First off, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?
Mach Fox from Zwaremachine
Zwaremachine is a Minimal Hypnotic Industrial Body Music band from Minneapolis Minnesota USA
We recently released our first full-length album "Be A Light" on CD/Cassette and digital April 11th 2018 via Phage Tapes
How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?
Minneapolis has alot of stages to perform on so sometimes there is so much going on it can split the crowd a bit. Alot of the venues are in small pockets of the city so some nites when there are 2 or 3 live electronic and DJ events you may be able to hop between them and catch sets by different acts.
The DJs with monthly events will support the live local and national acts by having them as cameo sets or dedicating the whole night to live acts with DJs spinning so that tends to encourage the live scene. There are always new spaces and monthly nites popping up that support an electronic industrial/EBM and Darkwave vibe and that is amazing for this time now in Minneapolis. Monthly nights like Dark Energy,Cassette,Tourniquet and Deeper really help make the scene alive. There are also promoters like Absynthetic Productions and Kilted Farmer who have been around a while bringing really solid lineups to stages in town.
Grant Mayland the promoter for Dark Energy(a local dark music monthly dance nite) continues to impress me with his unique vibe shows, events and venue choices. It's great working with the local crews and dancefloor is usually packed. I have to mention the venues like Kitty Cat Klub, Red Sea & the Nomad who have competent soundtechs and systems that support and really care about electronic music which needs different type of mixing and monitoring. There are alot of people working and playing hard around here right now and underground music is alive.
We do have quite a few local radio shows and a few publications but they seam geared toward mainstream and softer styles, rarely will they cover the darker edges of the Minneapolis scene...but we're here in the shadows.
After playing electronic rock and purely electronic styles of music here since the late 90s and being part of different scenes over the years my attitude on the local scene is basically the same- I'm just going to do what I do and not expect to fit in.
Zwaremachine was also very fortunate to get support early on from Sam from Phage Tapes most known for harsh noise releases. When he expressed interest to include some other electronic releases I checked his catalog and noticed several friends had released with him. He offered to release the CD and Cassette as we were preparing to record and I had a few labels in mind I wanted to send our music to so I kept a date in mind to reconnect with him. The other labels were midwest labels that really specialized in our genre and we would have most likely been part of a cue and release pushed back to later 2018 and maybe a less of a priority as their established acts. Those labels passed on the release for various reasons and we knew the offer from Phage was very fair so I contacted Sam and we made plans to release as soon as mixing and mastering could be completed...no waiting or delays. The whole recording, artwork and final release came together quickly because the songs were written and I already had great artists lined up as well as our Mastering Engineer Nic Heidt.
The Interview will continue after this video and all further streaming content...
What do you feel separates your music from the rest of the music in the EBM music scene?
I have been using Minimal Hypnotic Industrial Body Music as description to just branch of of the EBM tree and be more descriptive of our sound on the Be A Light release.
Its always been a goal to have custom visuals and equipment be part of the live performance. With Zwaremachine I really wanted the audience to become part of our world. It's dimly lit with fizzing electronics and the lighting design and color pallette become our tiny universe in the club and want to envelope them in a cold dark zone.
I work as a VJ and do visuals for live bands and DJs so incorporating that part into our set has been easy but its not always possible to run them live while singing with the band.
I also like to bring the glow of CRTs and the special glitches and color variations to the stage when we play live so I have incorporated them into our stands and racks as much as possible so they become part of the set.
What does Zwaremachine mean to you guys in 2018? And how does that compare to what the project meant to you guys when it was formed?
When I started Zwaremachine it was a solo experimental sound project in the electro-industrial realm of sound. Sort of a horror sci-fi vibe and after completing a few tracks I brought in my friend and DJ Joe "Jobot" Bartuski to help arrange and perform the live set...basically have him DJ the tracks with some live mixing and I could pound on some simmons drum pads, trigger a sampler and stomp around while I sing. We did a handful of audiovisual style gigs as duo and an EP was released in 2011 before we added an electronic percussionist. The percussionist proved unreliable and the project waned. Jobot soon departed and I was left to grab friends and old bandmates to keep performing live occasionally from 2012-2016. There was not much new material written during this and I became less into performing with a band and more into performing as a VJ doing visuals, videoart experiments and installations.
