Hailing from Baltimore, MD are the Machines Of Living Death. This quartet creates what they term “cybercore”, a fusion of industrial's grind, extreme metal, drum and bass grooves, all for the evil video game soundtrack ever created. Many will compare them with phrases like “Skinny Puppy meets Slayer” or “Fear Factory meets Orgy”, but listening to them unmasks a sound that is much more complex. The band got together Zombot (drums and programming), Cancer (guitarist and vocalist), and Ghost v2.0 (verbal abuse, audience interface) talks about the style of music they create and the plans ahead.
1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Machines Of Living Death.
Zombot: Drums, Synths & Sample Destruction.
Ghost 2.0: Human Vocal Mechnology.
Cancer: all of the “guitarish” stuff.
2. Can I get a backstory on the band/ band biography?
Zombot: I came up with the name concept on NYE in Manhattan as the year 2005 was just beginning. Most of the early material would be put together by myself and Cancer that year individually, but we wouldn't begin collaborating until 2006. We had about half each of the material that made the first album written when we started working together and traded files and had our ways with each other's stuff. We went through a number of bandmates in the early days before settling on the lineup of the two of plus, James and Inoxia, and recorded EOF29A. James left shortly after the album was done and was replaced with V5 on Bass. After a year and a half of live support for that album, we parted ways with the Inoxia, the vocalist. Ghost would replace him later that year, recorded the Re:Boot EP and helped developed the MOLD vocalist position to something more than what originally seemed to be an afterthought. Since then our focus was live support for the EP and more recently, recording our upcoming full length release.
3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Ghost: We are based out of Baltimore MD , my personal opinion , the scene here is over saturated with pay to play promoters. There is a new venue opening and closing every month. Most of the more legendary venues are all but gone.
Cancer: You could look at the Baltimore scene negatively, and you wouldn't be wrong, but we have great wealth of musical talent here. Any night of the week you can find exactly what you’re looking for, and if you can’t you’re not looking hard enough. As far as recommendations I would say check out our Facebook page. We keep our friends close.
4. Why the name Machines Of Living Death? What does the name symbolize and represent for the band?
Zombot: It stemmed from my involvement in different music scenes that were running parallel to one another and were so very similar and yet had an incredible amount of disdain for each other. Zombies and robots were respective pseudo-mascots for most recent versions of the punk/death-rock and ebm-industrial scenes. Mindless, or near-mindless automatons, in a way were ironic icons for scenes that once preached open-mindedness and cultural revolution. I could never really make sense of the animosity between such closely related music scenes, much as I never understood the rift between sci-fi and horror fans considering how many common elements they share, particularly the movies. I eventually realized it had a great deal, as many things do, with perception and pre-conception. What does someone see based on what they have seen and been told. How does what they expect to see affect how they interpret what they see. 75 years ago, with technology in it's relative infancy, the terms zombie and robot were used interchangeably to describe mindless drones. Now the division is quite defined and yet in essence they are still very similar as are the differing influences that make up our music.
5. What type of band are you guys?
Ghost: We are what we are , its very hard to compare us to any set type of genre or other band. We technically fall under the category of Industrial or Death Metal or Drum and Bass .. that's what i mean by its hard to label us. The best way to explain would be what fans have said we sound like “Skinny Puppy meets Slayer”, “a digital Dimmu Borgiur“, "the abortion of a Psyclon Nine/Slayer rapefest" you can get some kind of picture from this I’m sure.
Cancer: I like the term cybercore, it says everything and nothing, all at the same time.
Zombot: We are sci-fi/horror movie about a metal band, remixed by an self aware techno mainframe.
6. Who are your musical influences?
Zombot: Horror movie soundtracks - from 50's orchestrated scores to 80's cheesy synth backgrounds. They all bring out a certain feeling of tension or revulsion. Musicians - Slayer, Skinny Puppy, The Misfits, Godflesh, Meat Beat Manifesto, Prodigy, Genesis, Eurhythmics, OLD Metallica.
