The M Machine Reflect On Rainy Days At Summer Camp Fest & Why They're Returning In 2014 [Interview]
There aren't a lot of EDM groups out there quite like The M Machine. Between their quest for creating jaw-droppingly good music and putting on live performances that would put most other artists in this industry to shame, they've made one heck of a name for themselves. The trio performed at Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois last year, and when we got word that they were on the schedule again this year, we couldn't resist the temptation to pick their brain. With SCMF set to take place this coming weekend, the guys give us all the details on their previous Summer Camp experience and what to expect this time around.
(BN = Barrett Nelson of EDM.com; M = The M Machine)
BN: How did The M Machine get started? When did the group form?
M: We started writing music together in 2009. At the time the three of us were in San Francisco pursuing game audio careers, but definitely harboring dreams of producing and song writing full time.
BN: Can you tell us a little bit about your style of EDM? How would you categorize it?
M: Well to be honest that would have been a little easier a year ago. If there’s one clear trajectory for The M Machine, it’s certainly been a systematic departure from any of the built-in or time-tested dance music genres.
The short of it is this: we’re not tired yet. We have never opened an old session and rearranged the same sounds into a "new" song. On top of that, we are THREE songwriters who trust each other to take an idea from start to finish, but CHOOSE to collaborate constantly.
The result then, to answer your question, has been a broad scope in genre, style, and influence. Suppose loosely someone could say we emphasize emotional and progressive music? A new listener could try our song "Luma" to maybe understand why the vagueness is so thick here. We really do try a lot of things.
BN: Who have been some of your biggest musical influences? Anyone in particular that you model yourselves after?
M: A few years back we would have told you we idolized phantom, secretive projects like Daft Punk, Justice, or even Nero to some extent. And musically we certainly revere these guys as much as we ever did. But in practice we’ve grown attached to the personal interactions we have with listeners. It’s just too hard to ignore a group of enthusiastic people who actively validate your fucking existence.
In terms of music though? Anyone who’s willing to think for themselves in dance music right now gets a medal. Obvious winners here: Porter Robinson and Mat Zo.
We also go to Dirtybird parties in San Francisco every chance we get. Claude VonStroke and his friends are writing killer music and throwing the best parties—none of it laced with pretense or commercial EDM cliches. Can’t say enough about their attitude and music. It’s inspiring!
BN: You performed at Summer Camp Music Festival last year. What did you think of your entire experience?
M: Excellent crowd. We played to a rain and mud-soaked audience with lightning and wind putting on an equally aggressive show outside the tent. It was awesome.
BN: I’d imagine that SCMF is much different from a lot of the festivals that you play. What made you want to come back for a 2nd year in a row?
M: We had to rush out after our set but our rental car was very very stuck in the mud. Fans, friends, and SCMF staff alike got knee deep in mud with us to get it out of there. That is ONE reason we want to come back.
BN: Yeah, the rain was pretty relentless during last year’s festival. Can you please make sure to bring some of that Cali sunshine with you this time?
M: Yup. Promise.
BN: So what are some of the pros and cons of doing a live performance as opposed to a DJ set?
M: They’re so different for us, and they’re both super fun.
When we play live, we’re putting on a show we’ve rehearsed and performed all over the world. It's the literal output of an M Machine. Everything from the visual story line, vocals, and pace have been thought through. It’s the most confident and proud hour and fifteen minutes we can create live - so far.
BN: Do you plan on dishing out any unreleased material during your Summer Camp set?
M: Yup a little bit. Listen for new original stuff and VIPs.
BN: Speaking of which, what new music should we keep our eyes peeled for? Any big releases in the works?
M: We’re writing an album! And it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done. We don’t have any release dates or previews or teasers or…things. All we do is write for now. But when we can expose some of those things, it's going to be a good day.
BN: Thanks guys, one last question. What artist(s) are you most looking forward to watching perform at Summer Camp 2014?
M: Bassnectar is always fun. Want to get to KOAN Sound because they’re amazing and maybe go watch Victor Wooten with them. Seriously, though, there’s a thousand good bands to see.