I started Zwaremachine back up 2016 with the intention of performing live and knew I hit on the right type of lineup years earlier and needed the right musicians to pull this type of performance off live.
I started writing and performing with Jason Hollis(ENDIF) and we played some live sets that were not really the sound I intended for this project...the songs were a bit of synthpop and electronic mix but not the minimal industrial body music I wanted for the band. In hindsight we should have pursued that as a completely new project and instead we both lost interest in where it was going at that time. We took a break and I focused on a whole new set of sounds and wrote and sequenced the tracks that would become "Be A Light" release. The idea to capture this set as recording and also perform live versions with sounds and arrangements of recordings was something I held really strong too. I invited my friend Booty to make noises with drum machines/etc and played some live shows but I noticed the sounds were getting lost and arrangements were not as tight and menacing as I was hoping. I wanted hard quantize drums and synths with focused sounds cutting thru. Both ENDIF and Booty have their own projects that are based more on improvisational performances and less strict militant ebm arrangements so I felt it best to try and enlist some fresh musicians to cover the synth and drum parts for our live shows. Right now the current lineup of Adam01 on synth & vocals and Rayn Ruckus on electronic percussion is proving to be just what I needed to pull this sound off. These guys that stepped in have helped shape the Zwaremachine sound for the future writing also.
When you first started making music, was there a particular sound or artistic/musical influence that you would say was your biggest inspiration to start pursuing the creative path yourself?
I grew up on radio and rock and roll. I always listened closely and when I started buying records I was very interested in the credits and liner notes and photos and artwork...the whole package. Who did what? what instruments? where was it recorded? it just all became a part of the music to me. When I first experimented with multitrack recording I put on a John Bonham(Led Zeppelin drummer) record track and played my guitar over it as I recorded onto a tape via a boombox. I was then able to put that tape in another tape deck and overdub again. These experiments taught me that there are many ways to write and record music and more than one right way..I was into DIY and punk too..
So I always wanted to mash all my influences together and do my own thing.
Would you say that your choice to pursue music has changed your life since you started? Would you say that creativity has evolved you spiritually, emotionally, or logically?
I'm not sure anything has changed in my approach but my sound palette and preferred music styles changes from time to time. I guess I'm definitely interested in electronic body music and cyber industrial styles at the moment...but years ago it was certainly more electrorock influenced with some new wave guitars and rock riffs. Im a bit all over the place with my tastes so I focus on a sound for a record or band project and really dig into that.
I think music has always moved me and to be able to make music any style I want trhu my life has been very rewarding and has given me something to be passionate about.
If you could say there are underlying themes or messages that permeate throughout your discography, what would you say are the most important concepts and ideas you've tried to express throughout your artistic career, political, spiritual, or personal?
Oh Yes. I'm skeptical. Big government,injustices,surveillance,artificial intelligence,moral issues and such are often themes outright or buried in the lyrics...mostly from a futuristic cyber sci-fi perspective because my songs are set in a movie or a time that isn't now. With most of my lyrics I may be vaguely stabbing at an issue with words that have other context as well. Many of these are timeless themes that unfortunately seem to not be resolved or attended to fairly or justly over time. There is just too much greed and power that exists in shadows.
I don't particularly want to be clever, political or outspoken with my words. Sometimes I really want the phonetics to be expressed. Exploring the cutup method of phrasing has been quite fun as well and I revisit that for inspiration from time to time. I am also into horror movies so themes can get dark and exist in a different reality.
When it comes to your musical self and your real world self, would you say that their is a separation? Do you find yourself getting into a character or mindset when you create, or do you find your music is a representation of your day to day self?
I have to take on many roles with Zwaremachine. So its necessary to be available to bandmates, soundtech, promoter, friends, fans and not be hidden in a dark corner or dressing room waiting to perform. I usually do commit to the performance the day of the show which means less distractions or at least turning of the promo and business side of my role. I think when I am on stage I am half my real self and half caught up in an alternate world where our music exists.
When it comes to composing music, do you approach things with a clear vision in mind, or do you prefer to let songs feel themselves out? Do you have any particular techniques or tricks you use to keep yourself creative and consistent?
