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Since the Glitch Mob got its start in 2006, the Los Angeles trio has been a hit on the West Coast club scene. The group's three current members, Justin Boreta (AKA Boreta), Josh Mayer (Ooah), and Ed Ma (edIT), were already established solo electronic artists and DJs known for tweaking and toying with cutting-edge technology. But it took some old-fashioned, DIY tactics to really achieve liftoff, says Boreta.
"At the beginning of the group, we were in kind of DJ territory, where we would play a lot of weekend shows, doing clubs and festivals," he recalls. "But when we decided to tour like a band, and hop in a van and load it up with gear, and drive around the country to play these 35-date tours — that's definitely when we saw a big wave of momentum."
Make that a tidal wave. This year has seen the Glitch Mob playing some of its most massive shows to date, including a performance for 10,000 fans at Colorado's legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a slot at Coachella, and a gig this past March on the final day of Ultra Music Festival.
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In addition to the band's individual success, 2011 also appears to be the year for many of the Glitch Mob's pals, including fellow L.A. artists like Daedalus, Flying Lotus, the Gaslamp Killer, and Nosaj Thing, along with farther-flung family members like San Francisco's Bassnectar. All were early residents of the now-renowned Low End Theory club night — actually, the Glitch Mob's edIT was one of the night's founders. And all mine parts of the same spectrum of deep, organic hip-hop, dubstep, and other bass-driven genres, winning a broad range of fiercely devoted fans from hipsters to hippies.
"At one point, we were this funky little club. But we are just fortunate to be at a point in time in the U.S. when there's been a wave of interest in electronic music as a legitimate form of music," Boreta says. "I mean, a lot of pop stars are now using very traditional electronic stuff too. And all of these little things are contributing to people not pigeonholing electronic music as just rave music."
Still, there's a certain thrill in catching the Glitch Mob in a festival or club environment, especially considering the bold visuals for which the group is almost equally famous. If the Mob's songs can sound particularly cinematic, they sound that way even more so when married with the band's large-scale projections and abstract images. Surprisingly though, both are not conceived simultaneously, Boreta says. "That all comes later," he explains. "When we're writing, we just really focus on the music."
This time around, though, that "later" work will be extra-special. The act's show at Revolution Live this Tuesday will feature an all-new visual and light show designed by Martin Phillips and John McGuire. That's the team behind Daft Punk's famous light-up pyramid, Kanye's copycat version, and other amazingness for Nine Inch Nails. It's a production coup, to be sure.
"I think we just got lucky. It's one of those serendipitous things, where they're a friend of a friend of a friend and just happened to like our music," Boreta says. "We're just really excited to go out there and have something that we feel accurately extracts visual data from our music."