Alice Glass is hitting the decks this Saturday, March 16, at Ophelia’s Electric Showbox. A departure from live sets, Glass will be performing a DJ set. The event is hosted by Lipgloss, the nation’s longest running indie dance party and opening up for Glass is Denver’s resident goth and founder of Lipgloss DJ Boyhollow, who is a seasoned DJ and an expert at getting the dancefloor moving. It’s hard to say when Glass first cut her teeth on the turntables, but the earliest evidence of her DJing dates back to 2014.
Glass rose into prominence in the aughts of the 2000s as one half of the noisy electronica duo Crystal Castles. The band’s music was instantly recognizable as they often used 8-bit samples and featured Glass’s screaming, distorted vocals on many of their tracks.
Glass left Crystal Castles in 2014. At the time, there were rumors but no official statement on her departure. She released her first solo single, “Stillbirth,” in 2015. It wasn’t until October of 2017 that Glass posted an official statement on her website detailing the abuse and suffering she endured at the hands of her bandmate while in Crystal Castles. The bandmate, Ethan Kath, had pursued Glass when she was a sophomore in high school — at the painfully young age of 15, whereas Kath was 28 at the time.
After she released the statement, Kath filed a lawsuit against Glass, which was dismissed last May. Glass had been served a subpoena by someone disguised as a fan, and the painful litigation inspired her single, “Cease and Desist.”
In 2017, Glass made a 35-minute mix for Thump comprised of no-wave, post-punk-influenced industrial and witch house tracks, often veering into trappy chopped and screwed rap before returning to its goth roots — a style of music perfectly fitting for a notorious goth like Glass.
She describes the mix to Vice as sounding like “snow over trash bags,” a snarky and highly specific response from the witty musician. Glass throughout the years has always maintained an aura of indifferent and chilling coolness. In 2008, Glass topped NME’s Cool List. Her response to the generally meaningless title was a well-informed critique of the concept of the “cool list” in the first place, a mature response from the musician who was 20 years old at the time.
“I’m flattered, thank you, but back in school the people who held themselves in the same regard were also the biggest waste of skin I’ve ever met,” she told NME. “Why did I get so many votes? My pact with Satan hasn’t expired yet,” revealing her dark sense of humor that shines through every interview. She also made reference to honoring the black jazz musicians of the 1930s instead, a sociopolitical statement that seemed fairly forward thinking for 2008.
Her taste in music is as eclectic as her fashion style, a pastiche of nylon dominatrix crossed with Wednesday Addams, with campy touches here and there. Her Thump mix reflects that, with surf-soaked rock back-to-back with doomy 808s. Her approach to composition follows suit, injecting fear with her distorted screams but comprised of lyrics channeling deeply self-reflective insights and raw pain.
In an interview with Zola Jesus, Glass explains the absolute creative freedom she now has as a solo artist. “No one can tell me what to do anymore,” Glass tells Zola Jesus. “Abuse lives in silence, and I don’t want to be a part of that silence anymore,” and by taking over the decks, Glass is helping fill that silence one way or another.