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My Interview With Chris Glover (aka Penguin Prison)

After a very energetic Girl Talk show, I was given the opportunity to interview one of the most talented rising stars in the pop underground world. He isn’t as popular (yet) as his music is appealing and potentially groundbreaking, however at this point in his early career, he had just finished a (almost) sold out tour with Girl Talk. Everything about what Penguin Prison (aka Chris Glover) had during his live performance resembled a Prince show I had seen just a month earlier, and incorporated a new spin on the funk aspect of Prince’s music. However, the vocals that Penguin Prison consists of is top-of-the-line talent, and can only be spoken for via listening to it, as words can not do it’s addicting sound justice.

Here are a few videos of Penguin Prison.

TC: What do you call the music that you play?

CG: I would just call it pop, mixed with electronic elements, and disco, it’s just dance music.

TC: Very funk oriented, as well,

CG: Yeah,

TC: What are some of your musical influences?

CG: Some of the main influences on me are Michael Jackson, Prince, and the Talking Heads, as well as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash. I mean, I have a lot influences, even though they might not sound like something that’s actually in my music.

TC: There’s a lot of musicians who are trying to put out music that will make it to the Top 40′s. From what I’ve heard from you, that doesn’t seem to be the exact thing you’re going for, is it?

CG: I’m basically doing Top 40 type music but it’s more like with cooler production, cooler lyrics, and doing it sort of DIY, grassroots, like in my bedroom by myself without fancy producers, and fancy studios or anything. It’s more like a normal guy, making pop music in his bedroom.

TC: Has music always played a role in your life?

CG: Yeah, I started singing when I was little. I was in gospel choir in junior high school, at professional performing arts school. I was in a class with Alicia Keys and we just sang around the city, we performed everywhere. That was cool.

TC: Do you still talk to her at all?

CG: I saw her once a couple of years ago, at Sesame Street actually. I had a job where I made music for TV shows, and I was taping a Sesame Street Christmas special, and she was there to sing, so we talked about stuff.

TC: There seems to be a funk influence in your music, and as previously mentioned, Prince being one of you influences. I can definitely see a correlation between the way that you both approach music, especially the funk genre, mixing together the many styles you both show in your music. Has he had a really big influence on you?

CG: Yeah definitely. In particular, one of my songs, “Don’t Fuck With My Money,” is pretty influenced by him, by his song “Kiss” it’s not a direct rip off, it’s just that I was listening to that song a lot.

TC: Does that happen to you a lot?

CG: It’s not like I want to make a song like this, it’s just that I was listening to that song a lot and wanted to make a song sort of in that world. And that other song came out of me, and it just happened.

TC: Tell me about Penguin Prison.

CG: Well it’s basically just me when I record, and then when I play live, I wanted to put a band together.

TC: Much like a studio band, and other single artists. And so you record everything by yourself?

CG: I do almost everything by myself. I did some stuff with different friends like this guy Alex from a band called “Holy Ghost.” I made a two songs with him, a couple of songs with some other friends, so it’s just me working with a bunch of different people sometimes, and then live I wanted to have a live band so I got some friends together and put together the live band.

TC: You just got done doing a tour with Girl Talk. How did you guys meet, and will there be any collaborations, if there haven’t been already?

CG: I met Greg in like 2003 I was going to college at Bart college, he came and performed there. This was obviously a long time ago, before he was famous or anything, and I met him, and then I actually gave him some vocals and he used them for a song. It’s on his album Unstoppable. So yeah we made a song together. We just kept in touch. This tour, I was like, I want to open for you, and he invited me to come out, so yeah.

TC: And how did it go?

TG: It went well.

TC: Any standout moments, for this tour?

CG: This tour, the south was actually surpassingly really good. Charleston, SC both shows in Virginia, North Carolina, they were all crazy, the crowds were great.

TC: Do you guys plan on collaborating in the future?

CG: We might. We definitely liked touring together. We’ve been talking about doing something in the future, I definitely think it could happen. That would be cool.

TC: If you could go back and open up for any musician, (dead or alive) who would it be?

CG: It would be cool to open up for Madonna, in the early 80′s, her audience were like 12-year-old girls, they were expecting this crazy show. I know the Beastie Boys opened for her, and the audience were booing them.

TC: How do you think the crowds would mix?

CG: I think they would like us. But, it’s funny, to sometimes play in front of audience that might not like you, and try to win them over.

TC: Where do you see yourself in a few years from now? Anything coming up you’d like to throw out there that’s coming up?

CG: I hope in the next few years that we are touring and playing all over the world and playing to the biggest crowds we can do, making people dancing, making people have fun, meeting as many people as we can. And people should just look for us to come play where they are, and look for a new album to come out in the spring.

About the Author

A young, aspiring music journalist out of the Verona, NJ area.

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