Photo courtesy of Justin Nizer
Accompanying the amazing talents of the famous glitch-hop trio, The Glitch Mob, YourEDM had the chance to chat with The M Machine during their stop in Chicago. The San Francisco-based band has been known to the EDM-spectrum for a while, and they have been changing the game. Their recent release of the Just Like EP brought a new side of The M Machine to their fans.
Focusing on a more indie/dance side of electronic, the EP featured many new sounds that I have not heard in anyone else’s tracks. In my opinion, the sound design is phenomenal! You can check the review of their EP right here.
Their performance was also outstanding. After listening to them live for the third time, I am really happy to see that they have evolved to something of their own. They are unique, and they are doing their own thing. This is something that the majority of EDM fans don’t see. Many producers can gain fame by creating tracks of the genre du jour, but not everyone can develop their own sound in this melting pot of producers.
Talking to Eric and Ben was like I was talking to a close friend. They were both approachable, funny, and down to chat! We had a long conversation about them, their new EP that was coming out and their live performances from past to present.
You three were involved in a different music project before The M Machine was created. What inspired you in choosing The M Machine as your new project name?
The three of us were writing music in San Francisco together as Pance Party. That was the very first writing we did together. It was us learning, and as soon as we felt we had direction, and something more cohesive, we renamed the project. At that time we were feeling pretty inspired by Metropolis, a 1927 Sci-Fi film by Fritz Lang, a pretty amazing movie. At the outset, this horrible M shaped machine explodes and kills a bunch of the subterranean worker class. Its the imagery that inspired our name, as well as the first couple EPs we wrote. – Ben
Tell us a bit about your music background. How did you start producing and why?
I was playing piano, guitar, I was a brass player for a long time, but I was never serious about music until after college. I moved up to San Francisco with Eric to pursue sound for games. We were working on game audio, scores, effects. – Ben
My musical background is actually pretty similar to Swardy’s. I started with piano and played percussion in band for a while in school, which maybe helped my rhythm (smiles). I got into playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager. Then, I got a computer and started making computer music. That kinda just took over. In college, I was an economics major. I was preparing to be an accountant or something, but decided to go this route instead. – Eric
For us, music had to be a hobby first. You can’t support yourself when you’re learning. We had part time jobs for the first maybe two to three years, while we were writing. You would go to your job and come home and write, write, write. It can be hard at first, but I guess it depends on your situation. -Ben
Some people just write that one track in their first couple years and blast off, but our ride has been a bit more slow and steady. – Eric
You either have live instrumentation or DJ sets for your performances. How do you conduct your DJ sets?
We use Ableton live, Max/MSP, a rotation of controllers, your standard DJM and Resolume for video. Eric uses a MIDI fighter for manipulating video during the performance and Andy programs the video content and software. – Ben
How about the live instrumentation shows?
Live vocals, synths and samples. Eric mixes tracks, vox, and live elements, and Andy performs the video show. That’s the performance setup we ran for the Metropolis tour anyway. – Ben
You have been preparing the Just Like EP and you have released one track from it. How many tracks should we expect from it and are they completed?
The EP will have 5 tracks and they are all completed. It will be released on OWSLA, on November 11th. – Ben
The actual EP has been released now! You can listen to all five tracks below:
What genre of music should we expect from the new EP?
Dance music! – Ben
Its a bit of a swing for us. We wrote dance music not bangers. Think more ‘deep’ and less ‘aerobics workout.’ – Eric
Are you guys keeping it at 128 BPM or are you doing something fully different?
Between 122-126. – Eric
How do you see electronic music over the next 10 years? Will it evolve with originality in mind, or will we be hearing the same bass lines again and again?
I think it is fair to say that you can’t possibly know, but if there is one trend I am sort of noticing, it does seem like you get a collection of DJs who want to participate in the current genres. They are going to update their sound, their personal trademark and signature, and take that through each genre that happens to be current. Those are the guys that you see headlining the big festivals, like HARD and EDC. To me, that’s going to continue to be what I consider the big commercial market of electronic music. At the same time, what we are going to see on the other side is less of an electronic music “label” and more indie music that includes a lot of computers. Everybody uses computers now of course, and what we will see is sort of a blur between indie music, dance music and mainstream media, which is sort of that big market of headline acts and big mainstream producers. – Ben
If you could play any venue, which would it be and why?
I guarantee we don’t know what it is yet, I am positive it is not in America and I am sure it’s like an old fallout shelter in Estonia or something like that! For what we know now, the venue that has blown us away the most is Red Rocks. I would imagine we would get a similar feeling at the Gorge. – Ben
At the same time, you always kinda just want to be in a sweet, burned out warehouse in Detroit. – Eric
How do you feel right now, coming to a venue with 5,000 people capacity?
We certainly ride the moment. Otherwise we are pretty mellow dudes. – Ben
But then you walk out and stage and “Wow! This is real, this is crazy! There’s actually a shit ton of people out there!” – Eric
It’s also different because we are on tour right now. When you do a show almost every single night, you have this 2-hour little moment where you are not in a bus or a van. You’re not on stage yet and you kinda have this thing. It’s like the only time you get to take a breath… then you jump right back into it. – Ben
It is also a relief to some extent. This is what we do, it’s the situation we created. And then seeing a positive response from the crowd, especially a crowd this big, it is pretty special. – Eric
If you could choose an artist that influenced your productions, who would it be and why?
Feels so wrong to name one. – Ben
From David Bowie to Aphex Twin, we listen to so much music. There is so much music that we love. This is a really tough question for us. – Eric
What do you have to say to any new musicians out there? How can they make their dreams come true?
Robin Williams once told a bunch of young comedians to give up… do something else. He knew the only ones with a shot would ignore him and push on. There isn’t much you can say to somebody to make them more successful. It has to come from yourself. It has to be your personal ambition and your personal drive. It’s really hard and it’s your whole life. – Eric
When was that “click” when you realized you can actually make it?
When we started getting booked for small time gigs, we started getting a few hundred bucks here and there. – Eric
At that time it was naive, but we were dumb enough to think that it meant something. That said, confidence (naive or not) drives you to work harder, and for us, eventually led to this. – Ben
What is your favorite pizza?
Peperoni, Pineapple, Jalapeno. – Eric
Hawaiian. Lots of chili pepper. – Ben
The Love Death Immortality tour ended, but The M Machine still has two shows to go! You can catch them on December 31, at POP NYE in Oakland, California. Tickets can be purchased here!
Now if you are really lucky, and you are aboard the dopest electronic music cruise, you can catch them at Holy Ship on February 18.