Monday 7 January 2013

Interview with Stone Machine Electric

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing the brilliant Sludge/Stoner Rockers – Stone Machine Electric who are about to release their stunning S/T debut album which I recently raved about.

Well the guys have kindly agreed an interview with myself. So lets get started with these crazy rockers.

Q1 – Hi Guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you guys Today.

Dub: It's a pleasure, thanks for having us. Things are looking good.

Q2 – For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of the band and how it came about.

Dub: I was looking to get something started in this vein, but everyone around at the time only wanted to do cover bands. I don't have a problem with playing a cover song occasionally, but to do nothing but covers is extremely boring and unsatisfying. For me being in a band is about having a creative outlet to let the monster inside loose. It's not about playing someone else's crappy worn out songs just so I can get paid. Kitchens and I have been friends for years and have played together in bands before. 

When I mentioned to him what I was wanting to do I found that he was interested in the same thing, so we began putting the sonic pieces together. However, during the first few rehearsals we weren't sure at the time whether the band would come into complete existence. He had recently tried out for Orthodox Fuzz, another great local DFW band, and was still waiting to find out whether he got the gig or not. Luckily for us they chose someone else, so we were able to keep it going.

Q3 – How would you describe your sound.

Dub: I would compare it to the birth of the universe. A great explosion that creates a heavy mass trodding through space and time surrounded by and filled with chaos and electricity.

Q4 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians.

Dub: I don't know if I can distinguish between directly and indirectly anymore. There have been a lot of years and a lot of players. I would have to at least name The Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule, Phish, Led Zeppelin, and Frank Zappa. As bands and the individual players in the bands. I find myself doing little Eddie Van Halen and Billy Gibbons type things from time to time, so I should add them to the list. And Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath were an influence on the band itself.

Kitchens: Zappa, firehose, The Doors, Om, and Fugazi are a few personal influences for me. Drum-wise it has to be Ansley Dunbar, Tim Alexander, George Hurley, and Jon Fishman.

Q5 – Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.

Kitchens: Pfff, I wish.

Q6 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.

Dub: We both write for the band, but we do it separately. The songs are mostly finished when they are brought in, but we are open to input from each other, so they never take complete shape until we work on them together.

Kitchens: Yeah, when I bring a song in, Dub will add his way of playing to it. That's expected, and it always turns out great. Or he might suggest something be played slightly different.

Dub: We have this ability of hearing the riffs completely different from each other, so when he adds his drum parts a certain magic happens that opens up new dimensions to the tunes.

Q7 – Your about to release your brilliant new album. And what an album it is. Was it an easy album to write and record for.

Dub: We already had material written, so it was just a matter of choosing which songs to record. We were both on the same page and happened to each choose the same songs, so that took maybe a minute. Easy. Leading up to recording is where things got a little less than easy. The bass player we had quit to focus on other endeavours around this time. We tried to find someone to fill in, at least for the recording. Tim from Wo Fat offered to fill in, but found out that he would be out of state during the time we had the studio booked, so that fell through. 

A friend of ours, Daryl Bell, did the bass work for us on Hypocrite Christ, but I wound up playing bass on the rest of the tunes. I wouldn't say that it was hard, but it was interesting playing two roles at times. I'm really happy that Daryl was able to play on that tune. We were both in the same band that the song was written in, actually so was Kitchens, so even though we have changed it slightly he knew the song. If anybody else had done it they would have been playing Daryl's lines anyway. He did a phenomenal job. I would have ruined it if I had tried it. haha Recording was both fun and easy. Most everything was first take. We just went in and were ourselves, which was no problem with Kent behind the board. It was more like friends just hanging out. We had known each other and wanted to work together for a while, so it all felt right. One happy family.

Q8 – How did you guys hook up with Kent Stump from legendary rockers – Wo Fat. Bet you guys had a blast working with him.

Dub: Kent's great. One of the coolest cats you'll ever want to know. Actually the whole Wo Fat clan is that way. I met Kent the first time I ever heard Wo Fat play. I think this was around late 2009 or early 2010. Kitchens is better at dates than I am. After their set I went to ask him about the amp he was using. He and Joey from Orthodox Fuzz were talking, and since I knew Joey I was able to get in on the conversation instead of interrupting it. Kent mentioned that he needed one more band for a show he was putting together. I told him that we would be up for it and threw out some band names to try to describe us, which caught Kent's ear. Never having heard us before he put us on the bill, which was to be our very first gig, based on that conversation. That's the kind of guy Kent is. 

SME was still in its infancy at this time. We didn't even have enough original material to play a full set, so we were still filling time with a couple of cover songs. I think we made a good impression with that first gig, as we've played many shows with Wo Fat since. And we've been good friends ever since, too. So yeah, working with Kent was a blast. I look forward to doing it again. Hopefully someday we'll be able to do some recording together with both of us, or rather all of us as players. A double trio. That would be cool.

Q9 – Is there a scene for Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal bands to perform in your home town on a regular basis. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform on a regular basis.

