Machineheart have been the soundtrack to our summer months here at Hope St HQ, with their unique brand of synth-laced alt-pop. We caught up with Stevie Scott, frontwoman of the L.A-based band to talk about the city of angels, life on the festival circuit and of course, their much-anticipated new EP.
Tell us a little about your new record, how does it differ to In Your Dreams EP?
—This will be our second EP; we released In Your Dreams a year ago so it’s definitely time for more music, and a lot of it. Honestly, we’re just stoked to be releasing more music in general. We had so many songs written at the time we released In Your Dreams and obviously since then we’ve written many more songs so it’ll be nice to give fans, and new listeners, a broader spectrum of who we know ourselves to be.
We’ve spent more time this year writing new music than we have playing shows which has allowed us to create so much new content. We’ve really grown from song to song and written in a lot of cool lanes. I think this new batch of songs is a direct representation of where we’ve been at collectively over the past year. We’ve grown a lot as musicians and we feel as though we’re still evolving; these songs are some of our more personal and more meaningful songs.
You’ve spent the summer on a bit of a festival circuit, how has that been? Is it more fun than touring?
—This summer was amazing. We all love festivals and getting to jam-pack a bunch of concerts into one. It’s fun getting to watch friends play their sets and then they’ll come over to ours. It’s kinda like a family reunion for us musicians, we’re all bumping into each other in the catering tent or side-stage. And what’s great is you’re not playing to a specific audience. It’s a bunch of people who like to watch live music and make the most of it; that gives a lot of energy we really feed off of.
Each of you has a really diverse background and set of influences, how do you reign that in to form your own original sound?
—It was never too much of a challenge for us, having different influences. I believe that’s what really gave us “our” sound. A few times when we were still experimenting, someone would go a little too far one way and then one of us would reel the other back in, but now writing flows pretty naturally. Not to say that every song is sure-fire but we know our sound and the ebb and flow we like to follow when writing.
Generally Harry and Jake (drums and bass) will start something rhythmically or I will have a chorus or melody that came to me or Carman (guitar) will have a cool riff. And then we build from there. We all have our own building blocks that we bring to the table. The guys carry a real sense of rock and roll, which makes sense since they all hail from the Seattle-area. I grew up in California but was always pining for the UK, so I have this strange melancholic-pop tendency. It really works out for us when we bring it all together.
Now you’re all based in LA, the world capital of pop culture. Do you feel that the city influences your sound?
—I would say so. I mean, we are always writing, whether we are touring or visiting somewhere so it is interesting to hear how different places elicit varying sounds and vibes. We took a trip up to Seattle this year just to lock ourselves up in a house and write. It was beautiful because we were right on the coast overlooking the clouds rolling in over the water. The songs definitely have a different feel from when we’re writing, say, in Malibu on a sunny day, which is where we wrote Circles actually. And then Stonecold we wrote in Venice on a cloudy day. It’s funny how places can really tweak the mood you are in and the overall vibe of the session. We’re thinking of taking a trip to Sweden to see what we come up with.
We’ve had you guys on in the office through our sunny months — what 5 songs have formed the soundtrack to your summer?
—Gosh, so many great songs, it’s hard to pick. But maybe, in no particular order: Daydreaming by Radiohead, Somebody Else by The 1975, Robot Stop by King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Easier Said by Sunflower Bean and No Problem by Chance The Rapper.
If you could perform anywhere, in any time period. Where would it be?
—We definitely romanticise that era of rock and roll that feels so untouchable and classic. I wonder if it’ll ever go back to that. We love that time of Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones. What a time! We would’ve loved to play a festival with them. Actually, I guess maybe it’s possible now that these legacy acts are going back out on reunion tours. We’ll cross our fingers.
And finally, can you describe the new record in 3 words?
—Enigmatic. Overdue. Magic.
For more on the band, visit www.mchnheart.com
(Photography by Anna Maria Lopez)