Alice Glass is a survivor, but she’s not all survivors.
For her debut solo album, Glass knew she wanted the project to address her experience with the band Crystal Castles and the alleged abuse she suffered, but she had to do it in her own way. “The record itself is a desperate last cry, but it’s not one that needs sympathy,” Glass says. “It’s kind of an amalgam of suffering. But I didn’t write from the perspective of coming out the other side as a stronger person or being sympathized with, it’s somewhere in the middle. It’s not an album about the idealized survivor we see in the media who overcame extreme odds. It represents the things that happened in my life, how I took control and dealt with it.
Glass left Crystal Castles in 2014 after being part of the band for over eight years. According to the statement shared on her website, Glass met her teammate Ethan Kath when she was 15 and he was 25. Before and during her time at Crystal Castles, Glass alleges that she was stalked, manipulated, sexually harassed, controlled and physically. abused by Kath. She started releasing solo music in 2015 and released an EP in 2017, which briefly touched on her experience as a survivor. However, only now has she felt ready to show the true depths of her story.
“Honestly, I was getting a lot of pressure from older teams that I worked with and they were like, ‘Hey, when is all this abuse stuff going to end?'” Glass said. “I wasn’t healing at the right pace that everyone wanted. I was just starting to resent this perfect survivor who came out stronger. What if you don’t come out stronger? Does it make you a weaker person? And if so, should it be reported?
The album, which will be released on streaming platforms on January 28 on Eating Glass Records, is titled “PREY//IV”. Like the songs that ended up making the album, Glass was very strategic in portraying her survivor story on her own terms and in her own words. “The full title is ‘PREY // IV Alice Glass,'” Glass explains. “I was raised Catholic and wanted to bring the idea of prayer. I wrote it as prey because I feel like young women and young men are often chosen to be preyed upon by others and they have no choice about it. You can be targeted and have no idea. You may think that you are living a totally independent life and there could be dark forces secretly trying to get to you.
While working on this project, Glass intended not to include any collaborations on the album. It was important to keep the story clean while maintaining complete creative control of the project. She did, however, trust producer Jupiter Keyes to help her through the process. “It’s been years of work between me and my producer Jupiter,” says Glass. “I really like getting into the studio and trying out a bunch of ideas right away. I’m more of a high-level melodic person, so we’ll decide what instrumentals we’re going to use for a track and go from there. For each song we have on the record, I think I wrote and recorded about 10 melodies for each one. There’s a lot of trial and error because I want to get the right emotion for each song and each melody.
Over the years of working on this album, Glass has recorded dozens and dozens of songs. In fact, she admits that when she started compiling the tracklist, she felt like she was drowning in four years of melodies and beats. Nonetheless, she ultimately settled on 13 lucky songs, each giving fans insight into her story beyond what they’ve read online or her earlier solo music.
“There’s a song called ‘Fair Game’ and I don’t give a damn about things my abuser said to me,” Glass says. “At first it was almost like this therapeutic exercise and it was kind of scary to listen to the real quotes that were said to me. It was intense for me when we were editing and fixing it, but then I got used to it. The more you get used to it, the less impact the words have and the more ridiculous it sounds. Now when I listen to it, I dance and quote things like “If someone If someone really knew you, you wouldn’t have any friends”.
With this album, Glass is putting everything on the line. She is no longer afraid to speak openly about her alleged abuse and has nothing to hide behind. She found the confidence to tackle the situation head-on, swapping metaphor-laden lyrics from her previous work and embracing first-person writing.
“I know it sounds like such a small thing, but before there was almost a rule of never using first person or being clear about how you feel about anything,” says Glass. “It led to a huge emotional disconnect, because I couldn’t express [my] true feelings and [music] must have been this portrait. I’ve really put myself forward more, even though it makes me more vulnerable, but it’s totally worth it and I’ve definitely gained confidence as an artist.
It’s pretty common these days for a public figure to come forward about their alleged abuse, but that wasn’t always the case. The #MeToo movement, started by Tarana Burke, was relatively unknown and wouldn’t be recognized by the general public for another decade when Glass was a member of Crystal Castles. By the mid-2000s, the company wasn’t ready to fully confront the problem, and neither was Glass. That landscape has changed dramatically over the past two years, for celebrities and everyday survivors alike.
“I’m lucky to be a woman in the times we live in now because I have my own voice on social media and people believe me,” Glass says. “I just want to represent a lot of people I know are out there. People only know my story because I make music and [my story] has been hyped, but grooming is this huge unsaid thing. I would like to let people know that they are not alone in their feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness and that there are times of embracing positivity, even if it is just embracing the ‘darkness.
By sharing her story, Glass has created a remarkable bond with her fans, with benefits going both ways. Her music has provided support to other survivors who have felt completely alone in their struggles, and in return, Glass has been able to lean on her fans in ways she never imagined possible. This support has given her the strength to carry on and she has found a way to take it with her wherever she goes. “When I played my first solo show, everyone threw white roses on the stage,” Glass says. “It was really overwhelming. It inspired me to get a white rose tattoo, which in my head represents new hope.
In addition to the white rose, Glass collected other pieces to remind her of what she overcame. Tattoos are not designed to rehash the past or evoke bad memories, but to act as a powerful declaration of one’s freedom. “I have chain tattoos to represent release from the chains of my past,” Glass explains. “I really like the feeling of being tattooed. I think it was cathartic just that the people who tattooed me were sympathetic about it. I was a little worried about the artists being judgmental, but they were really cool and we became friends.
Alice Glass spent the first half of her career in obscurity. However, with the help of her fans and friends, she learned to embrace darkness on her own terms. “I’ve been in bands since I was 13 and I feel like I’m not trained for anything else,” Glass says. “It wasn’t really another thought. I’ve spent eight years on tour, countless hours in the studio, and a lot of time doing things for someone else’s vision. I wanted to do it myself. »