Summer Of Glaciers

Summer Of Glaciers Session - May 2011

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This Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: March 12, 2011
Posting Date: May 16, 2011
Artist Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Links:, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Touching Down
Summer of Glaciers is the solo project of Ryan Wasterlain. After the dissolution of his hardcore band, Permanent Black, Ryan was looking to create the music that he wanted outside of any dogma of genre.

The result is a blend of post-rock and electronic that doesn’t fit into any one category easily. Summer of Glaciers blends the passionate and epic qualities of the guitar driven post-rock and ties it to the hypnotizing repetitions and unreal glitches of electronic music. Songs often will start at a whisper and end in full blown walls of sound.

The idea of sound as a force is also an integral part of the Summer of Glaciers live show. Performed as a solo act with a guitar, pedal board, and now with the addition of a computer for drum programming, people often underestimate what is about to happen. Building guitar loops live while triggering programmed beats, the songs build and breakdown throughout the whole performance without talking or stopping in between. Feeling that those breaks disrupt the flow of music, Summer of Glaciers has decided to perform like a DJ blending one song into the next. The result is a live set that you can get lost in. Subtle textures, harmonies on top of harmonies, hard hitting drums and volume create a powerful set that leaves a lasting impression.
– Official SOG Bio

ONE: Where did the name Summer of Glaciers come from?
Ryan Wasterlain: I used to play in a hardcore band that fell apart, and I wanted to do something dramatically opposite. I wanted to name the band Glaciers, but there are tons of people already called Glaciers, so Summer Of Glaciers just kind of came into my head. Initially, the sound was supposed to be this really slow, heavy drone, kind of like Earth, probably, but I wanted it to be slower. I found out that I have way too much ADD. I started putting in beats and a lot of different harmonies…it just evolved into something that’s not at all drone-y or slow. [laughs]…itʼs still kind of slow, I guess.
BF: How long have you been playing music?
Ryan: Iʼve been playing guitar, kind of, since I was 12, and Iʼve been in bands since I was 16 or something. Through the whole spectrum of really crappy 90ʼs alternative to punk rock to hardcore to this. So…
BF: We first heard you last summer when you came through Denton. What’s your experience been touring through North Texas?
Ryan: Touring…I haven’t done a tremendous amount. I did the one to come to North By—sorry. Well, you can still call it that right?
BF: Yeah, it was North By [ NX35 / 35 Conferette ] last year.
Ryan: Yeah, we can still hold it to that. I did a couple of shows on the way out here [last year]. I played a show at Nickʼs house, from Dust Congress, and thatʼs the first time I saw Hotel Hotel. I just fell in love with those guys. I ended up talking to Pablo [Guitarist from Hotel Hotel] and I was like, ʻYeah, Iʼm thinking about touring over the summerʼ and he was thinking about doing the same thing. I was going to do more West coast he was going to do more East, and we actually just came together and did a full U.S. tour, which got all the way to Canada until Canada banned us from their country.
BF: Yeah, I heard about that. What was the most responsive city to your music on the tour?
Ryan: Well, definitely Denton has been really good to me, and Albuquerque of all places. I met some really amazing people there. We played a house show that probably had around 30 to 40 kids in one off night, and they just loved it. It was strange, because, I mean, the first band was kind of a screamo band, which I like, but it was like ʻOh, that’s not going to work with me doing my thing and P. D. Wilder, from Hotel Hotel, just doing ambient drift…this isnʼt going to go well at all.ʼ But, those kids really enjoyed it. Denton has been awesome. Iʼve met so many people here that I continue to talk to on a weekly basis about music. I keep in contact with Emil [of The Angelus] and everybody, and it has just been amazing. In San Francisco, the scene feels way more spread out and kind of divided. It has scenes but itʼs really hard to get into them. I feel that the kids in Denton are welcoming to anything that is here and, if youʼre good, theyʼre going to like it. They will take you as their own, as now I am apparently from Denton. [Laughs]
