Gleemer

Interview: Corey Coffman of Gleemer

Gleemer’s fourth full-length album, Anymore, comes out next month. It’s a big jump for the band, as it’s their first release on Other People Records – or, for that matter, any label. Last week I spoke with vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Corey Coffman about the jump to the label, the concept of Anymore, and the weird process of choosing its album cover.

This is your first record with Other People, right? How did signing with them affect the writing and record of the record?

It actually didn’t really have any effect. We were already almost done with the album – at least all of the writing process – when we signed, so it was pretty much completely written. And then tracking it thereafter was pretty much exactly the same method we’d always done. I recorded it all myself, which was just what we’d always done. We just wanted to stick with that. So it didn’t really change much of anything.

So was it an easy transition, then?

Yeah, it feels like the exact same thing we’ve always done, just with some people who really care about the record talking to some other people who really care, as opposed to, like, literally just us ourselves.

That’s good to hear. I know a lot of people who make that jump find it difficult to let go of control of things, so it’s refreshing to hear it hasn’t been like that.

Oh, no, they’ve been so fucking sick about it. The guys who run it were like, “We really like your band already, so just do what you normally do. If you’re happy with it, then we’ll be happy with it.”

Even before I listened to the album, I had an idea of what it would sound like based on the cover, and I can’t remember the last record that so perfectly fit the vibe of the cover. Like, aside from just being pretty, the album sounds like that picture looks.

That’s such a good compliment! Thank you, dude. That does my heart good. So cool to hear.

So how’d you choose it?

Me and my friend Jack, who’s been my friend for, like, fifteen years, he’s done all our covers, and he takes the pictures of us, and stuff. Me and him were working together for, like, a month. We’d get together once or twice a week and do different photoshoots in each other’s apartments, just these weird ideas. We had all these ideas that were more fleshed out and more complicated, then I was looking through his Instagram one day, and that was actually a picture that he took when he was on vacation with his family in Hawaii. I was like, “Dude, that’s the picture.” Jack still had the raw file from his phone and was like, “Yeah, cool,” so we did that. It pretty much just fell in our lap, you know?

Going off of that, at the risk of sounding pretentious, all your other records have somewhat provocative titles. Like, Moving Away has a connotation to it, Holyland U.S.A. is the same.

Yeah, for sure (laughs).

And then Anymore is just, like, Anymore. So what does Anymore mean for this album?

Man, I don’t know (laughs). I keep circling back to this theme, and maybe it just spawns from having to talk about the album a bit more, which I’m not really used to. But I had this note on my phone of, like, 500 album titles that I’d add to whenever I was just sitting around. Some of them were so silly looking back, but that one is just so concise. I never want it to come across as a grander idea than it is, and I think the whole album just has this feeling – and I don’t want to sound pretentious at all – of inconclusiveness, but that kind of is the resolve. Almost like you’re sitting at the end of something, like, “Well, it is what it is and I have mixed feelings about it.” Just looking back on something and the mixed feelings and whatever might feel unatoned for and beyond your reach, or whatever you might feel joyous about that and you’re nostalgically looking at it. It kind of fits with the whole album cover and the vibe that we tried to get across.

I don’t think it’s pretentious at all (laughs).

Good, good (laughs).

It definitely does fit in with the lyrics, but I wasn’t sure if it was representative of a larger theme.

It’s sort of just the – I hate to use the word aftermath because it’s not really that at all – but the aftermath, the nostalgia after the feeling. That kind of thing.

Whatever’s lingering.

Yes! That’s a less destructive word (laughs).

So I know in the past you’ve done these sort of concept records that might not tell a full story but will have the same theme. The EP with the original “Cooler,” I know, every song was about a different person at the same party. Was there any kind of linking thread for Anymore?

It’s funny, because every time I’ve done that, it’s happened afterwards. Like, I made up that theme for that EP after I was done with it and I realized, “Oh, that kind of fits and it’s kind of cool,” so I went with it. But for this, it’s more of an episodic album where Charlie and I are trying to showcase these different moods. As far as the theme goes, it’s more, like, melodrama, snapshots of it from various perspectives.

For me, personally, I like music that hits me when I’m alone, and makes me think, “Fuck, that describes exactly what I feel like I just went through.” I feel like if I’m honest about what I feel, someone else will relate to those things. It was nothing intentionally story-oriented this time. Me and Charlie, if we think about what anyone else is thinking about us, then we should just stop and watch a movie or something. I want to make what we like. That’s always been our intention.

I asked because I did get the feeling that, even though there was no story really being told, there’s a pretty consistent theme. It’s not like, “This is a song about my relationship, this is a song about my job, this is a political song.” They all feel like they fit into one piece.

Yeah, I tried to keep it all together. Even the songs that have, like, one person mad at another, I try to balance the perspectives and consider all the circumstances. I never want to write, like, pointed aggressive heartbreak. I try to be more understanding about it.

I feel like that’s more mature and more realistic than, like, “Fuck my ex-girlfriend,” too.

Yeah, yeah (laughs). Totally, man. I had this song that was totally this mad ex-girlfriend song, and I was like, “Goddamnit.” It was such a lame song. I ended up completely changing it because there’s no point in saying I’m right in a song, you know? I wanted to be more open.

Why was “Cooler” the song you chose to revisit on here? Why’d you do a “Cooler, Pt. 2” instead of one of the others?

You know what’s crazy is that was actually fully arranged by a guy named Matt, who was the first integral member of the band. He’s not playing with us anymore, but we’re still really tight. He had this vision for an EP while we were making Moving Away, and he started working in GarageBand on a reworking of “Cooler,” which is a song that nobody knows (laughs). I’ve always been fond of that song, and I remember when I wrote it. It’s got this really intimate nature to it. It was a callback that was a little more unexpected, but he presented the demo to us, and I was like, “Dude, that is so sick.” I brought it to Charlie and we fully fleshed it out.

What was behind the decision to release “Soothe Me” and “Come Down” as the singles?

That was a little more the label. Those are two of my favorites, and our manager was pretty keen on “Soothe Me” being the first single. I’ve always been, like, pretty against singles. If I could do it totally my way, I’d just put the album out. I hate when I listen to a record I’ve already heard, like, four songs from. Those two, though, I think showcase the poppy and aggressive sides of the record pretty well, so I was on board with it.

I totally agree. I hate when I put on a record I’ve never heard but I already know the first, like, three songs. I don’t feel like it’s started until track four.

Yeah, like I feel like I want to skip ahead. Like I’ll listen to track one, then skip the singles to track four, then listen through to the end. I feel like I’ve got to wait a month to even get excited for the record.

The reason I’d asked was because I feel like those two songs sort of have a different vibe from the rest of the record. Like you said, I think they’re a bit more poppy and energetic.

Yeah, I think everybody was on the same page with those two. They’re pretty upbeat and don’t really require much dedication to get into. The hooks are pretty recognizable right away, and there’s not a lot of nuance to the songs – like, a lot of the other songs on the record take more time to get into but I actually like them more, you know?

’Anymore.’ is available for preorder at Other People Records’ webstore.

Zac Djamoos
Zac Djamoos Zac Djamoos is a contributor at chorus.fm. He can also be found at @zacdjamoos on Twitter.