photography by Dan Austin • styled by Abdiel Gonzalez
While all musicians aspire to make it big, to be a household name, few ever step out to make it happen. And when it’s a rock band of young, driven individuals, it’s no small feat. But after several performances at local venues, tours throughout Central Florida, and the recent release of their EP Love Lives in Dark Places, Glass House Point is such a band in the making.
When you first stepped into your career, it likely began in an office, maybe a coffee shop, or quite even over a phone call. But for the four-piece alternative indie rock band, Glass House Point, it all started in a Chili’s.
Glass House Point, consisting of Dylan Graham (vocals, rhythm guitar), Ian Campbell (bass), Dylan Methot (lead guitar, mandolin), and Jansen Valk (drums), turned their favorite hobby into their dream job three years ago. They all found their way to their instruments of choice in different ways, but when asked why they started a band, the four young men all agreed, “We just wanted to play music.” A rather innocent beginning, just four guys who loved music and had an idea. Their first performance was in a school talent show before they even had a name. A teacher gave them a temporary name, which they dropped for “Glass House Point” when Campbell found it while clicking through various Wikipedia articles.
To release an album at 18 and 19 years old . . . was an incredible accomplishment.
Glass House Point credits Winter Haven for giving the group the opportunity to get their foot in the door as an established band. “We got started in Winter Haven,” Campbell says. Three of the four members of Glass House Point grew up in Lakeland, but it was in Winter Haven where they had the opportunity to perform as real musicians. Due to restaurants in Winter Haven hiring them to perform, the band was able to raise the funds to record their EP Love Lives in Dark Places. Their EP release party was held at their favorite local venue, Jessie’s Lounge in downtown Winter Haven.
When the EP release party is brought up, all four guys begin to share their favorite memories of the show. Almost a year since the band’s EP release, their creative expression and stage presence have grown immensely. To release an album at 18 and 19 years old, let alone one as artistically complex and developed as theirs, was an incredible accomplishment. That show was where they were first able to present themselves as true artists. Collectively, the group pins that as their best performance experience in Winter Haven.
Now, Glass House Point plays in Winter Haven venues like Jensen’s Corner Bar, Jessie’s Lounge, The Fire Restaurant, and Tanners Lakeside regularly — the same restaurants that gave them a shot and ultimately made their careers into something much bigger. Their fan base and ability to perform in venues other than their school and hometown have added a new aspect to their music and overall creative lives. Jansen says, “Meeting new people and getting to associate with new musicians and getting inspiration from that,” have been some of his favorite parts of performing and being a part of Glass House Point. Within the walls of their rehearsal space, with the music absent, the group interacts just like they’re brothers. Yet once onstage, the band coordinates and moves as a unit.
Speaking to the young artists and seeing how happy they are in what they do is nothing short of inspiring. Their motivation is still as simple as when they started. Watching the band laugh about their shared memories from vacations and holidays is the closest thing to watching a family reminisce at a Thanksgiving Day meal.
But being in a band isn’t as glamorous as movies and TV shows can often make them seem. These young musicians are running a business, and with a business comes disagreements, tough decisions, and a whole lot of stress. Methot says “creating something that’s different” can be a big obstacle for a band. Glass House Point has also undergone a lot of changes recently, going from a five-piece band to a four-piece band, “[We’re] settling into a new environment,” says Jansen.
The obstacles these four have faced through the evolution of their band, and the resilience they’ve held in continuing to grow and progress, show how truly important this band is to them. They’ve done an incredible job maintaining a following in Polk County, but they’re nowhere near their goal, which is to be a national act, a household name. Specifically, Dylan Graham admits his hope is that soon all babies will be born saying “Glass House Point.”