In Boyle Heights, I come face to face with my destination: a bland and unassuming warehouse. This building, however, houses MakeOutMusic, a champion of the L.A. DIY music scene. With a smaller capacity than most venues and an even smaller stage, MakeOut provides a space for artists to create an intimate connection with their audience. This venue’s unique focus is exactly why North Carolina-born musician glaive has chosen it for his latest show – one that celebrates the release of his newest EP: “a bit of a mad one”.
Days after celebrating his 19th birthday, Ash Gutierrez (glaive) already boasts an incredible track record. After exploding in popularity on Soundcloud in 2021, and being signed by music label goliath Interscope Records, Ash has enjoyed success after success. He’s been releasing singles, EPs, and in mid-2023, his first full-length album. With the incoming debut of his EP, glaive is celebrating with his show at MakeOutMusic, performing with his friend 9mice, a Russian rapper.
We meet Ash at a nearby restaurant called “Linda Sea Food Mariscos Linda,” lounging in a booth with his friends. After a brief round of formalities, Ash follows us out of Linda’s, along with his friend Tommy. As we set up underneath the restaurant’s neon sign, we’re bathed in an unnatural glow.
[Note: this interview has been edited for clarity and brevity purposes]
Tomas: You’ve been in the spotlight since you were pretty young, like 14, 15, 16. …What’s it like being so young in the music industry? Do you have trouble with being taken seriously? Do you have trouble standing out and relating to your peers?
Ash: I’d say that I got quite lucky in that respect because pretty much everyone that I was like, coming up with, like my friend Eric or whatever… he’s 21, I’m 19, but like, we’re similar ages. It’s not like I’m fucking 14 and he’s 56. Like, like he’s going through the same shit as I was… he might be two years older, but it’s not that vast of a difference. So it allowed us to be like, sharing our fucking experience, and like that helped a lot. But I don’t know, I don’t know. If I think about it too much, I’m like, that was some crazy shit that was going on when I was 15. But like at the end of the day it’s like, yeah, it’s cool.
“So it allowed us to be like, sharing our fucking experience, and like that helped a lot.”
Charlie: You talked about how you used to do well in school, and then you kind of made music your thing. And I was just wondering if you, you ever might go back to school?
Ash: Yeah… I applied and I got accepted to do a class at ASU which is like, I’m not going [physically] to fucking Arizona State University, I’m going to do the class.
Charlie: Yeah, like online.
Ash: It’s Intro to Veterinary Studies or Intro to Animal Biology or something like that because when I was younger, I wanted to be a vet. I don’t really want to be a vet anymore. I kind of want to keep doing what I’m doing… I’m not going like y’all [full-time classes]. If I do one class a semester, it’ll take me, like, 50 years to graduate. But, like, we’re starting off light. When I have the time, maybe I’ll do more, but for now just one little animal biology class.
“When I have the time, maybe I’ll do more, but for now just one little animal biology class.”
Charlie: I was reading another article, you know, you’re talking about your inspirations, especially for the new album. You talked a lot about Modern Baseball and just like midwestern emo in general. And I was wondering like, what have you been listening to recently? And have you been working that into your music so far?
Ash: Especially for the new EP, definitely. No more modern baseball/midwest emo. I kind of got over this whole emo phase that I was in. So now it’s a lot of like, hardstyle music. A lot of Russian rap music, a lot of like, Lucky. A lot of like just strange, obscure, ambient songs and that all kind of comes into play… I made my last EP in Alaska and we went there and I was like, I was really into hardstyle, like I was listening to this mix on Soundcloud every morning and it’s pretty intense. So I’d listen to it and I would just be fucking like, fucking fried out at fucking 8 a.m. and yeah, that kind of came into play. I was like, we should write a hardstyle song.
“I kind of got over this whole emo phase that I was in. So now it’s a lot of like, hardstyle music.”
Charlie: I saw an article back in July where you were talking about your most recent album and how you had like 80 songs, but you only released like 13. Is there any plan for those?
Ash: That’s when I say that everybody’s like, “oh he made 80 great songs”. I made probably 20 good songs. The rest if you heard them, you’d be like, damn, he is ass, he is fucking garbage. So the 60, they’re kind of mid… They get leaked, so you can go listen to them. But like from my end, they’re probably going to stay Soundcloud/Youtube uploads… I don’t know, maybe I’ll like, make a fucking hardstyle remix and put on like a one-all or something. I don’t know.
Tomas: How did you decide what songs you wanted to keep for that [album]? And how did you know when it was done?
