People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and people who imagine Glass Mansion bare their soul on nine-track EPs — or, at least, Elephante does.
The Los Angeles producer peaked at No. 20 on the Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart with his 2016 debut EP I Am Elephante, and he hopes to respark that magic with this upbeat follow-up.
He makes his singing debut on the EP, specifically “All Over Again.” He also picks up the old six string and shreds some guitar. He gets with a ton of vocal collaborators, including a couple tracks with Nevve, someone he says is a favorite. There are still a few instrumentals, and each track has its own compelling backstory. Get the skinny on each one with the exclusive track-by-track breakdown of Glass Mansion below.
1. “Come Back for You” feat. Matluck
This song is about feelin’ like a cowboy and having the world under your thumb. It’s about having that swagger, and knowing that no matter what happens, you’re gonna take on all comers and still come back and get the girl (or boy). I wrote this song with my buddy Peter Hanna and Matluck, and it really nails the vibe I wanted to open the EP with – cocky, confident, almost to the point of arrogance. It starts the story of the Glass Mansion, this magnificent palace in your head that you’re trying to build to prove to yourself and show everyone how great you are. It’s your reason for getting up in the morning, your life goal and the thing you spend every minute striving for.
2. “Have It All” feat. Nevve
I wrote this song with one of my favorite collaborators, Nevve. It’s about self doubt, the flip side to “Come Back For You.” It’s about confronting that voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, and wishing that it would just shut up. You come to terms with the idea that everything is not always gonna go your way, and you’re gonna get through it somehow.
3. “The In Between” feat. Anjulie
This song is a story about the relationship you have with someone or something, where you’re doing great and feeling like you’re out and moved on, but also, deep down you know you’re this close to caving… It’s 2 a.m. and you have a finger on your phone to make the call to your ex. The title was inspired by the Sunken Place from Get Out and the Upside Down from Stranger Things – it’s the physical space you’re living in, where you’re stuck between two worlds, and you’re trying to be strong but you know it could easily go either way.
I started the concept for this song in a nameless hotel somewhere on the road. On the one hand, I was living my dream and traveling and playing shows, but at the same time it was also a tremendously lonely experience of being on my own away from my family and friends. I got together with Anjulie, and we turned that feeling into this sad love story about teetering on the edge.
4. “All Over Again” feat. Knightly
“All Over Again” echoes some of the themes from “The In Between.” I teamed up again with Peter and Knightly to write this one. It’s a duet between two lovers who can’t seem to get it right. They keep falling in and out of love, and the universe somehow just won’t let it happen. I’m singing the male lead on this one. I’ve been waiting for the right song to start singing again on, and this one felt right.
5. “No Room For Lovers” feat. Crystal
I grew up on Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jimi Hendrix, so I really wanted to do a bluesy, funky, guitar-driven track. It’s got Crystal on vocals, and she really brought this sassy, “get out of my face” sort of vibe to the track which I love. It’s about feeling independent and not needing anyone else to be happy. This was a fun one to make, I got to crack out the old axe and shred a bit. The guitar solo at the end is probably my favorite moment in the EP. It felt good to stretch out what a “dance” song could be.
6. “Red Smoke”
This is the one instrumental track on the EP. It’s the spiritual sequel to “Black Ivory” on my first EP. I’ve been listening to a lot of hard trap and dubstep, so I wanted to put an apocalyptic “the world is burning” banger on the EP. It’s my take on the harder edge of dance music. Where my headbangers at?
7. “Troubled” feat. Deb’s Daughter
I felt like this was a really beautiful follow up to “Red Smoke.” It’s about finding your way after all the smoke has cleared. You’re walking through the wreckage and trying to find grace in a world that’s left you behind. Deb’s Daughter has a really beautiful performance on this one. It was the first song I had finished, and I’m really glad it fell into place on the EP. It was really important to me that the EP made sense as a whole and had an overarching narrative.
8. “Otherside” feat. Nevve
This song was actually inspired by Dolores on Westworld (in season one, before she went all, well you know if you’ve watched). It’s about waking up and trying to remember the dream you just had – you feel like you know there’s another world out there, and your dream was actually the truth, and that you have to find your way back there. Again, I got to work with the incredible Nevve who brought this incredible sense of wistfulness and desire to the vocal.
9. “Glass Mansion”
And here’s the crux of the EP. I wrote this song looking up at the Hollywood Hills at night, and all I could think about was how bad I wanted one of them. I knew it was the emotional center of the project. It brought together all the emotions and stories of everything I was working on, and it was really important for me to sing it. It’s the story about building and dreaming about the “Glass Mansion,” where the streets are made of gold and everything is perfect – and then finally getting there, and realizing that it’s not what you were looking for. You have this beautiful palace that you spent your life building, but it’s ultimately fragile. One stone could bring it all down.
You realize it’s not about having the mansion – it was always about the journey. The chase is what gives you meaning. You can’t wait to be happy until you achieve something – you have to find joy in the process. Because we’ll never have it better than we do right now.