What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I was fascinated by the sounds of drum machines and synthesizers very early but was not aware how those sounds were made. I also loved rock and punk music so when I began playing music I first used guitar to make my own music. In my teens I found Punk/DIY music and that spirit pushed me to create my own bands and explore live performance. There was also a theatrical element in some of the bands I liked and that was something I would bring into my music later on.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
“Be A Light” is the debut full length from Zwaremachine. The sounds and style of this album were carefully crafted to give a nod to the early electronic sounds and bands that inspired me. The songs were written and sequenced over several months and I began to play them in live sets as the final arrangements were made before recording and mixing began. I wanted the sounds to be recognized but also wanted a bit of current mixing and mastering style to give it a modern edge. I was also looking for connections in themes that were present in the lyrics…not as much a concept album as a piece of work that felt like it belonged together. The artwork is very special part of release also because I feel it adds to the world where the music lives and gives the listener a reference point right from the start before any music is heard. The artist I work with for all Zwaremachine releases is Paul Gerrard and his work is amazing!
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
I listen to a wide range of music and like to focus on sounds and production as well as arrangements. So bands like Skinny Puppy, Klinik, Portion Control, Front 242 are the bands heavily referenced on the album and mood of Zwaremachine. I also enjoy Horror, Sci-Fi and Cyber so elements of those will make it into lyrics and sound design. I am also a VJ/Visual artist so the performance and stage presentation include custom lighting and visuals that can set the mood.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I feel like the current genres of Industrial, EBM and Darkwave are great descriptions of the sound and I also wanted to expand that and use “Minimal Hypnotic Industrial Body Music” to describe the band and set Zwaremachine apart. I really want to carve out my own area since genre descriptions can be so varied from listener to listener. If you loved the early electronic music I think you will relate to our sound and if your mind is open to a slight variation and modern presentation you will see we are taking those elements and presenting as a new idea also.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
I don’t know how long I could last without drums and synths…so I will only pick one from each categorie. The album would be Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasuredome – It is one of the best produced albums of all time…and the songs are so great…I can sing every word and as a whole the running order has nice flow. The movie I would pick is The Jerk with Steve Martin…because it can’t all be gloom and doom and I would need a good laugh. And finally the book I would bring is – The New Trouser Press Record Guide by Ira A. Robbins since it is just a wealth of info on the 80s records which shaped my music tastes and I can refer back to over and over again.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Those are both so different for my approach. I produce my own music and enjoy the editing and mixing in the studio…but consider myself a lazy engineer. I am more interested in manipulating the song and arrangement in the recordings. There is more experimentation when recording my songs. When I perform live everything is planned out for the instrumentation and visual presentation and I don’t allow much room for improvisations or experimenting on the stage. There are many moments that will be unique to the set…but those will involve my feelings and mood during the performance.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I have a strange relationship with Zwaremachine stage performance. I think the mood is dark and menacing…but I also like a bit of humor and often break into being myself for a moment and may do something only I find amusing or funny. I’m not sure how the crowd reacts or feels and if they even notice. One story I like to tell is that while performing as Mach FoX band I fell off the front of the stage into my lighting rig. At that time there was a lot of theatrics in the performance and I would wear dark sunglasses and platform boots…so one misstep forward I was off the front of the stage. It was only a couple feet and everything was fine once I was untangled from the lights and the band kept playing uninterrupted and we all had a good laugh at my Spinal Tap moment!
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I would pick the title track “Be A Light”. It has 4 choruses and 1 verse. The lyrical content is a rare moment of encouragement and promoting a positive message – “Out Fight, Out Man(or woman), Out Dance, Be A Light Like Only You Can”. In general my lyrics are darker and more pessimistic so this one stands out to me.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I have been lucky to achieve most of the goals I had set for the band after this album was released. In the end of January 2019 I am able to do some shows in Europe and looking into returning by the end of the year if all goes well. I am also planning some tour dates in Midwest US for March/April/May 2019. These US shows will be co-bill with I Ya Toyah from Chicago,IL and we plan to release a collaboration track titled “Smile That Killed A Country” in February prior to our live dates. I will also be booking some shows farther out of the Midwest US in the summer/fall 2019. You can visit our official website for shows/tour dates.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
No. This year will focus on touring and live shows with a few special singles released. The debut full length has been well received but only a small part of the US and the world has heard it so far. Instead of rushing to release more music I want to keep promoting this release to a larger audience and focus on building a reputation as great live show. I am working on new songs and we will record throughout the year but the next album will not be released until 2020.
Photo credits: Caleb Timmerman
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
Connect with Zwaremachine:
official website: www.zwaremachine.band