Michael Schuman From QOTSA on The New GLU Project: “No Rules, No Boundaries”

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Michael Schuman from Queens Of The Stone Age and Mini Mansions shared “Nightshift”, the latest single from his new project GLU. Check it out below, along with our interview with Schuman.

“Nightshift” is Schumann’s third track under the pseudonym GLU after the release of “Cold Sweat” and “My Demons” earlier this year.

“I don’t want to live another day like this / In an endless crisis / Just leave me alone with my vices,” he sings in a hip-hop track. The new single details the feeling of “impending doom” that causes the current chaos of our world, but instead of focusing on the future, instead live for today. This is an attitude that Schumann says he has always had, but also hints at the fact that he adheres to pre-tandem habits in the midst of blocking.

“I hate to use the pandemic, but it really forced you to change your priorities and worldview,” he told NME. stuck around even though I was alone.”

GLU began his life during this period of isolation, when the musician used this time to explore new things. “With Mini Mansions, we haven’t done anything musical together since our last tour on the last album [in 2019], so there was this gap for me, and although we have new Queens material waiting for us, and we have concerts scheduled next year, there was time for me, and I just needed that”to do that,” he explained.

After the release of the June single “My Demons”, which features vocals by Sarah Bartel from Phantogram, the tracks “started appearing quickly” and occupied similar territory. “A lot of the songs I wrote were written in the same world,” Schuman said. “Because I didn’t have anything else—I only had my thoughts and my obsessive-compulsive disorder. These thoughts kept turning over and over in my head.”

Using the name GLU, rather than his own, was part of the task to ensure that his music was taken seriously and not considered as a side project for his other bands. Although he said he knows people will understand who he is and what he has done in the past, he has been drawing hope from Damon Albarn’s path since the 90s.

“He was the frontman of one of the biggest rock bands and then immediately switched to a completely different thing that people accepted with Gorillaz,” he said. “It was a completely new sound, and you could accept it for what it is. I think that’s why he wanted everything to be animated — it wasn’t about him, it was about the music. I wanted it too.”

In this new project, Schumann also jumped into a completely new sound, bringing to the fore the influence of hip-hop, which was boiling in the background of some Mini Mansions works, and turning his vocals into a rap stream. “Sometimes I hate using the word rap,” he said. “It’s not really hip-hop, but when I put it on for some friends, they replied that it was probably the best thing I did, and it didn’t sound like I was putting on a show.”

It was important for the musician to make sure that the songs did not turn into a parody. “There’s a fine line when you make music like a white man,” he admitted. “This is not a joke, and I want people to take me seriously for the rhymes and staging that I do.”

“Nightshift” contains elements of all sides of Schumann’s artistry, from “punk rock and guitar player” in his guitar solo to “three-part harmonies of “Bohemian Rhapsody”” together with his rap. On paper, these three disparate ideas could potentially strongly contradict each other, but his task was to figure out how to make them seem natural.

“There are no rules, no boundaries — this is the most important thing for me in everything I do, but especially in Nightshift,” he explained. “The hardest thing to do is not to make it look silly and strained, but I think I’ve achieved it.”

Although GLU is a relatively new project, fans in the UK may have already seen Schumann present this project for the first time on stage at a June residency at London’s Sebright Arms or at Glastonbury. The decision to start the project in London was partly due to not depending on the judgments of friends and family in Los Angeles, as well as because of his past and current ties with the country. “The UK has always been my second home with any band I’ve had, so I really, really want to build in the UK,” he said. “Besides, I’ve been living in London for six months now, so it made sense.”

Unlike QOTSA or Mini Mansions, at GLU concerts Schumann is the only musician on stage — only him, guitar and microphone. These shows at the Sebright Arms were the first time he was alone in front of an audience, which he called a “learning curve”. “I’m learning about myself and what it is, what it means and how to do it,” he said. “It was really fun. I’m on tour alone — no technology, nothing, and it’s very important that everything is on you, and everyone just focuses on you. It’s a lot of work, but I’m really enjoying it.”

Unlike QOTSA or Mini Mansions, at GLU concerts Schumann is the only musician on stage — only him, guitar and microphone. These shows at the Sebright Arms were the first time he was alone in front of an audience, which he called a “learning curve”. “I’m learning about myself and what it is, what it means and how to do it,” he said. “It was really fun. I’m on tour alone — no technology, nothing, and it’s very important that everything is on you, and everyone just focuses on you. It’s a lot of work, but I’m really enjoying it.”

Whether he will continue to do all this himself or invite other musicians to help in the future is the “main question” right now, but at least on the record, Schumann will be assisted by fellow artists. In addition to appearing on “My Demons”, Bartel participates in another unreleased track. Schumann said he wants to have different voices in his songs “as much as possible.”

“Since [the songs] are all from me, I think it’s nice to have a few other voices,” he said. “I also want her to have a bit of femininity—I don’t want her to seem too masculine or macho. I’ve always liked 90’s hip-hop or that Eve song with Gwen Stefani [‘Let Me Blow Ya Mind’] that raps and then the girl sings the chorus. It’s just ear candy.”

Another vocalist who confirmed his participation in the future GLU track is Miles Kane, who appeared on stage with Schumann in London this summer. “He’s one of my closest friends,” he said of the collaboration. “We’ve spent a lot of time together since I’ve been living in London — we’ve worked on some other things together. He’s so much fun to talk to and write with — just a very positive guy with a lot of positive energy. I’m sure we’ll do more together.”

Right now, Schuman is touring the US in support of Phantogram, and in December he has a UK tour planned. Full-length concerts indicate that a full-length record is ready for release, but the musician said that he is “trying to find the best time to release everything.”

“I’m trying to do it wisely so that enough people hear about the project so that it doesn’t get lost in the abyss,” he added. “I really want to be aware of the deadlines and do it intentionally, but I have the material and I’m going to do a lot more.”

“Nightshift” from GLU is already on sale. Check out the dates of GLU’s upcoming UK tour below and buy tickets here.

DECEMBER
7 – Muthers, Birmingham
8 – Oporto, Leeds
9 – The Garage, Attic, Glasgow
11 – Yes (Basement), Manchester
12 – Louisiana, Bristol
13 – Hope & Ruin, Brighton
14 – Courtyard Theatre, London

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