I had the privilege of catching up with the lead singer of one of Dundee’s favourite bands Echo Machine for a wee chat.
What effects has the lockdown had on you as an artist?
As an artist I suppose the effect has been positive. In that the one thing I’ve struggled for over the last year is time, and just now I have endless amounts of it, so have been able to batten down the hatches and kind of disappear into myself. Up my own arse, you could say.
How have you taken advantage of all the free time?
I sure have. Having felt a bit creatively dead over the last year or so it seemed like the desire to make new things returned at the exact moment we were releasing our album, at which point we were inconveniently busy. This lead to a bit of a build up of frustrated tension that is thankfully now being spunked out.
At the last count there was 26 new demos in our “New Stuff” folder, ranging from more synth pop tunes, to dense Portishead inspired soundscapey things, 60s crooner jams and a industrial odes to Nine Inch Nails. I can’t wait to get back in a practice room and try to make sense of it all as a band.
What’s your first drink at the pub when we’re allowed out?
Sambuca. I’ve been pretty well stocked up on beers, wines and spirits during lockdown, but Sambuca feels like something I’m never going to buy in. It can only be enjoyed with friends, at a sticky bar, as a precursor a good brotherly vomit.
What are you most looking forward to at your first live gig back?
Getting tarted up, and being an idiot. I am a total peacock. I miss getting to dress up and display myself. I want to put on some daft clothes, badly apply some make up and do a handstand on a drum kit. I also miss other peoples sweat. I want to hug someone and bathe in their lovely human moisture.
For those who aren’t familiar with you, how would you describe your music?
Our music sounds like someone putting a Pet Shop Boys CD in the microwave. It’s the sonic equivalent of a Mento dropped in a bottle of Coke. Its loud and silly and it bangs a lot.
If you could cover one song, what would it be and why?
That is a very relevant question. I am currently looking for something fun to cover to kill some time, but haven’t quite settled on what. We are historically rubbish at covers, so it’s tricky. My ambitions far outweigh my talent. If I could I’d love to cover anything by Sharon Van Etten.
What’s your favourite Scottish artists / bands at the moment?
Right now it’s got to be Goodnight Louisa, her live session on Vic Galloway recently was insaaaaaaane. And Neon Seas, they make the sort of music that makes me what to jump up and be frozen in mid air. I’m still pretty obsessed with the st.martiins EP as well, and am buzzing for the new Beta Waves and Plasmas singles. And have predictably loved the new Walt Disco and Ninth Wave tunes. And can’t wait to get out of lockdown so I can see VfLamda again. I hear there is a Megan McNally solo album coming as well, so that is something to get excited about.
I’m on board with anything that’s a bit naughty and exciting. Right now there seems to be a new breed of homely male solo artists with acoustic guitars being really non-threatening and chasing that sweet Capaldi dollar. All of that can pop itself quietly in the bin.
What’s your favourite Scottish venue you have played at?
I love Sneaky Petes, as a venue. It is the perfect size and layout for an exciting, sweaty wee gig. Sadly both times we’ve played there we’ve had large technical failures, so I’d love to go back there again soon and exorcise those demons. And I’ve got a massive soft spot for Conroys Basement. You walk in there and you know that no matter what band are playing you are generally going to be surrounded by lovely people.
Describe the Scottish music scene in 3 words?
Brilliant in places.
What do you think 2021 will be like on the gigging scene?
God knows. I can’t quite fathom how it’s going to be. Maybe it will be a year long party, with tons of sold out gigs, people returning en masse to live music, having realised how much they missed it and previously took it for granted.
Alternatively, people might still be a bit nervous about crowds and avoid gigs. I suppose we just need to be optimistic and plan for the good times.
You recently released your debut album Instant Transmissions, what’s the reaction been to that?
It has been brilliant. We knew it was a bit of a risk, especially with the sound being quite full on, but so many people have taken to it, and from a much wider spectrum than we imagined. It debuted at number 14 in the Scottish album charts, which is just silly, and the vinyl release made the top 10 of the UK Record Store chart. It definitely felt like there was some lovely momentum starting to roll, and then a few weeks after it came out the ol’ global apocalypse kicked off. We can’t wait to get out and pick things up again.
Should we expect anymore new music in the near future?
I would like to think so. There is a lot of new music kicking about, and a few things we’ve already identified as future singles. The priority when we are let out of our cages again will probably be to promote the album a lot more, but maybe we can sneak out some more music later this year.