Alice Glass Is Not Afraid to Punch You in the Face
“It feels like we’re Josie and the Pussy Cats,” says Alice Glass, who’s been dreaming of being in a girl group since she was 17. Now, it’s her reality. The electro-pop musician released her first solo album Prey//IV in 2022, a firsthand retelling of the truly painful experiences she survived while playing with Crystal Castles. “Prey was something that I needed to put out as a statement,” she explains. Almost a year since its release, she seems to have found peace touring, writing new music, and meeting fans who seem as protective of her well-being as she is. The morning after a red-eye to Santiago, Chile, which came on the heels of her appearance at III Points Festival in Miami alongside Skrillex, Grimes, and Caroline Polachek, Glass called us to talk about life on the road, from the rarest Gatorade flavors to punching dudes in the face.
ALICE GLASS: I would have the camera on, but I just woke up. Imagine my makeup is flawless.
JULIETTE JEFFERS: I’m imagining. Do you do your own makeup for your shows?
GLASS: Yeah, I’ve always done that. It’s kind of transformative. It’s done in photo shoots because I’ve worked with so many makeup artists that are so talented, but it’s always kind of a collaboration. It gets me in my zone a little bit.
JEFFERS: Kind of like getting in character.
GLASS: Arca does her own makeup, too, and her face is beat like crazy. I don’t know how she does it, but she can definitely afford to have a team of makeup artists. She’s got a whole wig lady. I always want to do a cool eye. I want to have a mix of Immortal, Black Metal, and Slam, I guess, but it doesn’t always turn out.
JEFFERS: Totally. Where are you right now?
GLASS: I am in Santiago, Chile.
JEFFERS: Okay. So you were in Miami for III Points?
GLASS: Yeah, we were in Miami and then back to LA. for a couple days and then we flew to Brazil.
JEFFERS: Wow. That’s intense.
GLASS: Yeah. We got in at three last night.
JEFFERS: How was Miami?
GLASS: It was really nice. Not that other festivals with less money aren’t less nice, because that’s its own thing, but it was really organized and put together, and I got free STRATUS sunglasses that I must mention.
JEFFERS: Oh, amazing.
GLASS: And they’re really good quality. I sat on them and they didn’t break. I got to play at 1:30 in the morning, after Skrillex, so that was a great time. I would always love to play at 1:30 in the morning, if it was an option.
JEFFERS: That’s the perfect slot.
GLASS: I agree.
JEFFERS: What’s your pre-show ritual when you’re playing so late?
GLASS: I drink a lot of Gatorade, I guess.
JEFFERS: Which flavor?
GLASS: They have this weird grape one here. There’s this pink one that Pablo had. I don’t know if it was guava. I don’t know if they have different Gatorades here, but it was delicious. And I just try to eat a bunch of carbs before.
JEFFERS: That makes sense. So, I feel like your recent music is more direct and personal and almost confessional. Does it feel different to perform that?
GLASS: Yeah, definitely. I mean, in previous works, I was kind of doing a little bit of the Kurt Cobain thing where it’s melody before lyrics and [then] just trying to make everything kind of work and fit together. But with my own music, that’s more personal. It’s just been a totally different world touring it, because the fans that I have now are total empaths and so nice. They’re like, “Can I have a photo? Is it okay if I touch you on your shoulder?” There’s just, obviously, so much suffering in the world, so I love having a little micro community where we all kind of understand each other.
JEFFERS: Even at a big festival like that, do you feel like you’re connecting with the crowd?
GLASS: Yeah, I do. I try to look everybody in the eyes anyways. I used to go into the crowd more but, honestly, I was more in nihilist depression mode, so it was like, “I don’t really care if anybody hurts me anyways.” And there were times where I didn’t feel like I was that much of a person as much as a prop that’s being passed around through the crowd that some people will try to come and grope me. It was just normalized, I guess. I’d grab their arm and follow their arm down and if they had a smug look on their face and it all connected, then I’d punch them in the face. I shouldn’t have said that.
JEFFERS: No, I’m obsessed.
GLASS: My fans would never do this. But one time, this guy was groping me and grabbing my boobs and smiling. And I punched him in the nose and I was wearing a ring or something and he was trying to sue me. That’s why I’m like, “Oh, I can talk.” I don’t go around punching people, just only people whose arms I follow because they’re still doing it.
JEFFERS: He was assaulting you.
GLASS: I always wear skirts, too. I remember when I was first wearing pants and men would try to shove their hands down my pants when I was crowd-surfing and shit.
JEFFERS: That’s so fucked up.
GLASS: Yeah. I was really, really depressed and I kind of bought into the whole GG Allin mentality where you’re like, “Okay, well, I’m putting myself in their space so this is what’s going to happen.” But I think I was a little brainwashed to normalize that.
JEFFERS: That makes sense. It’s great that when you perform now, people are respectful.
GLASS: Yeah. They are, and I just don’t really feel like crowd-surfing as much anymore because of that experience. But also, my fans are a lot of younger people and I don’t think that they would even necessarily want that. Sometimes I’ll go in the crowd and they’ll make a little circle around me and I can even sit on the floor, and they won’t crush me. It’s amazing.
JEFFERS: That’s kind of beautiful.
GLASS: Yeah! So that’s also a different sense of camaraderie. My manager, Taylor, is younger than me and more fun than me. Right now, Mango is DJing and she used to DJ for Ashnikko and she’s an amazing stylist that I will always hire. My friend Scout plays bass when we’re in Europe and she just has such fun energy and it’s just so nice to look around on the stage and feel like we’re unified, all lugging around this gear. It’s just the three of us. And Martin, who’s our tour manager, is really nice. So it feels like we’re Josie and the Pussy Cats, and he’s our manager.
JEFFERS: Girl band vibes.
GLASS: I’ve always wanted to have this kind of unification. Being in a girl group was always a dream.
JEFFERS: It’s very powerful.
GLASS: That was my plan at first. Somehow I got redirected, because I was 17 or whatever, dropping out of high school to be in Crystal Castles. I started other girl band projects, but you really have to tour and release music.
JEFFERS: It takes a lot of self-possession to get there. So are you playing again tonight?
GLASS: No, we actually have a day off, which is just super fun.
JEFFERS: What do you do on your day off?
GLASS: I sleep all day. I solicit Taylor to find fun things for us to do. She likes to go to the beach and stuff like that, but usually I’m just so tired. Beauty sleep.
JEFFERS: What’s your favorite song to perform right now?
GLASS: Well, there’s a new song that I’ve been trying out. It’s called, “Nights Talking” and it’s been really fun to play. I’ve kind of been feeling more… happy. I really want to be a happy person. I don’t know if I’ll ever make happy music generally. I guess that’s a really broad term.
JEFFERS: Who even makes happy music these days?
GLASS: Well, definitely not me. But my music does make me happy, so the music I’ve been writing lately and that I’m going to release soon has just been more of a reflection on that. Prey was something that I needed to put out as a statement. And all the songs make sense in that particular order. I just wanted to have one album like that. Now, I’ve been working on music that’s still about my experiences, but I’ve been having a lot more fun making it and playing guitar, recording, which I haven’t done in a very long time, and just working with really supportive people. So I think it comes across when we play.