“And what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversation?”
An audio visual trip for the senses, Lie Machine is drenched digital weirdness. From wild music videos, to subtle glitch beats. It’s hard to place Lie Machine within the niche of a genre. I’m reminded of artists such as Lorn, Bjork, and Arcade Fire. There’s also a sense of nostalgia and longing, through the sultry, somber singing tone, combined with hard hitting distorted kicks and snares. What is so interesting though, and the use of silence, allowing each piece of the ensemble to breathe. A subtle hand slowly guiding the track, instead of one instrument leading the charge.
Lie Machine’s videos follow a similar suit, digital weirdness, use of empty space, distorted grittiness. It’s almost as you’re watching an autobiography recorded on VHS, as a man descends into madness. There is certainly a theme and an aesthetic here. The quality and sheer breadth of video content is mad. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lie Machine’s debut album “Down The Rabbit Hole” will also accompany a full length film. Now that you know what we’re working with, let’s dig into this interview!
Who is the ghost in this Machine?
Where to begin... I began as a writer/producer/engineer. It was always my dream to create an artist that would leave a legacy. Something along the lines of Prince, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley. I worked with artists that I believed had those special qualities, invested a ton of time and effort into them and like most situations, they didn’t pan out. Around August of 2018 an artist I was working with, and was incredibly excited about, decided to part ways with me out of nowhere. I was messed up about it. Around that time, I met my current lover/muse and got an incredible rush of inspiration. Over the last 10 years I have written hundreds of songs for myself as a way to practice my skills and grow. I had played around with singing but could not find a sound that suited me. On September 7, 2018 I bought my dream microphone the, Telefunken 251 (I was planning on using it with the artist that decided to leave me, referenced above) The first time I set it up and began to sing on it... It was instant magic. All of a sudden I had a sound that worked and it was there that I truly started to believe I could MAYBE begin to create something artistic for myself. In the coming weeks “Million Times”, “Lost It All”, and “Moving On” would be born and that solidified my efforts to create something for myself and become the artist.
“Down The Rabbit Hole” Drops October 16th, how hyped are you to release it?
Honestly… I’m over it. I’m incredibly proud of it and I personally love all the songs but the songs I am writing now for album two are already way better than these songs. I engineered, produced, and mixed 7 of the 9 songs, the easiest way for me to describe what that process is like… is madness. I’m CONSTANTLY obsessing over every little detail, “Is the distortion on the kick right?”, “Am I compressing all of the busses enough for the mastering engineer to make my songs loud as fuck?” “Am I happy w/ the mixes crest factor?” It’s exhausting. Now that it’s all done, I am incredibly proud and ready for people to hear it.
What can you tell us about the album?
Down the Rabbit Hole is a collection of my past put to song.
You’ll also be releasing Kontakt samples from the album, what made you make that decision?
I am obsessed with sounds. I have over 20 terabytes of samples. I think 10 terabytes of that space, alone, is dedicated to string sounds. I am a fanatic for strings, violin, viola, cello and bass sounds. When I was about halfway through the creative stage of “Down The Rabbit Hole” I had created a lot of original sounds that I hadn’t seen anyone do Kontakt libraries for so I started toying around with plugging my sounds into samplers and playing them across a midi keyboard. At that moment I thought, “It would be neat to release sounds for each song”. For instance, I created a Spaghetti Western Baritone Guitar sound on “Lost It All”. I sampled two octaves and a bunch of different articulations plugged them into Kontakt and it was INSTANT Spaghetti Western vibes. Originally I had wanted to release these libraries at the same time as the album but I have been so caught up with the marketing/content creation for the album that I will be releasing them in the future.
What is your gear setup like?
I am going to attempt to keep this short. You are talking to a GEAR NUT right here. The main pieces of gear used to create “Down the Rabbit Hole” were the Telefunken 251, The UA Apollo Twin, and a big rack of analogue gear: UA LA2A, UA 1176, Manley Mini Massive Passive, UA 610 Preamp being the main sources of use. The Roland RE-150 Space Echo is strapped on pretty much everything from vocals, to guitar, piano, synths. I have a special group of digital plug-ins that are the secret sauce to the LM sound that are loaded up in the mixing phase.
What is your writing and recording process?
