I make movies,photography,comedy and music happen
When I was a kid I was…how should I put this…an “enthusiastic singer”. I was LOUD, is what I’m saying. By and large, shyness was not a problem for me and that’s just how I rolled.
We always went to church, which is where my music education began. I was in a children’s choir and I loved singing.
One week the choir director, who I assume was weary of my lack of volume control, told me that I needed to pipe the fuck down. I was humiliated. I spent the rest of my time in that choir lip syncing, and much of my life after that with a phobia regarding singing in public. Luckily there’s Karaoke, musical theater and booze to help with those problems. Long story short, (as stand up comedy and singing on stage would have it), glossophobia is no longer a problem for me…to say the least.:p
Local funk legend, Will Glazier has a similar story…
Sue: You told me a little bit about your start in music. Do you feel like sharing your Middle School Band story? How did you go on from there? Was it a matter of just digging in your heels?
Will: I started playing trumpet in elementary school. I love the bright tone and extreme dexterity involved with the horn, so I took a chance on it. To my surprise, after a few years I excelled at it. However, due to my time being split many ways growing up, between sports and other bands, my time was rather limited even back then. Just as I became advanced enough to hire a private teacher, something strange happened. I remember being just a few minutes late to the 6 a.m. Jazz Band class in 7th grade. My teacher asked me to leave the room before I could get seated and proceeded to lock me out of the classroom. Later in the day, she made it her mission to find me and humiliate me further. When she did find me, she took me out of my Biology class and marched me to my locker, emptying all of the music contents, even if they didn’t belong to the school. She told me that if it were up to her I would never play music again. That was the last time I saw her, but honestly, I must thank her. Not more than a few months later, I found Michael Angelakos (currently of Passion Pit) on a Napster chatroom and we started our own band for many years called Cherry Bing. We toured, released albums and wrote lots of great tunes before he split to Boston. I re-auditioned into my high school band as a sophomore and split lead chair. For the remainder of High School I assumed that role in Jazz Band, Symphony, Wind Ensemble, Baroque Chamber Quarter, Marching Band and the Pit Orchestra as well as touring and recording with Cherry Bing.
Sue: Your main instrument is the trumpet, but do you play any other instruments?
Will: Yes I play a few other instruments. I produce all of my own electronic music, so I like to say I play drums, but I really just program them. I have a couple of great synthesizers and VSTs I use as well, so keys come naturally to me. I also sing lead and back up vocals a bit in Snug Harbor.
Sue: Do you do most of the composing for Snug Harbor or is it a combined effort?
Will: There are some songs that we have recorded that have been mostly my own composition, but in general it is a group effort. In Snug Harbor, I certainly have to spearhead the effort though. I’ll often collaborate with one or two members on an idea, and similar to WillDabeast, I’ll make loops and progressions based off of what I hear. Sometimes we do this in a group setting, but often it’s me alone, writing lines and lyrics and bringing them to the table for further collaborative endeavors. Sometimes the songs are right on and ready to go, other times we need to tweak them a bit more. There’s been a few times too that I have had nothing to do with writing a tune. It’s just a good song/idea someone came up with and the group played it well.
Sue: Was Cherry Bing your first band?
Will: My first band was called Boss Tribal and it was a metal band. I DJed and scratched a bit, but my first serious project was Cherry Bing. We released four album in our 6 year span (1999-2005), including our final release which was about to be signed to Drive-Thru Records. The album was recorded at the Goo Goo Dolls studio in Buffalo, NY where we all grew up. We played Warped Tour and all around the east coast for many years. It started off as a ska-punk band, but eventually kind of blended into our own beautiful original sound which combined rock, jazz, ska and pop-punk.
Sue: Tell me about Willdabeast and Snug Harbor.
Will: I started Snug Harbor over 8 years a go when I first moved to Bellingham. Cherry Bing broke up because of a pretty awful incident including some shady recording contract business we were slighted on. I was feeling pretty burnt and just wanted to have some fun, and play a little bit more serious music. So I formed this jazz-funk project and for some reason it just kept evolving into this mega-power house soul project you see today. It’s seen many iterations, and undergone lots of changed since the 2007 days, but the current crew seems as solid as ever. We are really starting to turn some heads now. We’ve got some really fun shows coming up so check the website.
