Machineheart has lit up the blogosphere with their shimmering, alternative sounds, making the five-piece band one to watch as they prepare to launch their Columbia Records debut album this year. Lead single “Circles,” an artfully delivered track, was received ears-and-arms-wide- open; it broke into Spotify’s Viral 50 chart and soared to the #1 spot on Hype Machine, fully embraced during its reign as the most popular song on the internet. A remix of their sweetly haunting track “Snow” quickly followed suit, garnering machineheart another #1 spot on Hype Machine. Hailed as “a girl power Foster The People turned all the way up…” by Neon Gold, the L.A.-based alternative group is cementing their place in the alt-pop world.
!Fronted by the charismatic female firebrand Stevie Scott (who Neon Gold praised for her “endlessly endearing vocals”) the group merges their pumped up drums, haunting melodies and cinematic soundscape to create a soulfully resplendent sound. Completing the group are Trevor Kelly (acoustic guitar), Harrison Allen (drums), Carman Kubanda (electric guitar), and Jake Randle (bass).
!With their upcoming first full-length offering on deck, machineheart thrives in the creative give- and-take that keeps the pulse pumping and their distinctive repertoire addictive. “We never tried to approach any of these songs with any clear agenda,” says lead singer Stevie Scott, “I think we just knew that from our diverse backgrounds and life stories, something interesting and inherently authentic was bound to come out and tell its own story; I think we’ve somehow managed to find that.”
!Maybe it was destined from the start: “The boys had been in bands and different projects since they were in high school,” says Stevie, who originally hails from California. “They were based in Seattle, I was working on my solo project in L.A., and had never really experienced the band environment before.” Once introduced by mutual friends, the group’s vocal and collaborative chemistry ignited during early get-togethers, hinting of a unique bond that resonated with each member long afterwards. The boys soon made the move to Los Angeles and began working on the new project with Stevie. “You can be in bands all your life and it never happens,” says guitarist Trevor Kelly. “But there was just something about Stevie and all of us together that clicked. In my previous bands and other various projects, I never set any specific expectations. After we met Stevie, it was like ‘I think we’re going to be taking this a little bit more seriously.’
!Thus, machineheart was born, and childhood friends Trevor Kelly and guitarist Carman Kubanda (who had been in and out of each other’s bands since they were 15) knew the camaraderie they had developed with fellow players Jake Randle and Harrison Allen would also serve them well going forward.
!“Since we all have different styles and we all bring different influences, I think we were able to take the trust the four of us built as musicians and join it with Stevie’s power as a lyricist and front-woman,” says Carman. She and Jake write most of the lyrics and melodies to machineheart’s songs, but it is the commitment to equal and open collaboration between everyone that is at the ‘heart’ of the band’s chemistry. “The guys will be working on the instrumentation and Stevie and I will take it outside sometimes to work on the lyrics and melodies while they’re working on the foundation.” says Jake. It’s when we all get back together in the same room that we then combine and sort through each other’s ideas until we find something worth keeping.”
The connection the band has built in not only bringing diverse songs to the table, but also melding the often disparate parts together has become what Stevie calls a ‘fluid and magical’ process. The rest of the members agree. “It’s quite unusual,” says Harrison. “Even when we’ve struggled with a song, some idea always seems to come in at the last moment. All of a sudden out of nowhere it starts to work.” Stevie seconds the notion: “With some of the songs we’ve even taken things like old vocal recordings on my phone and held them up to the mic,” she laughs. “We welcome those sorts of surprises.”
!Add the intangible components that give weight to their songcraft, and you begin to trace the threads that provide the delectable tension to machineheart’s compelling sound. The debut album, produced by Dave Basset, plays to each member’s strength by imbuing the tracks with a varying but richly satisfying dynamic. “I think there is a uniquely emotive thing going on with vocals and instrumentation with the band where we can mix the pop and the hypnotic,” says Carman.
!The band has high hopes for their debut effort, possessing a sixth sense for ensuring fans grasp what machineheart is all about. “Many bands at the early stage of their careers will put out an EP as a proper introduction to the world,” says Stevie. “We decided to bypass that and instead put out a full-length record that fully encompasses who we are as a band.” While it’s taken a little longer to finish the record, they believe fans will recognize their passion and build a lasting relationship with the fivesome that grows throughout their careers. “That’s all we can ask for,” says Stevie. “That our music and our band make you feel something and authentically becomes an extension of your life.”
!As for their ultimate aspirations for machineheart, Stevie nails it: “We want our music to resonate with people in the same way our favorite music resonated with us. It provided the soundtrack to our lives, and we hope our music will be the soundtrack to theirs.”