glaive on Dark Souls, American Football, Hyperpop, and How It Feels to Be 15 Right Now

glaive on Dark Souls, American Football, Hyperpop, and How It Feels to Be 15 Right Now

I wrote a little earlier this week about Lil Peep’s influence continuing to snake its way through pop music, and glaive is certainly an example of that. The 15-year-old North Carolina-based musician’s songs sound sharp and glitchy, with flecks of 100 gecs’ fractalized electro-pop as well as melodic phrasing and lyricism drawing heavily from emo and pop-punk. Unsurprisingly, I love it. I talked with him on the phone yesterday, he’s an energetic and sincere young person who’s already established his own voice in a really short time.

Talk to me about the first 15 years of your life.

I was born in Florida. My mother managed, and my dad played polo—that’s what they did for the majority of my life until a few years ago. We moved up to Hendersonville six years ago, which is where I started doing music.

How would you describe Hendersonville?

It’s a very Southern town. Not much happens there, to be honest. But it’s very beautiful, there’s a lot of nature. It’s a pretty small, quiet town, though.

Your music videos utilize that natural environment a lot.

If I didn’t live here, I probably wouldn’t love nature as much as I do. But now I’ve fallen in love with the landscape—forests, open fields, just being outside in general. A lot of my songs are trying to recreate that nature-y feel, too.

What was your musical diet before you started making music?

Until about three years ago, it was just stuff on the radio. My mom is a big pop person, my dad listens to ‘80s rock, which is why I started listening to music with really heavy guitars. I started finding out on my own about Midwest emo bands and electronic dance music online, just listening to loads of really loud and uptempo breakcore. Then I found out about Soundcloud stuff, which was cool. It opened my eyes to musicians who didn’t have to be in a studio—DIY, I guess? All of that combined is the music I make, which is cool.

When you say Midwest emo, are there any specific bands?

I was listening to American Football all the time—right around the time I was moving up here. I was listening to a lot of sad stuff. There’s other ones too, but I can’t think of them on the top of my head.

Tell me about your earliest experiences on the internet.

It’s pretty new to me. Before, I’d be talking to people I knew on real life. But a year ago, I started using Discord and meeting people through [gaming]. I met a lot of cool people through underground Soundcloud people, too—that was very sick. But the idea of meeting people online is very new to me.


What kind of video games do you play?

I used to play a lot more. When I wasn’t doing music, that’s all I did. I never got into indie games—just Call of Duty, Battlefield, friggin’ Dark Souls.

Dark Souls always feels too hard to me. I get frustrated too easily.

I love Dark Souls—it’s my favorite franchise. My name is from a Dark Souls weapon. In Dark Souls III, there’s something called the Dark Knight Glaive? I haven’t played Dark Souls in a while. But when I was starting to do music, I was playing a lot of Dark Souls, and I thought, “Ha! Glaive. Perfect.” That will always hold a special part in my heart.

Are you gonna get a PS5?

I really want one just to play Demon’s Souls, but I don’t think I will. I’ve always been a PC person, I don’t really know about consoles.

Are there positives or negatives to living online for you?

It’s great to find people with common interests. Coming from a small town in North Carolina, it’s hard to find too many people who share the same interests as me. It’s a lot easier on the internet, though. There’s some interesting people on the internet, and definitely people with strong opinions—which is cool, but there’s people who are very vocal about it even if their opinions are…I don’t know. There’s positives and negatives.

Have you ever listened to Aphex Twin?

I have not! Every single person has said I should listen to them. I listened to one of their songs, and I did not understand it. But I’m sure that, one day, I’m going to sit down and listen to it and my brain is gonna completely wrap around it. For now, though, I’ve tried but I’m not quite there. [Laughs]

Why did you start making music?

The main thing at the beginning was being bored. I’ve only been doing this for eight months, a little before quarantine started. It was a good way of getting out emotions instead of being friggin’ sad all the time. Most of my songs are pretty sad, but I’m a pretty happy, energetic person. Getting rid of all those negative emotions through music—then I don’t have to talk about it at any other time.

Yeah, I was going to ask you about your lyrics in “pissed”—about how much those emotions you express line up with how you feel in real life.

Oh yeah, at that moment, I was very angry. I’m a very chill person, but I was pissed, I guess. All my songs—sad stuff, angry stuff—all of it is in the song, and that’s it. Once I put it in the song, I’m good. [Laughs]

What do your parents think of your music?

They used to be a little concerned about the lyrics, but once I explained it the way I just did to you, they were super supportive. They’re the best.

The video for “pissed” feels like the animals are the outcasts, almost—a very teenage feeling.

I’ve had multiple animals fit into my music. There was an orangutan named Pete, a raccoon named Jorge, and a cheetah named Americo—it’s a very long story. I had Jorge as my profile picture on Spotify. It’s about being outcasts, and there’s angry scenes, but it’s a goofy, fun video with underlying tones of what the song is actually about. I think it turned out sick.

You produce your own stuff, right?

Up until the stuff I’ve done recently, because everything got a lot more serious and I had to do a lot more serious stuff. I’m not good at playing guitar, so that stuff is done by other people. I’ll sit down, I’ll bring an idea to someone or vice versa, and we’ll go from there.

Tell me about Daniel Jordan K, who you’ve done these videos with. You’re developing a specific visual style between the two of you.

He’s sick. He completely understands what I’m going for. He just gets it and he understands the vision.

How did you meet him?

Twitter! He followed me and it blossomed from there. He did all the Breakence videos too, and I’m a huge Breakence fan.

What’s it like to be alive as a 15-year-old right now?

At first, I was like, “I hate the pandemic.” But it’s given me a lot of time to work on music stuff. I’m really lucky, because I have a lot of work to do for school and music, so the pandemic has given me time to balance both really well. I don’t have that much actual time where I have to be in class online, too, so it’s turned out pretty well.

It’s a crazy world. It’s sick seeing young people have an actual impact. Everything is very nerve-wracking. The election is fucking terrifying, and I’m very nervous to see the results. [Laughs] But even with me being 15, I have three years before I can vote, but it’s still cool to get our grievances out there with the American government and the people in power in general.

Who do you see as your peers?

osquinn—I love her, she’s amazing. The best. I get compared to Breakance, The Garden, 100 gecs. I’m very big fans of that whole group, and now I’m considered in the same sphere as them, which is very cool.

How do you feel about the conversation about hyperpop as a scene?

I don’t really like it, to be honest. “Hyperpop” is probably the best name for it, but it’s such a wide variety of music that you can’t really put a genre on it. I have a song called “clover” that’s a straight-up pop song. There’s nothing “hyper” about it. You need to go person by person and assign genre, instead of giving a huge variety of music one genre. Hyperpop also includes people who are just rapping, or singing slow songs. But I’m not gonna complain. It’s cool to be grouped in with these amazing artists. But it’s a lot of different music.

You’re pretty young. Do you have people you can trust that can potentially protect you from negative aspects from the industry and know what you want to do with your music?

I trust my manager 100%, he’s a great guy. I just hope my music resonates with people, and that’s how it gone so far, which is pretty cool. Nothing has been too much, so far. I’m just very grateful for everything that’s happened.

What’s been inspiring you?

I used to listen to Soundcloud stuff all the time, so I needed to take a break. Now I’m listening to mainstream stuff like Post Malone. Obviously, it’s really good. There’s a reason why all that stuff is really famous. I like taking that stuff and making it faster, more me.

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Jamie Larson