Josh Kincheloe, lead singer of the high-energy rock band, Glasslands, met me at a local coffee shop to chat this week. We each drove down from separate mountain houses to talk about music and his band—the other members of which are scattered all over the country. In fact, Glasslands, which Josh launched in Nashville, has no members there at all anymore. And while it’s not uncommon for bands to grow and relocate, Glasslands has maintained their growth trajectory without its members ever being in the same home state. Josh now calls Evergreen home, while drummer Brandon Mullins is in Columbus, OH, and Jordan DiSorbo lives in L.A.
“I wrote a song yesterday,” Josh says, which means he not only wrote the melody and lyrics, he recorded it, complete with guitar, bass and drum tracks. “I sent it out to the band and Brandon wrote back, saying he thought it was cool. He asked for the track without drums. I rebounced it, and a half hour later he’s asking me to hop on Discord [music recording software], shares his screen with audio, and he plays drum part ideas I never would have come up with.” This, Josh points out, makes musical collaboration easier than organizing—and paying for—all that studio time. “When I write, we trade the songs back and forth, generate new ideas, and so we have a more stout product before we head into the studio. It relieves pressure and it saves the band time and money.”
This is the way Josh began songwriting, so it isn’t unnatural to him. “After doing music throughout high school and college, I toured for six years as a hired bass player. I wanted to do my own music, and I started writing—I was kind of a late bloomer—while I was touring. I just use Garage Band or whatever I could get my hands on in my spare time. That was the start of Glasslands,” he explains.
For Josh, it was a necessity, touring while dreaming up a new project. Still, it’s becoming more and more common for musicians to go their own way, so to speak, when it comes to making and publishing their music. Chance the Rapper famously held out on record deals for many years, as has, more recently, country singer Oliver Anthony, who refused an $80 million dollar deal to remain in charge of his own music. Then there are artists like Billie Eilish, who first published “Ocean Eyes” on SoundCloud, and Lewis Capaldi, whose music exploded on Spotify faster than any signed artists’.
It’s not just about the exposure of the viral internet world, though. Bands are thriving working remotely because of how it appeals to an artist’s temperament, and since moving to Colorado, Josh has found his music has grown up with him. “Tech is helpful for people like me. I write better alone. If you’re self-motivated, you can do anything at home. And I’m discovering as I get older that the reasons you do something—the core reasons—they have to come to the forefront. So, while it can be challenging to stay passionate at a distance, now I also have more of an appreciation for it. I have to make space, I have to make time,” he says.
That dedicated space isn’t just about the writing process either. Members of Glasslands will still gather frequently for all the stuff of making, not just music, but a band. “We’re also really intentional about our time together. Last time we got together, we shot a music video, had a photo shoot, recorded live sessions, and wrote. We did all of that in a week, and you get in the mindset, for 24 hours a day.” This, Josh says, is reminiscent of those early, passionate days of touring at 19, when as aspiring rock stars, they all lived, breathed and ate on music alone. It recreates a spirit of passion by making the work special again. “Because it’s inevitable,” he says. “We’re all people in our mid-thirties. You get married, you have kids. It can make everything more complicated. But also, you can’t be wasting time. You work harder, you work smarter. Everything you do matters.”
Josh has been writing from his new home in Evergreen, and Glasslands recently released some of that new music, which can be found on Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming services. They’ll hit the road together again this fall, including a show in Colorado. Dates and venues will be released soon, so watch for details at glasslands.co or on social media everywhere at @glasslandsband.