WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN: Inventive electronic music that smashes the genre’s self-imposed boundaries
HOMETOWN: Santa Monica, CA
Armed with cyclic synthesizers and 8-bit bayonets, Magic Machines’ glamour-grit electronicism is a jab to the throat of the Los Angeles DJ scene, pushing boundaries, confiscating buzz, and declassifying cool – all without a face. His clandestine love affair with the underground electronic cartel has milled interest on both coasts, even crossing international waters into Oceania.
Riding high on the attention of several digital releases, this year Magic Machines has plans for a dynamic four song EP followed by a full-length, with his electroshock artistry cued up to blossom beyond the limits of traditional button-and-key and sequential computer music.
“This [new] EP is really heavily sampled. It has some samples on it that are really hard to recognize, and with this EP the songs flow together, whereas the first one didn’t,” says Magic Machines. “The full-length that will be coming out later will have a lot more vocals and a rock-feel to it,” he adds, as he draws from his adolescent exposure to the catalogues of Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. “In addition to listening to that ’70s rock sound, I was in a lot of punk bands when I was younger, so I am really influenced by that rock structure, and more recently by artists like Boyz Noize, Justice and Daft Punk.”
In promotion of his latest releases, Magic Machines has been pounding the tarmac across Orange County, playing venues to a gamut of audiences but not without having to dodge the occasional pigeonhole or hurdle. “With DJs, especially in electronic music, they’ll tend to play the latest music and drop a few of their own tracks in there,” explains Magic Machines. “Whereas I play 100% of my original music. And honestly it’s been tough because people want me to DJ, but I’m not there to play the latest party tunes, so lately I have been mostly playin’ underground parties and rock venues.”
Set on being a neo-pioneer of electronic music, Magic Machines is aiming to break through many of the genre’s limitations. “After being involved in rock music, then hip-hop, I have seen some barriers in this genre,” he comments. “I would like to incorporate a lot more vocals into my work and also explore the use of live instruments. The limitations can be frustrating, but I wanna get past them.”
Photo by Mimi Yip