San Francisco-based producer, composer and graphic artist Ryan Claus is the man behind the experimental electronic music project Little Glass Men.
His latest single, “The Flame,” which is premiering today on Casablanca Sunset, is an avant-garde lo-fi electronic trip-hop tune that sounds like Portishead meets Flying Lotus.
Utilizing sampling, synthesis, and live instrumentation, Ryan births raw, harmonic grooves that will transport you into the very depths of chill. Ryan lists some of his other influences as Bonobo and Mt Kimbie.
Little Glass Men launched in early 2011 with the release of an EP that was licensed to Redbull for a national TV spot.
Ryan recently took the time out of his schedule to answer a few questions for Casablanca Sunset about the Little Glass Men creative process, his latest release and what’s in store. Find the brief Q & A below.
Casablanca Sunset: How long have you been making music?
Little Glass Men: I think it was Chopin’s nocturnes that got me into the game. The first time I heard his music I was 7 and begged my mom to sign me up for piano lessons. Entering middle school my musical interests shifted and I started listening to Pennywise and NOFX so I picked up the guitar and started playing in a rock band. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I got introduced to artists like Bonobo, Air, and Thievery that started me on a direction that is now LGM.
CBS: How would you describe the LGM sound?
LGM: Mostly laid-back introspective beats with a side of trippy. Essentially my sound is a collection of found sounds, live instrumentation, and synthesis with a whole lot of processing to create textural, harmonic grooves. I think (hope) my sound is always evolving and especially with this new album, Until it’s Gone, I’ve gone a bit more lo-fi and experimental than my previous works.
CBS: Does the culture and environment around you influence your music at all? If so, any specific influences on this recording?
LGM: I’d say every artist is a product of their culture and their environment on some level. When I started this album I was living in Melbourne and I think the city had a direct influence on the direction it took. I was exposed to all kinds of awesome music down there from artists like Planete, Lucianblomkamp, Hiatus Kaiyote, I’lls, Thrupence, and Lanks to name a few, and their sounds arrested me with their depth and spontaneity. I think their art helped me dig a little deeper in my own process and to come up with something that is less safe.
CBS: What does your creative/production process typically look like?
LGM: It’s always different but lately I’ve been starting with old public domain recordings. I like to find an interesting section of harmony or rhythm and bring it into a sampler. From there I play around with layers and effects until I catch something that becomes the seed of a song. It’s fascinating what kinds of hidden worlds exist when you playback audio at different pitches. I’ll then record some live instruments like guitar, bass, staplers, or faucets etc. to see if I can get any interesting sounds or phrases to layer. If I’m lucky I can hit “export” within a few days or else they will sit on my hard drive for months or years. There’s a special momentum that is planted alongside the seed of a new track and it can help you finish rather quickly if you don’t hesitate and over think it. That’s really the hard part for me. I really try to aim for effortlessness and not losing the wave.
CBS: Plans for the future? Upcoming releases or live shows?
LGM: I’m aiming to collaborate a bit more on future projects. I think working with vocalists and other producers could be really interesting and bring a new dimension to the potion. I’m excited to see where it goes. I’m also still releasing tracks from my current album “Until it’s Gone” through the rest of the year where you can always find and download free at soundcloud.com/littleglassmen. Stay tuned!
Thanks, Ryan! Looks forward to hearing more down the road.