Selfmachine interview

Selfmachine - Broadcast YourselfSteven from Dutch band Selfmachine has rattled off a few answers to my usual inane questions. Don’t forget that their debut album, Broadcast Your Identity, is out now!

In complete honesty, I don’t have a lot of information about the band. So, a good place to start would be some basic information – Where are you from, how long have you been together, where did you all meet… and who are you guys?

We are Selfmachine. A modern metal band from Tilburg and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Our line-up has been complete since December 2011, but the first seeds were planted in 2010 when Mark’s (bass) previous exploits Xystus and Equillibrio came to an end. His next goal was to form a new band that would really be about a bunch of likeminded people making music, without all the politics and bullshit you see in so many bands nowadays.

Mark already knew Michael and John from the local music scene, and Ben and myself just responded to an add on the web. All the right people in the right place at the right time. Heck, I wasn’t even seriously looking to be in a band again, especially not one operating on the other side of the country! Fortunately our country is quite small and the band is well worth the travelling. There was just something about the music that pulled me in like a tractor beam. I think everybody in this band feels that way.

Your facebook page describes your style as “modern metal”. What does modern metal sound like?

Everybody hates to label their music, still somehow, we all need to do it. To some people, modern metal would perhaps bring ideas to mind of hipster kids breaking down their breakdowns, crying prepubescent tears while maintaining a “hardcore” pose. Well, we’re not quite like that. To us it means that we combine all kinds of elements from different styles of metal and blend those into our own metal milkshake. The main ingredients are structure, groove, melody, energy and catchyness.

Because of this, there are also a lot of people that feel like we actually sound really old- school. So much for labelling. Remember that even a genre named “nu-metal” is about 20 years old by now. So what is new, what is modern and what is hip? I could say that we play post-modern-semi-progressive-retro-nu-metal and the more specific I get, the less you’ll understand of it. Better keep it simple. Modern metal sounds relevant. I hope that’s what we are.

I gather you got your name and the name of at least one song from various pop acts. Would you class these as influences or just something you’re aware of / grew up with?

Our bandname “Selfmachine” was named after a song by British singer I Blame Coco. There’s no real reason for it. Mark saw it somewhere and it stuck. By now we’ve made up a whole bunch of different concepts behind the name, other than what Coco originally came up with. One of those concepts is featured on our album in the song “iSybian”. The next album will feature another side of what “Selfmachine” could mean. The song title you refer to is “Massive Luxury Overdose”, named after the hit album by Army Of Lovers.

I like to put all kinds of little references and jokes in my songtitles and lyrics. I wouldn’t cite those as direct “influences”. However, it is undoubtedly a sign o’ the times (see what I did there?) I grew up in. Everyone in the band is an 80ties kid. We do have a strong connection to pop music and pop culture in general. It is a big part of who we are and it shapes the way we look at- and reflect upon the world around us. Maybe that’s why we’re able to sound old-school while playing modern metal?

Any more guilty musical secrets?

In our band we have a very diverse array in musical tastes. We meet at some points but totally clash at others. Heck, we even have a bandmembers who listen to things like Celine Dion and even [email protected]%&*ing Nickelback. For their sake, I shall keep their identities a secret. I do like to stress that it’s not me.

Did you have any releases before Broadcast Your Identity?

No, not really. There were 2 songs that were recorded as auditioning material when they were searching for a vocalist (i.e.: me). When I joined the band, the first thing we did was record my vocals on top of those songs which we then used to book our first few gigs. The songs were re-recorded for the album and they sound about twenty times better now.

When did you start working on the album? Did you have a record deal beforehand, or did the album land you the deal?

Mark and Michael started writing for what would eventually become Selfmachine as early as 2010. When I joined the band they already had an entire album full of demo’s for me to add my “special sauce” to. Those songs were then shaped and moulded into their current form. The actual recording of this album took us almost a year to complete. A ridiculous amount of time, of course. But I could only record vocals at our producers’ studio one day a week and then he had to undergo surgery on his shoulders which also put a clog in the wheels. Eventually we pre-mixed two of the songs that our good friend Wietze Halma of Armada Bookings then showed to his label contacts. Carlo Bellotti of Wormholedeath Records took the bait and we are proud members of their roster ever since.

How many live shows do you think you’ve done?

A couple dozen. But that was just the warm-up phase. Now that out album is finally unleashed upon the masses we plan to play our proverbial butts off this coming year!

Describe your live shows! Here’s a chance to sell a few tickets.

The band holds the firm belief that a live-show should be more than just a bunch of guys on a stage, playing music. It should be an experience, something to engage in and something to remember. We are well aware that most of the time, the people we are playing for, don’t know our music yet. They are not there for US. They are there to have a good time and be entertained by whomever.

So we try to visually give every song its own little atmosphere, fitting to the music. We also like to do audience participation. I’ll ask them to sit down on the floor, do silly dances or sing along. I also like to tell jokes while introducing songs. Sometimes that tends to take up more time than the actual song I’m introducing. It’s never quite the same, really. What is consistent throughout our live shows is the fun and the feel-good energy we have on stage. We are there to entertain and rock your socks  off! Seriously, everybody should at least see us play once in their lives. I suggest y’all put it on your bucket lists right now!

Any plans for touring in support of the album? In particular the UK?

We are currently looking at several touring options, mainly for the European mainland. Either as an opening act for a more established name, or with some other cool bands from the Wormholedeath label. The plans are all premature and there really isn’t a lot I can say about it at this point, but the UK is definitely high on our “to-do” list. Somewhere in between “Laundry” and “Kate Upton” for sure.

Early days, I know, but what’s next for Selfmachine? Are you looking as far ahead as the next album yet?

For now it’s all about promoting Broadcast Your Identity as much as we can, through interviews, live shows, radio play, festivals and by any other means possible. That is our main priority. People can keep up with everything we’re doing on our Facebook site.

That being said, we already have 11 new songs lined up in demo stage. We’ll just keep writing in between tours and shows so at the end of the year we can cherry pick the very best stuff to put on the second album. So far I think these new demos are already streets ahead of everything we did before. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Right now is all about Broadcast Your Identity!

Thanks for your time!

Thank you very much for supporting Selfmachine. It means a lot to us!

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