Interview with Mike Glaser of OTTO VECTOR May 26, 2011

May 27, 2011 by: Shauna O'Donnell

May 26, 2011

OTTO VECTOR

Mike Glaser (Keyboards)

Detroit, Michigan

http://ottovector.com

By: Shauna O’Donnell

HI MIKE, THANKS FOR TALKING WITH ME. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

I’m watching re-runs of The Daily Show.

THAT SOUNDS LIKE FUN. LET’S START WITH A BRIEF HISTORY ON THE BAND. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER?

We’ve been together since around 2004.We’ve been together for a while.

IS THIS THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP?

Yes it is, surprisingly.

THAT’S GREAT, YOU NEVER HEAR THAT ANYMORE.

Yeah, we are all good friends and we enjoy what we do. It’s really been the last year and a half that it has become a lot more serious.  We worked with Chuck Alkazian to beef up the sound a little bit and then we just did the music video. A lot of good things have been happening.

WE KNOW A LOT OF THE SAME PEOPLE, CHUCK ALKAZIAN IS A FRIEND OF MINE AND SO IS SEAN BABAS. HOW DID THE BAND COME TOGETHER?

What basically happened and how the band got started, was a friend and I who met through different bands we’re playing in the area of Detroit. We kind of started Otto Vector as a joke. We wanted to write and record video game music. That is what our goal was and we did that on the side using the technology that we had at the time. We thought the songs were getting really good and we just decided to add a full band element. We asked Renee, our vocalist, who was a fan of one of our bands and it all just kind of fell together. We all started writing songs together and that is about it.

RENEE’S VOICE IS AMAZING. WAS SHE CLASSICALLY TRAINED?

She wasn’t actually classically trained. She is five years younger than all of us, so when she started out with us, she was only eighteen. She had this little mousy voice, but over the years it has exploded. She has incredible pipes. We are all amazed at the things she can do. I do believe she sang in church and did all of that kind of stuff though.

HOW MANY ALBUMS DO YOU HAVE OUT?

We have four albums out.

YOU’RE LATEST ALBUM 14 NORTH CEDGWICK RELEASED LAST YEAR. IS THAT AN ADDRESS?

It’s kind of a fictional address, it doesn’t really exist. If you’ll notice, all the songs titles are fictional characters names. The idea for the album was 14 North Cedgwick was let’s say an apartment building and all these people with these wacked out stories live there. That is how the name came to be. We like the idea of not necessarily a complete concept album, but it gives people something to think about because the song titles aren’t exactly what the chorus is. Ambiguity is really cool we think and the fans really seem to like it.

HOW DID YOU LIKE WORKING WITH CHUCK ALKAZIAN?

It was great! The guy really knows what he is doing. He knew how to take our sound and really hone it into an awesome album. We are really pleased with the album. Yeah, he was awesome!

HE CAN DO ANY STYLE OF MUSIC, HE IS A GREAT PRODUCER.

Yeah, that was the cool thing too, because there are a lot of bands out there that do a synth/pop type thing like we are doing, but he put a little bit more of a hard element to it. He beefed up the guitars a lot, which added to a little bit heavier synth in it. I think it gave it a really cool sound in it’s own that sets us apart from a lot of bands.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON THE BAND’S MUSIC? I READ THAT MUSIC FROM THE 80’S HAS BEEN AN INFLUENCE.

Yes, we all really like the sounds from the 80’s and how “out there” the music was in the synthesis and technology. One of the other members that I work with that does a lot of the songwriting is usually influenced by video game music. You probably won’t hear it, but a lot of times what we will do is take a video game snippet and make it into a sound effect in the middle of the song. It’s different and that is why we have all stuck together for so long. Everybody has their own role in the band and it seems like if one person was missing then it just wouldn’t work as well.

IT’S A WELL OILED MACHINE.

It really is and it’s rare because all of us were in different bands in the past. You know how it goes; members just kind of come in and come out. So far it has been pretty solid.

WHO ARE SOME OF THE 80’s BANDS THAT YOU LOVE?

