GLU interview

BN1 Chats with GLU

The new hiphop-led solo project crafted by Michael Shuman (aka Mikey Shoes - bassist of Queens Of The Stone Age and Mini Mansions frontman).

Michael Shuman, otherwise known as Mickey Shoes, is a music legend taking on his own solo project as GLU. While he may be more known for his rock music as bassist of Queens of the Stone, and frontman of Mini Mansions, GLU is taking on a hip-hop sound. Shuman shared with BN1 how he is excited to be exploring the freedom and challenges of releasing solo music; while he expresses putting pressure on himself at first, his project is proving a success as GLU is touring major cities this December. From discovering exactly who and what GLU is, to the UK being a home for this project, here is what Shuman had to say about kick-starting his solo career. 

Your first show kicks off on the 7th of December in Birmingham, how is preparing for your December tour going so far? It must be an exciting time for you?

Any new upcoming tour is exciting for me, but I am really looking forward to this UK one. Although I’m a Los Angeles boy, the UK has always been a second home to me, and that’s where I started GLU. I wanted to build it here in the UK specifically. Can’t wait to play these very small and intimate venues. Think it will be special.

In June you had a residency at Sebright Arms in London, will you be bringing anything new to your December tour compared to your summer shows? 

Those London shows were my first ever playing as GLU, so I think the main difference will be having a better sense of what GLU is, what it is for me, and how to put on this show for the audience.

In the summer you also joined Blood Red Shoes on the European leg of their tour, what was touring with them like?

It was my first tour with GLU, so it was very exciting. I did all the travel by myself on trains, so being with Blood Red Shoes every day and night at the shows felt so comforting. They are amazing people and an amazing band, so it made every day that much easier. 

You are of course also known as Mikey Shoes, bassist of Queens of the Stone Age, and are the frontman of Mini Mansions, what made you want to do your own solo project? How does performing solo compare to with a band? 

I wanted to have something that I could do on my own terms at all times. I’ve always been in bands, and I would never not want that. But I also felt I needed the space to be able to create, play shows, and tour whenever I want. It really has nothing to do with having full creative control, but rather how my time is spent. It’s a bit weird to be up on stage by yourself, but I’m really starting to grab a hold of it and am now really enjoying the challenge. It’s all on you… all the music, all the mistakes, all the pressure. I’m into it.

GLU performing live

Your debut single, Cold Sweat was released earlier this year; was that a nerve-wracking experience or were you pretty confident with it? What sort of response did you receive?

There was a bit of pressure I put on myself when releasing the first track. All the thoughts cross your mind. Is this what people are expecting from me? Will they hate it? Does it make sense? Is it good enough? But I did my own type of market research before releasing it, and the response from all my peers was extremely positive. The general response was it was a step forward for me as an artist, yet still felt very much like me.

GLU has been labelled a hip-hop project, and you can definitely hear that in your singles Cold Sweat and Night Shift. Who are your influences for these more hip-hop sounds, because it may not necessarily be what people are expecting from you? 

It’s hard to put a label on GLU, and that’s what I like and somewhat always strive for. The main goal was to create something that felt authentic coming out of my body, yet pushed me out of my comfort zone. I think that’s the only way to be in the world. As far as hip hop influences, I’d say what Damon Albarn has done with Gorillaz is one, as well as 90’s west coast hip hop, and someone like Mac Miller, who did a great job of blending hip hop flow while maintain a very musical backbone.

Can we expect to hear your Night Shift on the setlist of your December tour?

Yes, Night Shift has always seemed like a fan favorite when I’ve played it live. Didn’t think it would be, but it always seemed to get the best response from people never hearing any of these tunes. So that was one reason why I decided to release it now.

My Demons features Sarah Barthel of Phantogram, and you have also worked with Alex Turner (of Arctic Monkeys) on Mini Mansions’ track Vertigo, and Queens of the Stone Age have worked with some music legends including Dave Grohl (of Foo Fighters). Can we expect more collaborative work from GLU? 

Definitely. I love collaborating with other musicians and artists. I think it’s extremely important in your own progress and development. Learning from others always. And especially since GLU is solely written, recorded, and produced by me, I think having these features and collaborations was important to giving different textures to my songs. There’s a few good surprises in the can.

Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with? 

I think doing a collaboration with Gorillaz/Damon Albarn may be my first choice. Would love to flow on a track of his, or have him drop some knowledge on how he builds his tracks.

You are performing at The Hope & Ruin in Brighton on the 13th December. Have you ever performed in Brighton before? Are you expecting anything particular from that gig? 

I’ve performed many times in Brighton with Queens and Mini Mansions, but never as GLU. It’s always a blast though. I have a bunch of friends down there, including my homies in Royal Blood and Blood Red Shoes. So I expect to have some good hang time, laughs, and a few post show pints.

And after the December tour, what can we expect to hear from GLU? WIll there possibly be an E.P anytime soon?

I’m looking to keep releasing GLU music consistently, so definitely expect more releases and announcements at the top of 2023. Queens will also be back out next year, so I expect all my time to be filled up with shows and more shows.

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