by Stein Haukland
Glasseater blends melodic hardcore with street punk to challenge the (mis)conceptions of what hardcore should be, flipping a proud middle finger to anyone trying to limit their sound. Following vocalist Jason Calieroís departure from the group, drummer Julio C. Marin picked up the microphone, and together with Anthony Lopez on bass and guitarists JC Lopez and Ariel Arro, the band came up with their self-titled third album, an intensely honest, genuine melodic hardcore statement. All crossover potential aside, what matters is that Glasseater have made their most confident and energetic album to date. Glorious melodies sit comfortably next to aggressive outbursts and the band sounds as if theyíre more focused and are having more fun than ever before.
We took up the kind offer to talk to Julio about the bandís new album, about hardcore, friends, touring and what itís going to be like, shifting a million units.
Congrats on the new album. I guess youíre happy with it. How are the fans taking to it?
We have never been happier with how everything regarding the band has been going. The fans seem to be loving the new songs we are playing in our set, everything is rad. We just want to hit the West Coast and see how they are taking it.
How about the line-up change -- after Jason left, did you ever consider bringing in someone new, or wasnít that an option?
At first we all thought we could try out different people, but after thinking about it we decided weíd all feel more comfortable with me singing up front than some stranger none of us even know. Besides, Ariel, Anthony and JC all somehow knew that I would pull it off eventually. I was the only one at first who was a bit nervous. But all that nervous stuff has since disappeared.
I understand that you just got yourself a new drummer. Howís that working out? And do you miss the drums -- have you stopped playing them altogether?
We have found a new permanent drummer. His name is Dave Miller and he is a perfect fit for the ensemble. Heís a solid hard-hitting drummer -- and he looks like a cross between Mark Wahlberg, Sugar Ray, and Jim Carrey [laughs]. As of right now, me and him will be doing the studio drum work. If we feel I can do it a little bit better I might go in and do some things here and there, but for the most part so far he is looking like he will do just fine. I am done drumming for Glasseater, but I am still drumming at home. I mean, itís the thing I have been doing all my life. I plan on doing some studio sessions and I have some side bands going on right now, Trust No One and Dance Floor Justice. Both fun hardcore stuff. If you like American Nightmare, Hatebreed, The Cro-Mags, stuff like that, then youíll like my two side bands.
You seem to be one of the few un-MTV punk bands out there to have some commercial impact right now, alongside Strung Out, A.F.I., Grade, those bands. Agree with that? Do you keep day jobs or is Glasseater what you do, full time?
Well, we think we are far away from reaching the MTV commercial point. But, we are super full time. Ariel works at a vegan/vegetarian food store with a bunch of punk rock kids in Miami -- that place rocks. And Dave works at a five star restaurant as the chefís apprentice. JC, me and Anthony just chill at home. We deal with the off the road business of Glasseater.
What about the "scene" thing? You seem to have that whole punk/melodic hardcore crossover feel in common with all those bands coming out now. Is there a sense of something happening, of a wider audience catching on -- are you ready for when the evil novelty of nu-metal wears off and the kids finally discover hardcore?
I think if it gets to that point and the bands that get a chance to be up on that kind of level do it the right way, then it can be a good thing. I mean, so many bands are up there now kinda opening the masses to what we are about and what type of music we play. Iím just worried that it -- hardcore, melodic punk, all this -- will become a trend just like alternative was. But now that Iím thinking about it, even if itís just a liíl four or five year trend, we will go right back to where we have been up until now. And that isnít bad. Plus weíll have a huger cult-like fan base. And that would rule.
You seem to have this profound and intense communication with your audience. It must be quite heavy on stage with all that going on, having people respond to your music on such a personal and physical level?
Weíve always been about having a blast on stage and just letting everything out. Thatís kind of the only problem Iíve been facing on these past tours. Some of the venues weíve been playing have these intense huge stages with barricades and it kinda sucks because I feel so distant from everyone. Whereas before we would be right with the crowd and thatís how it should be. No one on that stage at any point in time is higher, greater or wiser than those on the floor watching you. Weíre all here for the same reason and the only thing different between the band playing and the kids watching is that those five kids on stage are playing their instruments for a 45 min time span. We should have that in our minds at all times. If it were up to me, I would have floor shows again. Those rocked.
Your lyrics seem to refer to the scene/family thing a lot, the hardcore thematic I guess. It can be a bit excluding though, the hardcore scene, especially considering that itís fundamentally all-inclusive?
Well, I think when you read my lyrics you might misinterpret them. "Forever family" is a saying me and my super-close friends -- I call them brothers -- have been saying forever, and I like writing about personal stuff. So when I wrote stuff like that, itís been about some friends of mine who have been distant lately, broken their edge, stuff like that. I donít think [hardcore] is excluding at all. I just write about what Iím feeling at that time and try to be honest most of the time. My friends and family are at the top of my mind all the time, so I wrote about it. But hopefully no one thinks Iím being excluding in a bad way, ya know. I dunno if that makes sense [laughs].
Youíre still straight edge? Do you see that as having an impact on Glasseater as a band, the music, or is it a strictly personal thing for you?
Four of us are still straight edge, Anthony isnít. The "edge" is a personal choice, we know it isnít for everyone. Our music and message should touch anyone, edge or not. No one is perfect [laughs].
Loads of people seem to be quite hung up on the melodic/growling vocals you do. Is this your "thing," sort of, a trademark or whatever, that people would expect from you now?
Weíve tried to always incorporate the heavy aggressiveness and the melodic singing into our music. Thatís why our new record is split with five songs with screaming and five songs without. I know kids knew we are capable of the heavy stuff, but I wanted to show that I can sing just as good if not better than screaming. And to be honest there is just so much more you can do with a melody than just a scream. But yeah, itís something they should be expecting, the screaming, but hopefully now they can expect the singing just as much as the screaming.
Your new album seems to have those '80s hair metal references going. Was that a conscious decision, or does it come down to some dubious influences during your formative years?
I think this record just finally shows us reaching the goal we have always tried to achieve, and that is trying to blend beautiful melodies and heavy aggressive sections into one whole sound. Kind of like a musical term titled a "himeola" -- itís like two different feels going on at the same time. Quite syncopated but blending together and making this rad groove.
Present and future -- What are you up to now and whatís up next? Any immediate plans?
Tour, tour, tour, tour, tour. Thatís all we have planned for the next year. Also, in late October we will be shooting a video for "Medicine" that will hopefully turn out on MTV2 and Much Music-- Check the Web site for more info on that!