05 March 2015

An Update from Craig on all things Machines Dream.

Hello!

I thought I would do a report from the inner workings of The Machine.

Immunity.

Immunity is doing very well at the minute. In fact, better than we had thought! Orders have been coming from the UK and Russia and lots of countries in-between. Sophomore albums are always tricky and this one was created in the midst of chaos and change. It was a difficult record to make and to mix, and, personally, I found it emotionally harrowing.

Looking back I’m surprised that we were actually able to hold the band together and come up with an album at all. Apparently we’re stubborn!

We have a few things planned to further promote Immunity over the coming year: perhaps a “single” that we try and push, maybe the formal release of some of the bonus tracks, possibly some video and, hopefully, performances.

So stay tuned!

The Third Album.

Meanwhile, since touring is very difficult for us because of geography and family commitments, we had thrown ourselves into writing our third album. I am excited to announce that it is now written!

We are now rehearsing the songs, working on arrangements and getting ready to record. This whole process will probably take about six months, if the past is any indication. It’ll be nice if we can get the album out for Christmas of 2015, but we’ll see how it goes once we hit the studio.

A Collaborative Approach.

The album will be different than Immunity and the debut.

This largely comes down to a decision we made a while ago to write the whole thing collaboratively and due to the presence of new band members in the form of Jake, Rob and Eugene. In the past, Brian or I would bring in a song and the band would learn it. We would sometimes write collaboratively, but there was always a fairly defined starting point.

In the past six months or so, we had composed about 90 minutes of music. Some of it was individually written and some was collaborative. When you put all the collaborative stuff together, a very cohesive and new sound emerged. This record will feature everyone contributing from the ground up.

In the past I’ve played bass, guitar and keyboards, Brian has played keyboards and bass, Ken has drummed and then the other guys added additional parts. The results were great, but homogeneous and had a ‘built in the studio’ sound.

Rob came into Immunity part way through. This time he’s been there since the beginning, so you’ll hear not just his playing, but his writing. The same is true of Jake, who has been bringing some sound-defining things to the table.

Outside the purely musical box, this is the first time we’ve begun an album cycle with our manager Eugene. His energy and passion make us feel like we can achieve anything. In many ways, the group is a six-piece with five performing musicians and a manager. His ideas and suggestions as to where to go and how to get there are as much a part of our identity now as the musical bits.

Instrumentation.

I’ve always liked albums where you can hear the personality of each band member in their parts and then hear something greater in how those parts interact. Marillion are a good example of this. I hope you’ll hear each of our musical voices more clearly than ever on the 3rd album.

Instead of being a generalist on this one, I’m focusing on the bass. It has always been my first love and I’m handing off all the guitar duties this time out. Putting down the guitar has felt like a weight has been lifted and, as a musician, I don’t recall ever having been happier.

Rob is playing all the electric guitar parts, taking on not just leads, but rhythm, atmosphere and texture. The temptation of a virtuoso often is to overplay, but Rob is the opposite. We often have to coax him to unleash the shred! His combination of musical proficiency and impeccable taste are inspiring.

Jake is playing acoustic instruments and this is bringing a whole new sonic dimension to the band. There is an organic quality that is really coming through thanks to things like acoustic guitars and mandolins.

Ken has been expanding his drum kit, which now includes a gong, of which he is most proud! Ken always keeps the tempo, but on these songs the drums are so much more intertwined with the other instruments, adding character as well as drive.

Brian. What can I say? Imagine a Typhoon-class submarine appearing on your front lawn and launching torpedoes of awesomeness into your house, while simultaneously raining down nuclear delight from above. With each album Brian adds more and more, both sonically and compositionally.

Jake and I are also taking more time with the vocals as the songs develop rather than just adding harmonies at the end of the process. So far I’ve written all the lyrics, although I expect Chris Belsito will offer some gems when the time is right.

The Future.

So that’s it for now from me. Where are we heading? How will we get there? Who cares! We’re having the time of our lives!