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For Glass Spells’ Shattered, isolation equals inspiration

Dreaming, driving, and late night walking

Glass Spells: latest album inspired by dreams, lonely hearts, empty roads, and an uncertain future.
Glass Spells: latest album inspired by dreams, lonely hearts, empty roads, and an uncertain future.

Synth-pop group Glass Spells has released a music video for “Shattered,” the title track of the album that drops this week via Negative Gain; the band says it was “inspired by nostalgic synth-driven classics. The video took place at the Lafayette Hotel in San Diego, on the same stage where a scene from Top Gun was filmed.”

The group, featuring founding bassist-keyboardist Anthony Ramirez, currently accompanied by singer Tania Costello and concert drummer Michael Buehl, released their debut single in 2014. A self-titled album appeared two years later, recorded at Emprise Soundlab studios in Mexicali with Gerardo Montoya (aka Letters From Readers, who has also worked with FAX and Maniqui Lazer). When the original lineup became too spread out geographically, Ramirez played with Twin Ritual until debuting the current version of Glass Spells in 2020 with an EP called Mirrors and a single and video for the title track. The EP song “Psychic Lovers” made Spotify’s Fresh Finds editorial playlist and helped them score a slot on 91X radio’s Local Break.

The Shattered album, mostly written and recorded during the pandemic, will mark their debut Negative Gain release. “There is a theme of dreams sprinkled all throughout the album, and I didn’t fully realize that until I heard the songs all together in one sitting,” says Costello. “I started paying attention to my dreams during the pandemic, and kept trying to make sense of them, only to realize there was no explanation for any of it, because dreams are just crazy that way. It was a very strange time for the world, and I feel the pandemic just came with a lot of self-reflection for me personally. I played with many themes in Shattered, so part of it is written about past love gone sour and the longing for a connection. I wanted to capture a sorrowful-but-playful emotion on the track.”

Ramirez says that forced isolation resulted in song ideas. “My inspiration behind the album ranges from watching sci-fi shows, modern horror shows, and ‘80s movies, to taking late night walks to avoid people because of the pandemic. Each song had its own approach, from making it a slow moody song, to a faster upbeat song, or a good catchy song that people can dance to. A lot of thought was put into each song, with synth layers, melodies, and a different sound design for each. The title track ‘Shattered’ was inspired by taking a late night drive through the city. I was living in Golden Hill at the time, and you can see the buildings and all the lights as you drive up and down the hill towards downtown San Diego. As I created the leads, I envisioned someone driving or running in the night. I made the synth sounds give a dreamy feel.”

That “lonely driver” theme is evident in a recent YouTube video for their synth-drenched track “Empty Road,” depicting the drive into downtown and the temporarily abandoned roller coaster at Belmont Park. The video earned over 13,000 views in its first few weeks online. The release party for Shattered takes place August 14 at Soda Bar in City Heights, with a bill that includes Lata Pateada, L.A. band Dead X Life, and MRCH from Arizona, as well as a DJ set from Mike Delgado.

Past Event

Glass Spells

  • Saturday, August 14, 2021, 8 p.m.
  • Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

“We’ll be playing the entire album live,” says Costello. “The last show we played at was at Slidebar in Fullerton, and Casbah in San Diego just before that, in February and March 2020. We had to cancel a show at the Merrow as everything began shutting down, which only made things become more real, that this shutdown was definitely happening and the uncertainty of the future was just beginning. Luckily, we channeled all that energy into writing this album.”

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Glass Spells: latest album inspired by dreams, lonely hearts, empty roads, and an uncertain future.
Glass Spells: latest album inspired by dreams, lonely hearts, empty roads, and an uncertain future.

Synth-pop group Glass Spells has released a music video for “Shattered,” the title track of the album that drops this week via Negative Gain; the band says it was “inspired by nostalgic synth-driven classics. The video took place at the Lafayette Hotel in San Diego, on the same stage where a scene from Top Gun was filmed.”

The group, featuring founding bassist-keyboardist Anthony Ramirez, currently accompanied by singer Tania Costello and concert drummer Michael Buehl, released their debut single in 2014. A self-titled album appeared two years later, recorded at Emprise Soundlab studios in Mexicali with Gerardo Montoya (aka Letters From Readers, who has also worked with FAX and Maniqui Lazer). When the original lineup became too spread out geographically, Ramirez played with Twin Ritual until debuting the current version of Glass Spells in 2020 with an EP called Mirrors and a single and video for the title track. The EP song “Psychic Lovers” made Spotify’s Fresh Finds editorial playlist and helped them score a slot on 91X radio’s Local Break.

The Shattered album, mostly written and recorded during the pandemic, will mark their debut Negative Gain release. “There is a theme of dreams sprinkled all throughout the album, and I didn’t fully realize that until I heard the songs all together in one sitting,” says Costello. “I started paying attention to my dreams during the pandemic, and kept trying to make sense of them, only to realize there was no explanation for any of it, because dreams are just crazy that way. It was a very strange time for the world, and I feel the pandemic just came with a lot of self-reflection for me personally. I played with many themes in Shattered, so part of it is written about past love gone sour and the longing for a connection. I wanted to capture a sorrowful-but-playful emotion on the track.”

Ramirez says that forced isolation resulted in song ideas. “My inspiration behind the album ranges from watching sci-fi shows, modern horror shows, and ‘80s movies, to taking late night walks to avoid people because of the pandemic. Each song had its own approach, from making it a slow moody song, to a faster upbeat song, or a good catchy song that people can dance to. A lot of thought was put into each song, with synth layers, melodies, and a different sound design for each. The title track ‘Shattered’ was inspired by taking a late night drive through the city. I was living in Golden Hill at the time, and you can see the buildings and all the lights as you drive up and down the hill towards downtown San Diego. As I created the leads, I envisioned someone driving or running in the night. I made the synth sounds give a dreamy feel.”

That “lonely driver” theme is evident in a recent YouTube video for their synth-drenched track “Empty Road,” depicting the drive into downtown and the temporarily abandoned roller coaster at Belmont Park. The video earned over 13,000 views in its first few weeks online. The release party for Shattered takes place August 14 at Soda Bar in City Heights, with a bill that includes Lata Pateada, L.A. band Dead X Life, and MRCH from Arizona, as well as a DJ set from Mike Delgado.

Past Event

Glass Spells

  • Saturday, August 14, 2021, 8 p.m.
  • Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

“We’ll be playing the entire album live,” says Costello. “The last show we played at was at Slidebar in Fullerton, and Casbah in San Diego just before that, in February and March 2020. We had to cancel a show at the Merrow as everything began shutting down, which only made things become more real, that this shutdown was definitely happening and the uncertainty of the future was just beginning. Luckily, we channeled all that energy into writing this album.”

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