PlaylistA haven of freaks,
a mix by Dreamcrusher
The Wichita transplant talks about otherness, Sandra Bland, early noise influences, and finding a community on the web.
IF IT'S NOISY, AND IT'S IN BROOKLYN, CHANCES ARE YOU'LL SEE LUWAYNE GLASS THERE. The recent Wichita-transplant has been frequenting the borough's experimental music scene and glows with positivity the weirder things get. Glass's smile is infectious which lies in stark contrast to the music of Dreamcrusher.
The musical alias of Glass, Dreamcrusher is a wall of harsh laptop noise, with equal nods to 80s industrial, power electronics, and the euphoric shrills of shoegaze. The noisemaker made us a playlist that is an oral embodiment of the Dreamcrusher aesthetic, with tracks by some of the noisiest acts currently going (L.O.T.I.O.N., Hard Corps) mixed with bumping yet emotional pop (Janet Jackson, Young Thug), with an end result that is almost as raw and invigorating as actually being around Glass.
1. Hard Corps - Regine on Network 21
2. Janet Jackson - The Knowledge
3. Die Tödliche Doris - Über-Mutti
4. Hanatarash - Young Hate
5. L.O.T.I.O.N. - Vid The Pigs
6. White Void - Untitled
7. Hanz - The History Of
8. Kevin JZ Prodigy - BBHMM Vogue Session Remix
9. Rhythm Device - Acid Rock
10. The Normal - TV OD
11. Tanto Metro & Devonte - Everyone Falls In Love
12. Marching Church - Not Worthy
13. Travis Scott, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Young Thug - Nothing But Net
We caught up with Dreamcrusher and talked first bands, Tumblr fame, depression, and bear porn.
Hopes&Fears: You are originally from Wichita, Kansas. What is it like out there? Is there a big music scene?
Luwayne Glass: It’s pretty conservative and shitty. But the small niche communities there are super dense yet small and nice to be around. The problem is that most of the cool people never leave their houses because it sucks living in a red state, and/or they just leave. The music scene isn’t very diverse, but once you find the spots on the dalmatian it’s super fulfilling. The weirdos are starting to play more, but the musical landscape of the whole midwest can be kind of isolating after a while (but this is coming from a person that barely ever goes out and thrives off isolating themselves). The more popular local music is indie and variants of indie that fashion themselves as weird, but they’re actually just throwback weird and in few ways fringe or niche. The noisers there are pretty fucking dope, like Fofab, Living Ghost, and Information Welfare, among others.
H&F: Did you play in any bands in Wichita? Was Dreamcrusher your first solo exploration?
LG: I played in a few bands. The first one was in middle school (the first middle school I went to before I got kicked out for getting into fights every day). It was some harsh thrashy punk shit me and my friends did with instruments we stole from the school band room and the small donation music hall. It was an “inner city” school so people donated random instruments, books and shit. I played drums. We broke up because we got caught after our only gig and had to give everything back (laughs). I was in two other bands when I was in college: Flowercrusher (myself and Flower of Flesh and Blood; straight improv noise) and Gaussian (myself and Living Ghost; thrashy noisecore).
H&F: I first saw you when Bob Bellerue booked you at the Silent Barn. How did you first meet Bob? What impact did Bob have on Dreamcrusher?
LG: Dude. Bob is basically god in a way. He like randomly found me on Facebook years ago and asked me to play Ende Tymes. I never could play because I was in school, working 60+ hrs a week and taking care of my sick mum. When I could finally play this year I freaked out. He’s been so fucking nice and welcoming, most of the connections I’ve made since being here have been through him. It’s insane. But he’s one of those legends that doesn’t think he’s a legend, so when talking to him about his legacy he acts super California about it like “ah yeah, I did stuff, it was pretty cool, whatever” and I’m like “dude, that’s huge to most people and you need to start acting like Kanye, like, now.”
H&F: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before? Can you explain what is means to make “nihilist queer revolt musik”?
LG: On Growlr I just tell people I make “harsh electronica” - many of the bear thots have no idea what that means, and so I tell them to Google it. The NQRM moniker came from me wanting to make a solid visual plate for shirts and merch, but it stuck because I also wanted to make some sort of space in my audience for weirdo queers like me who grew up with the internet in an otherwise socially isolating environment. I gave myself the opportunity to become as much of myself as I can because I had cool parents, but I know most queer kids don’t have open minded people in their immediate space. So I thought about all the cool queer shit that cis white gays have and mimicked it in a way that was pleasing to me and geared to people like me.
H&F: Do you think music plays a role in social justice?
LG: I think of everything I create is outrightly political because I exist in this body and I make things. As a queer, non cis, black, vegan, straight edge, manic depressive, socially awkward person that just moved to one of the most dense cities in the world, it’s hard not to feel like an outsider. Growing up in the midwest existing in this body really brings one down in the way that most people would just want to give up and hide from everything, so having access to Myspace and Tumblr kind of meant everything to a person like me; it gave me an audience I thought I would never have. Everybody needs a soundtrack to live to and sometimes/most times you just have to create your own.
H&F: Given all of the horror that’s been happening in America, do you feel like music is a vehicle of revolt or political uprising? How do you think music can change the world? What else needs to happen first?
LG: I think music is probably the most important vehicle for that, if done right. As in, stop making songs geared for “social justice” and just create music that is unique to your individual existence; none of that preachy shit works now. Plus, I think we all know at this point that America will always be fucked. ‘We are the world’ worked in the 80s because it was unique to that time and unique to the people who created it and that cause, but the 80s was just a weird blob of excess anyway. These days music is made for escapism and motivation; and the audiences are much more aware of artists that are lying to them, whether they care or not is whatever but it’s so much more apparent now who is truthfully representing themselves, and people attach their trust to them.
