Have any of you played in other bands?
J: yes indeed. We are both very active as session players in the UK, so we get to play with loads of really interesting, inspiring artists.
D: and I also performed with ARIA nominated Australian alt-rock band Crawlspace
How is it that you started playing music?
D: my dad was involved in music, so I was surrounded by bands and instruments as a child.
J: my dad had an acoustic guitar around the house and I was this socially awkward kid. Playing music made me bond with a few other weirdos and then I discovered I could actually not totally suck at it.
What are your names? / Who plays what?
Daniel Bowles: vocals, guitars, keyboards
Jordan Brown: bass, keyboards, vocals
Have you had other previous members? J: Yes, we recently lost Elliot Coombs who was one of the founding members. He has quite a few projects of his own and couldn't commit to the band anymore. He's the lead vocalist and guitarist on "Fragile Times" our first album. We are still good mates and had pizza a couple weeks ago!
Did you make music even when you were young?
D: yeah, I have been playing musical instruments for as long as I can remember.
J: no, not really. I was into videogames and Dungeons and Dragons. Started making music at 15
What year did the band form? J: the band existed as a concept for quite a few years. In remember walking in Brooklyn with a few friends in 2011 saying "oh if I had my own band it would be called The Rube Goldberg Machine and we would be making nu - Prog". Then I went on tour with Australian cinematic rockers The Wishing Well and that's where I met Elliot. We started songwriting together and then we hit the studio. Somewhere along the way I met Daniel Bowles while working with a function band in the Berkshire area. We clicked and he became a fundamental part in the band sound.
What's your style of genre? J: can I say prog? It's a funny one because when you say that, people assume certain things about the music and the subject matter of the lyrics. I like to think of ourselves more as songwriters with a taste for textual augmentation of the music. Also, truthfully, there are only two types of music: Music you can dance to and music you can't dance to. And they are both pretty good!
What inspires you? J: life in general. We are living in interesting, slightly scary times. People are hating each other for petty reasons and yet there is so much beauty around us. Somewhere in between those polar opposites lies our inspiration.
How often and where do you reherse? J: to be perfectly honest, we haven't yet! The band started as a studio project, so we are still figuring out how to handle the songs in a live setting. It'll happen, though, promise!
How have you developed since you started with the music? J: you mean in the boundaries of this band? We are always looking for better, more interesting way of doing things. We constantly listen to new music in all genres and try to see if we can integrate some ideas in our own thing. We have 6 leftover songs from the "Fragile Times" writing sessions. But do we really like to put them out now? Is it really what we are at this moment in time?
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? J: God, no. Music is an all - consuming mental illness! I love my kid, tho.
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? J: yeah, why not. Booking gigs, looking after tour dates and travel arrangements is a lot of hard work and I'd rather spend that time and energy learning jazz piano or how to arrange for a brass sextet. Also, booking agencies have a knowledge of the kind of venue that would better receive the band and can package gigs and tours with other bands that would maximise exposure.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? J: We are very lucky to work with this beautiful UK based label called Bad Elephant Music. They are the enfant terrible on the prog scene today and are building a catalogue of amazing music. Check them out! I can honestly say that some of the people on the label will be big names in the future. Hopefully we will be good enough to be hanging out with the cool kids. We can't thank them enough, really
What made you decide to make this music? J: well, it was time. I can only speak for myself here. Because I do work as a producer for quite a few singer / songwriters here in London, I am exposed to such an amount of raw talent and it's so inspiring. After a while I felt I had absorbed some of those songwriting skills and could write things I thought were good enough to show to other people. On the other side I have been playing bass for 25 years and grew up with Rush, Iron Maiden, King Crimson and TOTO so that's part of the genesis of the music too.
What are your songs about? J: Our songs are mainly observations of the world around us. We seem to have two main topics: sociological / political commentary and observations on the nature of the relationships. We try not to be trite and predictable about stuff. Also, now that Daniel Bowles is involved in the writing of the new material, It'll be interesting to see what his style is.
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? J: We take turns. Because of our workflow, we tend to compose and arrange the songs singularly and then present them to the rest of the band. That includes lyrics too. Having said that we are not jealous of our creations and invite everybody to critique and enhance what has been written.
Do you start with the music or the lyrics? J: Music first. That includes recording a scratch vocal track of assorted gibberish, what our label manager David Elliot defined as "Yogurt Lyrics". Then, once the inspiration strikes, we substitute that with real words.
Do you compose in a certain environment? Yes, we all have studio setups at home and that's where we create our music.
What language do you sing in? English
Where do you plan to gig the comming year? Our first gig will be in London on the 25th of February. Check out Bad Elephant's Facebook page for details. If anyone is around, please come say hi!
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? D: As long as music gets to the people wanting to hear it, the medium is unimportant.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? J: Young people expect to receive music for free, that's the new paradigm. That completely subverted the idea I had of a career in music when I was 15. Some say it killed the industry, some say it is the beginning of a new era. Regardless of what I think, that's the name of the game now and it's what we have to work with.
What do you think of my work? J: I was not familiar with it, but I took time and went through your blog and really enjoyed your work. You're definitely very prolific and ask good questions!
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? J: Well - We are all thrown in the great aggregator that's Google. I suppose that when someone looks up The Rube Goldberg Machine, this interview will come up and it will become part of the band's web presence.
Do you have any role models or idols? J: Good question. Many, but one sticks out and it's Dame Evelyn Glennie. She's a Scottish classical percussionist who became profoundly deaf at the age of 12. She challenged the English school system to be accepted in a conservatoire. Not only she became a monstrous musician, but she also changed the way the British schools system examines and accepts students. She gives a very enjoyable TED talk about it. Look it up, it's amazing.
Why do you think that they exist? J: Role models set the bar for what we want to become. Without them we wouldn't have benchmarks.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? J: Older bands are like comfort food. They bring you back to a simpler time when you were younger and are reassuring. Of course it's easier to find inspiration in them; but it's a bad idea because then your music stagnates. I don't buy into the whole "music in the '70s was better" thing. Sure many of my favourite bands are from that era, but do I want to become a King Crimson copycat? If I can't relate to a newer sound it's because I have a cultural limitation. No music is inherently bad. This, of course, is a personal opinion
What have been your biggest obstacles? J: getting the musicians together. We are all pro musicians and producers and luckily we are very busy. Getting us all together under the same roof is a titanic task. Coordinating a group of musicians is like trying to lead twelve cats through the hall of an airport without a leash
What advice would you give other bands or artists? J: Invest money in your music. Many think that they can make a killer album in the drummer's shed with a few cheap microphones and a DAW of choice. In those conditions you can definitely create beautiful, meaningful music and it's a great way to get started. But don't expect to make something that is going to make heads turn. The implications of what I'm saying would take way more space than I'm allowed in this interview. Invest money in your music.
How do you get psyched for a gig? J: I don't anymore. I gig two - three times a week so I have developed a relaxed way about it. In away it's a shame because I miss the adrenaline rush. I'm sure that'll happen when we'll be playing the Royal Albert Hall, tho!
Do you have any new material? J: Yes indeed. Working on it as we speak
All the social media presence (Facebook, Youtube, twitter, Soundcloud, etc...) is under the @trgmachine handle
What are your plans for the future? Gigging and a new album if we feel we have strong enough music to offer
Do you have something to add?
J: The world is pretty dark right now. Let's be kind to each other.