Los Angeles dream-pop trio Glaare have followed up 2017’s brilliant To Deaf And Day LP with Your Hellbound Heart, an album that resonates with the sounds of the entire catalogue of 1980s 4AD, to what Curve did in the early 90s with their album Doppelganger. Glaare meticulously crafts their music with captivating hooks and intricate yet subtle arrangements. Rachael’s beguiling vocals shatter expectations while reflecting a sonic evolution the band has cultivated since their beginnings in 2012.
Originating as the brainchild of Rachael Pierce, Brandon Pierce, and Cameron Carlin, Glaare has since undergone several lineup changes since Carlin left to pursue a solo career. Rex Elle later came in, first on bass and synth and currently, guitar. Marisa Prietto (Wax Idols; Bizou) was brought in for live bass and backing vocals. Utilizing samples, distortion, and trap beats, Glaare stretches the boundaries of sound and sensuality with playful experimentation.
How has the pandemic affected the band’s songwriting process? Who have they brought into the collaboration fold? And how does Hellraiser and Terminator 2 fit into all this?
Post-Punk.com interviewed the band to explore the legendary suffering featured on this album:
How has the songwriting process changed since releasing 2017’s To Deaf and Day?
Rachael: Not really. We just sort of spit on a banana and wait for sounds to happen. That’s always been the way we work and will continue to be.
Has the lineup changed, or essentially stayed the same?
Rachael: Naw it’s been a game of musical gangsters since we were first taking a bus to bedrock while holding a snare drum in the beginning. Also if you count all the demons in our minds coming and going constantly then that’s a pretty constant change up.
How is it working with cult label Weryd Son records?
Rachael: Incredible. Michale Thiel is daddy in a big way. He rides so hard for us and keeps us in track when we start slacking off.
Marisa: Michael is the best. He’s so supportive and dedicated it’s crazy. Like a dad that loves you *this* much.
From Darkwave, Dreampop, to electronica, Your Hellbound Heart is both genre-spanning, and genre-defying. How did you approach selecting a palette of sounds in influences to create this fantastic record?
Rachael: We record our cat’s meows. Then we distort them. Then sequence them. Then have a snack. Then add a trap beat. Then remove some high hats and push some buttons on the Moog and hope it sounds sort of fine. Then talk about Marxism. bleeps and bloops.
There was a nearly a year gap between the release of the single “Mirrors”, and “Young Hell”, what transpired between then? Did that alter the shape, sound, and theme of the record?
Rachael: A lot of stuff happened. Mainly the pandemic. also being sick of everyone’s shit and committing to reclusion. This is an abusive passion to have. Sometimes you just can’t deal with it and you have to let it go and run away until you can stomach the process again.
Can you tell us what went into writing the song “Divine Excess,” and who is Ross Farrar, and how did the collaboration come about?
Rachael: He’s the lead singer of Ceremony and Spice. He’s our forever homie who we met on tour with Ceremony. Fuck, he slays hard. I can’t really remember how that song initially came to be because I was In the throes of a full-blown psychological breakdown and I was almost completely dissociated from this planet. However, I can tell you that I was fetishizing destruction very hard at the time. So essentially I was just word vomiting everything in my head and begging for mercy. We wanted a male vocal to balance out the energies and create that multiple personalities thought process.
Are there any other collaborations on the album?
Rachael: yes, our girl Iphie from Foie Gras, and Nick Vicario from Smirk and Surfer Blood.
Who is this album dedicated to and why?
Rachael: Our dearly departed comrades Eddie Wuebben and Thomas McMahan. We lost them rather close together for reasons relating to unresolved pain within themselves. the tragedy is an inevitable part of our journey here. Some of us have to face more unspeakable horrors than others for reasons that are mysterious and unsettling. The only thing we have at the end of the day is the ability to create. Our friends who left us provided us with the most pure and infinite love. Love like that is what propels people to use their lives as vessels of creation. They are huge reasons why we even have a well to pull from. It’s their album and wanted to make sure that they get credit for it.
Have you read the book The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker and/or the first two Hellraiser movies?
Rachael: I’ve seen the first two movies thanks to my beloved warlock soulmate Jeff Swearengin from Sleep Clinic and frontline assembly. He forced me twitch because I am such a spaz and won’t commit to anything unless I’m forced. I love the first one. Man sex addiction is a real thing huh? Lots of toxic behavior.
Do you have a favorite Cenobite?
Rachael: our cats Klaus, Maus, Tofu, and Judy are our favorite cenobites.
Can you tell us about the writing and production of the song “Young Hell”, and its visceral music video directed by Paige Dowling?
Rachael: Paige is a brilliant up-and-coming filmmaker and director. We trust her vision and creativity so so much and were so happy when she offered to direct a video. I never explain song meanings unless it is someone I’m working with. I believe a certain hive-mindedness needs to be achieved in order to collaborate, so there are only a few people that have actually heard my specific thought process behind lyrics. She is one of them. She took it and wrote the most incredible concept that went far beyond what I initially had in mind. i was literally tortured during that shoot haha. I have a feeling she kept me in pain on purpose to make sure it was realistic. I love her.
What song is inspired by Terminator 2 and how do the themes from that film relate to the album?
Rachael: the song is literally called T2. There is a common theme in most 80s movies that involves the lead character uncovering a huge global conspiracy that could change the course of the entire planet. The only problem is they can’t get anyone to believe them and they just end up sounding insane. I related to that.
Do you think for many, our collective trauma has untold mental health consequences? What effects has our current age of Pandemic had on you personally?
Rachael: I loved the pandemic minus all the death. I wish I could stay in quarantine forever and never see another human ever again while I transcend slowly into the next dimension. So I guess that answers both questions.
Marisa: I’m sure I’m experiencing untold mental health consequences right now without being able to describe them & I’m sure most of us are. I’m kind of curious what kind of weird-ass habits we’re going to have from this that our kids are going to be like — wtf is that about? (Not that I’ll be having any).
Are there any other sci-fi, horror, or cult films from the 80s that inspire themes on the album?
Rachael: Prince Of Darkness, They Live. Total recall. Lost boys.
Can you tell us about the lyrics and meanings of the songs For Sale, Buyers Remorse, and 2 Cents? All three seem to have financial connotations, with the third usually meaning unsolicited advice given free of charge. Is this intentional?
Rachael: It’s all intentional. I feel a responsibility to let people build their own relationships with the songs I write. My experience doesn’t matter in these songs anymore. They were a stepping stone to get them written. They belong to everyone else now. they can tell me what it means.
*Now that clubs and shows are starting to open up again, will Glaare perform live again?
Rachael: You fuckin know it.
Marisa: Yes! We’ll be performing live again starting this summer. My scene reunification panic has been 100% re-activated.
Your Hellbound Heart, is out now through Weyrd Son Records in the US, and EU, with a special version of the album exclusive to Dune Altar in the US.
*Featured photo credit: Brandon Pierce, Julian Medina & Meg Wad.