Canadian electronic rock duo Normal Machine are the perfect band for the crazy times we’re living in, as they refuse to prescribe to the blinded songwriting culture of modern ‘popular’ music.
As the band tell us: “This world is burning and too many people have been unhappy for too long. Yet popular music rarely reflects this, it’s all more or less the same happy-go-lucky BS.” So expect none of that bullshit from Normal Machine.
The duo of David and Amanda fuse elements of metal, rock and punk with drum machines, samplers and synths, which results in a loud but strangely intoxicating electronic sound that they describe as “Robot Rock.”
The band sent us New World, which comes from their recent debut album Lullaby. It opens up with a cool synthy sound then a lower electronic noise comes in under Amanda’s engaging vocals, which feed into a heavier chorus of chunky guitars under big cries of “A new world… it’s your world.”
A second chorus gives way to a screeching guitar solo over electronic percussion, then drops into cool stabbing synths and an eerie synth background noise. And that gives way to a final blast of the singalong chorus. Give it a listen in the video below:
The album is packed with electronically charged rockiness that often delves into full-on electronica experimentalism, such as closing track (A)L[I]VE Extended]. But a personal favourite is the rock meet drum’n’bass Paris Is Crying, give it a listen here:
We had a chat with the band to find out more about them and what inspires their music. Read on below…
GR: Who are Normal Machine?
NM: “Normal Machine is a critique on the ideological production that pretends everything is ‘normal,’ when in reality we are living in a bat-shit crazy world. Ideology, being the tool for cultivating collective conformity. Ironically, its musical arm is comprised of several non-conforming desperados.
“From opposite sides of Canada, they met on a riverboat casino. David being a professional card hustler and was a few thousand short of entering a poker tournament. While attempting to find the remaining buy-in, he was duped by a beautiful young, sweet talking Amanda, a career con artist and swindled his stake in the tournament. A budding friendship/partnership would soon ensue and the rest… well…is history.”
GR: You just released New World. What should people be expecting from the song?
NM: “New World came to be purely as a bet with a friend. He was running his mouth and poking fun at the fact that none of the songs I was writing for the album were ‘radio/playlist friendly’…which is true, cause they’re not. He didn’t think I was capable of writing that type of song and so later that night I went home and threw together a quick and formulaic rock song. But that guitar hook just ended up being so badass, I couldn’t stop developing it. Decided to keep it and yeah, it ended up turning into the first single… formulas are followed for a reason I guess.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
NM: “Our sound is Robot Rock. This album is far more rock than electronic but the actual sound of the band isn’t. Our live show sounds way different than the studio album. All robot, all the time.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
NM: “Everything inspires me to write music. This world is so fucked. If you can’t wake up, take a stroll around your neighbourhood or sit on your ass and be foolish enough to consume some news and you’re not inspired to create something… chances are your doctor dosed you too high and you should consider getting your prescription adjusted.
“We choose very specific themes to write songs about. All of them are pretty timely and relevant. This world is burning and too many people have been unhappy for too long. Yet popular music rarely reflects this, it’s all more or less the same happy-go-lucky BS. We don’t prescribe to that school of song writing.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
NM: “Influences are Daft Punk, Nine Inch Nails, Glitchmob, Caribou, Queen, Tool, Radiohead,
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2020?
NM: “Well as everyone knows by now, 2020 is a total write off. We certainly weren’t gifted with any foresight, seeing as how we released our album mere weeks before the pandemic and all of our first shows were lined up for April and May. That said, as we have no control over recent events, we prefer to see these positively. We are busy working on a new album, which promises to make our first one look and sound like what Radiohead’s The Bends did to Pablo Honey or what Transformer did for Lou Reed.
“We are also busy working with the visionary team over at Halide Digital in Vancouver, developing a face melting and mind blowing live show. It’s pretty innovative, considering we don’t have millions of dollars at our disposal. Fortunately, the folks at Halide are veritable audio/visual wizards and warlocks. They are literally able to bring life to my imagination in the form of lights, lasers and code animated on LED screens… it’s going to be pure magic and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
NM: “Don’t be afraid to come out to shows next year, once that slowly starts becoming a reality. Covid can’t keep us down forever. Gigs are better living though chaos and chemistry, not streamed on your iPhone or flatscreen.”