TWO:What are some of your influences?
Ryan: Initially, coming from more of a rock-based type thing, it was really guitar driven. It was supposed to be more like a solo, post-rock experience, but I just started listening to a lot more dance music, a lot of dub-step. Burial is probably one of my big influences. Iʼve listened to DJ Shadow for years so Iʼve always really liked kind of the DJ element of music, and I haven’t heard too many people put that together with more of a traditional post-rock; so it just kind of evolved into that– and, just being one person, it makes it hard to get the sound I want without bringing in electronic elements. Itʼs slow music, itʼs hard to get people really into it, but if you have really good beats, sometimes it kind of helps bring more people to listen to it, and I just really like beats so… it works out.
BF: Itʼs pretty hypnotizing…Iʼve been listening to it in my car for the past few months.
Ryan: Oddly, itʼs a very good driving album, but itʼs almost a dangerous driving album, you know, as well…[laughs]
BF: The album seems to flow so well; I can never tell, you know, if itʼs like ʻTrack 6ʼ…It runs seamlessly together. Howʼs the writing process?
Ryan: So, for that one, that was basically my initial plan. It was to write, basically, from song one to song twelve…well, I guess itʼs just eleven for that album, and really work on just doing it systematically like that. I found that in song two, I was stuck for about a month because what I wanted to do was going to go somewhere else and take the album in a different place. So, I initially wrote a lot of things that would kind of go together, and then I took those as sketches and really built on them. I organized everything like, ʻWell, this is track one, and this is how it is going to get into track two, which will go here.ʼ So, it became a little bit of a patch work, but still intentional, so that it felt from start to finish that you were just listening to one really long track that had a lot of movements and evolution in it.
BF: Right, it definitely comes across like that…itʼs really, really beautiful.
THREE: What is the story behind the Demolition demos that you’ve been sending to your mailing list?
Ryan: Basically, being a solo artist and not having a band, itʼs kind of frustrating when youʼre writing music and you think that itʼs good. You can show it to a couple of people that you know, but you never really get that same exciting input that you get when youʼre playing with a band…when someone will just look at you and be like, ʻThat’s awesome!ʼ and keep jamming out. So, what I was hoping for was to create some discussion, build a community, hopefully…
BF: Yeah, I like how you ask people to comment on certain things.
Ryan: Yeah, I really want people to say, ʻHey, this didnʼt work for me at all!,ʼ or ʻThat was cool.ʼ Iʼve had some of my friends that were recording engineers get really nit-picky about things that, well, Iʼm not a recording engineer, so they will kind of school me on things to make it sound better. Iʼve had a lot of people talk about, ʻWell, this element isnʼt really working for me.ʼ So, itʼs nice to go back and listen to it again with other people’s input because Iʼm so focused on what Iʼm doing that I kind of forget about what the larger picture is sometimes. Itʼs nice to stop and kind of think about it in a different perspective.
BF: Are these tracks for a new album?
Ryan: They are working toward a new album. I have a feeling that some of them, hopefully, will become real songs and that some of them might just be…that’s actually kind of my goal, that maybe half of them will be real songs, and then half of them will be just for the people that just signed up to do this. It would be your advanced copy of a ʻb-sides and raritiesʼ. You know? So, if people are really into it, that would hopefully be something they would really appreciate.
BF: You played a song today in the session with Emil Rapstine on guest vocals. How did you meet?
Ryan: His band, The Angelus, did a cover of a DJ Shadow track that used to be on their Myspace. I donʼt even remember how I first came about finding The Angelus, but I remember hearing that track and was like, ʻThis is amazing…itʼs a live band doing a really great cover of one of my favorite songs.ʼ So I just wrote him and was like, ‘Hey man, I really like that track’ and he wrote back. He saw I was from San Francisco, and he was about to take a trip over there for his honeymoon, so we just started talking about places to go and things to do in San Francisco. I met him when he was out there and I’ve been in love ever since… [laughs]