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Interviews: The Machinist

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Death Metal/Balck Metal band, The Machinist from the UK. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1.Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

John: After the first few songs came together, the drum machine created it’s own sound. Rather than just using acoustic samples, we started using electronic elements, and other weirder noises - it sounded very mechanical, cold and calculated. It’s lack of humanity became appealing in itself, so rather than trying to emulate a human drummer, we just embraced the machine and just pushed it. It seemed like a fitting name for such a cold, quantised sound. I’d used a much more overtly electronic “gabber” sound in my previous projects, but I wanted to explore uncanny valley more with this one. The more real something looks or sounds, the more of-putting and creepy it sounds when it’s not quite there, right? 

2.Why did you want to play this genre?

John: We didn’t set out to play this genre, we just kinda arrived at it. We wanted to play death metal, we wanted to play black metal, and I’m a colossal synth dork. When I was a kid trying to form a band in my shithole home town, I didn’t have access to blastbeaters so I bought a drum machine, and I’ve used one ever since. We started to use one in The Machinist as a stopgap while looking for a drummer, but after a while, we grew to really see possibilities in the cold mechanical nature of it and saw potential for a sound we’d not get otherwise. So here it is, both a product of the music we love, and the constraints we found ourselves in.

Scott: To be perfectly honest, I came in pretty late, so I’m letting John deal with most of the stuff as it was his project to start with. But for me, I’ve just always loved extreme metal in general. Not so much on the death metal side of things. I wasn’t too over the moon when John asked me to come in on 2nd vocals, as I didn’t think it’d be my thing, but I listened to maybe half a song, and that was enough for me.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

John: We are a mix of local musicians from Manchester in the UK, and a mix of bandmates from Reign Of Erebus, so yes! We either played in bands on lineups we shared, or play in other bands with each other! We formed the band initially in Manchester, but then Scott came on board and added his own demented vocal. The rest is history.

Scott: Yeah, like John said, through other bands. John is the guitarist in Reign of Erebus with me, while I handle vocals there. So I guess that partnership was already sealed.

4. Each band member favourite band?

John: Oh gawd… do we have to pick one?! I’d be cutting my own throat if I had to name one. Neurosis, Mayhem, Emperor, The Berzerker, Anaal Nathrakh, Gary Fuckin Numan, Eurythmics, Queen, Portishead, this could take a while.

Scott: Sorry, but I’m bloody old school. Iron Maiden for me if you had to ask 1 favourite band. That’s just it for me. As for other influences, I tend to lean more towards the black metal side of things.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

John: You don’t get into this kind of music if you’re happy with everything in life. If you’re truly happy in life you tend to not question and just do. To me, this expresses that dissatisfaction. As you get older your dissatisfaction becomes more honed and refined and a lot more articulate. Anger is a big driver for me. Obviously. Despair is too, but on it’s own despair is useless. Turn it into anger. That’s much more useful, and creative.

6. Where was your last gig?

John: Shamefully.. because of Covid19, this band has yet to play a show. But one of NekroDrako’s last shows was an all dayer headlined by Anaal Nathrakh, at Rebellion in Manchester. Good god that was an absolute blast. Anaal Nathrakh have always been one of my favourite bands so for the old band to go out on a high like that meant a lot to me.

Scott: Last one for me was 3 or 4 years ago now, the last time Reign of Erebus played and before John joined us. We took some time off to do an album, then by the time things were finished, all the world got locked down.

7. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

John: Ask us that again after gigs start up again! Haha! Me personally? I get nervous sure but I never had an “I cannot do this” moment. By the time you turn up to the venue, you’re talking to the promoter, you’re talking to the sound man (if you’re lucky) and you’re talking to the other bands. By this point you’re committed, and for me that’s when the blinkers come down. No turning back. Sure you can get nervous. But that’s just how it goes. At the end of the day just get out there and nail it. Smash it. You only live once. 

Scott: No, not at all. Usually it's over before you realise, then you have to deal with the morose post gig cone down.

8. What bands have inspired you the most? 

John: Me personally? I fell in love with extreme music by way of Sepultura. Roots had just come out and I just HAD to check out their back catalogue. The next CD I bought by them was Schizophrenia because that’s the only other CD they had by Sepultura, and I was in for a shock! The bands that inspired me the most to action though, were The Berzerker and Anaal Nathrakh. As I said, as a kid without access to a blastbeater in my home town, the fact that the guys did their thing with machines (or at the very least it sounded like they were using machines), was an inspiration to me.

Scott: Ah that is a tough one. Possibly Ihsahn. He really just doesn't care one bit if people like what he puts out or not. Personally, I love his solo stuff, and obviously Emperor. But his solo stuff is just him going ‘hey, I’m going to do a song like this, because I want to.’ No constraints or restrictions of genres. Just music.

9. What do you think of your fans?

Scott: Well, that goes without saying that we really appreciate anybody who takes the time to listen to us and appreciate what we have done. Any person in a band will tell you the same thing. You could have a string of 10 out ofb10 reviews, but all of that is eclipsed by just 1 person saying ‘I fucking love this song for such and such reasons’ or just letting us know they have been blasting the album out and enjoying it and hearing the work we have put into it and appreciating it. Never take fans for granted. People remember arseholes. So don’t be be an arsehole.

John: Like Scott said, it means an awful lot to us when someone appreciates what you do, and it's part of a feedback loop that makes you want to continue to create.

10. Something to add?

John: Just enjoy our album! It’ll be a while before we can head out there and play shows, but when we do? We look forward to seeing you!

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