Glassmaps is the new moniker of Joel Stein, lead guitarist in much-lauded purveyors of country-goth rock Howling Bells. After four accomplished records with the band, the London-based Aussie is now pushing his sonic boundaries with a debut solo LP featuring Mark Stoermer of The Killers fame, which blends Stein’s blues-fuelled licks with woozy psychedelic hooks and cinematic electronic soundscapes. With the album entitled ‘Strangely Addicted’ set to land in autumn via Lost In The Manor Records, we caught up with Glassmaps to get the lowdown on his latest venture.
‘Summer Rain’ is a superb single. How did the track come about?
“Thanks! Summer rain was born from a guitar riff that I started playing in an old attic where I used to live. The lyrics fell into the riff and the rest just kind of happened.
p.s. It’s never that simple really, usually the lyrics or guitar riff are the result of a conscious or sometimes sub-conscious inspired emotional happening that is simmering inside oneself.”
How did Glassmaps start out?
“Glassmaps started to materialise In Las Vegas just after recording another LP with my other band Howling Bells. I was left in the house of Mark Stoermer (bassist of The Killers) and he happened to have a soundproof space next door. I set it all up to record my debut LP. I guess we can say that I didn’t even know this was the beginning, but looking back, I think it was. “
What inspired your name?
“To be honest the inspiration for my name came from wanting an email address that wasn’t taken. Glassmaps wasn’t a word when I put it together.”
Who are the Top 5 biggest influences on your sound right now?
“Some of these are boring, I know, but they wrote the bible: Tchaikovsky, The Beatles, David Bowie, Boards of Canada and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.”
Any other new bands that you’ve played with and would recommend?
“I never played with them, but I saw a band called The Comet Is Coming and it was incredible.”
And finally, what does 2017 hold for Glassmaps?
“Glassmaps will be releasing their LP this year through their newly signed record label Lost In The Manor. We will also be playing a sold out Hyde Park show on July 8th. More shows to be announced! We are looking forward to a great year!”