On August 3rd 2007, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting up with the guys of Edison Glass for a pretty lengthy interview outside the small and smoldering club “Ray’s Downtown Blues” in West Palm Beach, Fl. Two months and ten blistered fingertips later, I have finally finished typing the interview. Enjoy. Interview by: Julio D. Anta
Please introduce yourselves for those not present…
Joshua Silverberg: [Laughs] I’m Josh, I play guitar and sing.
James Usher: My names James, I play guitar.
Josh Morin: I’m Josh and I play the bass and sing.
Joe Morin: I’m Joe, I play drums.
Great, so you’re currently on tour with the band Ivory, how has that been?
Joshua Silverberg: Really good
James Usher: Awesome, we love the Ivory guys, and it’s always a nice surprise to see kids come out and sing along with them.
You just finished recorded your next album, have you been playing any songs from the album?
James Usher: Yeah, we started playing a bunch of new songs. The albums coming out really soon so we’re just trying to get those going and we’re actually selling new songs, too!
The “Let Go” EP right?
James Usher: Mhmm, we’re selling the downloads at our shows and on iTunes with an extra song.
How have the crowd reactions been with the new songs? Do they carry same vibe as the previous releases?
Josh Morin: It’s a way different vibe; I don’t really know how to explain it.
James Usher: I feel like it’s been a good reaction
Josh Morin: Yeah, it’s been a really good reaction, the songs are still Edison Glass style.
Can you give me a brief history of the band for those who are completely lost and haven’t tuned out yet?
Josh Morin: [Laughs] Well, we started in 1998 playing music together. I joined the band after that. We’ve been playing ever since, and touring for about three years under the name Edison Glass. Before that we were named Edison and before that something else. We put out our first record in 2004, was it?
Joshua Silverberg: Well, our first national record was in 2006. But we had a bunch of indie records before that.
James Usher: We just wrote and recorded a lot without much touring. Three years ago we got signed and finally starting touring full-time before putting out our national release.
I’ve heard people say you got the name Edison Glass by fusing Thomas Edison and Philip Glass’ names together. Is that true?
Joshua Silverberg: [Laughs] Yeah.
James Usher: I’m a big fan of Philip Glass. I heard about him in high school when I was in that stage of discovering the good stuff, and it messed me up pretty good. I still listen to him all the time.
Who else could you say has influenced your music?
James Usher: I love Super Furry Animals and everybody else hates me for it. If you don’t like them that’s okay, but you’re wrong [Laughs].
Can you tell me how it was like working with one of the Smashing Pumpkins producers?
Josh Morin: Yeah, Brad Wood. He was awesome, man. It was definitely a really different experience being in the studio with somebody other than each other. So, it was a little hard getting used to him being there, but we had a lot of fun. A lot of great experiences… sleeping in our bus for two months, eating jack in a box, and gaining a lot of weight [Laughs]. But it was a lot of fun, we had a blast. We have a couple of friends in LA, so we got to hang out a bunch and drink tea and eat some homemade cookies.
Speaking of the bus, have you finally sold it?
Josh Morin: We’re trying [Laughs].
Joshua Silverberg: For everyone reading, our bus is for sale!
James Usher: If anyone has seven grand lying around and you need a home….
Joshua Silverberg: Without a bathroom [Laughs].
So, lets talk about the new album. You said they run a little different than your last recordings?
Josh Morin: Well, for us yeah.
James Usher: It’s hard to explain…
Josh Morin: Yeah, it’s really hard to explain [Laughs].
James Usher: If you ask me, I feel like there are more songs on the album.
Joshua Silverberg: More songs? [Laughs]
James Usher: [Laughs] There are less tracks but out of those tracks…
They’re more musical?
James Usher: Music and songs and lyrics, there is singing and instruments playing.
Joshua Silverberg: Let’s put it this way, if you liked our first record, you’ll definitely liked our second one. If you thought our first record was like, “Wow, this is an interesting band. I think they need some development” than you’ll really like our second record.
James Usher: If you hate our first record, then you are going to hate this one.
Who did you work with on the new album?
Josh Morin: This producer from Nashville, named Nathan Dancler. We co-produced it with him. He’s an excellent engineer.
James Usher: He also did Lost Ocean which was also on our label.
Josh Morin: Yeah, and that was another awesome experience. He’s about our age and it was just a whole lot of fun. We had a blast. We did two sessions, one last winter and one this winter.
Is there any specific tracks or songs from the album that you’re most proud of or stick out to you?
James Usher: Well we all probably have different favorites, but “Let Go” and “All Our Memories” have been stand outs. Those are two songs that are on that EP that everybody should buy.
