Alice Glass and carolesdaughter on taking control of their own stories, tease collab
“Alice Glass has always been a style icon, a music icon and the only alternative female artist that I look up to, really.”
Formed in 2006, Crystal Castles walked the line between nü rave and DIY punk, with Alice Glass earning a reputation as a force of nature vocally and a wild performer onstage. Yet despite their many successes, Glass quit the band in 2014, explaining at the time via Twitter that “my art and my self-expression in any form has always been an attempt towards sincerity, honesty and empathy for others. I no longer feel that this is possible within CC.” A further statement followed in 2017, accusing ex-bandmate Ethan Kath of rape and emotional and physical abuse — allegations he denies, though his defamation lawsuits have all been dismissed.
Since leaving that band, Glass has released a string of visceral electronic tracks that speak of pain, survival and fury. All proceeds from 2015’s “STILLBIRTH” were donated to RAINN, a charity that helps survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence, while the hyperactive “Blood Oath” from 2017’s self-titled EP “is about a teenage girl being preyed upon and taken advantage of by an older man.” In February, Glass unveiled her brilliant debut full-length, PREY//IV, “a self-released album about my trauma and mental health struggles.” The 13 tracks create a cathartic and powerful body of work as Glass tackles warped power dynamics head-on.
Speaking to Alternative Press today, she explains how “some other artists would rather pretend I don’t exist — just ’cause it’s easier for them, after everything that happened.”
carolesdaughter, however, isn’t one of those artists; rather, she’s a proud next-gen supporter of Glass. “I love Alice so much. I’m really happy she has this new album out and she’s making stuff she’s proud of,” she proclaims today. “She’s unapologetically herself, and she’s never stopped making music or speaking her mind.”
It’s something the pair have in common. Brought up in a strict Mormon household as the youngest of 10 kids, it was the discovery of Black Flag that led carolesdaughter — Thea Taylor, to the rest of the world — tumbling down a rabbit hole of punk rock and alternative culture. Music had always been part of her life — she’d always had access to piano, the family was always singing hymns and she got her first guitar at 13 — but it was during a stint in rehab for addiction that she decided to channel her anxieties, thoughts and fears into music of her own.
She uploaded a string of lo-fi bedroom-pop tracks to SoundCloud before releasing her breakout single “Violent” in 2020. The Lil Peep-inspired track has since racked up 125 million streams on Spotify, while other fraught, emotional songs such as “My Mother Wants Me Dead” and “Target Practice” have quickly established carolesdaughter as a loud, proud voice of a new generation. “I want to live in a world where all-female voices are listened to,” she explains.
To mark Alternative Press’ Modern Icons issue, Glass and carolesdaughter sat down together to talk about surviving the music industry, horror movies and why there’s nothing wrong with self-belief.
[Photo by Kristen Jan Wong and Lucas David][/caption]CAROLESDAUGHTER: Congrats on the album. I have been listening to it quite a bit. How are you feeling about everything?
ALICE GLASS: Really good. I guess I’ve just been working constantly with Jupiter [Keyes, producer], so it feels like every day is the same at this point. I can’t wait to get back to writing, but it feels good knowing people aren’t mocking my suffering. I didn’t think they were going to mock it, as such, but being empathetic is a lot to ask of people, especially on the internet. I was just hoping the reaction wouldn’t be mean or triggering.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: Well, it’s such a personal and vulnerable album, so I imagine it feels like you’re giving a very big part of you up to the rest of the world.
GLASS: Yeah, especially because it gets to a point where you’ve listened to your music so much, and you’ve sat with it for so long, that it feels like you only wrote it for yourself. You forget that you’re, I guess, running a business.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: How long have you been working on this album?
GLASS: It feels like forever. We’ve probably got something like 100 songs from the past half a decade. The songs on PREY fit together and were from the same time period, so it made sense to release it as a collection. I want to release a follow-up later this year, though, ’cause there’s less pressure now. There’s so much pressure when it comes to a debut album. I consider EPs just as important, but most people don’t. I know that some labels have a clause that says they must spend a certain amount of money on an LP, but there’s no clause for EPs. So, labels can just keep putting them out without having to touch the money they’ve said they’d spend on you and your music in the contract. Did you get a lawyer before you signed anything?
