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Interview: Glass Vaults - 'Sounds That Sound Like Music' Album Release Tour

Interview: Glass Vaults - 'Sounds That Sound Like Music' Album Release Tour

Annabel Kean / Wednesday 2nd December, 2020 11:43AM

Polish your dancing shoes, Aotearoa's favourite 'Flat White Boys' Glass Vaults are taking their new LP Sounds That Sound Like Music on tour this month, and they're on a mission to make your feet move. This is the third studio album from Glass Vaults crew Richard Larsen (aka Richard Dada), Bevan Smith (aka Introverted Dancefloor) and Rowan Pierce, and they've cranked up the tempo and maxed out the melodies — in collaboration with friends including Borrowed csInstant Fantasy and Charlotte Forrester of Womb. It makes a lot of sense when Larsen says they've "mostly been listening to 70s/ 80s post-punk, new-wave and post-disco bangers", and have even been working on "a banger of a Carly Simon" cover as a special tour treat. All this and more in the below interview with Larsen, who lifts the lid on the disaster-turned-success of the Sounds That Sound Like Music cover shoot, and what sparked their foray into viral TikTok dances. Scroll down for the hot goss, and get the low down on the tour here...

UTR proudly presents...

Glass Vaults - Sounds That Sound Like Music album release tour

Friday 4th December - Space Academy, Christchurch
Saturday 5th December - Dive, Dunedin
Friday 11th December - Meow, Wellington
Saturday 12th December - Whammy, Auckland

Tickets available via Banished Music

Annabel Kean: Kia ora Glass Vaults, long-time no interview! The last was in 2010. I guess this is the 10 year anniversary. Happy anniversary!

Richard Larsen: Hey Annabel! Great to catch up a decade later!... Where has the time gone?

In that interview we asked you what was the best concert you'd ever been to and Richard listed Bright Eyes, The Polyphonic Spree, Seth Frightening and Ragamuffin Children. Any updates on that?

Cuuuute! That Polyphonic Spree show at the 2004 Big Day Out was amazing, I still think about it a lot. I was lucky enough to catch The Flaming Lips in Berlin a few years ago which was also incredible, with a similarly outrageous production! But also, take me back to Camp A Low Hum and Puppies... nothing compares!

Who are your current favourite pop musicians?

Phoaaarrr, hard question. In terms of New Zealand "pop" music, I'm really into what Chelsea Jade is doing. She's an incredible songwriter, artist and performer. Her album Personal Best is jammed full of pop bangers and the Personal Best tour was BEYOND!

Not exactly pop music but, M T Hadley has been a favourite of mine for the past couple of years. His off-kilter ballads are beautifully pessimistic. Other than that, we've mostly been listening to 70s / 80s post-punk, new-wave and post-disco bangers.

The album title 'Sounds That Sounds Like Music' could be philosophical, funny, or self-deprecating. Does it sit in any or all of those categories?

All of the above! It should be taken with a sideways smile and a healthy amount of self-deprecation.

Can you tell me about the photoshoot for the album cover? Did you guys get to play with the helium after?

Ha! Yeah, so Rowan designed that one. The golden letter balloons spell out the album title, Sounds That Sound Like Music, and we'd hoped that we could suspend them in space to read that way. In reality they floated around awkwardly... But in the end we're really happy with the vibe of it, and it kinda suits the surreal / self- deprecation nature of it.

Whose idea was it to have a viral dance video for the 'Oils and Perfume' video?

Bevan and myself had become really curious about the resurgence of dance culture among teenagers, with the rise of Tiktok and Fortnite, which we witnessed as both of us work with children in our day jobs. Cultural movements and phenomena are really interesting to us. We'd written the song 'Oils and Perfume' as a kind of action song / ode to the Macarena in which the lyrics would direct and provoke a dance.

Rowan works as a performance designer, mostly in the realms of contemporary dance so contacted Melissa Sripromma a friend, choreographer and Tiktok-er who choreographed the dance for us during the first lock-down. We then sent her dance, which she filmed on her cell phone, to a bunch of dancer friends (both professional and DIY) to learn, and film it on their cellphones from within their bubble. These were then edited together to form the music video. It was a really joyous way of connecting during a super isolating/ weird time.

Does the band have any connections to Taupō and Arthur's Pass before recording in those places? I have very fond memories of snowy train rides to Arthur's Pass and freezing dips in Taupō.

Not specifically, other than going on holiday there as kids. More importantly we were just looking for neutral spaces, away from the routines of everyday life that we could set up and dedicate to writing and recording. Being away and isolated for a number of days was a really important aspect of the process, and meant we could dive deep into the project without the distractions of everyday life. The Taupō lake house came courtesy of my uncle who owned a great old A-frame house by the lake. The Arthur's Pass cabin came courtesy of the wonderful Jessie Shanks (The Eastern). Both wonderful places which we are now connected to. We're always on the lookout for retreat spots to make music...hint hint ;)

What tour rituals or traditions do Glass Vaults have?

When we're together on tour or in the "studio" we enjoy daily flat white coffees and breakfast muffins. We love them so much we wrote a song about it called 'Flat White Boy'.

Got any fun treats for the tour? Surprise guests, wacky covers?

We do have some surprise guests joining us on stage, and a much humbler version of the Polyphonic Spree / Flaming Lips style stage production which we love so much. We've also been learning a banger of a Carly Simon tune too. It's going to be a wild party!

Whose ears are on that ears t-shirt?

I drew them!

'Sounds That Sound Like Music' is out now digitally and on vinyl LP.


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Glass Vaults Sounds That Sound Like Music Album Release Tour
Fri 4th Dec 8:30pm
Space Academy, Christchurch
Glass Vaults Sounds That Sound Like Music Album Release Tour
Sat 5th Dec 8:30pm
Dive, Dunedin
Glass Vaults Sounds That Sound Like Music Album Release Tour
Fri 11th Dec 8:30pm
Meow, Wellington
Glass Vaults Sounds That Sound Like Music Album Release Tour
Sat 12th Dec 8:30pm
Whammy Bar, Auckland