Margaret Glaspy Talks California Roots, Emotions and Math, and Conan

Meredith Schneider

photo by Ebru Yildiz

New York-based musician extraordinaire Margaret Glaspy has been having a whirlwind 2016. Her self-produced debut album, Emotions and Math, was released in June to a symphony of critical acclaim. And it was well earned, as her genre-blending style appeals to a wide variety of demographics, with her scratchy, lightweight, and beautiful vocals leading the way. She goes into her music with incredible detail and specificity, although somehow her messages have widespread relate-ability. She’s the total package, and it gets more and more obvious each day.

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In honor of her rapidly growing prowess in the industry, we’re sharing her video for the track “Emotions and Math” right here. Plus, we got to speak with the woman herself about her California roots, her time at Sear Sound, and Thriller.

What’s your official origin story?

I’m originally a California girl and grew up in a small town, I’ve been playing music all my life and my dad kept guitars in every room of the house, the rest is history.

Having grown up in California, what was the move to the east coast like?

The move to the East coast was highly anticipated, I had wanted to be in New York since I was a little girl. I moved to Boston initially and then moved to NY where I still live. New York is my happy place it’s always kicking my butt to make new things and work harder.

What was the first record you can remember leaving a lasting impression on you? Who introduced it to you?

The first record was Michael Jackson’s Thriller, it was in my parents record collection and I remember putting it into the stereo and playing it over and over again.

Not every songwriter writes with as much heart or realism as I find in Emotions and Math. What sort of inspiration is needed to inject that level of down to Earth storytelling?

I get inspired by anything and everything. Often the songs start out one way and end up on the record as a completely different version, I edit them quite a bit and I think that might be what gets them to where they are. New York has inspired me to always keep the essentials and throw away the excess.

What was the experience like, over the summer, playing on Conan?

Playing on Conan’s show was a thrill, it was nerve-racking because I love his show and obviously wanted to play well. Once we were playing it was easy, just like any other show. He is such a talented guy and we talked guitars after the taping.

With upcoming tour dates including Reykjavik and the UK, how do you plan to take in the culture as much as you can?

Touring internationally is always a mix of trying to see the sites and focusing on work. I often try and find one special thing to do when we are in extra special places. Other than that you’ve got to try and keep a semi normal schedule so that you are not too exhausted for show time.

Do you do any little things along the road to keep yourself inspired, or sane?

I like to exercise and try and eat as healthy as I can. I’ve just brought a mini practice amp so that I can write whilst we are driving and I try to make time for wandering each day. Overall, its hard to stay creative at times, but you show up and do your best. It’s a process.

What was it like, working at Sear Sound, putting together Emotions and Math?

Sear Sound is an incredible studio. In some ways it felt like that space was made for the record we made or probably more so vice versa. Artists like Sonic Youth and Yoko Ono have recored there and the vibe is very unique.

If you had to be one superhero’s sidekick, who would you choose?

I wouldn’t be the side kick I would be the superhero and I would be Joss Whedon’s character Melaka Fray, the lead vampire slayer from his comic book Fray.

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Emotions and Math is available now. Keep up with Margaret Glaspy here.

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