Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Steam Clock - Interview

I had a really nice time interviewing Matt Bachara, the main member of this new spectacular steampunk band "The Steam Clock". I was impressed by this band at the first listening/looking. They got steampunk/gothic/industrial songs in all the aspects, I mean, lyrics, tones, the way they sing and also they dress up accordingly. Inside all this, there is a Christian point of view of the world, which makes things more and more newsworthy, so that's why I decided to interview sir Bachara to explore a little more.

1- How was the band created?
The band was actually originally intended to be a studio project when I was doing bass/vocal duties with In Nothingness Raised Imperishable. When the other members of IxNXRxI had to drop out for various reasons the Steam Clock became my main project.

2- What influences does the band have?
The band has a broad range of influences. From Bowie to Larry Norman to Saviour Machine to Ministry to all of Allan Aguirre's projects such as Scattered Few, Spyglass Blue, or Men As Trees Walking. Old goth like Voodoo Church or Sisters of Mercy. Circle of Dust, Deliverance, Klank, Abney Park.... I could go on for days.

3- How does the concept of Steampunk appears and fit on Steam Clock?
Steampunk for me is just a part of the natural progression for me as a person and an artist. Being so closely tied to the goth scene and being raised in a household where antiquated or "neo Victorian" speech was commonplace, not to mention the whole "dressing up" addiction which our parents ingrained into our collective psyche. As to how it fits the Steam Clock itself, I've always tried to write with a bit of a neo Victorian flare, we use more unconventional instruments such as violin or having two drummers. Steampunk is neo Victorian sci fi & all about an alternate past where steam power and clockworks remain the primary technological systems employed... There are two basic ways to approach said genre e s x either strictly Victorian or post apocalyptic. We lean more toward the latter. Our music is a blend of the old & new with use of classical instruments like the violin to more modern industrial instrumentation such as dual drummers, distorted bass & synth etc...
We approach the engine of songwriting in a minimalist fashion. The music though comprised of simple parts mesh together to form a cohesive whole designed to paint an atmospheric backdrop for the lyrics that tend to use mechanical/clockwork imagery as metaphor for something deeper as would be the case in a world where such things are the norm.. 

4- Do you share your beliefs on the songs?
Of course! To not share at least from the perspective of our Judeo/Christian world view would be grossly dishonest & I feel would hamper our ability to create the art that I feel the Most High Himself has given us. There was a doom metal band I used to be in where the other members asked me to tone down the spiritual overtones and things didn't work well. It's funny but after we parted ways they still use the "overly Christian" lyrics & songs I wrote. In general, Steam Clock´s lyrics tend to use mechanical/clockwork imagery and references to steam power in context. I write from the perspective of someone in an actual steampunk reality, for example who brags about using gasoline now? Only someone who's using it to put out fires! My lyrics have always utilized antiquated or classical speech modes more common to Victorian eras than our own due mostly in part to my upbringing in a family where such idiosyncrasies were not merely tolerated but in fact encouraged! You can I'm sure imagine the rash of taunting I used to receive as a teenager for using such terms as "swath of destruction" etc. 

5- Who are the members? Tell us some details about them, please.
The current live line-up is as follows: Lord Ryan of Oaks on percussion. (He switches off betwixt a full kit & tribal drums such as his djimbe), Sir Caleb Bachara (the youngest of my four brothers) on violin, Taylor ( Turkish Delight) Moore (who is neither Turk nore Moorish) on either drums in our electric sets or six string banjo in our acoustic sets, Saint Nick Freeman on keys for electric & guitar for acoustic sets and I play bass or guitar live as well as vocals.

6- What are the current bands you could highlight as interesting and/or original?
There are a wealth of fantastic bands out there right now! The current environment with protools, reason etc. has made it easier to create, record & distribute music without needing the hulking bloated beast of the industry to pay (or should I say loan) the money to do so. Some of my favorite bands out right now are Wovenhand, Whitecollar Sideshow, Men As Trees Walking (I've heard a song from the new album & it's going to be beautiful), the Beckoning, Klank's new album is amazing, the Lacks, Abney Park, Unextraordinary Gentlemen, Breakthrough, Least of These, Unwoman, Dr. Steel, Imperative Reaction, So Say We All, the Dwelling. All very interesting bands and I could keep going but I'd bore the readers. Although I should mention the new acoustic stuff Saviour Machine has been doing is amazing as well! 

7- What could you say about the Underground Scene nowadays?
The underground scene is quite healthy. Even as the industry continues to implode it weeds out those whose sole purpose for making art would be money. Thus we are left with those who are dedicated to the art for art's sake. There are also great networks for underground musicians such as the Objective, & RYFO that help support and equip the underground scene. 

8- Any opinion about Mp3 files and downloading music illegally?
Mp3 files are very convenient and I know many artists who are giving their music away such as all the artists on Come And Live & I believe that's where things are heading. However, the bands that aren't giving music away need to be paid. Labels only pay artists after they make a profit first so if you don't pay for the album, the artist will so don't rob the artist on top of what the label already is!

9- Does the band have plans to play abroad?
It would be great to play outside our usual stomping grounds of southern California let alone the US... The Extreme Tour who we've been working with is weighing the options of adding more international legs since things went so well in Canada last year. Mayhaps we could catch one of those stints if things go well, but as of now we have no plans other than getting the live band all trained up & Lord willing get some more songs recorded.

10 - How's the World and the USA nowadays?
The US is in a pivotal point in her history though the case can be made that this is always the point. Economically I believe things will get worse before they get better & the majority of what happens depends on how we treat Israel. Things are heating up, the prophetic clock is ticking. All we can do is follow the Master as best we can individually and encourage our brothers & sisters to remain in as close a walk as we can. And ask the Father for His abundant mercy...

Emerson Olaf

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