Everyone struggles with their own demons, but GLU seems happy to spend a few more hours with them on “My Demons,” the title track to his upcoming ep. In “My Demons,” GLU – the new hip-hop-infused rock moniker from Michael Shuman – details how it’s hard to quit the bad habits, and like hitting the snooze on his morality alarm clock, he begs for maybe fifteen more minutes with these vices. A trippy experience from start to finish — made even more alluring with vocals from Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel — “My Demons” is a dynamic introduction to this new musical venture. If the song wasn’t tempting enough, GLU dropped a red-hued video to accompany the track, giving something tasty for your eyes as well as your ears.
“As far as the music goes, I wanted to do something that challenged me,” GLU tells HollywoodLife. His alter-ego, Michael Shuman, is known for playing bass in the Josh Homme-led Queens of the Stone Age and for fronting the rock band Mini Mansions. GLU, a solo project that treads more down the hip-hop path, is “something I’d never done,” says GLU. “I’ve been in bands my whole life, writing from a punk rock mindset, whose origins tend to come from riffs. The only thing I hadn’t done is really dig into lyrics and having the computer also be an instrument.”
“The name GLU comes from a friend of mine telling me that I’m the glue in all of my musical endeavors and friendships,” he continues. “Also, during the name-picking process, which is the worst thing to have to do, my aunt sent me a letter written about my grandfather. It talked about memories from him in the war, as well as what kind of man he was to this family. It stated that ‘he was in the glue in every situation.’ That’s all I really needed to hear to make the decision about what name truly represented me.”
GLU’s grandfather also factors into the EP’s cover art, specifically the ring he wears on the artwork. “It’s my grandfather’s ring. His initials,” he shares. “But it seems to keep showing itself to have many meanings in my life. I’m not much of an astrology person, but it’s kinda like that. You start to see all of these things that align with that sign, things that keep showing themselves in your life.”
MY DEMONS – out Feb. 24 — begins with the title track, goes to the previously released “COLD SWEAT” and “NIGHT SHIFT” before “MOONWALKIN'” before closing with “F****D WITH MY DEMONS.” With the project starting and finishing with “demons,” one might think there’s a thread connecting the songs on the release. Not so. “It’s not a concept record or anything, but because it was written and recorded within the same timeframe, everything seems to tie in together,” GLU tells HollywoodLife.
“This was all done by myself during the lockdown,” he continues. “So that time period really allowed me to reflect on who I am now and what in my past got me here. Was dealing with not being able to tour and play music anymore, which is a hard thing to stop cold turkey. I guess some of my vices lingered on and through the writing and recording of the record.”
The period of GLU’s creation was one of stillness and dread, which might explain the nature of the songs on MY DEMONS. But, whereas other artists push their vocals into the red, howling with the frustration of a thousand dire wolves, GLU approaches the gloom and doom with a subdued, peaceful cadence.
“It’s kinda just how I roll,” he says. “People tend to say I’m pretty calm and collected. Although I have OCD thoughts constantly going on in my head, I try my best to settle them and not let them get the best of me. Like Bad Brains said, I got that PMA. So when it comes to my vocal delivery for GLU, it just feels like myself. Very natural. And maybe the most myself I’ve ever been.”
Fans can find that natural GLU in the dusk hours. When asked what’s the best time to put on MY DEMONS, he tells HollywoodLife that it might be the best way to end your night (right as the day is starting.) “I think the EP was made in and designed for nighttime listening. The after after-party,” he says. “It may be a solo listening endeavor, but like a good drink or film, can be enjoyed with friends. Oh, and it drops on February 24th.”
To help you get better acquainted with GLU, he’s also provided a playlist of songs that directly inspired the creation of the new sound:
Gorillaz, “Clint Eastwood”
First Gorillaz song I heard that opened my eyes to the possibilities of starting anew.
DJ Shadow and Run The Jewels, “Nobody Speak”
One of my favorite collaborations. Perfect mix of real instrumentation and samples.
Mac Miller, “Good News”
Love the Jon Brion influence on Mac. You can really hear the musical collaboration of their two worlds on this.
Depeche Mode, “Sweetest Perfection”
One of my favorite nighttime tracks.
I don’t love a lot of pop, but I think Benee does the perfect job of blending pop music with psychedelic influences. Great production on this. Would love to collab with her.
Beethoven, “Moonlight Sonata (1st Movement)”
Influenced my track, Moonwalkin’. Was literally learning how to play it every day during lockdown on piano, and just leaked into some sounds and lyrics on the EP.
Dr. Dre, “Still D.R.E.”
Not too much to say about this track. If you know, you know. And you probably know.