Being in a band may seem glamorous, but it can often be grueling from both a physical and mental point of view. This is especially true when you’re on the road as much as the Philadelphia-based hardcore trio Soul Glo, which has shared the stage with everyone from My Chemical Romance to City of Caterpillar over the past few years and significantly raised its profile through high-energy live shows and genre-bending experimentation.
Soul Glo — vocalist Pierce Jordan, guitarist/bassist GG Guerra, and drummer TJ Stevenson — has existed in one form for nearly a decade but gained a new level of exposure with its latest album Diaspora Problems, its first for Epitaph Records. The album is as poignant as it is sonically powerful, but expelling that type of energy on a nightly basis can be understandably exhausting. Thankfully, over the years Jordan has developed effective coping skills for his lifestyle which help him set healthy boundaries both inside and outside of the band. This includes “practicing being honest with myself about what I can and can’t handle,” he explains.
We caught up with Jordan during a rare moment between tours to discuss the state of his mental health, what interventions have worked for him, and why every musician should bring a weighted blanket on tour.
SPIN: Soul Glo has been out on tour so much and then only home for these short periods. What’s your mental state right now?
Pierce Jordan: I’m overwhelmed a lot. Honestly, it’s easier sometimes when I’m just playing shows and I’m kind of unavailable to a lot of people. Sometimes when I get home and I have some time to catch up with my life and how things were happening when I was gone and what those things were, it can be challenging. Lately, I’ve been trying to be more aware of my feelings in the moment and just be honest and think about what they are because I tend to shut down when I’m overwhelmed.
What do you do to relax when you’re home?
I like to smoke weed. I like to sleep [laughs]. I like to watch television. You can probably hear in the background — I like Frasier a lot. I’m a big fan of that show. It’s not just those things. I’m a bass player, so it’s like meditative to kind of just run over some of the drills I’ve been taught over the years, but also just to see if any further ideas sometimes make their way into some of our songs. But a lot of it starts as me just trying to relax and then turns into trying to think of ideas for the future, which becomes stressful quickly.
Aside from that, my other hobbies are that I like rollercoasters a lot and I think I’m finding out that I love pinball. On tour, I’ve been having a good time with a lot of different machines and seeing some of the older ones versus the newer ones. Also I’m very meditative. That’s what I really like. I like shit that can’t turn my brain on.
I’ve always found that for me playing heavy music is meditative. Do you feel that too?
It is. I just don’t get enough of that feeling in my life [laughs]. I only have like 30 to 45 minutes of it a day.
Have you ever seen a therapist?
Yeah, I was in therapy from 2017 to 2021 and then I took some time off. I just started therapy again last month.
Has that been helpful for you in the past?
Definitely. You know, just giving me tools and strategies for how to deal with certain thought processes of mine and certain tics that I have. Then also analyzing things I’ve done in the past and tendencies that I have and what I do and what some of my emotional patterns are and why I do the things that I do—and how I respond to the way other people treat me. I’m kind of going back more to focus on reconciling my personal and professional life — what it sometimes takes from my relationships and also what it takes from me, emotionally.
When you’re on the road you’re away from your relationships and away from home, so that can be a tough balance.
Yeah. It also is a strain on my relationships with my bandmates and stuff like that — like, how much time we spend together and how much we have to deal with together and how stressful this act of turning music into a business [can be] when none of us are interested in being business people. We just want to be artists.
I feel like if people aren’t in bands, it can be hard for them to understand how little of being in a band is playing music.
Especially if you want to do it in a way that people respect you for [laughs]. But more than that, if you’re the kind of person where this is your strongest skill or greatest talent in life and society puts no real value on it until it does, it’s very difficult mentally and emotionally.
When it comes to your live performances, how would you describe your emotional state? Are you present or does it go by really fast?
It’s a little bit of both. Time has no meaning sometimes during our sets, but then other times in a second I can switch from that to being hyper-aware of everything that’s happening. It’s a very all-encompassing experience, honestly. It’s very hard to explain.
I notice the times that I mess up onstage are always the times I’m thinking about what I’m doing. If I don’t think about it, it’s fine.
There will be times when that happens as well or if I’m thinking about something else and I’m unfocused, sometimes I’ll mess up. But one thing that I notice is that I have a grace onstage that I just simply do not possess in real life as a person that I am. The things that I do onstage honestly confuse me a lot of the time because I know that my conscious self is not capable of acting this way without a much higher risk of serious injury to myself. It’s very funny. I don’t know how that happens or why, but there are some times where I’m just completely unaware of what I’m doing and still I’m doing it and my inhibitions are gone.
What about your self-confidence? Is it different on stage than it is when you’re just hanging out at home?
Definitely [laughs]. There’s no other way to say it — just 100 percent yes. It’s funny, because that version of myself knows he has the respect of everyone in his vicinity and the version of myself that exists in any other moment does not feel like that and never has. So, it’s very odd. It feels textbook in a way, but it’s definitely a really funny inverse phenomenon that happens.
Is there anything you have to bring when you’re traveling that helps you when you’re away from home?
A weighted blanket. If I’m not driving and if I can lie down in the van, a weighted blanket is so underrated that I just use my backpack as a pillow. If I’m traveling internationally I don’t bring it. Maybe I’ll get some bigger luggage and that can change [laughs]. A weighted blanket is crucial.
I actually have one but I never use it. I should break it out.
I like it because they can be weirdly cooling sometimes. When it’s hot, if you lay under a weighted blanket it actually can be very cooling and soothing. Then obviously when it’s really cold out, it just conserves that body heat. I fuck with them. They’re very underrated.