Originally the solo project of Richard K, Machine Rox has increasingly and persistently created a fiery and attention grabbing mix of metal and electro rock which is never afraid to push at and venture outside of its creative confines. Through a host of EPs and debut album Shout, the band has evolved and honed their consistently provocative sounds into a formidable and contagious incitement, none more so potently than on the stirring Activate your anger EP. Next month sees the unleashing of second album Next Level, a release which pushes and expands the bands ingenuity and sound to even more imposingly magnetic and intriguing levels. Ahead of its unveiling we took the opportunity to catch time with Richard K to explore the upcoming release as well as look at the beginnings of the band, its evolution from a one man to a four piece project, and much more.
Hi Richard and thank you for sparing time to talk with us.
For those new to Machine Rox can you give some background to the early days of the band?
After years of playing in different Rock bands as bass player, guitar player and programmer, and having more or less some kind of success I had enough of the “Music Industry” bullshit and I actually stopped playing music for few years before I started MACHINE ROX as an Electro- Industrial solo project when I discovered MySpace 🙂
What inspired the band name?
It was a statement basically saying that machines and electronic music could rock as hard as guitars oriented bands.
The change from a solo project to a full band line-up has not been a swift transition compared to other projects Was this intentional to take it slow and recruit as your music decided or just how things evolved?
It just the way things and the music evolved. There was no precise plan behind it; every time I recruited someone it just felt right. I recruited Aga on backing vocals and keyboard when I felt it would be cool to add something new to the sound and then we took Nuj on drums for live shows and ended up adding more and more guitars so we took Val who contributed to a lot of guitar riffs in the songs.
I imagine it to be hard for a solo musician and begin letting others into something you once fully controlled, how have you found it as the band evolved?
Yes it’s not easy to let people involved in something that is so close and personal to me but I have nothing against a bit of change and having other people ideas is a good thing if you want to evolve. Saying this I still have a lot of control in MACHINE ROX and I have my whip with me constantly for members who wouldn’t follow my orders 🙂
No, not really. I’m quite open minded… if you go my way 🙂
How would you say your sound and the way you look at writing and composing songs has changed over time and through the growth in personnel?
The way of song writing is pretty much the same as when I started as a solo artist except that the others bring ideas, Aga contributes a lot in the songs structure and brings her own vocals and Val brings most of the guitars ideas now. Nuj hasn’t been involved much in the song writing and recording process but he will be in the next album we are starting working on.
The band is poised to release its new album Next Level, what are the emotions and thoughts before its impending unveiling?
Personally I think it’s the best album we’ve done so far and I really hope that people will take time to listen.
Your sound has always explored a rich merger of metal and electro rock, pushing its and your boundaries and it is fair to say Next Level is no exception?
Yes Electro-Rock Metal-Industrial is our sound. That’s what we feel like playing today. Maybe tomorrow will be different
The album arguably leans on the more electro and industrial side of your exploration than certainly the previous album Shout. How do you see its direction in comparison from the inside?
I always try to find the right balance between Electro and Rock/Metal so it’s difficult for me to say it’s more Electro or more Rock. Some songs sound more Electro and some more Rock. What I want or try to do is to make a diverse and varied album with different moods and beats and sounds. I don’t want to bore people with an album where all the songs would sound the same. I would say that Next Level got more Metal elements than the albums before and I guess that’s coming mainly from Val’s guitar playing which is Metal.
Since those first outings as a band how would you describe the growth and evolution in your sound overall?
We are definitely going for a more Rock/Metal sound. I think in the future there will be less and less Electro in our sound but well you never know.
Tell us about the recording of Next Level, did you approach it any differently to previous releases?
The recording process has been the same as the previous releases (except the Intox EP that has been recorded in a studio in Germany), in my recording studio.
There is a healthy DIY essence and honesty to the album…
Yes I’m mister DIY J I finance my band, I record my band, I release our music and I organize most of our gigs. It’s not always easy but you learn and learn from your mistakes. And at least I know where the money goes ha, ha! And about honesty, well I don’t think you can find a more honest guy in the music industry than me and my honesty is reflecting in my songs. Like it or not but you can be sure there’s no bullshit in those songs.
From the album title and new inventive breath of the songs, Next Level feels like a new distinct chapter in the journey of Machine Rox, is that how you feel about it?
Yes it’s exactly what I feel. I think it’s a turning point for us, a new chapter. The beginning of great things to come I hope.
I have always felt there is an intimacy to your songs, a personal element of you which fuels their anger, spirit etc. and certainly Next Level is no exception. So how close to heart emotionally are songs and their lyrical inspirations?
Well, lyrically it’s very personal and intimate of what’s going on in my head. I don’t hold back, tell the truth and release all my emotions. I’m not trying to sell some washing powder product or say “buy my album” here; I’m spilling my guts out no matter what!
Was there a broad input across the band into the creation of the album and how does the writing generally come about with songs?
I write the first draft of a song which is 70% of the finished song then I play it to the others and Aga and Val bring their input into the song. Nuj hasn’t been involved yet in the writing process but we are planning to change this in the next album. The thing is this is the fastest and easiest way to write songs. It’s very difficult to put 4 people regularly in a room to write something because everybody got their own life, their jobs and other commitments.
Next Level hints at varied spices of inspirations and listening to albums and EPs over time you sense your tastes are varied and wide. What are the major inspirations to your music and simply being a musician?
My inspiration and song-writing is varied because I have been listening to a lot of different styles of rock music over the years so I guess some of this music stayed in me. Traditional 60’s Rock, 70’s Rock progressive and Metal, 80’s Alternative and Goth, 90’s Grunge and Industrial + on top of all this Electronic music. I was even into soundtrack at some point. I did a 2 years course on writing music to pictures and films and I have a diploma to prove it 🙂 + I released a few Electro-House tracks for a Dance label. So if you put all that in a pot and stir it you’ve got Richard K music.
What comes next for the band after the unleashing on Next Level?
We have some very exciting gigs coming up in Manchester and London with Deadcell, the DARK7 festival in October; plus we are headlining the Cesspit in Sheffield and the ORKZ bar in Holland in November.
Thanks again for chatting with us, any last thoughts?
No problem you’re welcome. I just want to thank all the people who are supporting us, I really appreciate it!
And finally give us a sales pitch straight from the horse’s mouth for Next Level 🙂
Sales? What sales? Are bands selling music these days? 🙂 I’ll be happy if we can match our EP Activate your anger sales which was sold out with few hundreds copies of the CD sold (sorry I lost count about Downloads). Anyway if anyone wants to buy Next Level they can find it for download on all Digital Stores and on CD on our official website www.machinerox.com
The review of Next Level coming soon…
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