Last Tuesday in the back room of a club in Brooklyn, there was a release show for a split EP featuring NO GLOW, a Bushwick-based DJ and producer of what he dubs “Bummer Jam.” The split EP was the latest of three albums NO GLOW has released independently via Bandcamp and SoundCloud. I caught up with him in the smoking pen outside Legion to chat about band name beef, the church and the club, and turning Hot 97 on its head.
Arv: What’s with the name? It used to be GLOWING PAINS, then you changed it to GLOW HARD, then you changed it to NO GLOW.
No Glow: There’s a band around here called the So So Glos, who actually live four or five blocks from me. I always wanted to call it NO GLOW, but we have some mutual friends, so I didn’t want them to think I was taking shots at them.
What would they do? Walk up to you in a bar all like, “What’s up with your fuckin’ band name, bro?”
No, no. I guess I’m just not trying to insult anybody, not trying to make anyone think I’m making fun of their name. It was always supposed to be NO GLOW, it just took a little while to get there.
So now you just don’t speak to the So So Glows anymore?
No, I just kind of realized fuck it. They will probably never know that I exist.
The cover art for One Day, where did that come from?
It’s a Caravaggio painting of Peter denying Jesus. It’s a bad ass painting. There’s a certain extent to which I feel like I’m surrounded by religious imagery. I’ve never been a religious person, but religious imagery is really interesting to me. They just started tearing it down, but next to my apartment is this spot called the Love Chapel. I’d wake up in the morning and look out the window and see this big sign that says “Love Chapel.” Across the street from my job right now there’s this huge brick church that says “Peace to the World” on it in huge letters. All of that stuff is really interesting to me.
There’s other people who have said it a lot more eloquently than me, but there’s an interesting parallel between dance music and religion. There’s the idea that you go out on the weekends or you go to church on Sundays, you have the DJ or you have the priest leading the sermon, the experience of Ecstasy versus religious transcendence. There’s a similar communal nature of organized religion and the dance experience, but there’s also the individual experience when you can zone out or people can go to confession in Catholicism or have a one-on-one experience with God — real or imagined, it doesn’t matter. It’s the same thing with dance music, when you lose yourself and completely disregard what you’re doing. For a lack of a better term — you can insert an eye roll here — you become one with the music.
So not only do I think it’s an awesome painting, not only do I really enjoy religious imagery, but I definitely see a connection there. I’m not trying to over think it, although it might sound like it.
Well not to force you to over think it, but that painting is Peter rejecting Jesus and your first EP is called No Hope. Is there a connection there?
There’s a little bit of underlying depression there for sure.
How does that play into dance music?
My opinion is there’s a lot of really ecstatic dance music, and I can definitely get down with that, and there’s a certain extent to which my stuff sounds like that. But to me the best dance music is kind of heartbreaking — even that song Heartbroken is awesome. I think a lot of people have this vision that dance music is very sterile. To me, it’s not really good unless there is a lot of emotion in it, whether it’s positive or negative emotion.
What’s up with the music video that someone had made to one of the songs off of One Day. Do you really not know who did that?
I don’t know who that dude is personally. I put it together eventually that he had posted some things randomly on my Facebook page and stuff. I was just sitting around Googling myself — as people do when they’re bored — and I was like, “Woah, someone put my track on YouTube!” Then I was like, “Woah, this video is awesome!”
Last question: What is “Bummer Jam?”
It’s Hot 97 Summer Jam! … But not ecstatic, just bummed out.
Originally published on Pretty Real.