TRACK-BY-TRACK: Glass Peaks – It’s Raining On The Wrong Side of The Window
If you’re a fan of Radiohead, Arcade Fire and White Lies then you should turn your attention to alt-indie trio Glass Peaks. Armed with a darker electronic sound and exploring themes of love, social media toxicity and even taking inspiration from a Black Mirror episode, we were keen to find out about the band’s new EP It’s Raining On The Wrong Side Of The Window. Vocalist Alfie Jefferies tells us more…
And so it begins. Before we even finalised the full running order of the EP, we knew that we wanted to set a scene from the very beginning. The whirring of an old computer and a near-ancient dial-up internet connection help to set the scene before frantic typing and the slow, rising build-up of a warm pad begin to emerge. There are quite a few references to technology in the modern world throughout this body of work, so we felt it was only appropriate to introduce the listener to the music in this way. As the pads build to a crescendo, we flick the switch into the first song.
I wrote São Paulo quite some time ago, probably a the tail end of April / May 2019 to be precise. The warm pad that runs through the entire song was the initial starting point. I’d recently obtained a collection of amazing software synthesisers modelled from old vintage analogue synths. That sound in particular just jumped out at me after hours of messing around with them one evening.
The song is an example of a project that I started writing on my own without the band, something I’d not really done a lot of prior to this. It was a different way of writing for me (we usually all get together in our rehearsal space to write new music). With the help of some awful logic drums (of which the gnarly cowbell sound still features in the final version), I was able to construct the original demo of the track.
It wasn’t until a bit later down the line that I ended up writing the lyrics. I already had the melody worked out after I’d finished the music, I was just waiting for the right words to arrive in my mind.
I ended up going on a date with a girl from Brazil, São Paulo specifically. She was really interesting and the date didn’t necessarily go terribly, but I could tell that it wasn’t going to go anywhere; it was like someone had given me a crystal ball to look into the future, or showed me dating profiles of two people who were totally incompatible – as much as we got on, it was just never destined for more.
The lyrics are about everything surrounding that date and I suppose that period of time in my life; quite newly single, drinking too much, not sleeping enough for swiping on dating apps and probably not making the best decisions overall.
This was the original introduction to London is Concrete. The piece of music was too long to feature as an intro on the actual track so we decided to make it an interlude in its own right.
In terms of its production, there were only about three tracks open on logic: an electric piano, an upright piano reversed and some rising strings. It was created on a whim during the same session that I wrote London is Concrete. Jake (our guitarist) was travelling and I had been working on some demo’s that I’d promised to send him whilst he was away.
London Is Concrete
The slow and steady electronic drums were the anchor to this entire track, they feature throughout – I feel it keeps it from going astray in the moments where it rises and falls.
When I recorded the demo for this track, I actually added the auto-tune because I was recording it super rough with a crappy microphone; it was just meant to be a super rough take. I ended up really loving how the auto-tune sounded so we decided to keep it in the final version.
The song only really came to life when we took it into the studio, though. There was a special moment where Jake added his guitars to this track and it all just clicked into place. They tie the whole thing together and then have this glorious moment at the end where they overlap one another and get their moment in the spotlight. I always imagine it to be what the sun breaking through the clouds sounds like.
Lyrically, this track is about longing for the familiar feeling of home when you’re far away. It’s a love-letter of sorts. London has always been home for me and I feel super fortunate to have grown up and made so many incredible memories there. For me, this track is like the calm in the storm: a welcome moment of tranquility.
Never Really Left
We’ve had Never Really Left in the pocket for quite some time. We’ve been playing it live since the end of 2018 (although it sounded quite different back then).
It started out as a song written on acoustic guitar, in fact, Jake and I had both been writing a tune that followed a similar progression and just decided to merge them into one song that became Never Really Left. I distinctly remember playing this for the first time in our rehearsal space and Grant working out his drum parts. Grant is such a powerful drummer, and this song just showcases so many elements of what makes his playing style so incredible and versatile.
The electronic breakdown section at 2:47 was also never originally there. That came out of us just experimenting in the studio and loving how it almost separated the song into two sections entirely.
The lyrics are about the toxicity of social media in the modern age. It’s about the need to feel validated by way of Instagram likes, retweets, comments, thumbs up…whatever mechanism is in place on that particular platform. Ultimately, I took a dip with my mental health around the time of writing this, and social media was a direct contributor to how lousy I was feeling. Unfortunately, I think it’s something that a lot of people go through these days.
Again, we wanted to come back to the setting we had created at the beginning of the EP. As the reverb tails off on Never Really Left, we hear the same computer from the Intro now powering down. I suppose we wanted to symbolise us ‘logging off’ after the previous track. I had written a piece of spoken word that never made it onto the final cut, but you can hear the words being mumbled underneath the footsteps and the sound of a muffled television through the walls. I take a seat, open the window, and that’s when you begin to hear the rain.
It’s Raining On The Wrong Side Of The Window
Following the pattern of setting a scene, we wanted the rain to be present throughout this track. It just felt right, it’s even referenced in the lyrics “and through water, I’m wading home, but my feet are wet for ruining the leather”. This is the newest track on the EP. I wrote it at the very end of 2019. The lyrics actually stem from a Black Mirror episode called ‘Be Right Back’. In the episode, Ash lives with his girlfriend Martha and spends a lot of time on social media, until one day he dies in a tragic car crash. Martha then discovers an app that is able to simulate Ash’s voice and personality on the phone and eventually, into a synthetic replica of Ash’s body. It’s heartbreaking because Martha is trying to recreate something that she knows is gone forever. I wanted to capture her suppressed grief in the lyrics.
I played an electric guitar throughout on the demo, but we fell in love with the sound of the acoustic in the end. I think what really brings this track together, though, is the pads and strings laid down by our good friend Erim. Erim produced the entire EP and is genuinely like the fourth member of the band. We wouldn’t have been able to realise our vision without him.
Glass Peaks‘ new EP It’s Raining On The Wrong Side Of The Window is out now, available to stream or purchase HERE.