Friday, April 5, 2019

Interview with Drew Saunders of AMONG THE MACHINES by Dave Wolff

Interview with Drew Saunders of AMONG THE MACHINES

Among The Machines just released their debut album Supersede last January. Who worked on it with you?
Mark Cimerro worked with us, recording, mixing and mastering the CD. Mark has recorded Big Pun, Corrosion Of Conformity, Big Daddy Kane, Daylight Dies, Fat Joe and Earthride with Mike Dean bassist for Corrosion Of Conformity being the producer. We are pleased with the record. We spent six months on it from start to finish and we really dig the finished product.

How did ATM spend their six months working on the album? Did you need that much time to achieve the sound you wanted?
We didn’t spend six months on recording. We recorded, mixed and mastered a few full days a week for four months. Artwork, duplication etc… took another two months.

You describe your music as a cross between nu metal and southern metal.
We all bring different influences to the band that we grew up on and all of us are from the south. I've heard we sound like nu metal, heavy rock, southern metal, I don't know really. It's what comes out of us.

Do the band's lyrics reflect their name? Who is your lyricist and what does he write about?
Among The Machines is basically what it says; we are among machines. We all are part of a system that is connected. Starts when you are born and continues until death. We are machines for the system that keeps going. We work all our life to buy stuff we don’t need to keep it going. It’s in our faces everywhere we look: buy this, you need this, think this way, you believe this, so on and so on. We are being programmed like machines. Tim Scott writes all the lyrics he sings. His vocal style is aggressive, but the songs are positive. The songs are more about life experiences. Some are based on personal experience.

What life experiences was Tim writing about for the album? Are his lyrics written in a way that people can relate to? Describe the tracks on Supersede and what they are about.
His lyrics are about not giving up; you get knocked down but get back up and beat it, don’t let it beat you. A guy from Connecticut contacted us through Facebook messenger and talked to Tim about how the song ‘Human’ helped him get through some tough times and helped him stop drinking. Hey man that’s a positive thing that a song did for someone. Tim is like the drill sergeant of metal. The songs are heavy rock with aggressive style vocals. Some songs are hooky and some are just straight forward heavy rock. The lyrics are all over the place with meaning. It depends on what Tim has on his mind when I bring a riff to him.

Does the band often receive feedback like from the fan who quit drinking?
So far he is the only one that actually told us something like that. We’ve had people say they like to play our CD while working out.

How receptive was Mark Cimerro to your ideas while you worked on the album, and how beneficial was your collaboration?
I worked with Mark years ago when I was recording with another band. I recorded with him a few times actually back in the day. ATM was talking about recording and I suggested Mark. None of the other guys in the band had ever recorded with him but they had heard of him. They said to call him. I made a call to Mark and he said he would record us after he finished remodeling the studio. A month or so later we laid down scratch tracks and started recording drums. We were the first band to record with him after his upgrades and remodeling. He seemed excited to be back at his craft, and after the songs got closer to being complete I feel he really dug it. He let us do our thing, and at the same time he gave us ideas to try and improve our direction. The guys really liked recording with him.

What band were you in when you worked with Mark the first time? What made you remember him and suggest him to ATM?
Cell 7 was a southern metal band. They never really did anything but it was a fun band. I just like Mark. He’s good at what he does and great to work with.

Which of Mark’s suggestions did the band take to heart? Did he furnish his studio with new equipment during his time remodeling?
I can't think of anything that stands out. He would suggest things and we'd try them. If we dug it we'd do it. He gave us our freedom mostly. He had some old equipment, some new.

Did someone in the band design the cover artwork or did you hire someone you heard of on the internet or by word of mouth?
We had someone help us come up with the cover idea then we hired Jaiden Frost to do the artwork and band logo design. Jaiden is an independent filmmaker and he does music videos for bands. He did two lyric videos for us.

What songs on Supersede most represent the most potential for the band’s growth and why?
I feel that “Fly” is one of our better songs and “Rendered Lost” too. We are writing new songs now and we feel the growth in our songs. We continue to grow as a band while writing new material.

How many formats is Supersede available on? Do you channel more effort into pressing compact discs or uploading to social media and streaming sites?
It was released on CDbaby, iHeart, Amazon, Spotify and a few more I can't remember, and on CD format. We ordered 1000 CDs and have them for shows etc. We try to let people know where you can download our music. I would say it’s equal effort.

How many CD copies of Supersede have you distributed at shows so far? Are you planning to forward any review copies to fanzines at home and abroad?
I would guess we have a few hundred out so far. We have sent a few out for promoting but not a lot.

Have you sent advance copies of the new album to any zines? If so have any reviewed it?
We haven't sent any to zines yet. The CD was released in mid-January this year so we are still in the early stages of getting it out. We hooked up with Wes at Metal coffee for some PR work. So far Wes has got us on more podcasts and he also got us in touch with you. This is our first zine interview.

How many podcasts has the band appeared on so far? Are you planning more podcast interviews in the coming months?
We have not been interviewed on any yet. Our music has been played on a few though. As for podcasts there is nothing planned as of this minute, but we are always available to do it if someone asked. We would love to do interviews on podcast.

How many shows are you planning to play to support the new album, and where?
We have a few planned locally in North Carolina. We are looking for a booking agent that would like to work with us to get us out of North Carolina. We are definitely ready to travel and play as many shows possible to support Supersede.

Would you like to eventually be signed to a big underground label? Which ones do you have in mind at present?
Most definitely. It would be nice to work with a label that can help get us on a tour and over to Europe. I don't have any particular labels in mind. Someone who wants to work with us, digs our music and treats us good.

What sort of contributions do you hope to make to extreme metal in general?
Hopefully have some songs that are relatable to people to help them unwind and forget about negative things they may be dealing with in life.

-Dave Wolff

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