The original duo of Melissa Glass and Jan-Michael Glass released their debut album ‘Awake, My Sleeper’ in 2013; but for the second album ‘Jura’, the line-up was expanded when vocalist / drummer Glass Foxx joined the fold in 2014.
The recently issued ‘Jura’ is undoubtedly a great bleep forward from ‘Awake My Sleeper’. More conceptual than its predecessor, it also features a number of instrumental interludes.
Monika Izabela Goss said in her review for The Electricity Club: “When the Earth gets reborn from a global disaster wiping out most of human kind, VIVIEN GLASS is the music that will prevail and awake the senses. Uncontaminated, crisp, artistically thought through and realised, it is modern electronica to be truly proud of”.
To celebrate the release of the album, VIVIEN GLASS held a special launch party Upstairs At The Garage in Islington. Beginning with the enjoyable metronomic template of ‘Taste of Youth’, the evening showcased the band’s attention to detail with a co-ordinated presentation of their music. ‘Honey Bee’ fully utilised the dual vocal capability of the expanded line-up with Foxx taking on a more kooky tone reminiscent of IAMAMIWHOAMI alongside Melissa’s more brooding gothique.
Another highlight was the riff laden ‘Ursula’, a number with the occasional classic nuances of AOR. Beefier reworkings of the best songs from their debut, ‘Julius’ and ‘Part Machine’ made their impression too, the former now coming over like a female fronted ULTRAVOX while on the latter, Melissa’s vocal timbre slipped into something akin to MADONNA.
There was surprises too with a moody synth cover of FLEETWOOD MAC’s ‘Little Lies’. An excellent and thoughtfully arranged reinterpretation, this was a stark lesson to other synth based acts; if a cover is to be attempted, then seeking a song out of genre is more preferable as it allows scope for individuality.
The catchy vocals on ‘Something Running’ and its propulsive sequences provided a fitting journey into the home straight before ending the show with the noir synthpop atmospheres of ‘Blood Into Gold’. Unfortunately due to a delayed start and an early curfew, there was no room for the excellent LITTLE BOOTS meets GARY NUMAN hybrid of ‘Black Magic’, but it was a polished, charismatic performance that reinforced how far VIVIEN GLASS have come since their debut.
After they got off stage, Melissa and Foxx from VIVIEN GLASS kindly answered a few questions about the band’s development over the last six months.
Melissa: We did a UK tour this summer and this was an amazing experience. I feel we grew a lot as a band and we learned way too much about each other… it was an amazing bonding experience. With our new album ‘Jura’, we’re always trying to raise the bar and top ourselves every gig. We wanted to do something that was special for this launch.
Foxx: The tour really helped us to get to know each other inside out, so it means on stage, performing comes so naturally now.
‘Jura’ is a significant progression from ‘Awake My Sleeper’?
Melissa: We’re very proud of ‘Jura’, it’s much more of a concept album than ‘Awake My Sleeper’. So because of that, we were working within certain themes. I think it made us mature as writers, because had already done an album and some shows. And then we met Foxx and it made so much sense when she joined, because we wanted a female drummer and someone who could also harmonise.
We were doing all these harmonies on ‘Jura’ and I was thinking to myself “I can’t sing this all by myself”. Luckily, I think me and Foxx’s voices blend very naturally. It was a natural maturation of Jan and I working together for a long time, figuring out our art kinks and then Foxx coming into the fold.
Foxx: Weirdly, I was looking for an electronic band to be in, having been in a few indie bands… my influences are THE HUMAN LEAGUE, DEPECHE MODE and JAPAN.
I like the electronic music scene; I like how you can dress up, look chic and everything that comes with it. I looked on the internet and saw someone was looking for a drummer / singer and there was VIVIEN GLASS.
So when I listened to ‘Awake My Sleeper’, I fell in love… Melissa’s voice was absolutely incredible… soaring, beautiful vocals, it was unlike anything I’d ever heard before; Jan and Melissa are such beautiful people and I thought “I wanna be in a band with them” *laughs*
VIVIEN GLASS pay great attention to their live and video presentation. What is the band’s philosophy behind this?
Melissa: It is very important, we don’t just want to get on stage an play a bunch of songs and that’s it… we want to build a whole world, we want to have a love affair with our fans and for them to be immersed in that world. And also conjure up their own worlds with the songs. So we want to be as evocative as we can. We always say we want to create the kind of show we would want to go and see. Fair play, there are a lot of electronic bands where it’s solely about the music and not so much about presentation… but we want to be the biggest band in the world and want to put on a rock type show, but stay electronic. So let’s put on this larger than life show, because that’s what we want to see.
Melissa: Oh my goodness… I have to say ‘Without Sleep’ and ‘Blood Into Gold’; they’re the bookends of the album and are incredibly personal to me. The album takes you through a relationship and the breakdown and the reincarnation of that relationship.
And actually, ‘Blood Into Gold’ was one of the first songs Jan and I ever wrote together. But for some reason, we sat on that as it didn’t belong on ‘Awake My Sleeper’.
Foxx: I absolutely love ‘Blood Into Gold’, I think that’s the one I fell in love with when I first listened to the album. But my favourite songs to play live have to be ‘Wolf’, ‘Honey Bee’ and ‘Something Running’; they’re just really driving songs. I feel the drums have changed a lot since ‘Awake My Sleeper’ to ‘Jura’, they’re much more dancey.
What next for VIVIEN GLASS?
Foxx: Well, the cover you heard tonight, ‘Little Lies’ will probably be a released as a free download before the New Year.
Melissa: And we’re working on a new EP which will also have a remix of ‘Honey Bee’.
The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to VIVIEN GLASS
Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Richard Price
15th November 2015