Mic Check: Daniel Gleason of Grouplove excited about the band’s new sound

Editor’s note: With live music and concert reviews on hold due to COVID-19, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is focusing on how Georgia musicians are spending their time in our feature, Mic Check.

Daniel Gleason isn’t an Atlanta native, but the time and investment he’s spent here easily make him an honorary exception.

The bassist for indie pop-rockers Grouplove since 2014 — after their breakthrough hit, “Tongue Tied” (2011), but in time for “Welcome to Your Life,” “Good Morning” and Deleter" — Gleason moved to Atlanta in 2006.

He met Grouplove through Andy Hull, singer for fellow Atlanta indie rockers Manchester Orchestra, but was initially hesitant about joining the band.

“Andy said, 'Hey, Grouplove is looking for a bass player. I had tickets to go see Pearl Jam (the night they needed me to play), so I initially said no, but tell them thank you. Andy called me back saying, ‘This isn’t an I’m-gonna-say-no situation!’,” Gleason said with a laugh.

Though he lived in California for a bit and spent a year traveling, Gleason returned to Atlanta a couple of years ago. He currently co-owns Big Trouble studio in Little Five Points with recording engineer TJ Elias and is a proud newlywed. (He married Kasie Gleason this summer.)

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Grouplove was scheduled to perform at Shaky Knees Music Festival — in May — which would have aligned well to promote the release of the band’s fourth album, “Healer,” which arrived in March.

But Grouplove is moving forward with another album, and singers Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper are planning to move to Atlanta as well, creating even more harmony for the future.

Here’s what Gleason had to say in a recent chat with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Q: How has the pandemic affected your year?

A: “Healer” came out March 13, the day a national emergency was formally declared. We’d been working on it two years. Every band is having to re-evaluate, “How do I exist in this COVID period?” We’ve just been trying to find ways to connect with our fan base. We’ve done a lot of charity work the past (several) months, we released a B-side demo (“Shout Shout Shout”) to raise money for Campaign Zero and we’ve been involved with Fair Fight. We have a limited edition shirt for (anti-gun violence organization) Wear Orange and (gun safety organization) Everytown. We have the means to be socially active and a platform. For us, it would it feel negligent if we weren’t able to do our best and give a platform to other voices that might be marginalized, which ours aren’t (marginalized) as four white dudes and a white female. Not that we don’t have struggles, but there is a certain amount of privilege.

Q: Have you found anything interesting to listen to?

A: I really liked the newest Fiona Apple record (“Fetch the Bolt Cutters"). I think she’s consistently brilliant. I think the new Fleet Foxes (”Shore") is really great. A few years back, there was that D’Angelo record, “Black Messiah.” That album is incredible. I love the feel of it and the textures and his voice. It’s really an astounding record. I had it for a while, but it sat on my vinyl shelf, and I hadn’t let it wrap itself around me until I had the time. Now I go back to it weekly. And Broncho, they released a record (“Bad Behavior”) two years ago. That’s our favorite if-you-want-to-have-fun record for my wife and me. It sounds like a tamed-down T-Rex, or, like, if Lou Reed were to do a T-Rex album.

Q: What’s the latest with Grouplove?

A: We just finished a record at Big Trouble, and that will be out next year. We’re really excited about it. It’s a collection of songs we fell in love with, but the label was unsure of because it was a more aggressive sound. But we self-funded it, so the label is going to have to like it. We believed it in and just wanted to make music. We’ve had a good amount of radio success and our single off the last album (“Deleter”) went to No. 4, but we just want to make music for the sake of making it. We played almost all of it live in the studio and trusted our instincts, and it feels like we reconnected with the type of band we wanted to be when were 17. It sounds like Nirvana and the Pixies and L7; it’s what naturally came out of us.

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