Formed in 2008 by guitarist/vocalist Luke Machin at the Brighton Institute Of Modern Music, UK-based prog rockers Maschine are the new young stars on the InsideOut roster. “Young” in this case doesn’t mean inexperienced or amateurish, however, as Machin and bassist Daniel Mash logged in a solid three years as members of The Tangent while preparing to go off on their own with their own brand of music. Or rather, before they were given the opportunity to show what they had to offer courtesy of The Tangent’s frontman/founder Andy Tillison. The story goes that InsideOut approached Tillison as far back as 2009 to find a young English progressive rock band, and Maschine was the act he eventually pushed forward to pique the label’s interest.
Machin, who has worked with and shared the stage with legends such as Francis Dunnery (It Bites), Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake) and Jeff Beck (The Yardbirds), is the creative force behind Maschine and has been working towards releasing an album with his own stamp on it for years.
“It feels like forever,” he admits. “I’ve been doing this since I was able to pick up a guitar. I’ve been playing music and composing progressive rock for years, so I used to play some of these songs in other bands I had in the past. They’ve really only been brought to life on this album.”
Brought up with progressive rock - crediting Francis Dunnery’s guitar work as his strongest influence – Machin spent his teen years listening to Dream Theater, Pain Of Salvation, Genesis, Yes, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, all of whom left a mark on Maschine’s debut album.
“I’ve always been into the four chord kind of stuff,” Machin says with regards to his musical roots, “but there’s only so much you can do with that. Between the ages of eight and 12, I used to do something like eight or 10 hours of practice a day, which is pretty crazy. It’s good practice, and at some point you get to a certain level where you want to put as much as you can into the music without overdoing it. You’ve got to have that balance so that the listeners understand the music. Progressive rock, when you’re composing it, is very classically structured with those jazz improv solos in there. There’s one song on the album called ‘Venga’, for example, that’s quite old and has more of a hard rock edge rather than a technical side, and every time we play it live it goes down really well.”
According to Machin, there’s no real concept behind Maschine’s debut album even though prog rock and conceptual pieces are generally the norm. All the songs featured on the record were written over the past five years, acting as a canvas for Machin’s life experiences, from relationships to health issues to things he’s witnessed along the way.
“It’s hard to do everything yourself,” Machin agrees, “but that’s what I’ve always done, so in the practice room I do expect people to put out a high level effort. And when that comes out in the performances, whether we’re in the studio or playing live, it sounds great.”