I set out to write a live set that would become our record "Be A Light" in summer of 2017. By late summer I had assembled a live band and we were playing shows monthly that summer and fall in preparation of recording at the end of the year. I had a particular sound set in mind and programmed and arranged these songs with the intention of having a strong live show that could transfer to the recordings. After a few shows I realized my goals and specific sound could be achieved but I would need to replace the musicians I was working with. At that time I also decided to not compromise my ideas for the bands sound and recordings, I wanted to see my vision through and maintain strong dedication to our sound.
I often get inspired and start banging things into the sequencer. I prefer to let the sequence breathe and dictate the arrangements. Depending on what I've been hearing or watching there will be a mood and tempo involved that informs my programming and sound choices. I like to write on sequencers these days instead of guitar and find the machines lend themselves to certain genres so I am already in a certain sonic space and prefer synthetic sounds to acoustic instruments. I usually end up with some synthpop and electrorock tracks which I set aside for other projects and then I can focus on what's left which are the sequences that have a darkwave dance vibe and become Zwaremachine tracks.
Do you spend a lot of time crafting your own sounds? Or do you value song crafting and effects tweaking more? Or do you find it's a balance between the two? What's your relationships with presets? When you make music are you primarily a hardware or software oriented musician? Or do you do a fusion of both? Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music?
This album came about because of the sounds I chose dictating the sequences and arrangements. I often wrote longer sequences of more synthpop style and then would try half or quarter length sequences and edits while tightening up the decay of the bass sounds until that hypnotic repetitive sequence grabbed me. From there it was just a matter of shifting some octaves and transposing. I try to go on writing binges and then refine the songs sounds and arrangements as needed. If that means choosing specific synth and drum sounds or exploring and writing my own patches it will depend on mood of track and what purpose track is for. I prefer to use cubase and nuendo for editing and enjoy the editing and remixing process of recording quite a bit.
Playing live shows, recording new tracks, attempting to go live the life that gives you the experiences that inspires it all... it can be difficult to balance the time. Do you have any particular methods that you use to keep yourself focused or balanced in your direction?
I don't mind having lists and goals. It just works for me to have a schedule. I try not to deviate from it and I am able to get things done that way. I will spend hours rehearsing, editing or mixing and then take as many hours off from music projects.It's important to have some time to clear your head of music and focus on other tasks so you are fresh when you get back in studio to obsess some more. We also have a busy band schedule with a huge effort by everyone to meet once a week for a regularly scheduled rehearsal...which may become recording session or video shoot which requires many more hours of pre-production or editing and engineering. Its sometimes a huge effort to get everyone together and the efforts these guys make keep me motivated to move forward. with all our upcoming projects.
For fans who have not seen you yet, when it comes to your live show, how would you describe yourself thematically and visually? Are you an energy and audience driven band in the live atmosphere? Or would you consider yourself to be more thematic or presentation oriented?
Bring a sweater or your favorite black hoodie and some mittens. It will get cold!
We want to envelope you with our sonics. There may be an unhinged moment when I lose myself in the music and that means I'm moving with the music and crowd and we all feel the same energy for a time.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
Well I can't do anything minimally so fitting the equipment on smaller stages can be a challange!
Outside of EBM, what other genres could you see yourself composing music in? Or should I say, do you see yourself inspired by? Do you have any other musical projects that you are involved with, or do you have any other musicians or artists that you collaborate with in some capacity?
I think most electronic musicians have interests in sound design so composing for films and soundtracks is something i've done a bit and would explore more.
Outside of music, what are some of your favorite past times and emotional engagements?
I can always enjoy a good or bad sci-fi or horror film.
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
Thanks to you and the Infidel Netwerk for listening and reviewing our new music. Having outlets for independent artists and getting published is appreciated.
You can find info/links/show listings at our official website - http://www.zwaremachine.band
Zwaremachine - Be A light is 7 original mixes and 7 remixes available now from Phage Tapes where we have CD/Cassette/tshirt/posters: http://phagetapes.miiduu.com
and you can get the digital version which has an additional 7 remixes for a total of 21 traks here - https://zwaremachine.bandcamp.com
You can find them on the various social media networks Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates on their activities: