Glass Theory isn’t a theory at all. It’s a proven electronica fact in human form named Jack Duff. Jack’s newest EP, Hard To Breathe, is now available and he graced the ‘stache with a little bit of his time to talk about the record and other theories.
Pop ‘stache: What’s the origin of the Glass Theory?
Jack Duff: Glass Theory was a project I decided to start after years of playing drums and writing in other bands. I had been toying around with the idea and writing/producing on my own for a while, but it really came together after I first demoed “By the Bar” at the end of 2011.
P ‘s: Where do you hail from and where do you get most of your Glass Theory-ing in at?
JD: I’m actually from Phoenix. I moved out to Los Angeles about seven years ago. Everything I’ve written and produced I’ve done in L.A. from my home studio—except my new track “Hard to Breathe,” which I mixed with Alex Aldi in New York.
P ‘s: What was your song writing process like for the EP?
JD: It really varied from song to song. Some tracks spark from a voice memo, an isolated lyric or melody idea. One idea I ended up trying to record while driving. For some reason ideas hit me when I’m driving a lot, haha. Other times I will create a groove using a drum and bass track or synth progression and go from there.
P ‘s: Do any of your musical influences or artists you’re currently listening to inspire you when constructing songs, and can any of those influences be heard in your music?
JD: My musical influences are a bit across the board. Although I’m very into dance music, Brit-pop is definitely an influence in what I do. I’m a big fan of Blur, Suede, James, Oasis, etc. Depeche Mode is probably one of my biggest influences. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of DJ/producers such as: The Magician, Touch & Go and Lindstrom. Artists such as these influence my production, but I feel like my influences don’t have that much of a direct effect on my songwriting.
P ‘s: What part of the job do you enjoy more: Playing shows or the creative process?
JD: That’s a tough one. I love both equally. Performing as a frontman and singer has been very liberating after being stuck behind the drums for over 10 years in bands. I’m actually free to move around and interact with my fans, which is nice. I will always love writing and producing though. I feel very comfortable spending hours and hours alone in my studio. It’s almost like therapy, whenever I don’t have some solid time in the studio for more than about a week I start feeling a little bit crazy.
P ‘s: Doing everything on your own, I’m sure that gives you the freedom to be a little more personal. Is there anything you miss about the collaborative song writing process or do you vastly prefer this? Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with?
JD: I honestly enjoy both equally, and I get to do some collaborations as Glass Theory with other artists, which is a lot of fun for me. I actually have a few of those collaborations in the works right now. One artist I really respect and have been a fan of for a long time that I would love to collaborate with is Miami Horror, as well as Oliver.
P ‘s: How does the new EP differ from some of your previous work?
JD: I feel like Hard to Breathe is, although less aggressive, definitely more of a dance album. Although I feel like the tracks on the album are still pop songs, because when it comes down to it, I write pop music, I was heavily inspired and influenced by the underground/after-hours dance scene in L.A. and by the DJs and producers creating nu-disco and even deep house tracks.
P ‘s: As GT has evolved, what are some of your favorite moments since the inception of the project?
JD: I’d have to say putting out that first single/EP and getting to hear people’s response. It was very nerve racking, since I had never released a “solo” album before, but insanely gratifying once I started to get good feedback. Also playing in my hometown of Phoenix last year for the first time as Glass Theory and getting to see a good crowd of people singing along. Those moments keep me going.
At that same show in Phoenix, in the middle of the show I finished a glass of whiskey, and, after muttering something about needing more under my breath into the microphone (as a joke), multiple people in the crowd started yelling to the bartender to get me a drink. I felt the love.
P ‘s: Finally, please explain this quote from your Facebook page: “Sex, night swims in the ocean, surrealist art.”
JD: I’m kind of glad you asked. I think you’re the first person who’s asked me about my interests on Facebook, haha! Well, I think the interest in sex is pretty self-explanatory, but I honestly feel like that sensuality and experiences I’ve had do come out in my music. I always think that sensuality in music is important. A lot of my favorite songs are songs that would be good to make love to. The night swims came from an amazing experience I had in St. Lucia. I was just floating in the ocean and everything was pitch black except the moon and the stars, and I was staring up at them. It made me feel like I was in space, weightless. And, well, surrealist art is something that can be an influence on me as well. I think all art is sort of tied. I really love this polish artist Beksinski as well as a few other surreal/fantasy painters.