Whether it’s 30 or 3000 people in attendance, Glass Ampp can rock the stage with the same passion and drive that is making them one of the hottest indie-rock bands to come out of Canada.
The childhood friends (Steve Porretta, 23, lead vocals/rhythm guitar; Gianluca Mauro, 23, lead guitar; Anthony Ascenzi, 23, drums; and Steve Piersanti, 23, bass guitar) have shown the dedication and persistence required to take the next step in their young and potential-filled careers. From jam sessions and rehearsals in Porretta’s basement to sold-out concert halls in Barrie; Maple, Ontario’s Glass Ampp has a following that’s been growing since its formation in late 2009.
“We were all good friends in high school and we always had instruments in our hands so we started jamming together,” says Porretta. “We started taking it serious when Eugene (Gianluca’s brother) started managing us while we were playing here in the basement where we wrote a couple of songs and did some small concerts at our high school.”
“That’s when we started booking more gigs through Eugene and we started to grow from there.”
Ascenzi started playing drums when he was 18 and used to be the rhythm guitar player in Glass Ampp but Porretta started singing and playing guitar so Ascenzi moved to the drum kit. At the beginning, Porretta was singing and playing the drums for fun.
“He was singing with a headset but we wanted a front-man so we swapped positions,” says Ascenzi.
After being selected the 2010 Worldwide Showcase Champions, Glass Ampp went on to finish the year where they were showcased in Canadian Music Week. As well as being part of the 2011 CMW, Glass Ampp broadened their musical resume by being honoured as the 2011 Junofest Award Recipients and granted the privilege of performing at the Junofest with some of Canada’s hottest musicians. Individually, the band members have a long list of accolades and accomplishments, with notable performances at the International Indian Film Academy in 2011 and the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009.
Just last month, the band came out with their first official music video and single, ‘How It’s Gonna Go’ for their debut EP entitled Jellyfish.
“We chose ‘How It’s Gonna Go’ as our first single to release because we felt it was more radio friendly compared to the other three,” said Porretta.
Ascenzi says there were a few engineering hiccups shooting the video for ‘How It’s Gonna Go.’
“We were originally going to shoot in front of a green screen but it didn’t pan out the way we wanted it so we ended up just scrapping the whole idea and started shooting from the ground up. In one day, we were jumping from location to location coming up with ideas on the spot and it had a real organic feel to it.”
Glass Ampp recorded Jellyfish at Chalet Recording Studios in Uxbridge, Ontario this past March. Later that month, they entered a Rock 95 Battle of the Bands competing with 30 other acts over four months for the opportunity to open up for a mystery band.
“As we were winning to go on the next round, we still didn’t know who we we’re going to be opening up for,” says Porretta.
Ascenzi recalls when they found out who they were opening up for.
We were doing a photo shoot in the corner over there (rehearsal space) and Eugene just runs upstairs and runs back down and screams Big Wreck, that’s who we landed.
When October 24th arrived, Glass Ampp opened and played nine songs to a sold out show with Big Wreck at RANCH Concert Hall in Barrie. Unfortunately, they had a slight incident with a member of Big Wreck’s crew.
“We got into a bit of a dispute with their tour manager because we went four minutes over our time slot,” says Ascenzi. “He snapped at us and tried to get us off the stage but we kept our cool. After we had a chance to talk to their drummer (Forrest Williams) and we told him we didn’t mean no disrespect and he was happy.”
When it comes to the writing process in Glass Ampp, it’s a whole collaborative effort within the group.
“Steve’s really good at coming up with one-liners. He doesn’t write the whole thing but he has the main riff,” says Porretta. “Without Stevie, we’re just six feet under.”
The dream for all of the members of Glass Ampp is to turn their time together into a full-time career. However, they realize there are many obstacles that still face them.
“Right now we’re at this level where things are getting better; we’re growing and learning a lot more. But we go out and open for Big Wreck and then we do a gig the next day in another town and then we have to come back on the Monday to go to school and work and go back to that reality for a bit,” says Ascenzi. “So, that’s a huge downer.” (Band laughs.)
Ascenzi installs real estate signs and goes to school along with Mauro. Both are majoring in communications at York University. But Ascenzi has Glass Ampp as his first priority and wants to remain an indie band as long as possible so they can call their own shots.
“We’re just going to do as much as we can on our own,” says Porretta.
Glass Ampp is looking forward to touring the United States next summer when they’ll be opening up for a mysterious big band that can’t be mentioned at this time. Remember their name and don’t be surprised when you start hearing more of their songs on the radio in the near future.