Penguin Prison is Chris Glover from New York, who first rose to prominence with a college band called “The Smartest People at Bard”, whose demos came to the attention of Q-Tip and, through him, Interscope. A solo album for the Universal label followed in 2009 but it attracted scant attention, so in the same year Glover left, took up the new moniker and began gaining recognition with remixes, amongst others, for Goldfrapp, Marina & the Diamonds, Passion Pit.
Glover developed an electro pop sound with producer Dan Grech-Marguerat (Scissor Sisters, Radiohead) and two singles followed on US indie label Neon Gold: his first single” Animal Animal / A Funny Thing”, released on November 23rd 2009 and the follow up “The Worst It Gets / Something I’m Not”, which came out on March 22nd 2010. Third single “Golden Train” was released on November 22 through Wall Of Sound. He then signed to Downtown Records in the US and to Stranger Records in other territories, including the UK, Germany, Spain, Austria and Australia.
His single “Fair Warning” was released as a one-track download on June 27th 2011, with a B-side and a remix bundle on August 22.
Hello Chris, can you please tell us about Penguin Prison. How it came along, what’s with the name, something that’s been probably asked loads of times and you’re wondering how people can still ask now.
Penguin prison is something I have been doing for about 3 years now. I started to make music differently than I had been making it previously and decided to come up with a different name for it besides my real name.
The name is from a song I made with my friend a long time ago where we were making fun of George w bush who was the president at the time. My friend said « he’s a penguin vision, he went to the penguin prison and assumed a penguin position. » it doesn’t make sense but that’s what happened.
You’re extremely productive. How do you do it? Are you always inspired?
I’m not always inspired no but if I put myself in my studio and tell myself to make music I can usually come up with something ! Obviously it’s better to be naturally inspired and that happens too.
I love your single « Golden Train » – it’s such banger – what’s it all about?
I would prefer for people to figure out what it’s about for themselves. The lyrics are out there. People can read them. I have yet to see someone say what it’s actually about.
You must be pretty excited that your first album is just release now – how does it feel to finally get the long player out to the public?
It feels very good of course. I just want this year to be as filled with having fun and playing shows as it can possibly be. I want to go all over the world and meet as many people as possible and make people happy.
What sort of sound are you working on with your album?
The album is like my attempt to make what someone like Michael Jackson should be doing in 2011 but with cooler more modern production.
So tell me, you’ve been doing promo in the UK for a couple weeks now – how’s it been going?
I love the UK. It seems like it’s easier for people to get into cool music there than in America for some reason so that’s one of the main reasons I like it!
To conclude with,
Digital days indeed : so what is on your iPod ?
Everything is on my iPod. I like all kinds of music. It seems like the music that really makes me the most happy is old country music like johnny cash, patsy cline, Hank Williams and that kind of music.
So, Any closing words for TEEZ’FM listeners?
Thanks for listening to penguin prison. If you haven’t listened to penguin prison you should start to!
Thanks to Chris & Ben
Interview by Thierry Jaussaud
The album is out now on Atmospheriques Records / Stranger Records / Downtown Records