Local Band Profile: Glitter Fish, Experimental Psychedelic Pop

Photo courtesy of Aaron Perko

Hannah Maerowitz
Science & Tech Editor

There are many bands that play most of their shows within the square mile that is Isla Vista, but Glitter Fish — a Goleta-based lyrical psychedelic pop band with electronic influences — differentiates themselves through their creative approach to making music.

Jag, Iggy, Dave, Kyle, and Sasha, the members of Glitter Fish, gather in their adapted warehouse-style studio at least twice a week just to hang out because they believe that friendship and connection between band members makes their music better.

Although three of the band members have known each other since grade school, others, like fourth year physics major Sasha Cohen, have only recently been integrated into the band. However, upon observing them talk and joke around, it is apparent that they all are intensely familiar with one another.

This familiarity may have been enhanced by a recent tour of California and Oregon that the band embarked upon together.

Originally just a tour of California, the tour ventured into Oregon when the band was invited to play a show there. After driving for 14 hours to play a show with a Grateful Dead cover band, they were told that those arranging the show were under the impression that they were a Phish cover band.

That show was cancelled after they found out that Glitter Fish was its own entity. In response, they walked around, stumbled upon the HiFi Music Club, and asked if they could play, resulting in them headlining the prominent live music venue in Eugene and even being extended an invitation to return.

Another memorable experience they had on tour together was playing a show in Portland where the ceiling was five feet tall, resulting in one of the taller band members being forced to stand in a ceiling alcove during the set.

In an interview with The Bottom Line, they described the response to their music in Portland and Eugene as “overwhelmingly positive” and the tour as an “incredible experience.”

Although their on-tour success is exciting for the band, they continue to focus on maintaining their loyal following in Isla Vista — which has primarily been cultivated through word of mouth — and on finishing and releasing a new EP.

At present, Glitter Fish has released one record, which took two years to put together. It was a process that helped them learn a lot about recording, working together, and what they want out of their sound. Through that experience, they found that their ideal music-making process is one of collaboration, generation, and boundless creativity.

“We always try to challenge ourselves by trying out all different kinds of music and seeing what we can come up with,” said Jag, the songwriter of the band.

The members of Glitter Fish all enjoy different kinds of music, and most of them work on their own musical side projects, which influences the eclectic yet distinctive sound of the band.

“For me, it’s about making what you want to listen to. Sometimes what you want to listen to doesn’t exist in the moment, so we try to make it,” said band member Kyle. Their approach to making music focuses on being “experimental, vulnerable, and a little bit strange.”

In addition to focusing on creative exploration, making music, and friendship, the members of Glitter Fish all have creative passions outside of music as well. These passions include building sets, working as a light and audio tech, and building custom furniture out of metal.

Sasha Cohen, the band’s drummer, balances his passion for making music with his passion for science.

“I actually started playing drums when I was nine and, for the longest time, I was sure I wanted to be a musician. But halfway through high school, I got into science and math and decided to pursue a physics degree as well,” said Cohen.

Cohen does research in the physics department at UCSB with the Experimental Cosmology Group. He is currently working on a project centering on alternative spacecraft propulsion with high powered lasers as a method for propelling small scale satellites.

With diverse musical influences all converging into a shared affinity for the experimental, Glitter Fish is a local band to watch closely as they expand their presence and sound.