WillDabeast started last year in 2014, as a way to express myself electronically. In college a few years back I had began to experiment with hip hop and bass oriented beats, which had always had my attention. So I started making (really bad) beats for many years. When I graduated school, I had a little more time and started to take it more seriously. I would spend 12-15 hours a day, five days a week trying to learn and progress. I put out my first album in early 2014 and it caught some ears. Mostly because I infused live instruments into the mix. My new album (slated to be released soon on Super Best records) will be a bit different and more refined and I am excited to share my growth with everyone.
Sue: How did playing with Michal Menert Big Band come about? What was he like?
Will: I met Michal on Twitter in 2014. I had been, and will always be, a die-hard fan. He practically started Pretty Lights (he co-produced the first album and much of the second) before going solo. He was the first artist signed to PLM and continues to be a driving force in the contemporary electronic scene. I kind of blasted him online until he answered me and he replied with “Want to be in my band”. I laughed, and laughed harder and obviously agreed. But it was no joke, and a few months later I had a contract in my hand. I was hired. And subsequently so was Snug Harbor. We have been, and continue to perform as the Michal Menert Big Band. But that’s just the kind of person he is, generous, kind and honest. He has taught me so much about myself, others and of course music production. I see a lot of myself in Michal too, and it’s often funny the resemblances I see. He has a big heart and he wears it on his sleeve, he has a strong drive for his passion, and he’s really not afraid to put himself out there. Clearly, he is practically at the top of the chart when you’re talking about “EDM”, or Electrosoul or whatever you want to call it. I am just honored to have him as a peer, bandmate and friend. He has positively affected my life in so many ways, I don’t think there’s ever any way he can possibly understand that. There is no way to express in words how much gratitude and love we all have for that man. His fan base is strong, kind and uplifting as well. I am beyond blessed to be part of that tribe.
Sue: You played The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, with Machal Menert. Tell me about some of the other places you’ve played?
Will: Thus far we have played Sonic Bloom, The Fillmore Auditorium and Red Rocks Amphitheater... not bad for your first three shows. There will be a lot more exciting news with this project, by far our biggest and most exhilarating music endeavor. There are a lot of fun shows coming up, too. WillDabeast is playing the King King Room in Hollywood (LA), as well as Summer Meltdown and Cascadia Fest. Snug Harbor has a few Eastern WA runs and Seattle shows coming up that are worth catching and MMBB will be announcing a couple big shows soon as well.
Sue: Tell me all about Red Rocks Ampitheatre.
Will: Red Rocks was a dream come true. I still can’t quite think about it without getting goose bumps. We were playing with Michal Menert Big Band on the infamous April 25th date. Everyone including Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead and The Beatles have played there so it was kind of a trip. When I first got there I ran up to the top (well I kind of walked at the end), and looked around. You can see Denver at a distance just over the stage horizon. I finished watching the headliner soundcheck and we got our chance to step on to the stage. We set up and spent a few hours decompressing before the show started. We were the main support group and played from 8:30-9:30 for an almost capacity crowd of close to 9,000 people. At the end of the day though, it was just another show and we had a job to do, and we had to get it done. It was hard to see, or fathom, especially while playing. But at one point when the lights hit the rocks and you could see all these people staring at you, you kind of look up at the stars, try not to cry, and just give thanks. That’s all I could do. Try to play well and be humble. I still can’t believe that happened. It was such a magical experience, for all of us, and we continue to look forward to performing in MMBB.
Sue: You must have a massive fan base, by now. Your shows are packed and people are dancing and having so much fun. What’s it like playing here in Bellingham, for people you know, compared to other places?
Will: It’s nice playing for the hometown. People are often engaged and ready for a good time. Sometimes on the road, you had to, like, earn people’s trust to dance or something, it’s a strange dichotomy. But back home, the crowd to usually raring, roaring and ready to go. It’s a nice feeling that after all these years, we can usually sell a bunch of tickets around town. That being said, WillDabeast is still in relatively uncharted waters, being in its infancy, and is often looking for a leg up promotionally and numbers wise. It’s also a hard market to play in sometimes, though. Because, no offense to anyone out there (I’m guilty of it too), and I’m just trying to be real here, a lot of people expect shows to be free and/or cheap. I understand it’s a kind of small market, and a college town, and sometimes people seem to be broke (myself included), but often there’s no way you can charge more than $3-5 seemingly without people storming off. I DJ’d The Green Frog’s SOUL NIGHT every Tuesday since January and people were often appalled that there was a cover (of $2).