Kitchens: Yes, there are a lot of bands in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. It's easy to set up shows with similar bands. In fact, there are sometimes multiple shows going on during the weekend. It makes it hard if you're not playing a show to decide which band you just want to see live whether it's Wo Fat, Orthodox Fuzz, Mothership, Kin of Ettins, FTW, Lotus Sutra, Cosmic Trigger, and I could go on....

Dub: ...and on and on. Yeah, back in July there was the Metroplex Heavy Fest put together by Jay Brockington, which was two days of bands in this genre from this area. And it still wasn't all the bands from around here. It is planned to be an annual event, and I'm excited to see what's in store for this year's event. Whether we get to play or not I'm sure that we'll be in attendance. There is some great tuneage coming from this area.

Q10 – What is the live Stone Machine Electric experience like.

Dub: It's electric.

Kitchens: Yeah, like a stone machine, ha!

Dub: Yeah, that's it! haha Whether it's a packed house or only a handful of people there's an energy that fills the room. There is no such thing as a bad gig.

Q11 - Do you have any interesting and exciting stories from tour. Have you toured with anyone famous. If so who have been your fave band to perform for/with.

Kitchens: Haven't really done any tours, but we're hoping this year to maybe do a weekend tour or two. At the least we'd like to head south and hit Austin and Houston. I've really enjoyed the few times we've played with The Midnight Ghost Train when they've come to town. Always a great show!

Dub: Yeah, I'd love for those guys to come through again. It would be great to get a show together with them and Wo Fat.

Q12 – Now my fave track on the album is Hypocrite Christ. Some very edgy lyrics to match the great riffs. Can you tell me more about this song. What it is about and how you came up with the song.

Dub: That song was actually written around 2004 or 2005. Long before SME was even an idea, but it just seemed to fit what we are doing, so we resurrected it. It always was, and still is, a song that people dig. As far as what it's about, it has multiple meanings to me, so I prefer to let each listener find their own meaning in it. However, I will say that there were two people that inspired me to write it. One of them was Bush, who at the time was about to, or had just begun his second term in office. I generally don't like politicians, and this one I really didn't like.

 He scared the shit out of me. I don't get into politics, so for a politician to make that kind of impression on me... To me politics is rich and powerful people playing games with everyone else's lives like we are all pieces on a chess board, and the pieces are all plastic and don't matter as long as they fill their pockets. A way to conform and control the masses with no regard for anyone but themselves. Religion is just another form of politics, and I have no use for it or the gods it creates, either, though it all makes for good subject matter and imagery.

Q13 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal.

Kitchens: I'm into the local scene here mostly. I'm digging on the new ones from Wo Fat, Orthodox Fuzz, and The Cosmic Trigger. On a bigger scale, I'm into Om, Elder, Red Fang and the like. There are some newer ones I'd like to check out after reading all the top lists going around for 2012.

Dub: I would have to say the locals are my favorites, if for no other reason than I can experience them live. There's no better way to experience a band, and there are some great bands in this area. Along with the ones Kitchens mentioned I would add Mothership. They all recently put out great albums, and they are all killers live. There are quite a few bands from other areas I'd like to check out, but I don't get much of a chance to do that unfortunately.

Q14 – What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Has your music reached the mainstream mags, at home or around the world? 

Kitchens: I think if anyone is digging on what we are doing, or what anyone is doing, it's a good thing. It spreads the word. Especially so for underground and local type papers and blogs. You can't trust mainstream to feed you anything of value or honesty.

Dub: I don't think the mainstream ever has a clue what's really going on. The blogs are in the here and now and very much a part of the pulse of what's happening. I don't think the scene would be what it is, very much together even though it's scattered around the world, without them.

Q15 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.

Dub: Music is in my blood. I can't not do it or it drives me crazy, so every aspect is rewarding. I think the most rewarding aspect would be the people. Be it fans or other bands we've met some really cool people. And of course it's very rewarding to have people dig what we're doing. We couldn't exist if it wasn't for them.

Q16 – Apart from the album release do you have any future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about.

Dub: Well, I'm excited about Cook coming in as our new bassist. Having him will open another dimension for us. Like Kitchens said earlier we are planning on doing some touring beginning this year. It's a new year and a new bassist with new tunes being written. Our plans are to keep moving forward doing what we do. Keep your ears open, who knows what will happen.

Q17 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

Kitchens: Thanks for the support, and spread the word! That's how it works!

Dub: Yes, thank you so much to all of you. We couldn't do this without you. Let us know what you think of the album, or anything that we do, positive or negative. Obviously we are on facebook and the like, but feel free to contact us via email if you so choose.

All the best with your debut album. We are big fans of your music here at Sludgelord.

Dub: Thanks, really glad that you dig it. It's been a pleasure talking with you. Keep the words flowing and the pulse going!

Well thanks to both Kitchens and Dub for a great interview. Really appreciate it guys. All the best with your future Stoner/Sludge Rock Riffage. Long may it continue.

Check This Great Band Below