I’ve said it before and I’ll it again. All the fun of the doing this is to discover new bands. SELFMACHINE are new to me. Interview with Steven. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
How important is the band’s say in giving out the right kind of vibe?
-It’s very important. The band name one of the first things you notice and if the music and the name don’t match up (unless it was done in an ironic way) it might be off-putting, right? In our case, I think our name represents the combining of modern, technical elements in our music with very organic grooves and song writing. The words Self and Machine each represent one side of this spectrum. The name is easy to remember, hard to misspell en it leaves a lot open to the imagination of the listener.
What was it that made you want to do the band?
-This band was founded by our Bass Player Mark, after his previous band disbanded because of trivial nonsense issues and big clashing egos. This experience made him really want to create a band that was just about having fun again, with a bunch of cool likeminded people. Unfortunately,… all he could manage to find was us, hahaha!
What is your definition of the metal you play?
-As it says in our biography: We’re like a bearded Michael Jackson driving a monster truck through the hills of Teletubbieland. Our style is a combination of everything we love in music: Catchy, Heavy, Groovy, Melodic, Technical… Although here are many bands that combine these elements these days (in some way) I think our mixture is still quite unique. We’re certainly not Prog or Djent or Core or any of that stuff. We usually just call it ‘Modern Metal’. It’s kind of a nondescript, generic genre name, but that’s just because we don’t really fit in with anyone else. Sure enough we like it that way.
How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
-All our songs are arranged in a computer program called Guitar Pro. This allows us to communicate and adjust ideas very easily. Files get uploaded to our cloud so everyone can access them and add their ideas. It also allows us to arrange a lot of extra parts and layering that is just for studio recording purposes. When we deem a song finished, we all learn our parts and take it into the rehearsal room. Usually, that’s when we find out certain things don’t quite work yet and figure out how to improve them. A song is never finished until it’s recorded!
Where do you find your inspiration to create lyrics?
-Everywhere really. Have you noticed how messed up the world is? It’s so full of stuff, it would be impossible not to write about it! This is the way I process and filter everything and how I can sort of make sense of the world around me. I always have stories to tell, points to make and frustrations to vent. My opinions might not be unique but the way I word them might be. Hopefully this resonates with other people, in the same way that so many other bands have resonated with me over the years.
How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
-Just like the band name, it’s extremely important. It is all part of the overall experience of a band. This does not limit itself just to the music but includes artwork, lyrics, music videos, stage presentation… everything!
All the concepts and artwork for the band are done by me (www.steven-art.com). I am constantly brainstorming about this. We only have one album out yet,… but conceptually I have things planned out up to album 4 right now,… I really should slow the hell down!!
Do you find that there is a greater freedom in working with digital than working with physical?
-The new media has its advantages and disadvantages. As you can read a great deal of our creative process is done digitally. On the other hand… Mp3’s don’t have artwork.
It’s the same with digital distribution and the social media. These days it’s really easy to record and put yourself out there and find an audience, which is great for trying out new ideas. I have certainly found a lot of cool music because of this. On the downside things have become much more saturated and convoluted because of this. It is actually what our song ‘Massive Luxury Overdose’ is about. Our modern times give us so many options and we have the entire world at our fingertips. But the more you spread your focus, the less you truly see.
Are there any limitations to digital? Can you do everything you like?
-As an end product, I still feel digital is still sorely lacking. Mp3’s quality is simply shit, but it’s still the most commonly used format. What’s the use of making a high level super production if you’re going to bitcrush it to pieces afterwards? Let’s just hope the FLAC format gets more accepted in the future. Then all we have to do is find a way to re-incorporate the visual side to the digital music…
When it comes to recording it’s almost the other way around: There are so little limitations that you can basically do anything and make anyone sound good! It used to be that you had to send venues a CD with your best studio recordings. These days they’re only interested in live footage, because that way they can tell if you’re actually able to play the stuff you put on record!
Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
-No, we’re trying to find our own path. Sure, it might be a bit harder to find a gig if people don’t know where to place you, but creatively speaking this is much more interesting. Let’s not say we don’t fit in anywhere. We fit in EVERYWHERE!
What does the future hold?
-Right now we’re finishing up the final touches of the preproduction of our second album. After that we’re going to book a studio and record it. It should be out somewhere next year. We just re-signed with our label Wormholedeath records and they have a lot of cool plans in store for us and we’re really excited to work with them again. When the album is released it will be more music videos, interviews, touring… ultimately leading towards world domination. Like I said, I have it all planned out!