Bringin’ It Backwards: Interview with Soft Glas

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Together with American Songwriter, we had the pleasure of interviewing Soft Glas over Zoom video! 

Cuban-born singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Soft Glas shares his new single “Prudence and Poise” and the title of his forthcoming LP How Strange due out on March 19th. On “Prudence and Poise,” Soft Glas takes his wide-ranging musical influences that includes Cuban rhythms and styles and combines it with his own dynamic resonance. With stark, lightly poetic lyricism and drifting beats, Soft Glas delivers something relatable and cathartic. Thematically, the song explores how things are often beyond our control and that finding a sense of direction comes with many unexpected turns along the way.

Soft Glas says this of his new single:

“From a production perspective, it’s special to me because it’s a clear example of how I’ve internalized my roots without necessarily being conscious of it. Growing up in a Cuban household, I was very familiar with traditional Cuban rhythms and styles (though I wasn’t necessarily aware of their distinctions, names, or history). I produced the song instinctively, drawing from some of those rhythms I grew up listening to.

A year after I finished this song, I helped my dad (Gonzalo Rubalcaba) produce/engineer his album ‘Viento Y Tiempo,’ a live album with Aymée Nuviola, comprising of new arrangements of traditional Cuban songs. Through working on this project, I learned about those rhythms I had internalized, and realized that I was using a variation of the Danzòn in ‘Prudence & Poise’. It wasn’t completely faithful to the traditional rhythm, but it was clear that the Danzòn had snuck into my subconscious at some point.”

In December, Soft Glas shared “Cyclones,” the first single off his forthcoming LP. The track sits on the fringe of the bedroom-pop genre, with wistful, hazy instrumentals and jazz-infused guitar lines. Invigorated by vibrant yet serene melodies, the song is guided along with warm, yearning vocals. Narratively, “Cyclones” echoes the concerns of spending a lifetime in the mirror trying to pick apart all the things you couldn’t change about yourself. The song was accompanied by a day in the life music video featuring photo stills.

Joao Gonzalez, who is behind the Soft Glas moniker, is credited as the mixing engineer, post-production editor, and keyboard programmer on the 2021 Grammy nominated ‘Best Latin Jazz Album’ Viento Y Tiempo – Live at Blue Note Tokyo from Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Aymée Nuviola.

Pre-order Soft Glas’ How Strange vinyl due out March 19th here.

More info:

Growing up Joao idolized his father, renowned jazz-pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and dreamt of becoming a jazz musician himself. While music was ingrained in his DNA, Joao’s own journey wasn’t all that easy as he was denied acceptance to Florida State University’s College of Music. Disenchanted by this news, he shifted his attention in college to Psychology. Joao dealt with imposter syndrome while attempting to keep the dream alive of becoming a full-time musician.

After graduation, a spark ignited within. Joao picked up drumming again, relocated to NYC, and stepped into the role of music director and touring musician (Overcoats, Stalking Gia). Inspired by these experiences of working and touring with other artists, Soft Glas’ music explores everyday anxieties all of us tend to deal with. Soft Glas released his debut EP Dos in 2016 and since has released 2016’s Late Bloom, 2017’s Orange Earth, and 2020’s Stunned. He’s been featured on Spotify’s Bedroom Pop and undercurrents playlists and has garnered 9M+ streams across ~100K monthly listeners.

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