South Africa may not seem like the go-to place for industrial at all, but there is quite a scene within the country. Although some say that it has been on the decline, fine folks who still give a damn such as Richard Wheeler of G.L.O.W keep the electronic beats flowing. After reviewing his album Pain & Suffering, I had a nice little Facebook chat with the producer on history, and his most recent release.
What's the history of G.L.O.W.?
Wheeler: G.L.O.W. started in 2008 after I spent 2 years in the Goth scene in South Africa and thus I decided to create music for this music genre. I started to experiment with music softwares such as Cubase & Protools LE and gave the Industrial music I created a new twist with mixtures of Industrial, Powerpop, Synthpop, Noise & Electro. The tracks were placed on websites such iLike, Soundcloud & MySpace. Once positive comments were mentioned about the music which I created, I continued to produce more.
In 2011, I played my music at a local club for exposure purposes which was called CCHQ which held Metal, Goth & E.B.M. parties which were organised by Dark Noise which is still currently running. Two years later, I won the signature tune contest for “Bring The Oontz 2013” which was run by the American magazine Coma Music Magazine for their podcast called the Oontzcast, and tracks such as Flying Dutchman (Final Quest), Hai-Uri & my remix of “My Smile” by AT0SHIMA 3RR0R were aired. A number of my tracks were remixed such as Aigamuchab was remixed by AT0SHIMA 3RR0R in 2013 followed by Bullet Man from Japan in 2014. Bullet Man also remixed my tracks such as The Phantom Wagon, Acceptance & My Destiny between 2014 & 2015. I’ve had a number of my tracks which were aired on radio stations between 2013 to 2015 such as Hazzard of Darkness Radio (Germany), Aggro Driver ’81 (USA), The Grind Radio (South Africa) Freelance Radio (U.K.) & U.S.P. 2 Podcast (South Africa). I have been interviewed by 925Rebellion (South Africa) Intravenous Magazine (U.K.), S.A.G.S. (South African Goth Society), The Shadows Magazine (South Africa). From 2013 to present, I signed up for publishing deals with music libraries for film & T.V. first with Resourcesound (U.K.) then with Slam Music Library (South Africa). In 2014, I received exposure on Rebel-Nation (Serbia), and from 2015 onwards, my music has been distributed onto music compilations via Chaos Music Distribution (USA).
What does G.L.O.W. stand for? Where did you get the name?
Wheeler: General Language of Oscillating Wisdom. It was simply a name which I created.
What genre of music do you consider G.L.O.W. to be?
What's the inspiration behind your sound?
Wheeler: The inspiration behind my sound are explorations of haunting, internalised pain, challenges, personal experiences as well as myths & legends such as ghosts & mythical creatures.
If you could work with any three people who would they be?
Wheeler: If I could work with any three people, they would be Erica Dunham form Unter Null, Dave Gahan from Depêche Mode & Tom Shear from Assemblage 23.
What can you tell me about your instruments? Are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever is available? What made you choose the instruments you have now? Was it cost or was it a style/model/brand/colour preference?
Wheeler: I am not subject to brand loyalty as long as I can create effective tunes. I use my Yamaha keyboard and it has been good to me and has lasted me a life time.
Tell us a joke.
Wheeler: Certainly, who does G.L.O.W. spent time with when recording podcasts for U.S.P. 2 Podcast? South Africa’s very own big-foot and a well-rounded Jack The Ripper! Just kidding it’s only my two crazy U.S.P. 2 buddies, Wookiee and Shadow! HOWDY, GUYS???? (Hello Richard. You got that podcast new edited yet? -Shadow)
So who would you say is your greatest musical influence and why?
Wheeler: My greatest musical influence would be VNV Nation as their music is deep, unique and very spiritual. I was inspired by them to create music as their style was so versatile with deep emotions such as anger, retaliation and reminiscence along with the their melodic Techno synths, 80s-styled arpeggiators & electronic drum beats.
Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Wheeler: First comes the idea or title of the track followed by a concept, create the instrumental track followed by the vocals.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
Wheeler: I cannot answer that question as I haven’t yet performed live but, my plan would be to perform twice a week which would be Wednesday & Thursday. My rehearsal would never be spontaneous as I need to have a schedule in order to proceed.
What do you see as a musicians role in society?
Wheeler: What I see as a musician’s role in society is first to create a name for themselves followed by creating concepts of their own which will help them create a unique track and lastly, have the tenacity & perseverance to carry on with their music.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Wheeler: If I could change one thing about the music industry . . . Hmmm . . . I would need to think about that!
How does South Africa influence your sound?
Wheeler: South Africa influences my sound by the extraordinary myths which were believed by the Africans such as Pinky Pinky, Impundulu, Hai-Uri as well as or South Africa’s very own ghost stories ranging from the European settlers to the ancient tribes.
How is the Industrial scene in South Africa?
Wheeler: The Industrial scene in South Africa is currently very small but, it will grow again. Every 10 years, we have a downfall due to people either relocating or moving on due to other commitments. The thing which I have noticed is when it goes quiet in Johannesburg & Pretoria, it picks up in Cape Town followed by Durban. Then, it picks up again in Johannesburg & Pretoria.
What sort of international play does G.L.O.W. get?
Wheeler: G.L.O.W. mainly gets radio airplay in the USA, U.K., Germany & South Africa, and a number of my tracks have been distributed onto music compilations by Chaos Music Distribution. I’m soon to find out if my tracks have been placed in film and T.V. internationally.
Could you give us the influences behind your album 'Emotions'?
Wheeler: The influences behind my album Emotions are explorations of haunting, internalised pain, challenges & personal experiences.
How does the sound of 'Emotions' differ from the sound of 'Myths & Legends’?
Wheeler: The sound of Emotions differs from the sound of Myths & Legends by having a variety of sounds ranging from romantic, hypnotic, aggressive, sombre & pleasant whereas Myths & Legends has dark, eerie, ghostly tracks.
How would you define ‘Pain & Suffering’?
Wheeler: Pain & Suffering is an album which has different styles of sombre music such as oppression, retaliation, feeling insecure, inhumane situations, social norms and lust.
And the sound overall. Has it always been genre changing, genre creating or is it something new - yet familiar?
Wheeler: Yes, there has always been genre changes but, still remains close to its main music genre which is Alternative.
What's next for you?
Wheeler: I need to aim at creating music videos for my top tracks such as Anger, Flying Dutchman (Final Quest), Yisipoki, Aigamuchab & Hate Crime, and getting signed up to record labels.
Any advice for new bands?
Wheeler: I would advise new bands to believe in their ambitions, not to be afraid of failing and be tenacious in what they do.
Wheeler: I am planning to collaborate with other Alternative music artists, network with more musicians and music publishers nationally & internationally & plan heavily on a live performance.
Any last words?
Wheeler: That’s all for now.
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance
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