Glass Candy’s Johnny Jewel (left), and Ida No see no reason to disrupt their chemistry with collaborations.
GLASS CANDY with PARALLELS and MIKEY APPLES at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), Friday (November 7), 10 pm. $10. wantickets.com.
Rarely does the subject of astrology come up in music interviews, at least not without a snide laugh. The idea of using your zodiac sign as a guide to creating music or art, or as a philosophy for commerce, is just too New Agey for most.
But Glass Candy are a cosmic kind of band, and Johnny Jewel is a complex artist who lives on his own planet.
Jewel, the affable producer, composer, designer and multi-instrumentalist with the spaced-out disco duo, is a Gemini, the third astrological sign in the zodiac. It's represented by the Roman numeral "II," for twins and duality. Doubleness is integral to Glass Candy, a two-piece Jewel formed with Vancouver-born vocalist Ida No back in 1995 after they met in a Portland grocery store.
Their two early records failed to catch fire, and it wasn't until Jewel and Mike Simonetti started the Italians Do It Better label in 2006 that Glass Candy defined their look and sound, the latter a minimalist approach to melody-driven disco with a hip-hop influence, driven by Jewel and No's symbiotic relationship.
Jewel's organic analog production style is like a palm-treed island in a nauseating sea of laptop-made sirens and buzzsaw beats. He's received no shortage of collaboration offers, including from DFA brass, but admits he's hesitant about disrupting the yin-yang chemistry he shares with his partner.
"It's like too many cooks in the kitchen. Too many producers," he says. "I'm not completely against the idea, but I'm a shitty producer, and it takes me a long time. Right now I'm recording songs based on ideas I came up with four or five years ago. And I know Ida isn't interested in collaborating with anyone else."
Even his Warhol-influenced design aesthetic - images doubled with a twin and found on most IDIB releases, including his now-defunct side project, the Chromatics - is being aped left and right by DJs, promoters and labels. Rather than getting upset over others poaching his vibe, Jewel presents a laid-back, double-sided viewpoint.
"It was happening as far back as 99, and it'll happen again," he shrugs. "When I started doing glammy disco, it happened. Then cosmic, and they started doing it. But I need them like they need me. There's nothing new out there under the sun. There's someone in front of me just like there's someone behind."