Joao Gonzalez aka Soft Glas is the producer whose ability to fuse different genres seamlessly to create tracks that linger with a palpable intent long after the sound dissipates is down right firing.
An #itchsilk foray into the night brought up the track Emaf a jazz, down-beat bit of dream like vibes which led to further journeys into the Brooklyn native’s back catalogue with numbers like; Plain a remix for Jesse Boykins III or the rather huge Move Me a house come rnb number-they all confirmed his talent.
Off the back of such classy numbers it was of course only a matter of time before he dropped a project with a bit more content and here it is in 2016 with Late Bloom-a wonderfully smooth aural foray into tight production and addictive cuts like Somewhere featuring the sweetest vocals from Fish Doll or Dealing In Hypotheticals which conjured up images of that supreme talent Jill Scott.
Dare we say that Soft Glas is not only someone to keep an eye on he’s someone who will become a very in demand producer-luckily we got some time with him before he becomes difficult to contact.
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Thanks for taking the time out-so first let’s talk about musical genesis-how did it all begin for you (musically not life generally)-do you play instruments?
I come from a musical family so music was always in the picture. My father plays piano, along with basically everyone else on my paternal side. I started playing drums at around 9. It wasn’t until college that I got into production – I always thought I’d be a professional drummer but I was never good enough!
What has been the hardest part of trying to make it in the music scene if you are?
The hardest part has always been letting my inner voice speak without being affected by what’s popular at the moment. It’s almost like there’s a tiny Sound Cloud logo sitting on my shoulder yelling ‘If you do this, you can get more re-posts’. I am not meaning to undermine the work of any one else, I just know what’s true to myself and what’s not. So, keeping a steady focus on what’s within is always tough.
The last moment in your life when you thought ‘fuck this music thing it’s not worth it’
I don’t know if I’ve ever had that moment. If anything, music has always been my source of peace. I think you need to be tough – nothing is guaranteed but it’s always worth it for me.
What era of music do you think most influenced you?
Eras are so fluid in my eyes. I don’t know if I have a specific era that has influenced me. It’s always been more about textures and colors. I love the colors of French Impressionist Classical music and I love the colors of Jazz (from the 60s to modern styles). I love psychedelic rock and that spans from the 60s-Pink Floyd, to now Tame Impala.
Your latest project Late Bloom seems self-explanatory but elaborate on that title?
I’ve always been a late bloomer. Physically, I grew almost 5 inches after high school. I didn’t have my first real kiss until I was like 15 or something. Musically, I didn’t get into production until college. I’m still figuring my way around playing certain instruments. I just wanted to make a project that embodies that. Not necessarily through the lyrics, but more-so through the spirit of the album.
The project seems to traverse genres like jazz, rnb (particularly 90’s) and elements of a type of neo-soul am I right-what do you love about the genres you have chosen on the project?
I’ve always been connected to Jazz through my family. I love the emotions those genres can evoke, you know? They are complex emotions; stuff in between simply being happy or sad. I know a lot of different genres can do that, I’ve just always connected with the sound palette of those specific genres.
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Love the vocalist Fish Doll on Somewhere explain that hook up?
I found Fish Doll’s music on Sound Cloud after Alex Szotak (bassist & co-exec producer of Late Bloom) suggested her. I reached out via email and she responded right away. She’s such a talented singer and producer-everyone should go check out her music.
Give a bit of info about the musicians behind this project like your bassists et al.
Alex Szotak is an incredible bassist, producer, and even singer. He helped me compose a lot of the music on the album. Cautious Clay plays sax and a few tracks. He’s also an amazing producer and singer. OJ Marion Ross played trumpet on a couple tracks-he’s a wizard. Madison McFerrin, Fishdoll, Stalking Gia and Kyle Wyss all contribute vocals. Burniss Earl Travis played some bass on Dealing in Hypotheticals. I’m just lucky to have such talented friends that wanted to be a part of the project-this is theirs as much as it is mine.
From a production standpoint explain some of the processes you go through in creating tracks?
Usually I’ll come up with rough ideas, loops and snippets. From there, I’ll collaborate with singers or musicians to bring it to life. After the collaborations, I usually go back and do a bunch of arrangements and additional production. I tend to shape the song around the elements that the other people involved added.
On Late Bloom, did she like it/?!”
That’s my girlfriend being my harshest critic as usual. I’ve caught her listening to the album on her own, so I think she does indeed like it.
The track that sums up the whole project if that is possible?
Somewhere or Dealing in Hypotheticals. Those two tracks really tested me. I sat with both of those for a long time. The process of making them really embodies what the project is about: collaboration and personal growth.
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Of course, love that painting for the cover artwork background to that please?
I was on twitter a friend of my re-tweeted the work of Gerald Lovell, an artist based in Atlanta. I loved his portrait work so I reached out. I told him I’d love to commission him to make the cover of the project and he was down. Go check out the rest of his work, he’s a genius.
If you were two artists’ love child who would they be and why?
I have always been inspired by Radiohead’s music. I’ve also been extremely influenced by Claude Debussy, a French composer from the impressionist era-so I would say those two influences definitely make up a big part of me.
Last time you had a music conversation that influenced your life?
Any time I speak with my father about music, my life changes-He’s a well of wisdom, inspiration, and knowledge.