Interview: Glades x Converse.
With their single ‘Drive’ racking up over 25 million streams on Spotify, Glades are nothing short of impressive. The Australian-based trio - made up of Karina Wykes, Cameron Robertson, and Joseph Wenceslao - met each other in high school and have since gone on to sign to EMI Records, receive praise from the likes of label-mate Troye Sivan (whose song ‘FOOLS’ they released a cover of), and even play their debut U.S. shows to a number of excited fans.
We spoke to Glades while they were in New Zealand about the importance of Spotify, what else they have planned for 2017, and how style is integrated into the band…
[Glades are wearing the new Converse One Star sneaker in all photos]
COUP DE MAIN: How do you integrate style and fashion into the overall concept of Glades?
GLADES - CAM ROBERTSON: That’s a really hard one, because we all have such different fashion styles.
GLADES - KARINA WYKES: I’m so different to these guys, I’m all about streetwear; chill vibes.
CAM: I really like the clean, classy - that kind of look. A bit of grunge, but not completely streetwear. Joey’s quite streetwear.
GLADES - JOEY WENCESLAO: Comfort is key.
KARINA: He’s [Joey] all about the shoes.
CDM: How do you go about choosing outfits to wear during your stage-shows?
KARINA: I feel like we look at each other, and the kind of colour palette that we want. We’ve had times where the guys dress more in neutral colours, and I’ll be a pop of colour. It just suits whatever thing we’re feeling.
CAM: We try to dress around Karina a bit more.
KARINA: These guys are more a neutral vibe, and I’m more something we take a risk with. <laughs>
CDM: How would you style your own pair of Converse One Star sneakers?
JOEY: I’d go cropped raw jeans. They’re skate shoes so I’d keep it casual.
CAM: I’d wear them with a pair of blue jeans.
KARINA: It's funny, I opened the box, and I was like, ‘These are exactly what I would’ve chosen.’ The purple; I love the suede. My favourite colours are purple and blue.
CDM: If the Converse One Star sneaker were a song, what would it be?
JOEY: I’d say ‘Rollercoaster’ by Bleachers. Super upbeat, fun, makes you want to skate - even though I can’t.
KARINA: It would definitely be something fun. I feel like it would be something Katy Perry - early Katy Perry. Maybe ‘Teenage Dream’. It’s that fun, and the whole aesthetic she had for that - pastels.
CAM: ’Never Be Like You’ by Flume - just a really cool song.
CDM: You guys are obviously huge on Spotify - do you know how that happened, and how that process works?
JOEY: I think Spotify’s pretty organic, in terms of sharing. People share it, it gets put in playlists. We love playlists. We always update ours - and I guess other people like doing it as well, because I guess a playlist is a modern day mixtape - you just can’t hold it.
KARINA: I remember the first time, when we released ‘Drive’ and when it got to one million and we flipped out - we posted about it, and then the next million, we were like ‘What the heck?!’ and by the time it was eight or nine, people were like, ‘You need to stop posting every million’. <laughs> We were like, ‘How the heck is this happening?!’
CAM: From when we released ‘Drive’ to now, we’ve had other songs in the same playlist, but it hasn’t gone as big as ‘Drive’. ‘Speechless’ is probably our next biggest song, and it’s had probably very similar playlisting to what ‘Drive’ was in.
CDM: It’s an interesting mix of being playlisted by Spotify’s own playlists, to other people’s playlists.
KARINA: It’s the power of sharing with your friends.
JOEY: The power of friendship.
CAM: I think people just have to connect to the song, and if people connect to the song, it’s going to translate.
CDM: Do you think Spotify is more important for people’s careers than radio?
KARINA: For us, it's been massive. We’ve got a lot of thanks to give to Spotify, just for everything it has done for us and our career. At least, even just starting us off, and the way that our music has been able to get out to people on the other side of the world. We look at where our main listening groups are, and the fact that the first one is Manhattan - there’s no way that we would’ve been able to connect to those people if it wasn’t through that type of streaming service. It’s insane, but really cool at the same time.
CAM: I think they’re still both really important, but Spotify for us, in the beginning of our career, was the most insane thing to happen, for them to support us. It really helped kick-start our career as musicians, and we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing now without their support. But at the same time, I still think radio is quite important. If you get a song on the radio, it’s probably going to translate into sales.
CDM: And you guys have Triple J in Australia.
KARINA: And when you get Triple J support, there’s the whole fanbase that is all about that live show, and supporting you and that.