Joe Morin: There’s this really cool track called “Kansas” on it. It has a little bit of a jazzy feel. Really cool for us because we really… We’re all into different kinds of music so we’re always playing different stuff in our CD players. It’s good to have that kind of variety and reflect like, “Hey, this is stuff we like too,” or whatever. It kind of shows our different influences and feels we want to accomplish.
Josh, you have a side project right?
Josh Morin: Yeah, I do some full craft acoustic guitar songs that are just my way of filtering through songs, and figuring out what I want to do. I like to write different types of songs and sometimes when something is a little less Edison Glass-esque, even though, now I’m starting to realize anything can go for Edison Glass, it goes there.
Joe Morin: And, a lot of the times your songs become Edison Glass songs
Josh Morin: So, yeah, it just helps me to finish songs really, cause I have a hard time doing that when I’m not hanging out and practicing with the band.
Okay, shifting gears a bit now, you guys are labeled as a “Christian band”, right?
James Usher: Yeah [Laughs].
Joshua Silverberg: It’s a complicated label
Josh Morin: Yeah, there are a lot of Christian bands that are being a lot more innovative now with how they write music and what they are doing. It seems like that label doesn’t really need to be there anymore, with the difference between Christian music and “Secular” music, because, I don’t know, music is music. It affects everybody, you know? Just because you believe in something shouldn’t have to pigeon hold you to a certain label or anything. I think that’s pretty lame… that you get slammed just for being in a “Christian band”.
James Usher: There’s this song on our new record called “Time is Fiction,” and it’s actually the title of the album and a lot of what it says is about everything being part of a song. Everything. The sound of footsteps, the rustling of leaves and yeah… the labels we put on things are just that, labels. And it just sucks that we kind of have to box everything and put it in all these funny places. Either way we make noise and make music. People are going to call it what they will, it’s really not up to us.
Joe Morin: I kind of have something to say to that, a realization I just had. When bands are labeled as a Christian band it automatically has the assumption that you’re the same as everybody else, as any other Christian that’s done it before. It puts you in this position where everybody thinks you’re the same kind of Christian as the wacko charismatic Christians you see on TV, where in reality everybody is different and has different personalities. So, I think the individualism of the musician can really be taken away if they are just called a Christian musician and we never want that. I think we’re individuals, in and among ourselves. Actually, in Edison Glass we can probably all go off and have our own side project careers if we really wanted to, because we all individually write our own music. I mean I don’t know how much more individual it gets than that, musically.
So, back to the question about our band being “Christian” or not, yeah we are personally Christians, but we’re also individuals that have different thoughts about our own spirituality. I think it’s just a matter of the public accepting the fact that yeah, these guys believe what they believe, they may speak about it, they may not. They may talk about it in their lyrics, but some people don’t even know that we talk about it in our lyrics because sometimes it can be ambiguous. I think it’s just about the end of it, individualism of people… that is at hand with that label. We just want to be known as people more than something as strict as the Christian label.
You’re fairly big in the “Christian” music market, how do you hope to break into the secular music scene?
Josh Morin: Well this tour that we’re on now with Ivory is good because we’ve been playing nothing but club venues and places that sell alcohol and allow smoking. That’s been a venture into sort of unknown territory for us because before we were on a different agency that booked us mostly in churches and Christian events. I think that playing this kind of market is our way of preaching into that world and that’s always been our vision.
Joshua Silverberg: From a marketing standpoint, they are going to be pushing our record as far as like PR and press a lot more mainstream. We’re not going to really focus as hard as on the Christian market as we did on our first record.
Last question: What are your biggest hopes for the band?
Joshua Silverberg: To pay our bills.
Josh Morin: Yeah, to tour and pay our bills.
Joshua Silverberg: And see our wives [Laughs].
James Usher: That’s like an immediate life situation, to be able to continue the band full-time. I mean, musically we just always want to keep pushing ourselves to keep changing and growing. It’s been a long time. We’ve done a lot of records before we released anything and I think we’ve only stepped forward in our writing and we did it again this time. So, I think that’s a big goal of ours us too. At least, mine.
Any last thoughts or comments you want to put out there?
James Usher: Yes, I’m going to do something cheesy and promote this…
Josh Morin: Before he does that, listen to A Slight Breeze, listen to Ivory, listen to Baron Von Bear, and VKHW (Josh’s side project).
James Usher: So, we just got a cell phone and I’m trying to get the word out. The phone number is (917) 338-3878 and we want to hear from everybody that reads this
Josh Morin: Even if you hate us, we would love to message you back with just as much hostility.
Big thanks to the guys for taking the time to hang out, everyone at Credential Records, and my dear friend Laura Elorza for helping me with the typing!