The Secret Machines
The very extraordinary Secret Machines, en masse, spoke to ANDREW WOMACK about scaring the audience, the recording of September 000, and potluck dinners.
The Secret Machines: The Secret Machines began as a project intended to run concurrently with Josh and Brandon’s other band, Captain Audio. The idea was that performing as a group, whatever the name might be, should be much less about reciting some particular set of material and much more about exploring the singularities of a particular night or event. Some early incarnations of TSM involved large group improvisation performances, performing complete works by other artists, and potluck dinners. The group, as it is now in its solid form, was conceived at the third of three rock-n-roll/potluck dinners where When Babies Eat Pennies, for whom Benjamin played drums, was the opening band.
As far as history is concerned, Ben and Brandon played together in UFOFU (early-mid-nineties-psych-punk-rock). Josh played in Comet (early-mid-nineties-space-rock). After the dissolution of these groups Brandon and Josh played together in Captain Audio (sort of a potluck band to begin with) and Ben joined Tripping Daisy (local superstars). After Ben left the Daisy he joined When Babies Eat Pennies (one of the best bands you’ll probably never hear). Which brings us to now.
TMN: The EP (September 000) is magnificent. Tell us about what the recording sessions were like (how long it took, where it was done, etc.).
TSM: We began working together around the 6th of July 2000. Most evenings we would lock ourselves in our loud, sweaty, little rehearsal box in the suburbs of Dallas, and play. Basically we were just getting acquainted with each other and our first songs, which we had planned to record in September.
We spent the middle weeks of September in Chicago, staying at a friend’s house; recording with Brian Deck at Clava studios.
TMN: The songs, in their final versions, are extraordinarily intricate. How are they written? And how do they reach that final stage?
TSM: Basically we take an idea around the block a few times.
TMN: And the live show is tight. It’s incredibly tight, it’s sparse, and it’s loud. Do you ever think you may scare the hell out of some audience members?
TSM: We definitely want to make an impact on the audience and by pushing frequencies they get the added sensation of being vibrated.
This could be interpreted as a scare tactic.
TMN: Are there any plans for recording an album?
TSM: We are in the middle of doing a new album right now. We hope to have it done by next winter. We did another session at Clava with Brian Deck and plan on doing some more recording/mixing in NYC this summer.
TMN: People always assign categories of music to artists. For the purposes of helping people understand what your sound is like, we’ll call you ‘dark psychedelia.’ But how would you describe the music?
TSM: A spooky swamp band vacationing in Germany.
TMN: Any bands/artists who’ve been especially influential to this music? What about personally? And what about non-musical influences?
There are the obvious musical influences, but these as well: La Dusseldorf, Terry Riley, Boredoms, Flatlanders, Rocio Durcal.
TMN: Thanks for your time.
[ Review of September 000 | MP3 | purchase ]
The Secret Machines will be playing the following dates
Wednesday, 22 May 2002: The Earl @ Atlanta, Georgia
Thursday, 23 May 2002: Map Room @ Memphis, Tennessee
Saturday, 25 May 2002: Mercury Lounge @ Austin, Texas
Sunday, 26 May 2002: Gypsy Tea Room @ Dallas, Texas
Wednesday, 29 May 2002: Green Door @ Oklahoma City, Oklahoma [ with And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead ]
Thursday, 30 May 2002: El Torreon @ Kansas City, Missouri [ with And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead ]
Friday, 31 May 2002: First Avenue @ Minneapolis [ with And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead ]
Sunday, 2 June 2002: Metro @ Chicago, Illinois [ with And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead ]
Monday, 3 June 2002: Newport Music Hall @ Columbus, Ohio [ with And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead ]
Tuesday, 4 June 2002: Majestic Theater @ Detroit, Michigan [ with And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead ]
Wednesday, 5 June 2002: Showplace Theater @ Buffalo, New York [ with And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead ]
Thursday, 6 June 2002: Club Laga @ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania [ with And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead ]
Friday, 7 June 2002: The Galaxy @ St. Louis, Missouri [ with And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead ]
Saturday, 8 June 2002: Hurricane @ Kansas City, Missouri
Tuesday, 11 June 2002: 7th St. Entry @ Minneapolis, Minnesota
Wednesday, 12 June 2002: Schuba’s @ Chicago, Illinois
Thursday, 13 June 2002: Southgate House @ Newport, Kentucky
Friday, 14 June 2002: Metro Cafe @ Washington, D.C.