H&F: You have a big online presence, on Twitter, on Facebook, constantly updating your Soundcloud and making art for your music and shows. What is the role of the internet and social media in your craft?
LG: It’s really important because I hate real life 90% of the time. It’s sad, actually.
H&F: Actually, when I first saw you, it was your first Brooklyn show but it seemed like a lot of people already knew who you were. What have your experiences been like being famous in a digital realm versus when you meet people in person?
LG: I don’t know why, maybe it’s because my Tumblr is so graphic and fucked up, but a lot of people at shows are scared to talk to me. I’m super nice and friendly, just awkward. It doesn’t happen often, but it is extremely weird to see people who like my work. They like ask for pictures and I usually look like shit or I’m sweaty and sad. It cheers me up though. Meeting people I admire in person is often a mixed bag though. Too many people have their heads up their own ass or are standoffish. I know we all go through shit, but coming from a place where I didn’t expect anyone to like or appreciate anything I make, I’m always happy to take a picture or talk to fans, especially if they paid to see you.
H&F: Who first turned you onto noise music?
LG: I got introduced at like 8 or 9, watching BBC videos of Einstürzende Neubauten performances, seeing “Come to Daddy” for the first time, and downloading Vintage Daphne Oram and Wendy Carlos on Kazaa and shit. I was a freshman in high school when I started actively making noise music, before that I used to sketch out imaginary album covers, tracklists, liner notes etc. I think computer noise was my first instinct because it was so convenient since I was hooked on the internet already.
H&F: What kinds of programs do you use?
LG: It’s embarrassing, but I use FL studio (Fruity Loops). I’ve used it primarily since the beginning. My cousin taught me how to use it and I get the grimiest sound off it. I compose pretty randomly, but most of the time I find myself making music at office hours, but it takes forever, so if I don’t feel like continuing into the next day on the same record, I just don’t sleep until I feel like it’s finished. After that, I usually hate it and make like ten more drafts of the same record. Even then I wind up using the original demo and just tweaking it.
H&F: What are the most clueless things people have said to you/asked you after you played a show?
LG: Most of the time people who haven’t heard my music think I’m a rapper or a hip hop producer or that I make “beats.” I find the beats thing the most offensive because I make songs that I write and produce, and when someone says “beats” it makes me think that they don’t think my records are adequate enough to qualify as music or that they consider what I make to only equal one element of the music making process. It’s like, I get it, I’m ethnic and you’re unloading your bag of assumptions about me without getting to know me or just take what I give you without judgment; I get it, you’re an asshole, go die. That or everyone assumes that I identify as male or they want free tapes.
H&F: At your shows, you and the crowd often gets very physical with one another. What is the most physical thing that has ever happened during one of your performances?
LG: I usually hurt myself, scrapped knees, the mic chips my teeth. I scraped my friend Ziemba’s ankle accidentally. The funniest thing that happened was at Silent Barn- I was playing with a bunch of sick queer punk bands, and these two uber drunk bros were way too into the mix. One picked me up by my harness, put me on his back and carried me through the crowd spinning while I was singing. He broke my harness and I fell on the floor laughing my ass off.
H&F: Have you always been a sober musician?
LG: I’ve never been into drinking or smoking or taking drugs. My father was an alcoholic and the idea that I don’t have full control of my body because of something I did to myself really frightens me. I get a lot of odd looks/judgments from people because of that, or they assume I’m lying because I act weird when I’m in public. The same thing would happen in Kansas. I think it’s because the world in general doesn’t know how to have fun or enjoy themselves without some sort of chemical escapism involved. I mean, we all have our “thing,” you know? Mine is bear porn, for others it’s molly, weed, codeine, whatever.
H&F: What music is a guilty pleasure for you?
LG: I used to feel guilty about liking Gabber and American pop or rap made after 2010 but fuck it, I like it. I find the most inspiration in seeing young black female musicians owning their own image and being fucking bosses doing it. I love seeing Azealia Banks speak her mind, watching the press freaks out, and then seeing three months later when they all begrudgingly agree with her. I love seeing Nicki Minaj perform pop numbers and collab with Beyonce. I love that there’s a class about Beyonce being taught in schools. I love that Rihanna is torturing a supermodel in her video, like what the fuck; she’s making $120 million and then puts out a video like that? And makes literally no statement about it? Fuck yes.
H&F: Are you a big fan of shoegaze?
LG: Huge. I lived for everything Creation Records put out. Ride is probably my biggest influence from that world. I still listen to them almost every day. But I wouldn’t say my new music is specific to any genre anymore, because it’s mixed with so many things, and it’s too easy nowadays to say something is three keywords. I hate easy listening. The new stuff is super emotionally involved and personal, so it’s taking longer to complete and to feel comfortable putting it out, but I’m getting there.
H&F: What is your favorite place to play at in Brooklyn?
LG: Probably Silent Barn. It’s super inclusive, the sound system is killer, the crowds are cool as fuck, and everybody that works there is sweet as pie.
H&F: If you could go back in time five years, what would you tell yourself?
LG: Stop cutting yourself, it’s not cute and there are other ways of getting out frustration. And make people pay you when you make posters for them.
H&F: What did you do today?
LG: I checked emails all morning. Put out a new song. Was sad and cried. Then noon came and I was like “eat something you idiot,” then I ate chocolate and had coffee. Looked on Seamless at food I couldn’t afford. Cried some more. Convinced a 70-year-old on Grindr that noise is music and that being black is his fetish and not his “preference.” Cried and curled into a ball on the floor. Started working on a new track. Went on Tumblr for like four hours. Looked at Sandra Bland coverage on Twitter and cried.Watched Silence of the Lambs
and Apocalypse Now Redux again cried and went to sleep. Woke up in the middle of the night and ate something fried and worked on music.