Music / Features
They Made Me Do It -
Talking Influences with Don Glori
Words by James Lynch
Tuesday 26th November, 2020
Ahead of the release of his forthcoming EP Dawn Calling next week, we got in touch with Don Glori (aka local bass master Gordon Li) to dig into the influences that have inspired his new collection of jazz-tinged house.
Gordon Li is no stranger to the Melbourne live scene. Over the years, he’s covered a huge spectrum of sounds in a string of local acts - from the contemporary jazz of his bass-led solo group, over to the party-starting sounds of instrumental-funk group Sunnyside. But on his latest project Don Glori (if you’re switched on you’ll realised that’s an anagram of his name), he’s amalgamated both sides of his musical mind to create a collection of groove-heavy jazzhop that leans into his love of house, broken-beat and Brazilian music.

The first taste of the forthcoming EP of the same name is ‘Dawn Calling’, a track that celebrates exactly what Don Glori and his band have to offer. Anchored by a restless rhythm section, the track expands with a glowing keyboard while a yearning saxophone beams alongside a masterful vocal performance. Playful, vivid and bursting with colour, ‘Dawn Calling’ unravels thrillingly - the soundscape spiralling unpredictably as each member of the group takes a moment in the spotlight - before finally warping back to its starting place, yet feeling all the more gloriously disorientating for it.

With the full EP out next week, Don Glori has given us an extra hint towards what we might be hearing on Dawn Calling as he shares some key influences with us.

After Hours, directed by Martin Scorsese
This movie is about an office workers wild and unfortunate night in SoHo set in 80’s New York. He’s just trying to get home but gets stuck out and it all keeps snowballing wildly out of his control. The way Scorsese has directed it really feels like a stream of consciousness, one thing keeps leading to the next in this beautiful, almost dream-like, cyclical way. I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen this movie but it’s definitely my favourite Scorsese film. It’s amazing how the story is so fluid but the tone of the film is so dark and thick.  

The last track off Dawn Calling was named after this film, I think it (hopefully) captures the disorienting energy of the movie. I’ve definitely played the track alongside the trailer more than once. I think it works.

Donny Hathaway - Live
There’s a good reason why this album is the cornerstone of so many record collections. I reckon it’s one of the greatest live albums ever recorded. It was my first taste of Donny Hathaway and I always find myself returning to this record every few months; perfect for every occasion. The band is so completely in the pocket, and you can hear how much fun everyone is having on stage. Donny is the ultimate band leader!

Roland SP-404

Most of the music I’ve written for this project so far has been centred around my SP-404. I can’t remember exactly all the different reasons I wanted this machine originally but one reason would have definitely been seeing it used by so many other musicians in different contexts. 

It’s great as both a stand alone FX unit as well as a sampler. My favourite aspect about it is that the editing process is destructive and it doesn’t have any sort of quantise function, so you’ve got to have a concept ready in your mind and you can’t hesitate in executing it. A lot of the time your loops and samples aren’t quite perfect and those end up being the happy little accidents which the 404 is known best for.

Melbourne Bass Players

It’s so inspiring to see other bass players in this city stepping out and leading their own groups. There must be something in the water in Melbourne because it seems like wherever you go you can’t escape seeing another great bass player. Henry Hicks (Horatio Luna), Asha Trips (Messy Mammals), Allara Briggs Pattison (Allara), Carl Lindenberg (WVRBABY), Matthew Hayes (Matthew Hayes), Declan Stewart (Creek), Dan Rock (Beatnik). The list goes on!

Bill Frisell - East/West
Oh man, another great live album! There’s something magical in Bill Frisell’s fingers. Disc 1 is one of my favourite Frisell recordings. Such a huge sound from just drums, double bass and guitar. And the band is communicating on a whole other level, so much interaction; doubling lines, leaving the right amounts of space, you can tell it’s a band who all know each other’s playing really well. It makes me feel the same way that I felt when I bought my first Green Day CD in Year 4.

Rare Silk - 'Storm'
American Eyes, what a weird album! It has all the elements you come to expect and adore from the 80’s. Fretless bass, synth solos, that electric piano sound with strings layered underneath. Besides that though the whole album is also peppered with really funky clav playing, extended vocal techniques and some other odd choices.. even venturing into electro-swing territory on the title track. This track ‘Storm’ however has become a cult hit slow jam. To me it sounds almost Sade-esque. Slow and silky with this delicate groove. This was the main inspiration behind the group vocals on ‘Dawn Calling’.
Dawn Calling is out on December 4th through Nothin Personal - head to to pre-order the album on limited 12" vinyl.