Meeting The Glass Caves was, overall, a very cool experience. We met at the Evil Eye lounge in York, a very cool bar. They all had very cool hair. We talked about some really cool things. Yet, somehow, if I was to sum this band up in one word, ‘cool’ just would not do them justice.
The Glass Caves are made up of five guys who, just by looking at them, you can tell are in a band: they carry off that ‘rough-around-the-edges’ look almost too perfectly. Refreshingly however, their relaxed and open demeanour is coupled by humility rather than arrogance, immediately setting them aside from many rock bands starting out today. Connor, Elliott, Matt, Will and Skinny have been “mates for what seems like forever”, however after a couple of years of getting together, doing covers and genuinely having a laugh, the summer of 2010 saw them take that step towards becoming a legitimate band in their own right. When asked about what made that year so different, Connor described it as “the year we started writing our own stuff. Before we knew it we had seven, ten tracks written and ready to be performed, and that gave us the momentum and courage to move away from simply doing covers”.
Most York students will know who The Glass Caves are without even realising it, as they can often be found busking on the streets of York as a smaller two or three piece. When asked about what makes their band different from the overflow of alternative bands currently around at the moment, the boys agree that busking gives them the edge.
“It is sort of like our secret weapon” says Connor, “we hadn’t really heard many other bands do it, but as soon as we started it felt like a good move. Immediately our fan base climbed, we had something like 1,000 likes on Facebook in just one month. Busking gives us a really close dynamic with the fans, when they come see us in gigs they are already familiar with our songs and covers. And its lets us talk to them directly, which is really cool.”
We spent a long time talking about the music, about where they would place themselves in terms of genre or sound. “It’s so hard nowadays, because over the last couple years the British music industry has moved away from labelling artists or categorising them. Whereas the ‘90s saw the stereotypical boy band, and the ‘80s brought this New Wave sound, today all sorts of groups are bringing something different to the table.”
When pushed to give an answer, Matt sheepishly said “alternative rock, I guess”, another charming aspect of the guys, that they are not just another group being ‘indie’ for the sake of being indie. In terms of musical influences, Elliott was keen to say how their sound is not a model based on one particular band or artist. “Our musical taste and preferences range from all over the board, from massive bands like Coldplay and Kings of Leon, to Ghost Poets, and even the Motown era. Our only rule when writing is that the lyrics mean something to us, and we create something we are passionate about.”
Being a relatively new band on the music scene today is both an exciting and daunting experience, with an industry more and more centred around money and commercialism. “It is a sad fact that money is such an integral aspect of being in this business”, said Connor. As for how they hope to preserve their integrity and essence as a band, Elliott added “we always trust ourselves, to know what’s good and what’s not, and I think that’s the most important thing. As long as we continue to be honest in our writing and our judgment then there’s not much that can change who we are or what we do.
2013 promises to be huge year for The Glass Caves, and it is easy to see how excited they are. “Our main focus right now is to get back into the studio. We are going to be revisiting a lot of earlier material, as well as start collecting stuff for a possible album”.
In terms of where they see each other at the end of this year, or the future generally: “Jools Holland?” Elliott says tentatively, causing the others to laugh. “The dream at the moment is to get the backing of a small label, who could then give us the money we need to record and to tour”. As for gigging there are a lot of plans in motion, such as Live at Leeds and other local festivals and venues. “We also hope to bring busking to other cities, to slowly gather up a more extensive following. Busking will always be the thing that we do, and our way of directly connecting with the fans”. With latest single ‘Slady Ways’ available now on iTunes, the future is bright and exciting for this local band of buskers.
When finally asked on what they bring to the music industry that similar bands don’t, Matt remarks “more hair”, forcing me to conclude that until I find an appropriate synonym, cool will just have to do in summing up The Glass Caves. Cool guys, cool music, and really cool hair.