The electronic dance-pop duo Glass Mansions has changed a lot in their 12 years in Columbia. For one thing, they used to be called Death Of Paris, and there were often four or five people in the band depending on when you saw them.
After a name change (to avoid being associated with the 2015 Paris nightclub shooting) and paring down to vocalist Jayna Doyle and guitarist/synth player Blake Arambula, the band is leaving Columbia for Austin, Texas, and they’re playing a farewell show at New Brookland Tavern.
Of course, due to the current COVID-19 protocols, New Brookland will be operating at about 50 percent capacity, but the duo actually sees that as a good thing.
“The odds of selling it out are higher,” laughed Doyle. “We’re excited that we’re even going to get to DO a show. We didn’t even know a couple of weeks ago if we were going to get to do one. We’re gonna play stripped down, and I like that we’ll get to talk about memories behind the songs or share stories about some of the shows we’ve played. It’s gonna be intimate, so it’s probably going to be closer friends of ours or longtime fans. I would much rather it be a small room of present people than competing with a football game.”
“We were going through the songs and we have a really long set,” Arambula said. “And it’s going to be a sampling of all the songs that living here has let us create.”
In the wake of their 2018 EP “Ritual,” Doyle and Arambula did a lot of touring, looking for a new home base as they travelled the country.
“We were scouting other cities and their music communities, and we’ve been finding out which would make potential future homes,” Arambula offered. “And we just kept, every single tour, coming back to Austin being the most welcoming.”
Arambula said that the band’s synth-spiked dance pop makes more sense on Austin’s music scene than Columbia’s.
“In Austin, we’ve come to find that there’s a very good ‘pop’ community,” he explained, “a lot of artists that really support each other. And they’ve been really welcoming each time we’ve come through. So we have a really good idea that going out there, we’ll be able to be involved in that community on a larger scale, and I think we’ll be able to thrive more because of it too.”
Austin is also a music industry hub, and the home of the ultra-influential South By Southwest, a music festival and industry conference that brings together some of the hippest bands and most powerful executives every year.
Doyle, especially, is interested in that side of the equation.
“I’d like to have a job in the music industry AND be a musician,” she said, “and there’s not any opportunity like that in Columbia. Being in a DIY band, I’ve booked shows, and I’ve really always been enamored with the business side of it. I’ve seen a lot of bands that we’re friends with and we’ve crossed paths with on tour, and I feel like a lot of bands get overlooked or underestimated, and they’re not getting a fair shot at festivals or showcases or even shows.
“I think I have a gift for seeing authentic artists. My dream for so long after playing SXSW for the first time (in 2016) was to curate a showcase here for underdogs.”
And she’s not just dreaming it. Doyle has been in contact with some SXSW organizers.
“If things go well next year,” she said, “there are people we know that host showcases, and I’ve already talked to them, and they know that I want to be on board and help out and be a part of it.”
“Austin is one of the first places that inspired us to hustle harder,” Arambula added. “It inspired us because we were able to get out of SC, and we saw so many bands out there hustling, and it gave us a clue that you can go out there and try; it’s ok for you to try.”
But that’s the future. For now, the duo is focused on their farewell show and how far they’ve come.
“It’s crazy reflecting on everything we’ve done as a band since 2008,” Doyle concluded. “Playing festivals, playing in Toronto, San Francisco and LA, all these places we’ve been and people we’ve played with. Our farewell show is a pause before the next chapter, and it feels really right. I’m glad we’re going out like this.”
Glass Mansions Farewell Show
Nov. 20. 6 p.m. $5. With Jody Jackson, Katlyn Redfern. newbrooklandtavern.com.