Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
MM: A musician and producer! A sound artist I suppose if we want to be pretentious about it.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
MM: Moon Machine is a prog band based in Somerville, MA made up of singer and multi-instrumentalist Eric Hochwald, keyboardist Jonathan Sirota, and drummer Angel Castillo. They bonded at Tufts University where they discovered their kinship for expressing themselves through music as well as immature humor. We previously played together in the pop fusion band Space Ink. When that band fell apart in 2018, the three of us kept jamming together. This is where we were able to express our love for ambitious heavy music. Our upcoming album is the result of these jams.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
MM: Here is a list of our musical influences:
Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Devin Townsend, Alcest, Dream Theater, Muse, Tool, King Crimson, Ghost, the Contortionist, Steven Wilson, Megadeth, Soundgarden, Anathema,, Periphery, Deftones, Tigran Hamasyan, Space Ink, classical and jazz music.
I am very inspired by auteurs like Devin Townsend and Steven Wilson. They have their vision and they have the motivation and talent to do everything it takes to realize it. I particularly appreciate that Devin Townsend doesn’t hold back any part of himself that he’s putting into his music. He lays it all out there.
I’m also inspired by comedian/director who did this on his show Louie as well as filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. Both of these guys moved comedy shows and films forward with their style that is undeniably “them”. They have a unique perspective and style that is undeniable.
I’m also inspired by athletes like Roger Federer and Devon Larratt. Their persistence and how they always strive for greatness is inspiring.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
MM: My dream would be to work full time as a music producer. I love making recordings and being creative in the studio. I probably like producing and arranging stuff more than actually writing my own music.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
MM: The music was written as a group, but I (Eric) wrote the lyrics. The lyrics are about grappling with human emotion and the complexity of them. The first song on the album is about loss and overcoming, the second is about anger and forgiveness, the third is about nightmares, and the 4th is about depression.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
MM: Mostly online through Facebook and Instagram. If there’s a better way to do it these days, I would love to know! Apparently making music in 2021 requires you to spend a ton of time on social media and give Zuckerberg a bunch of money…
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
MM: You mean like pirating? Pirating music was fun in 2008. I don’t think anyone does that anymore because it’s more convenient to stream music from Spotify or Youtube.
In all seriousness it would be nice if people still bought albums. Artists spend so much time and money making them only to hope that they can break even by playing shows and selling merch. I personally think it’d be the dream to have a career like the Beatles, which was to live in the studio and keep pumping out albums and staying creative. Apparently they stopped playing live in 1964.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
MM: Despacito, because I wouldn’t need to work my day job anymore!
In all seriousness, when I hear a song that I love and respect, my first thought isn’t “I wish I had written this”. If I had written it, it wouldn’t have had the same impact on me, and I honestly would probably like the song less. Not to sound like a hippie, but I think music is a universal thing. It doesn’t really matter where it comes from. If music brings joy to people, that makes me happy.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
MM: It’s never fun when someone shows up to rehearsal unprepared, or tries to learn a song in rehearsal rather than at home first. That’s just a big time waster for everyone else there.
Loud chewing or drinking, especially from behind me, makes me pretty upset. I remember once I was at my desk at work, and someone was looking over my shoulder at my computer and sipping tea at the same time. I was almost ready to throw hands lol…
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
MM: In high school I made a cover of “Ih-ah” by Devin Townsend. I tweeted it at him and he said that he liked it! I should have quit music then…
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
MM: I am putting a lot of effort into promoting this album. This consists of shooting and editing some playthrough videos that I will be putting out within the next couple months. I am next going to work on a little acoustic EP just for fun.
I also play drums in a couple of Boston bands: Luxury Deathtrap and We Are Space Horses. Unfortunately Moon Machine does not play live. But I’ve been busy rehearsing with those guys for some live shows coming up (remember live shows?!?).
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
MM: You can pre-order our debut self-titled album now at moonmachinemusic.bandcamp.com! The album drops July 30th. Give it a listen if you dig melodic progressive metal.
Moon Machine links:
Band/Artist location – Somerville, Massachusetts
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