The ballsy-guitar solos, charismatic vocals and catchy synths of the Yorkshire-bred Glass Caves are already a familiar presence throughout the streets of York. Despite such huge success performing and busking locally, the indie-rock quartet now have their sights set on bigger and better things.
Their debut album Alive is now appearing in stores nationwide, with forerunning single Go reaching over 20,000 views on YouTube within a matter of days. Taking a moment to reflect on their recent success, vocalist Matt comments, “It’s exciting, but I’m anxious at the same time…this album’s been a long time coming.” The band’s solid work ethic has seen them touring relentlessly in the North, taking their audiences from the streets to bigger city gigs whilst gaining a large online following. I asked Matt what he thinks has accelerated the band’s potential in the music industry. He replied, “I think it’s the passion – we’re just driven and we don’t ever take a day off. I think that’s what sets us apart.”
“Alive reflects the experiences we’ve had in life…the ups and the downs.” When reflecting upon the sound of the album he draws attention to the band’s diverse music tastes. “I like heavier stuff, Elliot likes Motown and Will’s into Reggae. The rockier side is something that joins us.” It’s true. Listen to Let Go on their new album and you’ll be hit with an eclectic mix of raunchy guitar solos, hypnotic vocals and addictive base riffs. “As a whole we all really appreciate The Police and Kings of Leon as a band.” In response to this, I pose the question of who’d they’d like to see themselves touring with in ten years time: “U2 have seen everything – they’re a bit cheesy but they appeal to so many people. But obviously, the bigger the better!”
Without the backing of a label, the band have made phenomenal progress already. The singer draws attention to the fact that busking alone has played a big role in making the album possible.“Everyone who’s ever given us a quid has helped us to make this album”, he says appreciatively.
U2 have seen everything – they’re a bit cheesy but they appeal to so many people. But obviously, the bigger the better!
It’s clear that the band look fondly on their busking roots. “I can imagine we’ll continue with it… it’s enjoyable playing music all day, and it’s a great way for people to hear the album”. Whilst on tour, the band has played smaller venues such as The Basement in York. “I love intimate venues as there’s something special about them – you can see people up close. What’s best is that you can appreciate the fans singing your own lyrics back to you.” After getting over this initial surrealism, the band developed a penchant for giving out samples of their album to fans at the gig. Commenting on this, Matt chuckles, “I’ve been told a few times I can’t throw out album samplers anymore, as it might hit people in the eye!”
Glass Caves have also got their sights set on conquering the South. Following such intimate gigs in York they moved onto larger crowds in London and Brighton. I immediately have to ask the question of whether there’s really any competition between crowds in the two parts of the country. Matt pauses and then reassures us. “The South are known for being reserved, the Northern audiences are a bit more like, ‘Let’s go for it’. Nevertheless the South have surprised us! We’ve been able to gain a fan base up North but we need to do some more converting further South in the country.”
Finally, I ask him about his experiences as a busker and what students can do to put themselves out there. “I guess it’s not as scary as what you think it is. I was at University with a job at Sports Direct.” He laughs to himself, “I really hated it. So I went out on the streets and started busking – we did a lot better than expected!” Looking back to the beginning of Glass Caves he recalls, “We were stood on the street murmuring out a song and were scared people were judging us thinking, “What the hell are you guys doing?” But it’s all about the confidence – people take to that. Go out there and just give it!”
Look out for Glass Caves returning to York in the future. Their debut album Alive is in stores now.