CAROLESDAUGHTER: Yes, it was funny. When I first had a bunch of people reaching out to me, I thought it was a scam. However, when the offers kept coming in from different places, I figured it must be real. At one point, a record company was talking to me and said, “We’d like to offer you a deal of $50,000.” I had not spoken to anyone else at this point but told them, “This other company had offered me more,” just to see what would happen — and they believed me.
GLASS: Wow, I fucking love that. I tried to do something similar, but it didn’t work out. They called my bluff. It’s so cool you did that, and you’re still so young. I wish I was your friend when I was a teenager because you’re a smart cookie.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: Thank you. I wanted to ask about “THE HUNTED” because that is my favorite song off the new album. How did it come about?
GLASS: Vocally, I’m inspired by [Bikini Kill’s] Kathleen Hanna and [Bratmobile’s] Allison Wolfe. They were the women I looked up to and tried to emulate. I wrote almost every other song on the album in a couple of hours, but for “THE HUNTED,” I have so many different versions. I’m still not entirely sure the one I released is the best one, to be honest. I’ll send you the alternative mix, and you can tell me what you think.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: What other music have you been listening to recently?
GLASS: It feels like there’s so much good new music out at the moment. I don’t know where to begin. The new If I Die First [EP], They Drew Blood, is really good. I really like the song “Glass Casket” because I’ve used that as a lyric before [2021’s “LEGEND” feat. Alice Longyu Gao], but I think LiL Lotus is also really underrated. I really love your new song “Target Practice,” by the way.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: Thank you. It’s funny: I’m way more excited about the music I’ve been making recently. I just think it’s much better than anything I currently have out. But that’s the way it always should be, right?
GLASS: Looking toward the future, yeah! Because you’re evolving as an artist. I think what’s so cool about you is that you can tell what your influences are, but it’s not repetitive. You have your own perspective, and it’s really refreshing, and it makes me feel like, “The next generation is going to be OK.” They have things a little more covered than we ever did.
[Photo by Cassidy Skye Photo][/caption]CAROLESDAUGHTER: I mean, if every generation gets a little bit more self-aware and empathetic, hopefully in the future, we will evolve to a world where we don’t just act like monkeys.
GLASS: I think, unfortunately, humans are a dying species, but we’ll hope for the optimistic approach, too. I think there are sociopaths, but there are also people that just respond to sociopaths.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: I think there are full-blown psychopaths in the music industry. A lot of artists are straight-up narcissists.
GLASS: How could you not be? There’s definitely a part of me that wants the attention.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: But there’s a difference between my type of narcissism, where I have huge plans and huge goals for myself. I believe in myself, which I guess some people could call narcissistic, especially because my entire life revolves around me betting on myself. But some people are so unaware that they’re just insufferable, and all they care about is themselves.
GLASS: For any industry, the people at the top are more than likely ruthless. No one just earns a billion dollars through hard work.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: That’s so true. There are very few ways you can get to that place ethically.
GLASS: That is why I think there are so many stories about women in the industry where, for whatever reason, it just didn’t work out. I’m not used to people lying to my face. You’d think that after all the shit I’ve been through, I would be good at pointing out bullshit, but I’m still so naive.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: For me, I almost always have pure intentions. I don’t have any motives in the back of my head where I want something from a certain person and know exactly how I’m going to get it. I’m not playing chess with people, you know what I mean? But other people are. My brain just doesn’t work that way. When someone flatters me, I just assume it’s genuine.
GLASS: As you should. And that’s so refreshing. I would rather young, talented artists be more selfish, narcissistic and put themselves first than do what I did. I was just so happy to be a part of music. I couldn’t believe anyone wanted to work with me, and I truly believed that I sucked. That mindset makes it so much easier for you to give your human rights away. It happens so quickly. I do think it’s one of those things where, with me at least, I want people that I’m directly around to like me. Oh good, this is turning into therapy!
CAROLESDAUGHTER: So, I know you like moshing. How do you feel about the new bro culture in punk rock? Is there bro culture in punk rock?