CDM: When did you guys sign with EMI? What was that process like going from being unsigned to signed?
JOEY: Just over a year ago maybe. Our deal’s not a traditional deal, so we keep most of the control, which is cool. We work together - we still keep all the creating process, and they just help us put it out. So all the music is still very ‘us’.
CAM: They’re super chill with us, which is crazy. We’ll be like, ‘We want to put this song out,’ and they’ll be like, ‘Awesome, we love it.’ And they’ll help us put it out into the world.
CDM: You guys have been playing quite a few live shows - your first American shows were recent. How have they been going?
JOEY: They’ve been amazing. It’s the craziest thing, being in another country, and people knowing the lyrics to our songs.
KARINA: We were kind of nervous, because you see everything online, but you think, 'Are people actually going to show up?' It was so cool, afterwards, people were talking to us and saying, ‘This song has spoken to our relationship.’ Hearing that a person on the other side of the world has got a hold of our song, and is now listening to it and it’s speaking to their situation or wherever they are at, is really cool.
CDM: Were you writing in America too? How was that?
CAM: It was really good. You can tell, especially in Los Angeles, New York, they’re music hubs. Everything that we’ve written up until the last trip we just did, has been entirely us three - producing and writing, everything. We were going through a phase where our writing was very stagnant, it was the same - it was hard for us to find new ideas. So I think we did the trip at the perfect time, because we came back with songs we’re so pumped on. It was really, really good for us creatively. We worked with some other songwriters, which was the first time we’ve ever written with anyone else.
CDM: How was that, going from working with just you three, to working with different people?
CAM: At the start, we had to find our rhythm together, especially with the other writer. It’s a bit interesting, you have no idea who this person is…
CDM: It always sounds a bit like blind-dating.
CAM: Seriously. <laughs>
JOEY: You have to share your whole life with them.
CDM: It almost sounds like therapy.
CAM: But we found that most people wrote in a similar way to us. So we found a couple of writers that we really liked working with, and we’re going back to work with them again.
CDM: Do you prefer writing/recording or playing live?
KARINA: It depends on what kind of mood you’re in…
CAM: That’s so hard.
KARINA: Cam’s always in the studio.
CAM: I would probably choose writing and studio-work. That’s been my thing for a few years, and it’s something that I fell in love with doing. The live show, and playing live, came after recording.
KARINA: And we’re still learning how to play live. But for me, it’d be playing live. I’m such a people person, and I love that connection.
JOEY: I’d say writing, because it’s where you come up with the ways that you reach people. Playing live is a way to reach people, but I think you can reach more with a song.
CDM: How long have you been playing live shows for?
CAM: Almost since we started. When we first started, we had to get our live show up and running.
KARINA: We did so many ‘secret shows’, which was just us trying to get the hang of everything. We didn’t want to promote something and not be ready for it, and people show up and be like, ‘Oh, they kind of suck.’ There was a long period of time where we just needed to get experience.
CDM: It can be hard to transfer music to a live setting - especially with all the technology can be involved with recordings.
KARINA: When we started out, these guys had so many different things that they were doing. We realised that it kind of limited them [Cam and Joey], and we were figuring out we need more movement, to show that we were expressing ourselves in the music. In a visual way, we had to change things from when we were in the beginning - things we thought would work, but didn’t.
CDM: How does your songwriting process work?
JOEY: We pretty much always start with a beat. We start with the music--
JOEY: Yeah. Then melody. Then we put the words to that.
CDM: Do you write before a session, or do it while you’re all together?
JOEY: We have little ideas here and there, but the bulk of it’s done all together.
CDM: How does the production process work?
CAM: We generally write the song in its entirety, in a day - generally. Sometimes it’s been longer.
KARINA: Some songs take so long!
CAM: For example, the song we’re writing now - we had the demo by the end of the day. From there, we get feedback from our team and see what they think, then we just get it back and do more to it, do less to it. The finished product is probably a couple of days after that.
CDM: How do you guys know when a song is finished?
CAM: For me, when I’m working on the track, you just know it’s done. You just don’t think you can do anything more to it. I think my philosophy is not to labour over something. If you have the vibe in the moment, just run with that, and do it until it’s not there anymore, if that makes sense.
The new Converse One Stars are available now online (click here to purchase) and at Converse St Luke’s, Converse Manukau, Converse Sylvia Park and selected retailers across the country.
Listen to Glades' song 'Keep It From You' below…