Every song is different. For “Lightspeed” I sat down with a vocoder and started singing “I’m Moving Lightspeed towards you”, I then pulled up a piano and got the song's general chords going, then I wrote the string parts and rhythm section parts on a different night. For a song like “Lost it All” I sat down and all of that music came out the same night and Vocals came a month later when I sat down and was listening to old songs I had written. “That Door” was written 20 mins after I had gotten in a heated fight with my lover and it all came out in that sitting. I could give you a story like this for every song. No one song writing process is the same.
You say in 2017, you were taken to jail, what was the experience like?
I live in Texas, I drove to Colorado to go snowboarding…. I’m sure everyone knows how this ends hahahaha
For international readers, Marijuana is illegal on the federal level in the US. There are a handful of states within the US that have legalized Marijuana in some form or fashion. Colorado has full recreational use legal, meaning anyone can purchase any form of Marijuana and use it. In Texas Marijuana is still fully illegal in any form.
I purchased some Marijuana Tea Bags. I had wanted to bring some MJ Tea back for those days where I wanted to loosen the strings and relax. I got pulled over, I didn’t hide those MJ Teabags, in my mind I had nothing to hide, I did not believe what I was doing was wrong, even if “the law” said otherwise. Long story short, I am arrested and thrown into the slammer. To sum up everything that happened afterwards I would say it was incredibly eye opening. The current procedure for dealing with substance related infractions needs major reform. I leave it at that. There is too much to say here...
How has it affected your art and music?
It’s another source of inspiration. I wrote a lot of songs about the situation but they weren’t finessed enough to make it onto “Down the Rabbit Hole”. I’m also trying to write a song at the same caliber as System of a Downs “Prison Song”, we’ll see if it ever happens hahaha. This album’s themes, as well, were more centered on love, finding love, losing love, loving people who don’t love you, desire. I didn’t want to take away from what the album represented. The closest you come to this issue on “Down the Rabbit Hole” is “Lost It All”.
Where do you find the most inspiration for your music and videos?
For Music, Sitting down with a great sound get’s everything started. This is why I have those 20TB of samples. One of my fav things to do is pull up this particular piano sample library of a piano that was housed at Columbia Records in the 50-60s. It was on countless hit records and a company sampled it before the studio was liquidated. Anyway, sitting down and playing one note of this library is almost 100% sure to give anyone instant inspiration. You can instantly hear why it was on so many records. It’s a gorgeous sound. I have many sounds like it that are legendary. Honestly I think I spend more time scouring the web for sample libraries than I do actually writing.
For lyrics, living life.
For Videos, I’m a HUGE horror fan, I grew up on the old Universal Monsters. The Phantom of the Opera w/ Claude Rains was my introduction into horror. I’m obsessed w/ the old film look. I’m also obsessed w/ lofi visual effects. I’m attempting to combine all of these influences into something cohesive visually. I have only been filming my stuff since February so I’m excited to grow and see what I can come up with as the years go by.
A lot of videos on your Instagram show the behind the scenes process of creating “Down The Rabbit Hole”. Where do you draw the line of separation between the art, and the artist?
This is a HUGE topic for me. There is zero separation. Lie Machine is who I am. Every song, every chord, every video, every breath, Lie Machine. I’ll be doing this till the day I die.
You incorporate a lot of VHS style digital distortion in your videos, is there a story or narrative to that idea?
I am a huge gear head. I am an incredibly nostalgic individual as well. I have always been chasing a “sound” and a “look” in my head. The visual style is me chasing after the old film look that I am so in love with. I am also attempting to incorporate my own experimentation into “the look” so it feels original. There is also something beautiful about how back in the early days of cinema there was always this fight to innovate to get to the highest quality. Today cinema cameras and now even our phones can shoot 6k video footage. We’ve gained this incredibly high quality “Look” but lost all of the beautiful imperfections that made all of the old school films characterful. You’ll see directors like Robert Eggers bring the old format back a la “The Lighthouse”. Character is a huge theme for me. One of the most important things for me in the creation process.
What do you want fans to take away from your music and art?
I hope fans can relate to what I write about. I hope my art can provide an escape. And if you are reading this and know you are suppose to do something in life, FUCKING DO IT. Do not let anyone stop you. Do not give up. The world needs your ideas.
How have people received what you do? You seem to be flooded with encouraging comments and tons of support.
Thus far, I’m humbled by the amount of people that appear to care.
Down below you’ll find Lie Machine’s links to give them a checkout. Thank you for reading this issue of Musica//Obscura, we always love bringing new artists to your attention. If you would like to get featured, or know someone who does, feel free to reach out via our social media platforms. You can also email us directly at: Contact@therduneclothing.com to let us know!