Berlin has been one, it is not a huge influence on us, but we are all fans of Berlin. That’s what a lot of people say that our music sounds like. I’m not talking about “Take My Breathe Away,” I mean their real songs. Duran Duran is a huge influence on us. It is very poppy, quirky at times, but fun. If you listen to our stuff there are a lot of dance beats, but our drummer is an 80’s cock rock guy at heart. He loves the stuff like Motley Crue and Scorpions. It’s interesting because all of our influences are different. Renee is a huge 311 fan. She uses a lot of 311 influences interestingly enough.

DOES SHE WRITE ALL OF THE LYRICS?

Yes she does.

MUSIC FROM THE 80’S IS A LOT DIFFERENT FROM THE MUSIC WE HEAR NOW.

This time period in music is a little, I don’t want to dog the industry, but it is really safe right now and you don’t get to hear that really crazy experimental stuff like you did in the 80’s.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE SONG AND VIDEO FOR “CHARLIE MIX.” THE VIDEO WAS DIRECTED BY SEAN BABAS. TELL ME ABOUT THE DAY OF THE SHOOT.

The shoot was actually two long days. We shot it in Detroit, Michigan. We worked with Sean Babas. I don’t know if you have done any other interviews where they have talked about working with him, but he’s funny. He’s a director. I remember one instance where we were all just standing around and he was walking around the building where we filmed it for about an hour and a half. We were like “What the hell is going on? What is he doing?” When it all came together, I know that he was walking around getting ideas and looking at things. It is incredible how he can make a shot that to us looks like a pane of glass on a building, but he can take it and make it into an incredible piece of work. He’s so young too. I think that his nineteenth birthday was on one of the days of the shoot. We’re not old, but some of us are pushing thirty and Renee is twenty-five. We were like “Hey, let’s go get Sean a drink!” but then we were like “Oh wait! Sean isn’t even old enough.” He is such a good kid too, because we were thinking we could go back to one of our houses and he could have a beer with us, but he wasn’t interested. He is awesome and an incredible talent.

HAVE YOU SEEN THE OTHER VIDEOS HE HAS DONE?

Oh yeah, I always watch his videos and they are cool.

WELL, THE VIDEO HE DID WITH YOU GUYS CAME OUT REALLY, REALLY GREAT! I CAN SEE HIM AS BEING THE NEXT BIG THING AS FAR AS DIRECTORS GO.

Oh I know! I know he just does a lot of music videos now, but there are a lot of very well known directors that got their start by making music videos. He definitely has a huge arsenal of those going on right now. When I first saw our video, it took my breath away. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. I’m not in it much. I think you only see my hand for about five seconds, but that’s okay I know the vocalist is the most important part so I don’t mind. It came out really impressive. It has got us a lot of attention too, which is great.

YOUR MUSIC HAS BEEN FEATURED ON MTV. WHAT SHOWS?

It was featured on the Road Rules Real World Challenge, it was called Fresh Meat II. They’ve used it about five times already. Our music lends itself well and is very good for commercial and television. We are working with a licensing company right now and hopefully we are going to get more material licensed. It is a great way to make money right now so we can do a little bit more playing shows on the road and things like that.

I SAW FIVE DATES UP ON YOUR PAGE. ARE YOU GOING TO BE ADDING MORE DATES?

Yes, the intent is to add more dates. Every year in September we play this festival in Indianapolis. I’m waiting to add that and then we are going to do a Chicago date. We haven’t made it out west yet, it hasn’t been financially possible, but we have done  label showcases out in New York City. We will do dates on the way there and back too.

WHAT BANDS HAVE YOU PLAYED WITH IN THE PAST?

One band that we have played with a lot is innerpartysystem. They are a very electronic band. They are way more electronic than us. We’ve played with a band called Sonny, the singer was in a band called From First to Last prior. We have opened for Under the Influence of Giants. They are all national acts and a lot of them are from L.A. We also played with She Wants Revenge. It was a great show for us.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE INTERVIEW. I WISH YOU GUYS THE BEST!

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