Ghost: Personal Influences range from Metallica , Rammstein , Fear Factory , Atari 2600 , IT Text books , Ghost In the Shell.
7. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Cancer: In general we gravitate toward themes of dark power fantasy, wrapped in the bacon of technological fiction, then sprinkled with the salt of sexual perversion both human and mechanical.
Zombot: Plus, the occasional apocalypse.
9. You released an EP "Re:Boot" in 2011 and are working on the follow-up release of your new full-length album "The DOS Of War" how do these two differ, compare, and evolve from one another?
Cancer: In my mind, the goal of DOS of War is to take Re:Boot to higher level. Re:boot was exactly that, us starting over and really trying to focus on exactly what we were trying said and how we were saying it. Since the core creatives for that ep are still here, we can now expand on that restart.
10. Where are you in the process of the new album?
Cancer: We are recording it as we speak.
Zombot: Plus we are putting the finishing touches on composition. As long a road as it's been on this release, it'll be worth it!
11. Why did you want to title this album "The DOS Of War"? Is this a concept or non-concept release?
Zombot: If by concept album you mean a story, no. However all songs pretty much deal with hardcoded impulses that lead to down the path of destructive behavior, both to ourselves and to the world around us.
12. What does the "DOS" in "The DOS Of War" refer towards?
Ghost Disk Operating System .. but in this case i think it stand for Digital Operating System … of War
Zombot : Disk Operating System. They were the predecessor to Hard Disk based OSes that are found on computers today. Most computers booted from a floppy disk that contained the Operating System that handled the low level functions of the computer hardware for programming languages to interface. Ostensibly, in this case, The DOS of War is a reference to both be mechanization and automation of warfare as well as the elements that seem to bring war into being time and time again. It's also mean't to be a play on the Shakespear's quote "Cry Havoc, and let slip The Dogs of War". As mentioned before, the band explores the dehumanization of ourselves, in particular through the machines we use and warfare in many ways brings about the ultimate in dehumanization.
13. Who produced this album and what was it like working with them?
Ghost : We did
Cancer: We record and mix all of our recordings, although we try to get a different set of ears to master. Personally I've never understood why bands would want to give the responsibility of recording to someone else, it’s like Picasso hiring someone to do the brush strokes.
14. Who did the cover art for "The DOS Of War" and how much input did you have on it?
Zombot: The art is still in progress but, in general we do all our own artwork.
15. Select two songs from "The DOS Of War" and what inspired the lyrics.
Ghost: Red Queen lyrically was inspired by the first movie adaptation of the game Resident Evil. At some point Cancer wrote the beginnings of the song and sent out a file called “red queen” so I kind of used at as a basis. A viral outbreak which could be an infection or .. a viral outbreak to the internet or computer , or androids.
Pervertigo with lyrics written by Cancer is another favorite that basically explains a sexual affair with an android and the music for it is brutal with a beat , ladies can dance and anyone can throw down to it at the same time.
Cancer: Byte Symmetry (previously unreleased), describes, in pretty exact details, why intelligent machines can and should, wipe out humanity and take ownership of the Earth. It’s become pretty clear to me that humanity has gone as far as it can go , and the only real gift we have, is the ability to make machines that do tasks better then we can. So, by extrapolation, eventually we will build our successor.
Pervertigo is a premonition of a future while money doesn't exist but addictions do, I wonder what will happen at that eventual intersection.
16. When can we expect this album to be released?
Cancer: before the Spring of 2014.
17. What are your upcoming plans for shows and touring?
Cancer: Nothing really concrete until the album is released.
Zombot: Once released, I expect extensive live support for the album.
18. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?
Ghost: The Rise of the Machines
Zombot: We will continue to explore the extremes of music and to continue experimenting with new ways to combine the extreme elements from different genres to make music heavier.
19. Anything else you'd like to say to your fans?
Zombot: Thanks for your support through the years!
Cancer: Firstly , thank you. Enjoy the time you still have left.
20. Is that your final answer?
Cancer: I am nothing, if not final answers.