Connect with us


Glixen’s dizzying shoegaze will help you escape to the beyond

Welcome to AP&R, where we highlight rising artists who will soon become your new favorite.  “I was crying when I found out,” Glixen vocalist Aislinn Ritchie says over Zoom, recounting the morning when she discovered that they would be sharing a bill with lovesliescrushing, the band who inspired their name, at Slide Away Festival in […]



Welcome to AP&R, where we highlight rising artists who will soon become your new favorite. 

“I was crying when I found out,” Glixen vocalist Aislinn Ritchie says over Zoom, recounting the morning when she discovered that they would be sharing a bill with lovesliescrushing, the band who inspired their name, at Slide Away Festival in Philly. Hosted by Nothing, who’ve been kicking around for so long that they’ve now become standard-bearers that bands like Glixen look up to, it’ll be a full-circle moment for the Phoenix crew — and a greater encapsulation of their nonstop grind. Since their formation in 2020, it’s been a series of one jaw-dropping reality after another, including being tapped to open for Ned Russin’s band Glitterer, impressing Sonny DiPerri, and working with famed grunge producer Jack Endino on their newest single, “foreversoon.”

Read more: 24 of the most exciting rising artists to watch in 2024

With that song, the band — rounded out by guitarist Esteban Santana, drummer Keire Johnson, and bassist Sonia Garcia — are pushing their sound into new terrain. Pounding drums and riffs that swell into the great beyond support Ritchie’s sensual lyrics about love and intimacy. Live, that sound is totally crushing, buoyed by her spectral, delicate vocals. It’s a slippery contradiction, the syrupiness dancing with the heaviness as she performs with bows in her braids, but it works tremendously. They aren’t much for stage banter, thankfully — they’d rather swallow you in sound. At one point, they rip through a song that Ritchie says they only practiced once before joining Softcult for a week on the road, which promises great things from a band who haven’t even mapped out their full-length debut. Before they left for tour, Ritchie opened up about her most formative music memories, running around Phoenix’s DIY scene, and what’s next.

Who was the first band you loved that you discovered on your own without a friend or a parent turning you on?

I’ve been listening to music for so long, but in high school, I would say Beach House. That was my favorite, and that was through Tumblr. But before that, I feel like it was these two Russian girls [called t.A.T.u.], and I had their CDs. I was like 10 years old listening to that and, at the same time, listening to Jonas Brothers. My range was so funny.

What did you like about them?

[t.A.T.u.] just felt so grunge-y. It’s so weird to say — it’s sexy. I was a little girl, but I was into the pop stars and Britney Spears and all of that. I liked rock and grunge-y girls — just how that energy was. I wanted that, and I really liked the Veronicas. This was me as a 10-year-old girl, just dreaming big. So, I liked that pop-essence hot girl, but also just grunge-y. There’s a little bit of edge that I liked, and I just gravitated towards it.

What was the Phoenix music scene like when you were growing up?

I lived in the suburbs, which was 45 minutes away. I moved to Phoenix when I was 18. I’m 25 [now]. I just knew I wanted to start a band. It took almost a year to really solidify my first band because I had two before Glixen. It was really small. It was really supportive, but it went through times where it can get pretty… I feel like it’s like this everywhere, but people would try to bring us down if we tried too hard. I really had this goal since I was 18, and a lot of the other bands didn’t really approve of it at some points, so sometimes I felt like I wasn’t a part of it.

But then other times, it just depends on the scene. There were not that many shoegaze bands, but all of the shoegaze bands that I did come across [accepted us], like Citrus Clouds. They’re so sweet and amazing, and they’re older, too. So it was mostly the punk, indie, hardcore [people]. It was just more DIY, and I wanted to get out of the DIY, but I knew I had to start somewhere, so I just inserted myself into that. But it helped me find what I wanted to do. 

What’s it like now?

After the pandemic, I feel like a lot of people’s perspectives changed about everything. More people are open and supportive of music and want more of it, and it feels like everyone’s just really happy and proud. [Phoenix] had that festival, Zona Fest, two years ago. It was a big deal for Psyko Steve, one of the first promoters here, and they were able to pull off a huge festival with Beach House, Japanese Breakfast, Chicano Batman, all of these artists. I never thought that we would ever have a festival like that here, and they got a lot of the local bands to be on that bill. So, that was really also full circle. [I’m] just proud, [having been] working with them for a while and just the growth that they’re doing, too, and that the bands are doing, and we’re all just helping each other.