Sue: You’re a dad, now. How has that affected making time to play and travel? Will your fiancée and baby tour with you, occasionally?
Will: I am a father. I love my kiddo so much and am happy he’s now joined our awesome little tribe. He’s a really happy kid and likes to play with my musical instruments from time to time. Someone once told me that the divorce rate of a musician is like over 90% or something. So I must admit, outright, it is not easy. But then I think, what is easy? And is easy necessarily what I want? Easy was never the way I imagined things being, so I’m somewhat used to the chaos. My wonderful fiance has more patience and love than anyone I’ve ever met. I’m gone, and I’m gone a lot. When I’m home I’m often practicing with old/new bands, or producing in my studio (orDJing). I also pick up side jobs just to pay the rent. I mow lawns, work in Arturia’s Warehouse and help True Tone Audio build stages for special events. I also travel most weekends to try to earn money for the household and provide for them while still chasing a budding career. Back to the whole ‘charging for money’ thing, one can see how eve beyond just family, it’s important to be compensated for ones time, equipment and travel. Anyway, it’s not easy at all, but nothing ever has been. And I’d rather be happy and treading water than miserable and "rich". Though, I do wish I had more time for my son, I think that ultimately working from home provides me many opportunities other parents do not get.
Sue: Who inspires you?
Will: Honestly the people inspire me. Without the people who show up and care, this would not be worthwhile. The people who interact with us, give feedback and buy merch, the special people who give hugs and put just as much energy into listening as we do performing and creating our crazy forms of music. On a basic level, you've got your general Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Roy Hargrove kind of thing going on as well as Charles Mingus, Marvin Gaye and John Coltrane. My parents always inspire me. They’re both poets. My mom still lives in Bellingham and my dad is a professor and published author who is on the cutting edge of Digital Poetics.
Sue: Who would most likely make you fanboy if you met them?
Will: You know it’s so funny... I’ve met so many “famous” people. I always react differently too. I’ve gotten to meet, hang out and even collaborate with some of my all-time favorite musicians. At the end of the day though, I’ve realized they’re just regular people and if you just treat them as such you tend to get a more meaningful reaction. I remember meeting Harry Connick Jr. last time I was at the airport in New Orleans and I asked him if still made music (because of his acting career). It was horribly embarrassing but also an ice breaker. I’ve met and spoke to Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Joshua Redman, Herbie Hancock... so many people. But if I ever met someone even bigger like Steve Wonder or Al Green, I probably would not remember how to talk.
Sue: The first time I met you was on a film set for a Honda Commercial. What role does film play in your life?
Will: I love film. I went to school for audio/video production and wish I was able to work more on this regard. That being said, video and visuals play such an important role in the current game. From lighting designers to 3D stages to projection mapping and more, it’s ingrained in the “EDM” culture and I believe it’s only the beginning. Interactive digital video and audio, different ways to touch the senses simultaneously, and pushing the boundaries of how we conceptualize technology will all add to an even bigger desire for both moving forward. I still edit video and shoot from time to time. I recently filmed Polecat’s anniversary at the Majestic, as well as some independent work in down south for Bands In Seattle and Rhapsody.
Sue: What would people be surprised to know about you?
Will: My dad grew up away from home traveling. I traveled a lot too. I spent many trips, down south in Mexico (where my Grandmother is from) as well as plenty of visits to Cuba.
Sue: Where can people find your music?
Sue: What’s the next big thing on the horizon for you?
Will: Just cranking those shows away. We are about to announce a few more WillDabeast shows, then a pending month long tour with Menert in September.
Sue: Anything else you’d like people to know?
Will: I feel like I wasn’t necessarily blessed with the talent it takes to succeed. I was blessed with a drive and burning passion to chase that talent. I’m not saying I’m bad or unskilled in my craft. What I’m saying is I’ve met LOTS of other people who are FAR more talented than myself, and they don’t know how to begin to "put themselves out there". I think I have that uncanny knack, that ability to ride the line of not being overbearing, but putting myself out there in plain sight. It’s a confidence in knowing you can succeed. I only know this from failing so many times in the past, though. It takes time, and perseverance, but the payoff is worthwhile.
Sue: Thanks, Will!
Well, there you have it, Kids. Hard work, perseverance and a little luck will get you far. Don't let the bastards grind you down. Go get it!
Peace out, Dogs. :)