QOTSA’s Michael Shuman on his new GLU project: “No rules, no limits”
Michael Shuman, of Queens Of The Stone Age and Mini Mansions, has shared “Night Shift”, the latest single from his new project GLU. Check it out below, along with our interview with Shuman.
NIGHT SHIFT” is Shuman’s third track under the GLU moniker, following the release of “Cold Sweat” and “My Demons” earlier this year.
“I don’t want to live another day like this / In an endless crisis / Leave me alone with my screams,” he sings on the hip-hop-tinged track. The new single details the realization that the current chaos in our lives is the result of “immediate doom”, but instead of focusing on the future, live in the present. It is an attitude, according to Shuman, that he has always had, but he wants to continue with pre-pandemic habits in the middle of the green.
“I hate to use the term pandemic, but it really makes you change your priorities, your perspective,” he told NME. My emotions kept going.” Despite being alone.
GLU began his life during that period of isolation, with the musician taking advantage of the time to explore new things. “With Mini Mansions, we haven’t done anything musically together since our last tour on the last record. [en 2019]so there was that void for me, and even though we have new Queens material on the way and shows next year, there was time for me and I just had to do something,” he explained.
After June’s single “My Demons,” featuring vocals from Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel, the songs “started coming fast” and are in similar territory. “Many of the songs he wrote were all in the same life,” said Shuman. “Because I had nothing else: I only had my thoughts and my OCD. These thoughts were playing over and over in my head.”
Part of the challenge was to use the name GLU instead of taking his own name seriously with his music and not being seen as a side project with his other bands. While he said he knows people will pay attention to who he is and what he’s done in the past, he took hope from Damon Albarn’s career since the ’90s.
“He was the leader of one of the biggest rock bands and then he immediately transitioned into this completely different thing that people took to Gorillaz,” he said. “It was a whole new sound and you could take it for what it was. I think that’s probably why I wanted everything to be vibrant – it wasn’t about him, it was about the music. That I wanted too.”
For this new project, Shuman has also created a completely new sound, bringing to light the hip-hop influences that are present in the background of some of the Mini Mansions productions, and putting his voice in the form of rap. “Sometimes I hate to use the word ‘rap’,” he says. “It’s not exactly hip-hop music, but when I played it to some friends the response was that it might be the best thing I’ve ever done and it wasn’t obvious that I was acting. “
It was important for the musician to ensure that the songs would not be parodies. “There’s a fine line when you make this kind of music as a white man,” he admitted. “It’s not a joke, and I want people to take me seriously because of the rhymes and the performance I’m doing.”
NIGHT SHIFT’ contains elements of all aspects of Shuman’s art, from the “punk rock and guitar side” in his solo guitar to the “tri-voice harmonies of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody'” accompanied by his rapping. On paper, these three different ideas could be very remote, but her challenge was to find a way to make them feel natural.
“There are no rules, there are no boundaries, that’s what I love most about everything I do, but especially with ‘Night Shift,'” he explained. “The hardest thing to do is not feel cheesy and forced, but I think I’ve done it.”
Although GLU is relatively new, fans in the UK may have already seen Shuman bring the project to the stage for the first time at a residency at London’s Sebright Arms in June, or at Glastonbury. The decision to start the project in London was made partly to avoid judgment from friends and family in Los Angeles, and also because of his past and present connection to the country. “The UK has always been my second home with whatever band I’ve had, so I want to build in the UK,” he said. “I also live half the year in London, so it made sense.”
Unlike what happens with QOTSA or Mini Mansions, at GLU Shuman’s concerts he is the only musician on stage: himself, a guitar and a microphone. Those concerts at the Sebright Arms were his first solo performances in front of an audience, which he described as a “learning curve”. “I’m learning about myself and what this is and what it means and how to do it,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I’m touring by myself, no technology, nothing, and it’s a lot to have everything on top of me and everyone focusing on you. It’s a lot of work, but I’m enjoying it. It’s enough.”
Whether he continues to do everything himself or brings in other musicians to help him in the future is “the ultimate question” at this point, but, on the recording at least, Shuman will have help from artists another. In addition to appearing in “My Demons”, Barthel participates in another unreleased song. Shuman said different voices on their song is something that he wants “as much as possible.”
“Since all the songs are mine, I think it’s good to have other voices,” he said. “I also want it to have some femininity, I don’t want it to be too masculine or macho. I’ve always been into hip-hop ’90s or the Halloween song with Gwen Stefani. [‘Let Me Blow Ya Mind’] rapping and then a girl singing the chorus. It’s ear candy.”
One of the other singers confirmed to appear on a GLU track in the future is Miles Kane, who appeared on stage with Shuman in London this summer. “He’s one of my best friends,” she said of the collaboration. “We’ve spent a lot of time together since I’ve been living in London, we’ve worked together on other things too. He’s fun to be with and write with, he’s a very positive guy with a lot of those people. positive energy. I’m sure we’ll be doing more.” together”.
Shuman is currently on tour in the US as the opening act for Phantogram and has a UK tour in December. Playing full shows suggests a full record is ready to go, but the musician said he was “trying to figure out the best time to release everything.”
“I’m trying to do it intelligently and make sure that many people have listened to the project so that it doesn’t get lost in the abyss,” he said. “I want to be aware of the moment and be intentional with it, but I have the content and I have a ton more to do as well.”
NIGHT SHIFT’ by GLU is already on sale. Check out GLU’s upcoming UK tour dates below, and get tickets here.
7 – Muthers, Birmingham
8 – Porto, Leeds
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9 – The Garage, Attic, Glasgow
11 – Yes (Basement), Manchester
12 – Louisiana, Bristol
13 – Hope & Ruin, Brighton
14 – Courtyard Theatre, London