Spooky season is nearly (finally) upon us, and just in time to get you in the mood is the darkly alluring synth-goth gem “Septilizine” from Glass Battles. As a throbbing, beguiling dance beat gently lodges itself in your brain, Glass Battles (L.A.-based singer-songwriter-producer Sean Augustine) croons mesmerizing lyrics/incantations about a potentially poisonous relationship.
The video, premiering below, impressively melds old-school 8-bit video game fantasy with woodsy, witchy footage of an enigmatic cast of characters that includes The Tempter, The Protector, The Empath and the Goddess – of whom factor into Glass Battles’ upcoming album, the appropriately named Glitchcraft.
But even if “Septilizine” sounds like a synth-y spell, is origin is actually fairly scientific.
“A lot of the way this upcoming album came together was catching the tail-end of a conversation, a misheard word or some sort of misinterpretation that I ran with creatively,” Augustine tells Billboard. “A friend of mine was talking about Subtilisin, a mushroom protein that has a parasitic relationship with bacteria and I thought it was one of the coolest words I’d ever heard. I took the concept of toxic relationships and built the song around that.”
And he does mean build.
“I do everything myself; songwriting, production and now engineering so I definitely fall into nit-picky obsessive loops with putting things together,” he admits.
The musical multi-hyphenate added a few new lines to his resume with this as well: director and animator.
“I swear I’m not a control freak!” Augustine says. “Taking on all these different categories is more due to a lack of resources than anything, and it was either hiring someone for everything or having an apartment. My good friend Seng is also a recording artist and he was my DP for my shoot, and a creative collaborator for my visuals, so I haven’t done everything completely alone.”
Regardless, Glass Battles might be a bit of an overachiever. In addition to creating the Glitchcraft album and learning 8-bit animation for the video he directed, he’s creating an actual Glitchcraft video game “that will be a companion to the album. I’m doing a lot of the art for that and piecing it together with a programmer, but that’s a few months out from the album release.”
As for the process of learning animation, he calls it both “hellishly tedious” as well as “kind of relaxing if you’re weird like I am, because you have no choice but to take it all in stride…. I just want people to be able to really enjoy and immerse themselves into the world I’m creating. And see how many things I can juggle before I lose my mind I guess?”
In addition to practicing Glichtcraft, Glass Battles is working with MusiCares and the Grammy Recording Academy on Radio.com’s opening act initiative. “MusiCares is an incredible organization because it covers so many bases for people in need within the music community,” he says. “Health, welfare, you name it. I think a lot of artists struggle financially, and unfortunately that can also be in tandem with addiction issues and recovery. It’s a tough industry and can be an even tougher lifestyle to adapt to and I know the ultimate goal for any artist to entertain and bring joy, and MusiCares is just a variety of resources for artists in their time of need.” Glass Battles is in the running for an opening slot at the organization’s upcoming Hollywood Bowl benefit; you can cast votes for that here.