Gloam Discusses Growth and Change in ‘Hinder’

by the partae

What inspired the theme of growth, progress, and navigating change in your latest single, “Hinder”?

I’d say that the song itself kind of sparked that. Our creative process is heavily a music-first, vocals-second kind of process. So essentially, I listened to the song on repeat (after Oli and I had workshopped it to where it is now) for a while, trying different melodies over different sections, and deciding what felt right. Before long, I had begun associating certain feelings and memories to the track, which then began to influence the words that ended up being sung on the track. Overall, I wouldn’t say there was a moment where I decided “This is what the song is about,” more of an overarching theme that I sort of connected to these emotions after the fact.

Can you elaborate on the internal conflicts portrayed in “Hinder” that hinder the actualization of self-fulfillment?

It’s tricky to put my finger and explicitly say it was ‘this’ or ‘that’, but I’d say it mostly refers to the stagnancy that comes as a consequence of anxiety and depression. it’s easier to sit with what you have and where you are than it is to get up and create the change that you so badly know you’re craving.

How does “Hinder” differ thematically or musically from your previous work, such as your debut single “Merchant”?

Hinder features quite a fast and driving energy throughout the whole performance, which began as a core element in the songwriting process before there was even any drums or vocals attached. I feel like with this track there was less focus on having a big contrast in dynamics within the song, and more emphasis placed on making a fun, driving, high energy piece of music. 

Could you share any anecdotes or stories from the creation process of “Hinder,” particularly regarding its lyrical development?

I wouldn’t say that there was any particularly noteworthy moments in writing the lyrical content for Hinder, so apologies for that. However, I did find myself questioning myself and whether the lyrics I was writing down may have been too cryptic to make any linear sense to listeners. But I guess some self-assurance came from the self-reminder that this is Gloam’s artform, and there is little to no obligation to typical song conventions. I would encourage any other songwriters or artists to take the same mindset; it was quite liberating and really feels as though once you do away with writing to certain deliverables, true creativity starts to occur. At least that has been my experience thus far.

What role does introspection play in your songwriting process, especially when addressing themes as complex as fear, discomfort, and personal growth?

I would say, it plays quite a vague role. I’ll rarely have a specific time, object, or event in mind when writing lyrics. Quite often they tend to be very abstract, with contemplation seeing them revised. It is usually at this step in the process; when I have a clearer idea about how I feel about the songs and what they mean to me, that I’ll attach any sort of meaning or theme to the tracks. This very much applies to the songwriting process of Hinder.

You mentioned drawing inspiration from shoegaze icons like Slowdive and Whirr. How do you infuse your own unique style into the genre, as showcased in “Hinder”?

While we’ve drawn inspiration from lots of the big names in post-rock and shoegaze, we’ve also taken influence from a wide range of bands outside these genres. Oli spent a decent chuck of time around writing and editing the first demos of “Hinder” listening to Death Metal and Post-Black Metal bands such as Suffering Hour and Deafheaven, and I think an amalgamation of all sorts of different sounds make their way into our tunes and help shape our sound in strange ways. 

“Hinder” was mixed and mastered by long-time collaborator Cameron Murphy at Opaque Studios. How does Murphy’s involvement contribute to the final sound of the track?

Cam’s input, I feel, is likely to be quickly overlooked. I think we all feel quite ‘new’ to being musicians, in the sense that we aren’t conforming to anything typical of a genre or ‘scene’; we’re writing to a taste that we haven’t done before and is everchanging. Consequently, this can blur the lines between what’s working and what’s not working. Cam has been a great filter along the process to bluntly tell us what is, and what isn’t working. Of course, with a grain of salt though. He’s always on board with our wild ideas, drawing from an array of references that you mightn’t typically put together.

With only a brief tenure on the live circuit, how do you feel your experiences sharing the stage with international and local acts have influenced your musical journey and the sound of Gloam?

The live performance experiences we’ve had over the last couple years have shaped our ambition and drive in huge ways, and have been quite essential in keeping the Gloam music-machine rolling. We’ve been able to experiment and hone into our sound and performance, as well as learn and take inspiration from some really great bands. Big touring groups like Touché Amore, Deafheaven and Movements have been incredible to share the stage with, and have felt like a masterclass in high energy performance and positive attitude, not to mention attention to detail. Though in saying that,  I think we have also learnt just as much from these big international support opportunities as we have from the local bands in the Perth scene. Getting to see how bands around us are growing and shaping their live performances has been hugely motivating and exciting, and is often what pushes us to work harder on how we present and perform our music. 

“Hinder” debuted on triple j Unearthed TOPS, showcasing your unique blend of ethereal soundscapes and relatable lyrical theming. How important is it for Gloam to connect with listeners through both musical and lyrical elements?

Strangely enough, I feel that the music is the most powerful vessel in any existing Gloam song, by quite a margin. Because the feeling of each song largely determines the lyrics that follow, it becomes the beacon of the track. We expect that the listener resonates more with the soundscape of the tracks, rather than the literal words being sung.

Can fans expect a similar thematic approach in your upcoming releases, or do you plan to explore new territory with your music?

One of the main takeaways for us from this last writing and recording process is how exciting and rewarding it is to venture into new territory musically. Now that we have established ourselves with a solid foundation in our sound, it’s going to be really exciting to see where we can take it, as well as discovering new tools and strategies to get us there.

How does the process of crafting a single like “Hinder” inform or influence the direction of your future releases and overall musical evolution as a band?

I would say it doesn’t really. We have an EP coming out later in the year which includes “Hinder.” This full record feels a lot more creatively ambitious than what we’ve done previously, some songs sounding similar to Hinder, or our previous self-titled EP and others being far more left-of-centre. Moving forward from this upcoming record, writing has already begun and I think we’re collectively embracing our experimental tendencies a lot more, not just in the songwriting area but with varied tunings, keys and guitar pedals. We’re excited about the musical journey ahead!

Finally, what message or feeling do you hope listeners take away from “Hinder,” and how does it fit into the larger narrative or vision for Gloam’s music?

I think, that we’d hope our listeners feel a sense of calmness after listening to this track (or any of our music). Hinder is a melancholy song that we all feel very at-peace with when performed live and throughout the recording process, despite it’s heavy overtones and distorted characteristics. I don’t think I’d hope our listeners take away any specific message, I’d like to think that they might associate their own message or lesson from the track – something I personally love about consuming music.

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