An Interview With Glossata

Glossata has undergone a change in recent times, renaming herself from Alteria Percepsyne and putting out her first album under the new guise, Pearls & Smoke.

Whilst she hasn't entirely been able to drag herself away from her techno-led roots entirely, her organic ambient style has been very much pushed to the forefront in recent times. Pearls & Smoke, (which you can now grab on a meticulously designed CD here) still maintains a healthy presence of well polished 4x4, it features in a less electronic way, taking a back seat to the hypnotising dusty loops and snippets that form the immersive atmospheres present throughout. 

As much as I do, and always will, love her work as Alteria Percepsyne (for my money, Intangible Flutter is one of the best techno tunes ever), I get the feeling that with Glossata, the aim is for something far more grand.

We got in touch with her for a few words. There was a plan for a guest mix, but due to some technicals, you're gonna have to wait. Read on...

NT: Hey! Can you give us an introduction to Glossata?
G: Hello. Hmm, let's see how eloquently I can put this. I'm Emily and I make music under the name Glossata, a quite newly born / evolved moniker, project, alias (whatever you want to call it). The genre it falls under is maybe arguable, though I draw influence from a lot of ambient, techno and others. I hope that my music can do the rest of the introduction because I'm not very good at this.

NT: Just prior to your most recent album, Pearls & Smoke, you ditched the "Alteria Percepsyne" moniker, and switched to Glossata. What was the reasoning for this? I feel like your most recent pieces have moved away from the more overtly electronic, dub-techno stylings to a more organic, ambient vibe. Was this a conscious decision, or just a natural progression?
G: It was a little of both, I think. I do love the electronic sound but I felt that I could create better music with more organic sounds, I don't have a great deal of talent with the technical aspects after all, which I think making electronic sounding music requires more of. I like the way organic sounds behave and found that I could shape them into something that sounds atmospheric and other-worldly, but at the same time darkly familiar and real. I recently started writing melodies using instruments, which is something I used to do years ago but for some reason stopped doing, and I feel really good about it.

NT: Something I like about all of your releases is the cohesion of the tracks, like a story is being told. Is this intentional? Is it something you aim to do?
G: Yes, I very much aim to create an album that feels like there is, as you said, a story being told. Like going on a journey – beginning somewhere familiar and travelling past different places that harbour different sounds and atmospheres, some short and some long, and gradually fading out. It's a little more cinematic that way too, I think. I try to be as diverse as possible, conveying different emotions through different styles but never straying too far.

"I like the way organic sounds behave and found that I could shape them into something that sounds atmospheric and other-worldly, but at the same time darkly familiar and real."

NT: Who or what do you take influence from, from within music and outside? Oxford is not renowned for its history of electronic music, how did you wind up making the music you do?
G: I take influence from pretty much everything around me – sometimes I walk down the street at night and I see a beautiful old building and I feel an atmosphere build in my head, sometimes I’ll be reading a book or watching a movie and something about it will grip me. A few of my favourites are David Lynch's films, the author Haruki Murakami's books and Silent Hill, the game series. I also enjoy art quite a lot and gain a lot of inspiration from it, mainly sort of dark surreal stuff.

As for other musicians that influence me, I listen to a lot of different music so you could say that my taste is very diverse. I like pretty much most things from Pop to Jazz to Experimental, so I like to bring in some elements from these different genres into my music. I don’t like the idea of sticking to one style or sound – I think evolution of sound is important, and even though some people may not like that, it doesn't matter, because as long as you like the direction your own music is taking then other people’s opinions shouldn't matter so much. Just go where the current takes you.

NT: Your tunes always invoke a nocturnal vibe for me, and that's obviously why we were so interested in interviewing you. Do you feel the same? Does producing darker sounds come naturally to you?
G: I always had much more interest in darker sounds than any other kinds, I think that they are a lot more emotional and fascinating. Dark or melancholy sounding music is something that I have always felt connected to and I suppose it makes sense for myself personally because making it and listening to it is a really effective outlet for my emotions. The sort of imagery and feelings that dark music evokes is so much more appealing. I don't see any purpose in listening to joyful sounding music as I don't have happy feelings that I need to get out, and it's painfully obnoxious most of the time anyway.

NT: What's next for Glossata?
G: At the moment I'm working on some new music, as I'm doing most of the time. I expect that it will all gradually come together in the form of a new album, which would probably be released later this year. I have some vague ideas about the next release, but I want to give it time to breathe before I properly announce anything.

There are also some vague plans for a live gig in the next few months, as I've been asked if I want to take part in one, but again I'm just going to see what happens.

I now have the feeling that I'm just sounding ridiculously mysterious (not on purpose, sorry).

NT: I've got to ask, does it feel good to see your releases go for such high prices on Discogs?
G: To be honest I feel a mixture of emotions towards it. I hate that people have to pay so much just to buy one CD (one reason why I made my out of print releases available as digital) and that the seller gets a huge profit from it. On the other hand, it is kind of flattering that someone would actually go as far as to pay that much and value my music to that degree. If I had the choice then the CDs would be constantly available and would not be so limited so there wouldn't be any of this ridiculous pricing, but that would require so much money that I just don't have. I think the same goes for any fairly obscure musicians or labels releasing their own music.

NT: Finally, if you had to pick your three favourite "Night Tracks", what would they be?
G: Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I don't think I could choose, though I'll give you my most recent favourites:

The Horrors – Scarlet Fields
Fluxion – Outerside
Dead Can Dance - Kiki

NT: Thanks so much for your time! We look forward to having you back for a guest mix sometime in the future...