Two years on from dropping jaws with their debut EP This Is What It’s Like, the iridescent indie-poppers in Glades have delivered another searing blow to our eardrums. To Love You started life as a sister release to their 2016 breakthrough, but while its title still fills in the topical blank left by This Is What It’s Like, the finished product is a full-length album with a concept and character all of its own. In a landscape where more electro-focused artists are shifting to the one-EP-per-year model than ever, what enticed Glades to make the ambitious leap to an 11-track opus?
“After we released [This Is What It’s Like], we started touring with a lot of bands that we look up to,” says multi-instrumentalist Cam Robertson. “They were all plugging their big, career-defining albums. Seeing the fan response to those shows and watching their crowds sing literally every word back to them… That was a big part of why we chose to do a proper album instead of just another EP.”
It certainly didn’t hurt to have an abundance of material pile up in their home studio. “I think we just came to a point where we had so many songs that to release five of them in an EP just wouldn’t be enough,” adds vocalist and guitarist Karina Wykes. “We felt like we should be putting more of ourselves out into the world, and after [This Is What It’s Like] did so well, I think we were ready for people to hear more of what we’re capable of.”
Since the trio first convened at their Anglican college in Kellyville (a small suburb northwest of Sydney), Glades were aggressive in their efforts to build up a solid discography. It paid off in spades with This Is What It’s Like, but when it came time to think about a follow-up, the band found themselves at an impasse. Would they continue to riff on bright, quirky pop modules in their isolated bubble, or would they dive into a world scarier, but more expansive than their own?
“Ever since we started as a band, we had been writing and writing and writing – literally nonstop for three years,” Robertson explains. “But there was a period around 2016 – right after we finished the EP – where we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do.
“So we took our first trip to the US, and that really helped to open our minds as songwriters. We worked with a whole heap of different musicians, and just hearing their unique perspectives on music was so refreshing for us.”
With reinvigorated minds and a clear path to follow, the band saw new ideas rush to them like moths to a lamp. “We started to feel like we had a lot more freedom because we could explore a lot of different sounds, and continue to develop our style from what we established with our first EP,” says Wykes. “We wanted to explore the more emotional side of our writing as well. At the end of the album, there’s a few songs that are really close to our hearts, and I think this was the first time that we were able to explore that.”
Such is where Glades unearthed their modus operandi: to revolutionise the love song. “It’s important for any artist to find their voice and discover what they stand for,” Wykes says. “What do you want to achieve when you put something out into the world? How do you want to make people feel? For us, it’s been a long process of figuring out the answers to those questions and developing what it is that we want to convey with our music. I think what it came down to is the idea of love, and exploring all these different types of love – loving the people around you, and yourself, and your friends.
“You hear a lot about romantic love in most of the music that’s out right now,” Wykes continues. “We wanted to explore the other aspects of love, because I feel like they’re just as important as romantic love. Like, the love that you have for your friends: you live with that every day, in so many different little ways – even just making sure if they’re okay. We wanted to explore that type of love, because you don’t actually hear that very often in music.”
To Love You is out now via Warner Music Australia.