“My childhood and adolescence was very scattered and felt like a mish-mash of cultures,” begins Glassio, talking about the emotional journey that led to the release of his recent single, “A Friend Like You” featuring Katie Iannitell alias Beauty Queen. The honest reflection helps us understand the raw emotions that fuel the artist’s creativity. “I think this song was very much about my relationship with alcohol and saying goodbye to that love affair,” Glassio admits, adding another layer to the song’s meaning.
In an era where authenticity is often compromised, Glassio stands out as an artist who draws deeply from personal experiences to shape his work. Coming from an Irish-Persian background and having lived in diverse places like Sharjah and Monterey, Glassio knows what it’s like to constantly adapt, something many of us can relate to. I, for one, connect personally to the lyrics of “A Friend Like You,” a catchy pop song that is light and broad. Like many who have frequently relocated, I too find myself yearning for a sense of stability and rootedness. This feeling seems to intensify with age. What may have once been a youthful adventure gradually evolves into a search for solid ground, much like those majestic trees that stand firmly rooted in the earth.
In our interview, we talk about the complexities of navigating cultural identities, the ever-changing music landscape, and most exciting part of collaborating with Beauty Queen.
photography by Mallory Turner
“A Friend Like You” breaks your 14-month gap. How has this period influenced your artistic direction?
I took a massive break from thinking about and listening to new music after putting out my second record. I made a 17-track album, toured it for a bit that Summer and recognized that I needed a long break. I went to New Mexico by myself for two weeks, for no reason other than to drink and be by myself. I think I was maybe running away from expectations I had set for myself. I re -evaluated what was important to me, re-evaluated what “success” meant to me, and fully accepted that I wouldn’t be happy living a life where I was refused the freedom to create. In order to fully live that life, I recognized that I had to make some serious changes, otherwise (according to people close to me) I’d be dead by the time I was 40. I gave up drinking. That was the big one for me. I could sense the world fast-forwarding into the future in very extreme ways, and I recognized that I could only really live in a landscape like the one we are in if i were to be completely lucid. I wanted to fully be able to create space in my mind to focus on building landscapes with my productions. I wanted all of these new songs to feel like they were little snapshots and scenes pulled from a Wim Wenders film set in the Southwest. I wouldnt have been able to truly sink into that vision had I continued down the route I was going. Nothing matters to me anymore now — the only thing I’m focused on is creating these spaces for people to hopefully dive into in their own way as well.
Your Irish-Persian heritage and upbringing in Sharjah and Monterey are intriguing. Can you tell us on how this has shaped your music, specifically in this new track?
My childhood and adolesence was very scattered and felt like a mish mash of cultures. We moved around so much. I was constantly the new kid in town, and felt like the outsider. I was never the best at making friends. When I did, they were often the friend that would send you down “bad choice road,” so to speak. I wanted this song to playfully nudge at the sad, desperation of holding onto someone who is bad for you because you are afraid of the loneliness that may exist without them. That was what inspired “A Friend Like You.” That being said, looking back on the track, I think this song was very much about my relationship with alcohol and saying goodbye to that love affair.
“It usually takes a little time for me to be comfortable with new collaborators, but I felt like we immediately clicked.”
Your Instagram post mentioned that ‘A Friend Like You’ would be perfect for ‘reflective, desert road trips.’ What was the last journey that made you introspective?
I DJ’ed at Sundance last January. I went out there by myself. It was my first month of sobriety, and it was tough. I had never been to Salt Lake and spent much of that trip learning to be comfortable with the new stillness and lucidity I was experiencing. It was very uncomfortable, and I wanted to crawl out of my own skin at times, but it forced me to be grateful for things I would have overlooked had I been drinking.
What was the most exciting part of collaborating with Beauty Queen?
When I caught Katie’s (Beauty Queen) live set at The Echo in Los Angeles back in Nov 2021, I was blown away and knew I wanted to reach out about working on something together. It usually takes a little time for me to be comfortable with new collaborators, but I felt like we immediately clicked. Working on harmonies together and hearing the melodies come to life were absolutely thrilling.
You have more collaborations in the pipeline for 2023 and 2024. Can you give us a sneak peek into what we can expect?
Yes! I’ve been wanting to slowly build a body of work that is features-focused, and showcases some of my favorite artists. I’ve been working with Mumble Tide, Rodes Rollins, Kopps and a number of other artists on some new music that I can’t wait to share.
“My first month sober made me grateful for overlooked things.”
If you could describe the essence of your music in three words, what would they be?
nostalgic, comforting, cinematic.
Is there a place or setting where you feel most creative? What does your ideal songwriting space look like?
My ideal songwriting space always changes. Writing/coming up with song ideas isn’t something I always plan for. My favorite songs/ideas come to me when I’m not really thinking about writing. The grocery store is a great place for this. The music playing in the background is quiet enough to stir up a muffled chord progression that you can hum along to whilst picking out fruits and vegetables.
In an industry that’s becoming increasingly competitive due to an influx of new artists, frequent releases, and even the emergence of AI-generated music, some might find the evolving landscape to be challenging. What are your thoughts on these developments? Do they concern you, or is it something you haven’t given much thought to?
I’d like to pretend I’m optimistic about all of the above, but that would be me being dishonest. AI scares me, and I think we are on the precipus of something too large to even concieve — infringements of privacy, originality, intellectual property. A musician’s fear of technology making them obsolete isn’t new, but this is a 2001-space-odyssey jump cut for the creative world and creativity at large. I also think us musicians have allowed ourselves to be too absorbed and influenced by the mediums we are creating for and within (TikTok time stamps, Instagram audio time stamps, social media trends). I have overhjeard many conversations over the last few years in studios and writing rooms where someone will intentionnaly produce a section of a song with the tiktok time stamp in mind. I do find that very uninspiring. I also think we have given fans and followers too much power. I’m not sure I’m the biggest fan of musicians inviting their audiences into the creative space on social media, and getting their input on unfinished work. I find this very dangerous territory for me. I respect others that find this fun and creative, but the second I start worrying about what other people think, I stop making music that I’ll ultimately end up being proud about and music that feels natural to make.
The most important thing in life is?
Recognizing the ways in which you are lucky and never letting go of that recognition or being blindsighted by what you doint have.
Thank you so much for your time!