Chattanooga Times Free Press entertainment reporter Casey Phillips spoke with Glowing Bordis lead singer TJ Greever about the band’s role in the local Halloween showcase at Track 29, the group’s first year together and how work is progressing on the band’s debut album.
CP: How has the last year treated Glowing Bordis so far?
TG: It's going great. We're about to release our record hopefully by the end of the year sometime. We just finished it up at Dave Barbe's studio, Chase Park Transduction, down in Athens. It's 7 songs. It's a long EP or a short album. It's about 30 minutes of music. It's going great.
We're staying busy playing stuff in town, pretty much. We've been going out of town playing some shows, too, and have gotten some good feedback. Things have been going really good for us. We're looking to get the album out and do some more touring. We've got some people we're talking to about working with booking shows and showing the album a little bit. We're chipping away at things. Things are going good for the Bordis.
We've definitely been staying really busy working on this Halloween show, mainly.
CP: Tell me about it. What do you have planned?
TG: That's most of what we've been working on for the last month and a half. It's huge.
The Nim Nims, Toneharm and Bordis are doing short sets that night of 30-35 minutes. We'll have aerial dancers. The belly dancers will be doing a set during the show. Lacey Dickerson will be doing a song or two as well. Her own belly dancing group is Dandasha Belly Dance, and she'll be dancing with the band and also individually.
Toneharm, Bordis and the Nim Nims will all be doing individual sets, and at the end of the night, we're all teaming up to cover The Beastie Boys “Ill Communication” record. That's been quite an undertaking, in itself.
There will be few surprises in there for folks. There's a lot of work to do with that with, coordinating with the DJs and breaking the rap parts up. It's me and Zack Bridges and Clay Bowen from The Nim Nims. We're doing all the Beastie Boy stuff, and we're doing it like they did. Each emcee has their own lines. I'm doing Ad-Rock's stuff, and Zack is dong Mike D's, and Clay is doing MCA's. We busted up the rhymes like that.
We're going back and forth between the DJ songs and more punk rock songs and the more freeform, jazz-type songs on the album. It's a lot of work, but it's coming together really nice.
CP: Why that album?
TG: You know, it was one of my favorites growing up. Actually, Dan [Pinson] had a poster of that album in our practice room. We were hanging out with Toneharm, and we did “Sabotage” with them at one of our shows. They said, “It'd be fun to do that again some time.” Then we were like, “Halloween is coming up. Why not do the whole thing?”
It just came out of us all loving the record. We had teamed up with them before, and it was really fun. People really freaked out when we did that song together, so we wanted to see what happened if we did the whole record. We sang “Sabotage” together in the first part of August at Market Street Tavern.
CP: Do you plan to be playing any material off Bordis's new CD at the show?
TG: Yes, we'll definitely [be playing songs off the album]. We'll play some stuff off the EP along with some surprise newer stuff we've been working on and one or two that are catered toward the holiday.
CP: Such as?
TG: It's in the vein of horror movie soundtracks. I can tell you that.
CP: Have you decided on a name for the album?
TG: We still haven't settled on a name yet. Drew, who mastered it at Chase Park, the first song he turned on had some real heavy cowbell on it, and I was talking about the state of government. It's a real politically analytical song. He said, “Ya'll have cowbells talking about freedom,” and we're debating calling it “Cowbells and Freedom.” That's the one that's stuck the most, so it's looking like it might be “Cowbells and Freedom.”
CP: You guys have been together for less than a year, right?
TG: We played our first show last November opening for Drivin' N' Cryin'. We're looking to start touring more, obviously, when we get the record finished and get some merchandise. We're looking forward to all the opportunities that await.
CP: That doesn't seem like a very long time, in terms of feeling each other out, musically. Why the rush on putting out an album?
TG: Me and Dan have already been playing together for years, and Jonathan [Muse] has been a friend of mine since the Joneses have been together, maybe longer. There was this dam of creativity that broke when the Joneses dispersed.
We've already written another record. We've already got almost 20 original songs already. The creative juices are flowing. It's easy; it's a three-piece. Me and Dan are writing together, he's writing some on his own and I'm writing some on my own. The material is a cauldron of creation, man.
There's not a lack of anything creative. We had so much going on that we wanted to get going. With the Joneses, we'd put out a record and tour and tour. We rarely got as many new songs down as we'd like because we were so busy.
In the fallout of the Joneses, I already had 30 songs written, a whole freaking stash of music. Dan, being a talented multi-instrumentalist like he is, we branched the sound out and mixed in the rock'n'roll with beats and loops and stuff.
We're doing some more heavy, punk-influenced rock, as well as some stuff that's got a little twang to it that is in the style the Joneses had. It's my songs that have matured over the years.
The Bordis is a reflection of where we are now. It's a lot more current music. Some of the songs we were playing in the Joneses were 10 or 12 years old. This is a more current reflection of my songwriting and collaborating with Dan on songs. It feels fresh, very … now.
CP: Has expanding the band's sound to include those other styles made it easier to work with Toneharm for this concert?
TG: Oh yeah, definitely. Referencing The Joneses, we never really got pigeonholed into being a certain band. That was a Catch 22 because, sometimes, it would hurt you and sometimes it would be a great help to say, “We kind of play everything.”
We're not looking to go all jam band and have 15-minute songs and cater to that crowd. We're not looking to have minute-and-a-half songs and cater to the punk crowd or go so heavy that we get paired up with metal bands all the time or so country that we get mixed in with the alt-country stuff. It definitely helps to branch out your style.
CP: Have you guys been to Track 29 before or will this be your debut?
TG: Yeah, we have. We played the first showcase there the second day they were open with Machines Are People Too, Cadillac Saints and The New Binkley Brothers. It was fantastic. It's a hell of a venue.
CP: Do you have any idea what they'll be doing for the show, as far as decking it out for the holiday?
TG: It's definitely going to be decked out in Halloween stuff. It's going to be open to capacity at 1,800 people. We'll have a haunted maze in part of it. In the VIP rooms upstairs, we'll be bringing in screens to play horror movies on. It's going to be all spooky with all kinds of wild stuff going on. There will be costume prizes for best couple and guy and girl and all that type stuff. It'll be decked out for the occasion, definitely.
CP: Anything you want to add?
TG: Look for the album release to come soon. We're going to start hyping it up and spinning it locally and get some buzz going about it. Hopefully, it'll be out in time to be a little stocking stuffer.
We're just really excited about the show. We've put a lot of time into it with the whole record and costume changes and the DJs. It's been a lot of work. After this is done, we'll have our eyes set on getting the record pushed. It's been an all-consuming show.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...