GLASS: Maybe it’s not punk rock, but at every EDM festival I play, I will immediately go and check the day and see how many other women are playing. I’ve done it so many times, and it’s usually just me.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: I could count with one hand the bands that I’ve seen at underground gigs that have a female or nonbinary member. I don’t really see women in music, and an all-women band? That’s basically unheard of. You have to look for those things. You have to seek them out to support them because it’s not something you’ll just stumble upon — that’s how rare it is, which is messed up. That said, I should probably shout out Meet Me @ The Altar, who I adore. They’re three women of color making pop punk, and they’re providing great representation. Their music is great, and they’re super sweet. I think we’re moving in the right direction, but there’s still so many obstacles.
GLASS: I’ve been thinking about that recently because I’m always asked about female bands, and it’s always a struggle. In the ’90s, you had Warpaint and the Runaways [in the ’70s], but I’m very aware how Kim Fowley corrupted the Runaways at such a young age, and it really made me upset. Honestly, for me, that normalized the sleazy environment that being a teenager in a band usually entails. If you are lacking self-esteem like I was… I was so open to being manipulated back then, since I was sad. I honestly hope this new generation knows how lame it is to buy into an egomaniac’s propaganda.
Don’t feel like anyone else’s word means more than yours, especially when it comes to your life and your career
CAROLESDAUGHTER: Women need to feel like it’s acceptable or possible to pursue a career without the help of a man, period. It feels like we always have to somehow depend on somebody else. Just the fact there’s no women producers, either. I work with one, but apart from that, I don’t know any. It really does feel like the music industry is a boys’ club. What advice do you have for young artists like me, in regards to maintaining creative and personal control? How do we hold onto our identities with people telling us how to look, sound or act?
GLASS: Jeez... That is a really hard and tough question that I’m only starting to learn right now. Don’t feel like anyone else’s word means more than yours, especially when it comes to your life and your career. And don’t trust anyone. Don’t sign anything without a lawyer. Watch your drinks. If a guy is 10 years older than you and sleeps with you in your early teens? It’s rape. If people lie to you, get the fuck out of there.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: I wish I could tell so many people that I follow that if you’re 14, your 19-year-old boyfriend doesn’t love you.
With all the music videos that have been coming out, there’s a lot of hearts being ripped out, blood, gore, chains and ropes. I love all that imagery. Do you watch a lot of horror movies?
GLASS: I do. I used to have night terrors for a long time — specifically zombies, so it’s somewhat familiar.
GLASS: I’m midway through episode two, and it’s so intense and cheesy and amazing. I love Korean shows. They’re always doing the absolute most. What would be your weapon in a zombie apocalypse?
CAROLESDAUGHTER: That girl with the arrow is pretty dope, but I cannot shoot a bow. Maybe a flamethrower — that would have the right flair for the dramatic that I like. Plus, if we got stranded somewhere and needed to start a fire, I’d have it covered.
GLASS: I love how your answer is so complicated and my answer is: a shovel.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: An actual shovel? Why?
GLASS: Well, in my dreams, that’s what I have. Sometimes I have a scythe, though I usually die.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: Maybe I’m reading into it too much, but I love how the theme of the album is, for lack of a better phrase, you throwing up all this shit. It’s super open, honest and raw, and the visuals are like, “Oh, my God. My intestines are literally outside my body.” I love how maximalist it is.
GLASS: I really like gore. Before, there were a lot of rules in my old band that were defining my life. Little things, like I wasn’t allowed to write from a first-person perspective. It’s hard to express yourself through metaphor all the time, and I really was afraid to communicate with journalists or other people in other bands. I guess I had impostor syndrome. So I never thought I would be talking about this shit… This shit being my life.
CAROLESDAUGHTER: I know the answer to my last question, but can people expect an Alice Glass/carolesdaughter collab in the future?
GLASS: Oh yes! Set your clock. I’m so excited. It’s going to be the first thing I do when I get out of record-promoting mode. Jupiter and I were working on the song you sent over recently, and it’s so beautiful. I can’t wait for people to hear it…
This interview first appeared in issue #404 (The Modern Icons Issue), available here.