SINGER OR A SAINT? HOW NED RUSSIN BECAME GLITTERER

“I think everyone kind of has this innate, foundational part of themselves that can be unlocked through certain activities. For me, that’s been music. So I can allow myself to stumble on an instrument and find something that feels right and like myself. I’ve never done something new just to be new. What I’ve done instead is trying to allow myself that room to stumble around and play something that is based in that foundational musical self while being colored by different life experiences, by new records I’ve gotten into, by new ideas I’ve had. And so, Glitterer is me doing that with some different instruments at a different time in my life.”

You should know who Ned Russin is — and also know and be aware of his influence on punk music.

But if you don’t, that’s okay! TPZ is anti-gatekeeper, so for the unknowing, allow me to give you the SparkNotes of Mr. Russin.

Russin is a longtime veteran of the punk music scene. At 13, he was one of the founding members of the legendary Pennsylvania-based band, Title Fight. From hardcore, to emo, to post-hardcore, to pop-punk, to eventually shoegazing, TF has been a constant mainstay of the scene.

As each member of the band has veered off in their own direction, the once lead singer and bassist has never stepped away from the scene. 

Released in August 2017, an EP, named after the artist of Glitterer, has since seen him take a new direction. From the drum machines to the synthesizers, Glitterer is a one-man band that proves that there can be an “I” in the word “team.”

Unapologetic, dynamic, and thoughtful, the project has also seen another EP release, with Not Glitterer and later, a debut full album, Looking Through The Shades, dropping in July 2019. 

With each project serving as a unique musical experience, the tracks, which rarely clock in at over two minutes, have this weird partnership, as if there’s a secret connection behind them, waiting for us to put it all together.

Featuring elements of hip-hop, punk, dream pop, and much more, it’s hard to label what this is.

It isn’t Title Fight. It isn’t even Ned Russin. This is Glitterer.

As Russin pointed, Glitterer, despite its radical change in sound from Title Fight, isn’t a case of evolution, but of discovery, “I’ve never planned my approach to writing music –  I don’t want to have my influences mapped out – so I guess in that regard there is some sense of ‘natural’ evolution to things. Though I hesitate to sign off on that idea because I’m skeptical of that narrative. Another thing I don’t like to do is to act like music is some magical thing I don’t have control over, but I try to allow space for my subconscious to move around while writing.”

But amid self-discovery, comes the overarching problem of trying to move on from one’s past. However, there is a fundamental flaw in trying to do so: the past is always right behind you.

Because Title Fight is only on hiatus, there is a constant demand for answers from fans of the band. Through this, there’s a scarlet letter for Russin: where he goes, the legacy of his previous success follows him.

Even now, with the last TF release, Hyperview, dropping in February 2015, it’s not uncommon to see interviews and/or videos with Russin like “Glitterer (Ned Russin from Title Fight) Interview.”

“It bothers me a little, but not enough to say something,’’ explained Russin. “I understand the importance of context, but I don’t think it’s that important. I’m sure, yeah, some people have clicked on some article or maybe went to a show because of the mention of a previous band. But it’s a massively incorrect assumption that most people give a shit about that.”

As he would later explain, while understanding why fans get upset at artists for changing, there’s a dangerous precedent that can be established viewing this relationship as a case of the evolution of either party.

For artists, it can lie with them viewing the fans as not as evolved. While for fans, the lack of connection to the current music being made becomes the source of betrayal.

But despite the constant demand for answers, Russin’s past success doesn’t bother him, “The burden part is not that I have to live up to it or deal with my past – I’m fine with that – it’s that you have to deal with other people’s expectations and interpretations of it.”

For him, that line between creating art that would be more ideal for those long-time fans versus what he’s making now doesn’t exist. Unapologetic to exploring his art, he creates what he needs to create.

“People listening to anything I’ve done is amazing, truly humbling and something I can’t fully wrap my head around. But to think some music is better or more desirable than something else because more people would listen to it is ridiculous. I write the song that I need to write and hope it finds the person who needs to hear it.”

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