Introducing Beast Machine and the debut single ‘Time Slowed Down’.These guys hail from the laid back central, Northern NSW. But there’s nothing laid back about them in terms of their hard hitting Rock n Roll.
Tomatrax caught up with Reg Barber, the band’s lead singer and guitarist, to ask a few questions.
How did the band form?
I moved to the area from Sydney. I already knew Josh, we had played gigs together in different bands, so I just messaged him out of the blue. The timing couldn’t have been better because he was just finishing up the band he had been in for a few years. I sent him a couple of demoes I was working on and he gravitated towards a song called ‘Passenger’. We still play that song.
Fast forward two years and Pete was looing for a drummer and contacted josh to see if he was keen. They had a couple of jams in that band until Josh convinced Pete to join Beast Machine. We’re lucky to have him; he’s the perfect fit.
Where did the name Beast Machine come from?
It’s not the most entertaining of stories. I made a list of names using an online word cloud. It’s a writing technique I use to come up with song titles too. There would have been 50 combinations of words in a list; I think I’ve still got it somewhere? I sent the list to Josh and Beast Machine stuck out to him. It took a while to grow on me. At the time there was no deep meaning behind it, but in hindsight I think it suits what we do perfectly. Josh is the loudest drummer in the country; he is a Beast Machine!
What made you pick ‘Time slowed down’ as your debut single?
We went into the studio to record three songs. We had already decided that a song called ‘Crawling’ would be our first release. It has a great melody and dynamics to it. We finished that song first and then had a bunch of songs to choose from for the next two. Josh already had his heart set on a song called ‘Hurricane’
On the morning of recording the drums for the next songs I was sitting with Forrester and I played him a bunch of demoes on my phone. We narrowed it down to a couple of songs and he liked ‘Time Slowed Down’ best. Once he had them mixed it stood out as a great song to release first. ‘Crawling’ is still my favourite though; we will be releasing it soon I hope, cant wait to show it off.
You have also been working on your debut album, how has that been going?
It’s going really well. Our only problem is deciding which songs to use. The songs that work live aren’t always the ones that work when you’re listening to them on the radio or Internet. Our live set still sounds pretty different to the latest songs we have written; we tend to gravitate towards the ‘thrashier’ ones at shows. It feels a bit weird pulling back the tempo and playing in 6/8 when the adrenaline is flowing. We are still working on finding a balance.
How will the rest of the album compare with your debut single?
Our next release will be a song called ‘Hurricane’. It’s more of a heavy rock song, sounds like System of a Down crossed with ACDC. It is a very rhythm driven song with a four on the floor chorus. ‘Crawling’ will be the third release. We’ve already started on the film clip; it’s going to be an amazing looking clip. Can’t wait to show it off!
The rest of the album is still yet to be tracked. We are heading to LA in October and tracking songs in New Monkey Studios with the amazing Luke Gerard Webb. We will be recording on Elliot Smith’s old Trident A Range console. Hopefully that will impart some of his melodic mojo into our songs? Hopefully he isn’t looking down thinking you can’t polish a turd?
What will the album be titled?
It might be time to make another word list?
Your bio talks about letting out your frustrations through music; do you feel you achieved that with Time Slowed Down?
We love playing shows. I’d happily play at the opening of an envelope. There is no better feeling than playing a show. Its our Zen place, you’re not thinking about what happened yesterday or what you’ve got to get done tomorrow, its like time slows down!
What is the music scene in Northern NSW like?
Amazing! There is such a concentration of all kinds of musicians in the area. The local University has a great music course, the world headquarters of SAE is in Byron and the three best music festivals in the country happen down the road. Thanks to its slower pace it’s a great place to write music. There are buskers in the street, amazing music in the cafés. People love music and support live music.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Yes, when I’m trying to make a song better I’ll listen to it in the car and critic it. I never sit down and put on my own records though. When I do hear a song come on a playlist that I’ve written it usually reminds me of what was happening around the time we recorded it and miss people who are no longer in my life.
What other music do you listen to?
My first love was punk rock music. The first time a friend played me his older brothers tape of DK’s Plastic Surgery Disasters I was hooked. Another friend gave me a copy of ‘In God We Trust Inc.’ His family ran a caravan park and someone had skipped town and left their record collection behind. He grabbed it for me before it was chucked in the skip bin and I would sit down for hours listening, looking at the album artwork. I still listen to those records.
Another friend had a copy of a Splatterheads record, an amazing Sydney rock band from the early 90’s. I came across one of their songs on YouTube so I jumped on eBay looking for their records. There was one copy of their record so I bought it. Turned out it was my friend from school and it was the actual copy we all listened to as kids. It’s now my Enchilada cooking record, I prepare everything during side A and have it in the oven by the time side B is done.
What do you have planned once the album is out?
By the time this record is out I know we will have written another record and be planning to release that. Pete has been super busy organising our own ‘Black Market’ gigs; we played last weekend in a Brewery. We are looking at doing more; the next one is in a Gin Distillery. It’s great to break out of the traditional model of playing at the pub; we seem to be working backwards. It wont be long before we will be playing in a field of barley and hops.
Check out the Beast Machine’s website to find out more!