Looking Glass Wars Reflect On Their Music

Looking Glass Wars Reflect On Their Music

"As far as, like, vocals and lyrics, I usually do that in the studio, when I'm at the mic," says Looking Glass Wars' Brendan Rivera. "It just kind of helps if I have something off instinct, and I think it sounds best, and you know alcohol helps that a lot."

- Xan Mandell
Photo by Patrick Santucci

posted March 23, 2009

"Music your parents would like" is how Brendan Rivera describes his progressive rock band Looking Glass Wars.

To date, the group has put out one LP, "The Musician," and an EP, "A Place In A Parlor." Both releases are creative and ground breaking examples of musicianship. "The Musician," Looking Glass Wars' first release, is a jazzy/rock soundscape that is as inviting as it is well written. The album took over a year to create. Rivera, Looking Glass Wars' vocalist/guitarist/mastermind, would go into the studio a few days at a time, to write and record a song here and a song there.

"For that album, I was working, and I was in school," says Rivera. "I didn't really wanna do either of those anymore, and I kind of took most of the money that I made from that job to do the album. I didn't really know where it was going to go from there and then you know, I found some guys [Kenneth Fletcher on guitars, Andrew Santucci on bass guitar, Rich Barone on drums, and Phil DiRaffaele on percussion] that were really interested in playing music and that I feel are some of the best musicians in the area for that age group [early to mid-twenties] and it kind of worked out."

"The Musician" is a soft, flowing album which could be described as "jazzy emo," but Rivera likes to think that all music is somewhat emotional, and considers "jazzy poppy rock" to be a more fitting description for the recording. With chiming guitars and rich, melodic vocals, the album creates the "big room" feel. Songs on "The Musician" range from slow ballads such as the opener "Love Someone," to somewhat heavy indie songs such as "The End of a Promising Imaginary Relationship."

After playing the songs off of "The Musician" at shows, and growing tighter as a band, the Westchester, New York-based band decided it was time for a change. Feeling tighter as a band, Looking Glass Wars did a 180, writing an EP that would shock fans, and move the band in a new direction.

The EP "A Place in a Parlor" is a full blown assault of guitars, bass, drums and percussion. This epic EP is full of genre changes, scorching guitar solos, pumping drums and bass while the lyrics that are just pure brilliance. The songs are fast, heavy, infectiously catchy and to top it all off, they are balanced out by Rivera's beautiful voice. The music has the power to make you feel invincible.

The dichotomy between both releases really proves what this band is made of. "A Place In A Parlor" throws every aspect of this band in a brand new direction. The overall quality and inventiveness of "A Place In A Parlor" out does most of the clichéd and redundant music coming out of most scenes these days. Though "A Place In A Parlor" is sonically very heavy, there is no screaming to be found in it.

"I'd say I think the music is harder enough to take care of the aggressive aspect or speed it up, but my voice gives it a different kind of emotion to back up the aggressive music," Rivera remarks when asked about the lack of screaming.

"Yeah, That was actually kind of what we were going for," Rivera says when asked if he feels the EP has opened new doors for the band. "If we're writing music that changes a lot and songs that sound different, then with that we can go on stage, fans will expect that difference, and we can jam out. We feel comfortable as musicians."

The guitar solos in this piece are something to be noted. Taking influences from classical, Latin music, minor scales, metal, and jazz, they really make this EP stand out from anything else currently being released.

Interestingly enough, most of the lyrics weren't written until Rivera was in front of the microphone during recording.

"As far as, like, vocals and lyrics, I usually do that in the studio, when I'm at the mic. It just kind of helps if I have something off instinct, and I think it sounds best, and you know alcohol helps that a lot."

The "off the seat of your pants" act doesn't show though; the lyrics have depth and flow to them, as if much time and thought has been put into them.

As for shows, they've played with many different bands ranging from Aiden to The Starting Line, and they have also done their own DIY tour. Sadly though, the DIY tour had to be cut short do to financial problems. They feel as though shows should be fun and "defiantly relaxed. We don't have any pre-show warm-ups or anything. We just try to get a little drunk and make fools of ourselves."

Looking Glass Wars is not signed to a record label, making touring and promotion harder. Asked their dream label, they, surprisingly, stated Fueled By Ramen would be a good fit as Rivera feels the label really helps promote and support its bands.

The future for Looking Glass Wars includes an upcoming summer tour and lots of shows.

"We do plan on doing an album, self producing it. We're going to do it with a bunch of guys we know, use them for tracking, try to challenge ourselves, come up with all the production ideas, get a little more creative."

For their last words, Looking Glass Wars would like to say, "We are music your parents would like, not only just rock music. A lot of different groups of people would be into it, we are always changing and growing, we're trying to make things very different, just keep changing things, you should come see us live, and if you're not gonna buy us drinks, have drinks with us."