off the album, the chorus is a brutal assault, and the horns (including the sax solo) are a fantastic edge. Who’s responsible for the sax?
Glowbug: That’s one of my favorite tracks on the record, as well. Thank you! Interestingly enough, the sax solo was played by a man in Mexico City that I found on Fiverr. I knew that I wanted a lot of horns, as well as afro-cuban instrumentation, on the record, and that I wanted to use as much real instrumentation as I could. I just contacted him online and had him lay something down from me, it was really quite simple.
I’m really excited about all of the ‘world music’ instrumentation on this record. I have a secret fantasy of one day being the first person to coin the genre “Tropicore”.
“False Metal” Is a surprising track. Josh Holland’s soaring vocals and Anderson’s grounded and organic vocals, creates an entrancing duet with a razor’s edge.
TGH: I understand you linked up Ross Robinson and Wild Throne? Josh Holland’s voice really soars on “False Metal”.
Glowbug: Josh is a fantastic vocalist. I’ve known him for a long time, back when our bands would play together in Bellingham growing up, and I was actually the one who initially passed along the early Wild Throne recordings to Robinson. They just finished doing a record together and it’s incredible.
Ross is one of my best friends and during the course of making Headhunters we we’re mountain biking all the time, talking about music and stuff. He’s credited on the record as “Mountain Bike Trainer”, which is probably a first for him.
The Most genuinely surprising track on the album is “All In”. What starts off as a cool and crisp acoustic duet, quickly ignites into a blazing fire that will leave you wanting so much more.
TGH: “All In” Featuring Lourdes Hernandez, is one hell of a slow burner, her voice is velvet. Is Spectorize still happening?
Glowbug: Lourdes is one of my favorite people to work with in the studio. I tend to approach everything super logically and she’s way more on the side of just letting the art and passion flow out naturally, then capturing it. I think that’s probably why we enjoy working together and why that particular song came out sounding as cool as it did.
Spectorize is for sure happening, we actually just had lunch and talked about it a few days ago. We’ve got a lot of songs recorded and now it’s just about deciding what to do with them, but that’s going to a focus for me over the next few months. The stuff we create together is super weird, dark and heavy, not really in the vein of “All In”. Spectorize is going to be something different and exciting all together.
The track I was looking forward to hearing the most on the album had to be “The Night My Heart Stopped”. It didn’t disappoint. Its the amazing thing about Glowbug, that he can blend together and create this amazing new genre that drags you kicking and literally screaming into its embrace. This song nearly brought me to tears with its intensity. So. Fucking. Good.
TGH: “The Night My Heart Stopped” is pure mania. How were you able to capture that feeling? The Steel Drum is such a great addition to this song and "Two Tigers". Sean Smith of Blackout is featured. How did you two meet?
Glowbug: I like to use the idea of creating “mania” when approaching most Glowbug songs. A theme for the band has always been the unfiltered presentation of raw, primal excitement, and you’re right to say that this song does a good job of capturing that. A simpler answer would just be the fact that its tempo is much faster than most of the tracks on the record, but I think there’s something special about the chord change and that heavy grinding synth, as well.
Obviously, Sean Smith is what pushes it over the top, though. He’s one of the best screamers that I’ve ever heard and having him on the record is an absolute dream. I’ve known Sean for a while now, ever since I toured opening for The Blackout a few years back, and even though I don’t get over to the UK all that much we’re still buddies online. I just hit him up and asked him if he wanted to do it, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
TGH: Do I hear parts of “Wings Out” at the beginning of “Haunted”?
Glowbug: Technically, no, but the songs do share a similar writing style with that arpeggiated synth playing through the whole track as the chords move around it. That’s actually something I do quite a bit in my songwriting. People seemed to really gravitate towards “Wings Out” when I released it, so hopefully they’ll feel the same way about “Haunted.”
To The Green Hearts, this album signals a huge moment in Glowbug’s history. Its an album fans have waited long for, yet honestly, might not be prepared for. Its dark, brutal, and yet still filled with that perennial joy and mania that makes a Glowbug album. You might not be prepared for it, but you WILL love it. We guarantee it. Do yourself a favor and pick up the Limited Edition Vinyl available January 14th and the Free Digital release via Bandcamp on January 21st. Catch the Bug.