The Gloria Record
I sit alone in my room, the television on with the sound off, the winter chill trying to break through my windows, a blank page in my typewriter, and a melancholy mood drifting across the floor. Music plays, matching my mood, but uplifting at the same time. The Gloria Record moves through my speakers like a chord of understanding. Melodics of truth, warmth within sadness, and the power that comes from turning emotion into creation.
The Gloria Record have just put out their first CD on Crank! Records, self titled, six songs, and simply too short. It’s the kind of album that you want to keep on listening to, and the last song always comes too soon. Perhaps unfamiliar with The Gloria Record, you might be better acquainted with a previous incarnation — Mineral. Chris Simpson and Jeremy Gomez of Mineral, a superb band that just released their second full length on Crank! Records in early 1998, decided that it was time to move on, citing stress from recording Mineral’s Endserenading , a label bidding war that ended with Mineral signing to Interscope Records, and some creative differences within the band. Enter the Gloria Record. I grabbed for an opportunity and managed to satisfy most of my curiosity about this band while speaking to Chris Simpson about the new direction, the new name, the Gloria Record.
I had been reading a press release from Crank! Records, stating influences such as U2, R.E.M., and the Cure. Wondering about the accuracy of this, finding myself hard pressed to find hints of these bands seeping through the mix (except perhaps sometimes a faint murmur of Faith / Seventeen Seconds -era Cure), I inquire about the band’s inspirations…
I’d say that’s pretty accurate. That’s the stuff that originally influenced us to start playing music. That’s what was going on back when we all started, and it’s still some of our favorite stuff. Obviously we listen to more modern things too, though.
So it’s more that these bands were inspirations than direct musical influences. What’s inspiring you now? What’s the more modern stuff?
I’d say all of the bands we consider to be our peers. Bands like Compound Red, the Promise Ring, Jejune, the Get-Up Kids, Jimmy Eat World — it’s exciting and inspiring to see everyone doing their own thing and getting better and better at what they do.
Do you feel that the Gloria Record is moving in a different direction than Mineral, that there’s a different aesthetic at work?
I can’t think of any ways I don’t think we’ve progressed since Mineral. I think it will take people a while to see it, but I know that we are already, and will continue to keep doing very different things than Mineral could or would have done.
It seems to me that the songs on this new CD are very solid, but there’s an element of looseness behind them. Are the songs written together from out of nothing, or does the melody come in first, creating a song, with the lyrics fitting in afterwards?
There’s no real one way that things are done. Sometimes the music comes first and the lyrics fit in afterwards. Sometimes the lyrics come first and inspire or dictate the direction of the music.
Where does the name the Gloria Record come from?
I have always been intrigued by the word Gloria. I wanted to just call the new band Gloria, but our friend Matt, who played drums on the EP, and I were at a bar one night, hanging out back when we were first talking about getting the band together, and he said “when are we going to get some songs together and do the Gloria record?” Hearing him say it that way, I immediately knew that the Gloria Record was a much better name for the band than just Gloria. Plus, it’s not as easy to confuse us with a certain Latin-American solo artist this way.
There’s a very Zen-like feel to the cover of the CD. What feelings, if any, are you trying to get across with the design? I ask because often, like judging a book by a cover, I will be attracted to a band because of how the CD looks. The simplicity of Mineral’s Endserenading , the vague starkness of the Gloria Record …
That whole question felt like a compliment, so I’ll say thanks. We’re very proud of the artwork for the EP. All we really knew was that we wanted it to look and feel the way the record sounds, and I think we got real close. Lots of blues and grays and driving imagery.
I see that the CD is designed by something called “The Magic Bullet Theory.” What is that?
That’s Jeremy Gomez’s company that he is starting with a friend of his here in Austin. They want to design T-shirts and record covers and whatnot.
It’s always strange being in a new band when the audience is more familiar with your old band. Have you been playing live shows with the Gloria Record? Have they been received well by the audience?
We have been received very graciously. Much more so than I could have expected. A lot of people are having trouble letting go of Mineral, and it’s difficult going out there with something new when half the people there would rather be seeing Mineral. Overall, the response has been wonderful, though. I’ve heard enough “way better than Mineral” comments to fuel my creative fires for a long time.
How did you get involved with Crank! Records? With a roster that includes bands such as Fireside and Vehicle Birth, Mineral and the Gloria Record seem to fit both not at all and perfectly.
Well, a friend of ours in Colorado who did a small magazine at the time, was frequently in touch with Jeff from Crank!, as Jeff was advertising in his magazine. One day, Jeff asked him if he knew any good bands looking for a label, so he mentioned us, saying that he’d just gotten a copy of our first seven inch. The first day Jeff got the record, he must have called us 20 times, to say how much he loved and that he really wanted to work with us.
So, when is the next Gloria Record release expected?
I’m not too sure at this point. Hopefully we’ll get a full-length out this year, 1999, sometime.
Hopefully is right. I’ll be waiting. The Gloria Record raining softly, highway drive slide, in my ears, behind my eyes.