Wednesday, 6 March 2013

We're Only Here For The Banter - Machines In Heaven

Electronic music in Scotland has never been in a healthier place.  Last year's releases from Miaoux Miaoux, Errors, Human Don't Be Angry, plus the emergence of the unstoppable CHVRCHES machine showcase the creativity and production talent that exists here, and just bubbling below that surface there's a raft of artists such as Giant Fang and our banter guests Machines In Heaven, waiting to burst through.  It won't be too long before Machines In Heaven pop that metaphorical bubble as they've got an album out soon hot on the heels of their recently released 'Glasgow Jihad' EP, which coupled with some great live performances has got me weak at the news in anticipation.  We spoke to band head yin Graham Crossan.

Hello, how are you?

Hello, where am I?

It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?

We've been trying to soundtrack the internal struggle between dark and light (hence the EP being titled 'Glasgow Jihad'; the 'Greater Jihad' being this very struggle) using huge kick-drums, basslines, synths and guitars in a building (and hopefully transcendent) musical journey you can dance to.  We're basically romantics, and there's pain in amongst the euphoria. 

Some influences are; Nirvana, Pixies, Clark, Nathan Fake, Eno, Byrne/Talking Heads, Joy Division/New Order, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Radiohead, Slayer, Timbaland, Classical, RZA as Bobby Digital, lots of Warp Records' stuff, 2 Step/Garage/UK Bass, and going for long walks/nights out/lie downs.

What's your song writing process like?

I don't know if any musician really has one set songwriting process, we're sort of like a weird kritarchy which grew out of an initial benevolent liberal dictatorship by Graham.  We're all huge fans of each others non-MiH projects, so, there's great musical empathy between us.  We try to maintain an atmosphere whereby we can voice opinions and shoot from the hip regarding what each other is doing without it turning personal (which is easy when you're working with musicians/producers that you respect).  Someone has an idea, bounces a relatively rough draft around, everyone suggests what can be added/taken away/shortened, and someone produces it.  We're jamming as much as we can too, and that worked immediately.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

We try to make everything as lovely and layered and huge as possible and we've some great live visuals by Stuart Silver of The Psychogeographical Commission.  Apart from that, double-speed headbanging, possible occurrences of band members gettin' aff wi each other mid-song, and sporadic orgasmic facial expressions from both audience and band.

If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

Getting so much praise and support when we'd not released anything and had only played a handful of shows, some of our musical heroes getting into us, and doing Miaoux Miaoux's merch table - we stole SO much stuff.

What have you got planned for 2013?

We'll bring our debut album out in spring/early summer, try and follow it fairly sharpish with an EP.  We've got some great festivals and support slots lined up, and we want to gig as far and wide as possible.

Leaving aside the question of whether there is an afterlive or not, what one machine would you take to heaven with you?

If there's an afterlife there's going to be a lot of time to kill, so we'd either take a Gameboy or a foot spa.  We'd maybe bring Napoleon a toaster or something.

What other artists (Scottish or not) would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

Le Thug, The Wayne Devro Set/Scientific Support Dept., Miaoux Miaoux, United Fruit, Vasa, Loki, Texture, Kromatic, Atomic League, Casual Sex, Nevada Base, Hector Bizerk, (a is to b), The DDN, Bill Breaks, lots & lots from the 'Aural Sects' netlabel, Death Grips, Holy Other, Ghosts, Twos, Mano Le Tough, Grimes, and too many more...

Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?

A guy walks into a pub and the bowl of nuts on the bar goes, "Evening sir, you look fantastic!", then he goes in the toilet and the condom machine goes, "Here fannybaws, you're an arsehole!"  Puzzled, he asks the barman what's going on, and the barman says, "The nuts are complimentary and the condom machine's out of order!"

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