Glitterer is a one-man band made up of Ned Russin, who made his name in Title Fight, a project he seems to be creating distance from lately. On Glitterer’s first LP and EP, Russin is on vocals, synths, bass, and drum machine. These instruments were complemented on his newly released LP, Looking Through the Shades, by his brother Ben on drums and another brother, Alex, lending one guitar solo. SPB caught up with Russin as he manned the merch table before a set at Alphaville in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It’s somewhat of a dive bar with a meager stage in the back room. This was the last night of his recent late summer Eastern US solo tour where he performed 16 nights in 18 days. This stint was sandwiched between constant North American touring efforts both solo and with a variety of bands, but many from the hardcore punk world, a place where Glitterer’s sweet harmonies don’t necessarily “fit in.” He was in the UK solo at the end of August before opening for Ceremony on every date of their Eastern US tour this September. He is filling in on bass for Ceremony on this tour. Up next is his US December tour with Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Anxious, and Creeks.
Scene Point Blank: You’ve been playing with someone different every night. How have you decided who’s gonna share the bill with you?
Ned Russin: Kinda left that a lot up to the local promoters. There were a couple places where I wanted to play with some friends or some bands that I like, but…we really left a lot of it up to the person who lived in the area who was in touch with local bands and knew what was going on and thought it would be a good match. I trust that they’ll put together a good show.
Scene Point Blank: How do you cope with such an intense touring schedule? ‘Cause you’ve been playing literally back-to-back with like two days off.
Ned Russin: I’ve been touring for the better part of ten years, and this tour specifically is different because I’m by myself. I’m playing a lot of places I haven’t been to before, or haven’t been to in a while. So, I’m kind of just meeting people in bands and promotors for the first time. And I’m having all these new experiences. It’s nice to have that even though I’ve been doing this for so long – that it can still be kind of weird and new. But in terms of coping with it – you just have to take time. You have to allow yourself to have moments of decompression, and moments to yourself, and do things that you enjoy.
Scene Point Blank: So what’s that for you?
Ned Russin: For me it was like going to bookstores and record stores. Whatever restaurants that people recommend. Just very typical things. It’s just doing small things that make you feel on somewhat of a routine and schedule. So this tour, doing it by myself kind of enhanced certain problem areas of touring, but I was able to get used to that kind of quick. This has been a successful tour, I’d say, on several levels. “Success” is a loaded word, but to me it’s [this]: I’ve been playing shows; people have seemed interested; I’ve met new people; seen new bands. Things have been going the best they can go, I feel. I just feel happy to be playing music.
Scene Point Blank: Are you driving your own van?
Ned Russin: I don’t even have a van. I have a mini-SUV, and yeah, I’m the only person on tour.
Scene Point Blank: That’s intense. That’s awesome, though.
Ned Russin: Yeah, that’s why I would say it’s kind of a weird experience. Because even when you’re on tour -- you show up to a place, you don’t know anybody -- you still have a group of other people you can feel comfortable with and entertain yourselves, and that alleviates a lot of the stress of being in a new place and not know anything. To be in a new place and not know anybody and not know anything by yourself is a very different encounter.
Scene Point Blank:And you’re about to go do that in Europe next.
Ned Russin: Yeah, but it makes the other parts of tour feel different, which is good. Playing and seeing people react and meeting new people and all those things; being in a place completely by myself, not knowing anyone, it just feels more personal. I just appreciate all the opportunities that I’ve had because…I’m by myself in a car with all the time to think about it! I feel fortunate to have this opportunity.
"To me, there are serious goals with the lyrics that…take a little bit more than just listening to something quickly to “get.”"
Scene Point Blank:You mentioned that playing live feels “confrontational” and “uncomfortable.” What did you mean by that?
Ned Russin: The way that I’ve been playing live has just been me on stage singing. I think in the world that I exist in, which is, in broad terms, punk/hardcore, you come to a show and there’s a very specific, ritualized context that exists. You go and you expect to see a certain thing. And when you get up and your expectations are subverted, it becomes something that people are uncertain about. So playing live has been a thing where I’m receiving that kind of anxiety of people being in…a similar scenario with a different thing going on and not knowing how to take that, and me knowing that it is a different thing. So that kind of becomes this giant elephant in the room.
I’ve been able to become more comfortable with the aspect of playing in that new setting. Because of that, I think…I’m better able to reject the fear and anxiety and weirded-out-ness that is put on me by people watching. To have that shield up makes something that’s confrontational, in my opinion. That’s something that’s like, “I know you’re not used to this…but I’m gonna do it. Sorry. Sorry, not sorry…”
It’s that kind of experience where it’s being in a familiar place in an unfamiliar way.
Scene Point Blank: I actually haven’t gotten a chance to see you live yet so I wanna know what kind of challenges you face when you try to replicate your recorded sound live.
Ned Russin: That’s the easiest part.
Scene Point Blank: Oh really?
Ned Russin: Yeah, because I have the tracks that are used in the recordings. So live is easy to make sound like the recording, but the problem I’ve been coming to is that it is all dependent on how good the PA is. If the PA is not very good or if it’s quiet or if I have a problem with a cable then it’s, like, a shit mess. But for the most part I’ve had good experiences playing and I haven’t run into much trouble.