Ash: I don’t really know. I decided, I just like listened to all the songs and I was like, which one is the best? And I had a lot of opinions from everybody, and a lot of people gave their thoughts. And at the end of the day I picked it up and I hoped and prayed that I made the right decision and I think I did, but I don’t know, it’s kind of a guessing sort of situation. You just pick a song and you’re like, I fuck with this. So I’m gonna put it on the record… If I thought about it too long, I’d probably just shoot myself, you know. I just couldn’t do that. So I keep it pretty chill, pretty chill.
“I don’t know, it’s kind of a guessing sort of situation. You just pick a song and you’re like, I fuck with this.”
Charlie: You have a lot of songs… made in collaboration with a lot of artists. Do you have anyone you’re planning to work with, or anyone you want to work with in the future?
Ash: There’s this like Spanish artist, like Spain, Spanish [from Spain] artist, called Ralphie Choo. The fucking goat. I made a song like last week with this lady named Dora Jar, who I’m a big fan of, and that shit is sick. I don’t know. Hopefully, I’ll make a song with like, everybody in the whole world one day. But at the moment I’d love to do a song with Ralphie Choo. He’s sick.
“Hopefully, I’ll make a song with like, everybody in the whole world one day.”
Charlie: Do you mind elaborating on why this was kind of like a pop-up show? Because it was kind of announced, like just a week ago, and it’s already up.
Ash: I’ve done those shows, like you get it. I was like, people have gone to enough fucking glaive shows. So I was like, I’m putting out this EP and I want to do something for it, but I don’t want to do like a big fucking, “this is my show, come on, this is a tour, we’re going on tour”. So we just did a show. I announced it, it’s like a tiny venue… I think it’ll be beautiful, in my opinion, but I don’t know, we’ll see. You’ll see, I suppose.
Tomas: You’ve talked about your stage name before, and you have mixed feelings about it. If you could go back and pick your stage name again, what do you think it would be?
Ash: I will say that my opinion on my name has grown. I used to think it was kind of cringe, but now I think it’s kind of sick. It’s like short, and kind of like easy to remember. But if I could pick my name again, I don’t know. I was never very good at names. I’d probably name myself Tommy Pointer.
Tomas: What’s that?
Ash: Tommy Pointer. I name myself after this guy [points at his friend Tommy].
Tommy: You’re gonna steal my name.
Ash: It’d be a hard-ass name, bro. But I don’t know. I like glaive. Now. I used to think it was kind of cringe but now it’s like I snapped, you know, but I snapped.
“I used to think it was kind of cringe, but now I think it’s kind of sick.”
Charlie: I love your music videos. How much of your creative vision is in those? And like, how much do you think is gonna be in the future? Is that all glaive or is it like…?
Ash: Well, there are directors so I’m not the one directing it… For this EP that’s coming out, I did like a lot of little videos on my, this little shitty camera and that’s all me. I’m not the one filming it because I can’t physically do that. But just friends in North Carolina just fucking hold the camera, point it at me. This is what we’re doing. But in the future when I start doing videos, like me and bro [points at Tommy], we’re about to go do a music video, I think I’m getting more involved. Definitely. Which is fun.
“I think I’m getting more involved. Definitely. Which is fun.”
As we wrapped up the interview, I tagged in our cameraman Ian to ask Ash one last question.
Ian: So uh you said… that you were like, running, to help you with the stage presence and like getting your breath control and stuff. And then more recently you started lifting, and I saw the arm, I saw the arm on the story, bro and then-
Ash: I’m tryna get like you [points at Ian’s arm].
Ian: I appreciate it, bro. So what… what are you currently doing to prepare for performing?
Ash: OK, I’ll be honest, I started running because I sucked at performing. So running made me better at performing. And then I started going to the gym because my ex-girlfriend broke up with me and… I was like, I need, I need a billion dollars and I need to be big as fuck. So that’s really what happened. But now I kind of just go because it’s nice and I like the routine but I don’t know, we go on hikes. I don’t always go to the gym. It’ll take me a little bit longer to be like you [gestures to Ian], but I’m trying my best. I’m trying my damn best.
Ian: Shoot dude, if you get filled out, you’re like what, 6’4, 6’5? You’re gonna be fucking terrifying.
Ash: [laughs] It’d be wraps dude, it’d be wraps.
“I started going to the gym… I was like, I need, I need a billion dollars and I need to be big as fuck.”
Ash Gutierrez, better known as glaive, is a trailblazer, renowned for his innovative and distinct sound. From humble beginnings, his rise to fame is the story of a modern-day underdog, a tale that captures the hearts of his dedicated fan base. With each new release, Ash continually pushes the boundaries of popular music and cements his legacy as an innovator, one who’s still figuring himself out. Between his scholarly pursuits, musical development, and efforts to enhance his skills in video production, glaive continues to rise, and shows no signs of stopping. With such a talented and multi-faceted individual, the sky truly is the limit.
Listen to Ash’s newest EP here.