Photo Credit: Lindsay Nustra Karnats
From looking back on what you once thought was lost to the idea of a society that craves negativity. We’re covering a lot with Secret Machines, including the new album, ‘The Moth, The Lizard, and The Secret Machine,’ which drops on March 24th!
Kendra: What I connected to right off the bat was how ‘The Moth, The Lizard, and The Secret Machine’ felt very much like myself, this middle child. You note it as the missing link of your discography, having come back to it years later, but in the grand scheme of things – what do you think this album does to help round everything out for the band up until this point?
Secret Machines: Thanks for asking such thoughtful questions. The timeline of the making of this record is so different from any other project we have done. Primarily, because of the amount of time from inception to completion, but also because of the number of life-changing events that have happened while this record was “in progress.”
This record began with us at a sort of ‘ending point’ of one aspect of our journey – I think that is something that we can say now in hindsight, but at the time we had more of an “onto the next thing” type of approach. What we didn’t know was that within the year, Josh and I would be living on opposite ends of the country. I think the other events in our lives have been previously mentioned, so I won’t get into that here. But the effects of all that change is something that informed the record for sure.
To a lesser extent, the ‘Awake In The Brain Chamber’ songs were written with the songs from ’The Moth’ record in mind. Not as much as a response, but as if they had already been completed and presented, which obviously was not the case.
Kendra: For me, if I write something and store it away for even a week and go back to it I’m like…hmm, am I the same person today that I was when I wrote this? Did you have any of those moments when you found this “lost” record and decided it was time to share it with the world?
Secret Machines: Absolutely. I don’t really connect with the state of mind I was in when these songs were written. We as a band were in the process of degeneration. I don’t know if we could have articulated it at the time, but it for sure seems like it now. Over the last couple of years, I think we have come to the place of recognizing the cyclical nature of things and how that appears in our lives both personally and creatively. One thing for sure is that working on these tracks has allowed me to access some compassion for who I was at the time. When I hear the music on this record it really sounds like someone in the midst of a struggle and I have a lot of sympathy for that person.
Kendra: Let’s talk about “There’s No Starting Over.” This feels like one of those evergreen tracks that could’ve been penned anywhere from 1967 to today. Does that idea of a song being everlasting ever play a part when writing and recording?
Secret Machines: Thank you for such a wonderful comment. I don’t think I have ever had the self-awareness to know how a song may or may not be received. Of course, I hope that things click for the listener, and the intention of the songwriting is clear. However, when I listen back to older material, I am as confused as ever as to what the heck is going on in the mind of the writer.
Kendra: While listening to “You Want It Worse” I couldn’t help but think of the people in my life that seem to crave the negative aspects of reality. It’s like at some point in time so many became contrarians. Do you think that’s the case, especially with the rise of complaining on social media?
Secret Machines: That is an interesting thought – I agree that the track has a lot of connection to a negative outlook and perhaps even relishing in the contrarian viewpoint. I don’t really have much engagement with social media. So, for me, it is probably more of an existential contrarianism. I suppose whether one craves those negative elements or not, it’s a difficult task to identify and eliminate that negativity. Especially when it feels like you’re bathing in it.
Kendra: So time for a side note – with love in the air, I’d love to know what is the #1 song you’d put on a mixtape as part of a Valentine’s Day gift?
Secret Machines: Tim Buckley’s “Song of the Siren” is probably the one I would go for. I am going to venture a guess that “A Love Supreme” by John Coltrane would be Josh’s choice.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘The Moth, The Lizard, and The Secret Machine’ out on March 24th, a reissue and a double EP – what else is in the works as we head towards the spring? Are you switching gears and focusing on getting out on the road, or are the wheels already turning with new music?
Secret Machines: Well, we have been looking into doing some more shows this spring, but the economics of touring have really been a sort of unsolvable puzzle. So, for now, we are in the beginning stages of some new music. We will have to see what happens this spring!