Imagine being a hardworking musician that’s trying to break out to a new level of recognition. Every time a fresh audience is in the room, there’s work to be done in order for that new batch of people to not only get familiar with an artist but get excited about their music as well.
Sam R., Irish-Iranian producer and songwriter behind wavy synth-pop project Glassio, knows plenty about the effort required to reach new audiences, both literally and emotionally. A Queens, NY resident, Glassio’s newest single, “Nobody Stayed for the DJ,” speaks directly to one possible scenario common to musicians and DJs who travel to new places to play for new people: playing to a virtually or actually empty room.
Nobody stayed for the DJ
Nobody stayed for the DJ, bless their souls
With the eyes of the world all attuned to rock and roll
Won’t you help them to understand
Wont you help them to understand
I had a bigger plan
Now I’m spreading my wings to suspend me the way that I can
“I was having a conversation about how awful it is to perform or DJ to an empty room with a friend of mine (musician Madi Cox) in Brooklyn, and the name [of the song] erupted out of the conversation. We both thought it was a pretty funny title,” says Glassio.
Despite its spontaneous origins, the title’s inadvertently amusing angle doesn’t remain the sole emotional driver behind the song. Neither though, is the song written to sound as disappointing as the vacating name would suggest. Melodically, the roughly six minute track begins with a squarely electronic hook that puts forth a cyclical, meditative aesthetic similar to Will Wiesenfeld’s project, Geotic. The song seems like its destined to sit with that reserved backing all the way through as Glassio sings, further emphasizing the unfavorable setting of the song’s protagonist.
“I wanted [“Nobody Stayed for the DJ”] to (on the surface) be a satirical but tragic narrative of a DJ having an emotional breakdown during a performance because they are DJing to an empty room and wondering ‘what the hell am I doing with my life? I had dreams once upon a time’,” Glassio says.
However, a committed listen reveals a satisfying rise in melodic prominence. Where the start of the song is a mere few bubbly synth tones, over the six minute length, the song slowly builds up with clean rhythmic guitar, additional laser-style synth tones, a strong snare beat, and eventually enough percussive layers to represent the backing of a full drum kit. This leaves the back third of the track sounding much more invigorated than how it began. The musical development serves as a nice parallel to the narrative, which takes a similar turn for the emotionally better – just not with a suddenly packed venue, like one might expect the story to go.
I’ll keep on waiting and wishing
I’ll keep on waiting and wishing through the dunes
And the nighttime will tear me away from the things you do
When you’re trying your best to dance
Oh, you’re trying you’re best to dance
And I’m all in love again
Now I’m spreading my wings until someone holds my hand
“I hope it makes listeners feel powerful despite being misunderstood. In many ways, this song is about resilience and trusting yourself to fall in love again. I hope people tap into that a bit,” Glassio says.
“At the end of the day,” he continues, “[Nobody Stayed for the DJ] addressed a bunch of things I wanted to get off my chest: how hard it is to make music your living, how easy it is to feel misunderstood, how important your favorite song is to your emotional well being, and the power of “Situation” by Yazoo at 1am when the world around you seems to be falling apart.”