I love that. When you formed Glixen, what kind of things did you bond over with the rest of the band when you were first getting to know each other and play together?

So Esteban, he’s the one I really write music with. We were really open about the music that we liked, and we both are just in love with this music — not just shoegaze but electronic, trip-hop, everything. We have very similar tastes, but I liked how my dynamic with him is easy and open, whereas my previous dynamic with my last guitar player, he was always shut off, and he wouldn’t even send me music. It started to become tense. With Esteban, this is what it’s supposed to feel like.

We played one show, and then COVID happened, and I disbanded my last band. Me and Esteban, we were friends, but he was just my bass player. I was kind of going through it with the band, and we just connected, and I was like, “Do you want to write with me? Let’s do this.” And he’s like, “I would love to.” I was shy to ask. I don’t know why I’m so shy, but I just wanted him to be a part of it for the long run. That’s essentially what the rule is: We’re going to do it all. Are you down to do this?

With Keire, he was best friends with my last guitar player for 15 years. I was living with Keire, and me and Esteban were just practicing, and I’m like, “Are you down to drum still?” And he’s so down. With Sonia, we’ve been best friends since I was 16. We worked at American Apparel together, and we just had the same jobs. She bought a bass probably a year before Glixen — she’s never done music. She doesn’t really write her own music, but she loved bass, and she wanted to learn how to play it. And I would think in the back of my head, “OK, that would be so sick if Sonia played bass.” We taught her all the bass parts, and she’s just growing with us. We’ve all bonded over our music, friendship, fashion. We’re just growing up together.

Your latest single, “foreversoon,” is sublime as you approach a new heaviness that hasn’t been present in other songs that you’ve released in the past. What motivated you to move in that direction?

I’ve always wanted to be heavy. It just took some work to figure it out. My chords have been really bright and more melodic. Our goal is just to have it sound more heavy and grittier, but also have that sweetness to it. During the recording of She Only Said, my last producer Tony [Brant] helped us figure out our tones so much. He gave us so much knowledge about EQ and how to dial in your sound, which I didn’t really think about until we were in the studio. Now, we’ve mastered our fuzz pedals, our EQ, our amps, know what we want, and there’s different tones that every amp has. Esteban uses a Fender, like a tube. I was using a JCM Marshall, and that broke, so I’m using a Jazz Chorus right now, which kind of sucks, but it still sounds fine. It still sounds good live. Also recording “foreversoon,” we recorded with Jack Endino. He did Bleach for Nirvana, and so we used the Twin Reverb that Nirvana used on “foreversoon” and Jack Endino’s JCM800. It sounds incredible, so that’s probably another reason why it sounds really heavy. Jack is just the king of grunge. He knows exactly how we want it to sound.

Is Jack producing the new EP that you have coming out later this year?

No, Sonny DiPerri is. I’m so excited. He reached out to us last year, a few months after [we worked with] Jack. Sonny’s worked with My Bloody Valentine, and he did Moments of Clarity by Narrow Head. He’s worked with Nine Inch, and he’s so sweet, and he knows his shit. I’ve never been so close to my idols, and he’s right there. He’s even listened to the new MBV album that he’s like, “It’s never coming out. It’s never coming out.” But just the fact that his ears have listened to that? That’s amazing. I’m just a girl from Gilbert, Arizona. It’s crazy to me.

With a whole new generation of artists making shoegaze right now, making ’90s-indebted music, I’m curious what you make of it and why you think people are connecting with this genre that’s traditionally lacked big hooks.

I love it so much. There’s little moments of time that I just was like, “OK, people want real music. People want rock music again.” I can feel that. I think people just want to feel something, and this genre can make you feel all kinds of emotions. You can be happy to it, sad to it. You can romanticize yourself to it or whatever’s going on in your life. It’s just very beautiful.

It’s an escape.

Yeah, it’s an escape. That’s how I gravitated toward it. I was so bored here, so I’ve always just gravitated toward dreamy, melancholy, heavy music. In middle school, I was listening to Dance Gavin Dance and Pierce the Veil, and I just love the melodic heaviness that they made. Then in high school, it was Beach House, and then Cocteau Twins and Slowdive — we’re just incorporating everything I’ve loved. I think it’s so sick. All these teenagers, they’re going to love this forever. This is what their nostalgia is going to be.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *