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INTERVIEW: The Glitch Mob on Lightning in a Bottle and new show Blade 2.0

Just as Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) wrapped up another year of providing a unique music festival experience, we caught up with The Glitch Mob to learn more about their connection with the festival and about their new show, Blade 2.0, which made its festival debut at this year’s LIB.

The Los Angeles-based electronic band–made up of Justin Boreta, Ed Ma, and Joshua Mayer–has a long history with The Do Lab, founders of Lightning in a Bottle and event producers in many other capacities. We spoke to all the members of the band about that history and their association especially with LIB.

“Some of the very first shows we played as the Glitch Mob were with The Do Lab,” says Boreta. “We played the very first and second Lightning in a Bottle…[and when] they first started doing Coachella, we were playing there. We’ve all kind of grown up together. There’s a family vibe with them.”

The Glitch Mob formed organically which each member of the band pursuing their own creative projects before the band formed. Ma produces music under the alias ediT, Mayer as Ooah and Boreta as Boreta. Ma and Mayer have previously performed at LIB as “Crying Over Porcelain” showcasing their more emotional down-tempo music. Mayer and Boreta also debuted their new side project 29 Palms this year at LIB’s Favela Bar (you can listen to their full set on SoundCloud here).

“It all kinda came up that way, all of us just doing different stuff and then it became The Glitch Mob and found it’s way of it being the three of us,” explained Mayer. “So having side projects and having solo music, having The Glitch Mob, it’s similar to The Do lab. We are like this family with all these creative ideas and we can output them in whatever format we feel.”

LIB is a special festival to those who know it’s magic. It’s success is in creating a safe space for people to come together to dance, experiment, expand their minds and become inspired. The Do Lab’s aim is to create the best immersive environments live events have to offer.

“The sense of experimentation, creativity, grassroots-ness and integrity that [The Do Lab] has with all their art is something that we really connect with,” says Boreta. “Although they are a festival and we are music, we are all a part of the same creative soup, a creative group system.”

It’s important for artists to develop these communities and safe spaces in order for ideas to run wild. The Glitch Mob and The Do Lab are the perfect example of how two creative forces can come together to create something special.

“I think Lightning in a Bottle is a place you’ll go and come back a changed person for the better,” said Ma. “Most festival grounds and concert floors become a wasteland of trash, but The Do Lab works hard to educate and help attendees be more mindful of the environment.”

Mindfulness is something that many people practice very heavily at Lightning in a Bottle, but a concept that is completely looked over at every other festival. The Glitch Mob members have been to almost every single LIB since the beginning and hold this festival close to their heart.

“It’s a respectable community,” said Mayer. “Everybody going for the most part, kinda knows what they’re going for and knows the mindset that they should probably act in. It creates this safe container for people to be experimental but also be conscious of everyone else that’s there.”

The Glitch Mob recently released their third studio album, See Without Eyes, and began touring with Blade 2.0, which is made to play bigger stages and headlining shows. Boreta described the live show’s festival debut as something transformative.

“We got to play with a bunch of our friends and family with such incredible production and a beautiful stage right in front of a lake with an incredible PK sound system,” said Boreta. “It feels like the whole thing really just comes together like when a Transformer is finished going through it’s transformation and now it can go do it’s thing. That’s what it felt like, a very transcendent experience for us to have The Blade really to be itself,” said Boreta. 

Shortly after playing Lightning in a Bottle and Governor’s Ball in New York City on June 1, the band announced their Fall North American Tour, teasing the addition of extra dates for fans who missed out at LIB. The added dates provide a second chance to see the band’s bigger and better show since touring their last album, Love Death Immortality.

When originally creating The Blade for their last album, The Glitch Mob created their version of a taiko drum set because of their love of taiko drumming. This live set-up also allowed the band to showcase their talent as true musicians, something much more than DJs simply pressing buttons.

“I think it’s all about moving energy from point A to point B,” said Ma. “There’s a lot of percussion in our music that we use to just help tell the story and propel drama. It was inspired by these guys being super hyped on taiko drumming. It was a piece we wanted to take and put into our show to add some excitement and drama in the places where it needed it.”

If you missed Lightning in a Bottle’s Super Earlybird sale last weekend, check lightninginabottle.org/tickets for future sales and more information about attending LIB 2019.

(Boreta on the left, Mayer on the right)

Photos by Simon Bonneau

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About the author

Victoria Kobayashi

Victoria Kobayashi

Victoria is a music and arts contributor reporting on live events and festivals happening throughout California. She was born and raised in Sacramento and recently graduated from the University of California, Davis, majoring in Design and minoring in Professional Writing. Her hobbies include browsing through fashion blogs, photography, listening to new music, thrift store shopping and going on weekend road trips. She's always down for an adventure and meeting new people.

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