EMQ’s with GLASS ALICE
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Youngstown, Ohio based Alternative Rock/Post-Grunge band Glass Alice. Huge thanks to Mike Hermensky & Eric Albenze for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Mike Hermensky (MH): I’m Mike Hermensky. I play guitar and vocals.
Eric Albenze (EA): Lead Guitar/Producer/Mixer/Digital Art/Video/Animation/Co-Founder Glass Alice. Our history – We started in 2000 under the name Facepunch, which lasted about five years. I then quit music entirely. Six years went by and I hated every minute of it, so I built a home recording studio, learned Cubase and called Mike. I was in Tampa, Florida and he was in Youngstown, Ohio, so we would both write songs on our own and then email the songs to each other, and then continue to work on them. I would fly into Youngstown for a week at a time and we would record all the tracks we could, and I’d take them back home to Tampa and mix them. We uploaded our first round of songs to iTunes, Spotify and all that and about three months later I got a call from producer Jim Wirt (Incubus, Hoobastank) out of Cleveland, Ohio. He said he’d heard us on Spotify and really liked the sound asked to produce our first LP. So, we found Howie (Burns – Drums) and Anthony (Village – Bass) – Mike and Howie had worked together before. In our first session with Jim we recorded “Gravity, Oh Boy and Bitten”. We’ve now just wrapped up another recording session with Jim and we are excited to be signed with Super Delicious Records and everything they are doing as we get ready to drop our first international album “Bitten” on Sept. 14th
How did you come up with your band name?
EA: Mike got this one, and we both hate trying to think of a band name. It’s literally impossible for me to decide, so I’m good when someone else does that. I have a hard-enough time keeping the logo the same, for branding and all that jazz.
MH: We were thinking of changing our band name because we got away from the type of music we previously played under that name (Facepunch). We had a few ideas we kicked around for a while. I was driving and thinking about the movie Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp. I was thinking about the scene with the porcelain doll and Glass Alice popped into my head. I liked the way it sounded and so did the rest of the band members, so it stuck.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
EA: Youngstown, Ohio, in North-eastern, Ohio. There’s a ton of metal bands up here, almost too many. Not a lot of Rock Bands, and seems a lot of alternative bands, so a good variety, but definitely a ton of metal bands, but seems like that everywhere.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
MH: Our album “Bitten” drops September 14th and our first single of the same name will be released the same date.
EA: It’s our first time working with a label, so it’s been interesting to see that side of the business.
Who have been your greatest influences?
MH: Silverchair, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, you can probably hear that in our songwriting!
EA: Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Metallica, Soundgarden. There was some really great music that came out of the 90’s and I feel that’s definitely been an influence.
What first got you into music?
EA: I heard Metallica’s “…And Justice For All” album and it changed me, I was obsessed with fast riffs and fast solos, I would play every day before and after school. I was really taken with that loud emotional sound, and I was always going to the smoke shop to get guitar tab magazines. I loved that, trying to learn the songs before my friends did!
MH: I was about 16 and my buddy Brian gave me a bass. I started messing around with it and taught myself how to play. My other buddy Tommy would help me practice by playing drums on the couch cushions. Eventually I traded my bass in for a guitar, Tommy bought a drum set, and we started our first band.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
MH: I’ve always liked Dave Grohl. He seems like a real down to earth kind of guy, a great musician, and someone I could learn from.
EA: Jerry Cantrell – the dude’s a great songwriter! I’m actually really excited to work on some of the new songs that Mike, and I are working on; some of them are really heavy. I’m excited to get back to work on them.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
EA: I was a big fan of the Warped Tour when that was around. Reading and/or Leeds would be amazing.
MH: Lollapalooza – I went to the 92’ show and it had a kick ass line-up – Ministry, Jesus and Mary Chain, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, etc. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to in my life.
What’s the weirdest gift you ever received from a fan?
EA: Homemade stuffed olives, LOL! I don’t like olives, but I heard they were really good!
MH: What!? You got a gift? I’m still waiting for that one to happen!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
MH: We really appreciate their support and when they listen to our music, we hope they walk away with an emotion, a connection, and a feeling to the songs that they can relate to their own lives.
EA: I would just say thank you for listening and I hope it brings you some form of comfort and happiness.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
EA: I would want to see what else Kurt Cobain or Layne Staley would have done. I guarantee either of these guys would have made a ton more songs, and man, I would love to hear that!
MH: That’s a tough one, because there are way too many, but for me personally it would probably be Kurt Cobain. He had a big influence on me musically.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
EA: I love the creating process and hearing it take form and come to life. I also really like the recording process and going back to fundamentals and the long hours of recording and mixing. I love that stuff, it’s the best feeling in the world! I don’t hate anything about being a musician, but I would say it’s HARD! It’s so easy to give up, or say “nah, I can’t do it, or I’m too old, or too… whatever”, but music has no boundaries, a good song speaks for itself. But trying to beat the fear in your head is not easy.
MH: I most enjoy creating something from nothing which is always a satisfying feeling. I hate the pressure and stress I put upon myself.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
MH: I wish the music industry would take more chances on new bands. It seemed like in the 90’s there were tons of bands being signed, even if they only had one hit, at least they got a chance.
EA: I would get rid of streaming media. Artists work hard we all know that, and it’s insane how effortless it is to get music now. It’s so easy, and so inexpensive, that it gets taken for granted. Worse yet, it enables people to skip from one song to the next without giving the song a chance to develop. I’d like to see album sales return, not just a single song. A lot of artists I know are barely hanging on and some have already quit. If all the real artists disappear everyone’s going to wonder why all the new music sucks.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums.
EA: Metallica’s “Ride The Lightening”, fast and heavy!
MH: There’s just so many! Mötley Crüe – “Shout At The Devil”, Skid Row’s – “Skid Row£, and Def Leppard – “Hysteria”.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s, or Downloads?
MH: Vinyl – there’s a sound that you can get from vinyl that you can’t get from any other platform.
EA: I like Vinyl, I see it’s making somewhat of a comeback but seems really expensive to do right now, it was for us anyway.
What’s the best gig you played to date?
EA: The OutPost in Kent, Ohio. It was a great show!
MH: Stella’s in Downtown Cleveland – it was a good atmosphere, great crowd, and lots of friends and family were able to come.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
MH: Probably tattooing – When I took a hiatus from music, I took a tattoo apprenticeship and did that for a couple years, but it didn’t give me the fulfilment that music does.
EA: I have a degree in Computer Animation and Multimedia. So, I’m still doing a lot of that for Glass Alice. The artist has to do so much more than just make music. You also have to be a graphic artist, web, social media, YouTube, video. I’ve been lucky to have a background in all of this, and it’s still not enough time in the day to get everything done.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
EA: Jerry Cantrell, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammet, Lars, Axl, Slash
MH: Jesus, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain (if they were alive), Post Malone, and Dave Grohl
What’s next for the band?
EA: We just signed with Super Delicious Records, and “Bitten” drops September 14th. And then touring, once that’s a thing again.
MH: Promoting our new album, touring, writing and getting back in the studio to record.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or biscuit?
MH: I had to look it up, but I would say it is a cake.
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