Since the duo God Lives Underwater surfaced on the electronic music
scene in 1994, its members -- who both sing, play guitar and keyboards
and handle looping -- have insisted that they are first and foremost about songs,
And based on the recording process used for their latest modern-rock
hit album, Life in the So-Called Space Age (1500/A&M), it can
safely be said that God's Jeff Turzo and David Reilly, both 27, are men
of their word.
While the two write songs in many different ways, Turzo said their
favorite tracks on the new album -- which was released in March -- are the
tunes that began as just words and guitar.
"A lot of times we'll have a nearly finished song written on guitar and
then we'll go back and find sounds on some tape that go with it well,"
"This album is more song-oriented than the last one," Turzo added. "And
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/God_Lives_Underwater/The_Rush_Is_Lou d.ram">'The Rush Is Loud'
d.ram">'The Rush Is Loud'(RealAudio excerpt) is an example of that.
It's a 2-year-old song that we had a lot of fun remaking. It took from 10 a.m.
to 10 p.m. a few days before mastering the album to [cut the song].
That's what made it cool."
The band's label, 1500, was fully behind the duo's first single from Space
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/God_Lives_Underwater/From_Your_ Mouth.ram">"From Your Mouth"
Mouth.ram">"From Your Mouth"(RealAudio excerpt), a funky and
irresistible track that garnered a great deal of airplay on modern-rock radio
stations. The label plans to release the equally catchy "Rearrange" on June 30.
"Everyone has a say in picking the singles," Turzo said. "But often
[David and I] are too close [to the songs] and we can't hear anymore, so
we look for help [from the label]."
The two -- Pennsylvania natives who moved to California -- share the
songwriting. And although they sometimes focus their lyrics on personal
experience, they're primarily concerned with what words sound good.
God Lives Underwater's eponymous 1994 EP and 1995 debut album,
Empty (both on American Recordings), were not your typical,
monotonous, melody-free electronica-fests, either. It's just that, according to
Turzo, the duo had more of a game plan this time: to cut music like that which
And what they love are "song bands" such as techno-rockers Spiritualized,
Depeche Mode and even the Beatles, though mixed with some techno of the
Prodigy and Nine Inch Nails kind. It comes off sounding something like new,
highly produced pop from David Bowie or Radiohead, only with more tape
And while GLU's music has certain electronic elements to it, the group draws its
lyrics organically from the life around them.
"Dave's more personal," Turzo said. "I like to write colorful things.
Music is still art if it's not 100 percent real emotion. Emotion can be fake.
We've written stuff as other people."
Turzo and Reilly produce all their sounds, mostly on their own, in their private
home studio. They've shunned commercial studios since the beginning of their
recording days. "[Our studio] is where we're comfortable working," Turzo said.
On tour, where they're joined by drummer Scott Garrett and guitarist Andrew
McGee, Turzo and Reilly said they believe that GLU's live sound should be
different from their recorded music.
"Very few techno bands play live," band manager Gary Richards said. "GLU add
in everything from guitars to live drums, vocals [and] filter changes on the
fly. They are more like a rock band than a techno band. Songs come
first, then the production elements are added."
GLU switched to A&M Records when Richards formed the label's 1500 Records.
The new label offered the group more creative freedom, Turzo said.
Familiarity with the band makes a crucial difference in helping the group
develop, Richards said. "As a label, we can help get God Lives Underwater's
vision across," he added, "because I've been [working] with them for many
years, live with them, and I understand what they're trying to accomplish. They
are a song-based band that utilizes technology to enhance the music."