Mixtapes find artists exercising their flow instead of assembling a final product -- more play than work, it's practice for the big game. For years, The Glitch Mob's Justin Boreta, Ed Ma and Josh Mayer held off a debut album, instead honing their sound through mixtapes -- hip-hop beats set on fire, lurching bass and glow-stick synths. The Mob's official debut album, Drink the Sea, just dropped in May, and sounds like the payoff from mixtape experiments: a deep, wild rabbit hole of atmospheric electro, and their best music yet.
The trio plays the Rex Theater on Sat., Sept. 11; City Paper talked to Ma about rock 'n' roll, dance injuries and impressing middle-school girls.
1. I'm sure you're inspired by a lot of electronic music, but what more traditional, guitar-bass-drum-type music inspires what you do?
On the regular, I actually don't listen to too much electronic music. We spend so much time making it, generally that's not the first thing I want to hear. I'm liking a band out of L.A. called Warpaint. The xx record was amazing. Grizzly Bear's last record -- I'm really into that as well.
2. Do you get into pop music?
No, but I prefer to not take the angle of hating on any music. I can get down on any kind of music and find something I like. I don't listen to country, but I can listen to a country song and say, "The way they produced those drums is really dope."
3. Has anyone ever danced so hard at a Glitch Mob show they were injured?
I hope not. But I've certainly seen already-injured people dancing at a show. Even pregnant people. Even elders. We've something good for everyone.
4. The sea isn't the smartest thing to drink. What's your drink of choice?
Probably water. I'm not a drinker.
5. Did you own school dances?
I was all about school dances. You'd do the Michael Jackson "Black or White" dance to get the girls' attention, then when the slow song came on, you really had to dance. Can't be holding your hands far apart. Gotta be brave. You can't be the shy guy. That gets you nowhere.
The Glitch Mob with MartyParty and Cutups & Keeb$. 9 p.m. Sat., Sept. 11 (doors at 8 p.m.). Rex Theater, 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $15.50. 412-381-6811 or www.rextheater.com