Little Death Machine: The Q&A

Little Death Machine by Willie Nash - Best New Band

Berlin – Their groove is good, measure for measure, and now with their debut EP Dreaming in Monochrome out on Glasstone Records, the members of Little Death Machine are helping with the survival of electro-punk rock. Last month, in anticipation of Dreaming in Monochrome being released, London band Little Death Machine – a Best New Bands Featured Artist - shared the single “Healthy,” a track “which is shredded to perfection” and “is a catchy nugget that gleams with grit and intensity.” Little Death Machine also took a break to chat with Best New Bands, giving insight into the current state of music, the Bowie factor, and why there is no divide between them and fans. 

Some of your influences are obvious, but will you give listeners more insight into who inspired your sound?

Our influences are really wide, to be honest, though I’ve always been drawn to innovators in sound. Acts like Fugazi, Saul Williams, Lightning Bolt, etc. I really like to hear things which are unique and hard to define. We all listen to a lot of hip hop; I think as a genre it has the biggest palette and is constantly reinvented and reimagined. I’m also always attracted to a well-written song, no matter the genre. I have a lot of respect for the craft but I don’t think that it’s enough for those special songs, which just need that extra magic to resonate. I would say I’m more in awe of those songs than directly influenced.

As transmedia artists, how have you incorporated visuals into your musical output? Is there a definitive process outlined beforehand?

The song always comes first, and the visuals are developed whilst fine-tuning the live performance of each song. They act more as mood pieces to work with and enhance the song’s presence when played live. I wouldn’t say there’s a definitive process, as each piece requires something different, and as they are a live performance, nothing is set in stone, so the visuals can continuously evolve and change on a set to set basis.

You criss-cross genres quite emphatically, making it hard to place you squarely in one genre. If you were to describe your sound in one catchphrase, what would it be?

Ah, we’re always awful at describing our sound. I guess the rough blueprint we have is to have a strong song with a left wing groove.

In a few short years, you have managed to cultivate a distinct following. In this age of social media, how interactive are you with fans? Do their opinions influence your output?

I’m not particularly keen on the term “fan” personally – it makes it sound as if there’s a division between us. We’ll always happily talk to anyone who messages us,; it’s always nice to have a conversation. We’re quite insular on whatever we’re working on though. We’ve got a couple of painfully honest friends, who we have run stuff by, but we tend to be quite closed off until a projects sounds right to us.

Critics contend that London has lost a substantial amount of its underground allure. What steps have you all taken to maintain the essence of the city’s DNA?

It’s no secret that London is changing dramatically. I don’t think it’s creativity is dead though. In some cases, it’s thriving. I think a lot of artists are adapting in really interesting ways to their changing surroundings with some really exciting results. In our case, we’ve never been that London-centric; I wouldn’t say that the city particularly informs our work. Perhaps unconsciously some of our colder sounds come from the harsher realities of living in the city. We’re not really part of any scene at all, which has probably been a blessing. We can do our thing independently and not be tied down.

Which song on the album Dreaming in Monochrome is your most experimental?

I think “It Feels Just Like a Drug.” It’s actually one of the oldest songs we have. Before we started Little Death Machine, me and my friend Drew formed a post-rock band, which only lasted one rehearsal. I had the chords and a rough melody, and he came up with the main hook. And we spent about eight hours just jamming out a weird structure for it, which is pretty much how it stands today. I really wanted to record the EP live in order to give ourselves limitations and be more focused on the energy of the recording. It was interesting mixing that song as it went through about ten incarnations, I just really wanted to push out the sounds and dynamics and take the limitations we’d put in place right to the edge.

It seems everyone is reflecting on David Bowie’s musical influence on their own artistry. How did Bowie impact the direction of your music?

There’s no doubt he was a huge influence. As I said, I’ve always been attracted to innovators, and without a doubt he’s one of the kings of innovation. I think the biggest impact would be his use of experimentation. Low, for example, is a such stunning cohesive album and is much more of a collage than a collection of songs; it’s impossible to read on first listen. I love that side of his work. I’m still taking in that he wrote his own epitaph with Blackstar. I just can’t get my head around turning your own death into a work of art – it’s astonishing! It’s such a strong album without any context, and then when you add the context, it takes on a whole new level. I very rarely use the word genius, but for that album I can’t think of another way of describing it.  Also, “Five Years” is one of the greatest album openers. I’m keeping that in mind for the album we’re working on.

Are there any particular producers or artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?

I’ve got a whole list. One of my dreams is to have Beth Gibbons on one of our tracks. I think she is one of the greatest vocalists of all time. I’d also love to work with RZA, Jamie XX, Death Grips, Danger Mouse, Steve Albini, Trent Reznor, Igorrr, James Blake. The list is endless honestly.

Dreaming in Monochrome is out now! To follow Little Death Machine and their upcoming appearances, join their social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Photo by Willie Nash

Triston Brewer

Triston Brewer

Triston is an American-born, Berlin-raised, jetset performance
artist, writer, event organizer, and promoter. As a
freelance journalist, he has covered both the underground and
mainstream aspects of the arts, culture, music, entertainment, travel, and
fashion in several cities, including New York, London, Berlin,
Istanbul, Sydney, Bangkok, and Hong Kong to name a few. Fluent in
English, German, Dutch, and Spanish, Triston has been published in The
Huffington Post, Trespass (London), FashionTV, as
well as featured in publications such as the New York Times, Vogue
Italia, Turkish Huriyet, InStyle, and other on-line and print
magazines in the U.S. and internationally. He recently released the first volume
of his memoir on life in Europe, 'Heaux Confessionals: The
Sintroduction'. As a solo performer and with his project band $kandal
Du$t, he has toured in some of the world's most renown clubs,
simultaneously maintaining an underground renaissance,
blurring the lines of all that is traditional and leaving his
indelible, and ultimately unforgettable impression. There is no divide
- brace yourself.
Triston Brewer

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