The MusicTalker Twitter account recently gained a handful of followers, many of whom were bands. One of these particular bands was Chicago, Illinois’ Denial Machine. Shortly after returning their favor of following me on Twitter, the band posted a new song on Soundcloud. “Devil In My Veins” instantly caught my ear and I subsequently wrote a song review to chronicle my bright first impressions of Denial Machine.
Following my review, Denial Machine’s founder/guitarist/mastermind Mark Anderson agreed to answer some questions regarding the band’s formation, personal music preferences, and other topics of interest. My conversation with Mark may be found below.
Additionally, I have heard the new material and recommend giving it a good, hard listen when it is released. It is heavy yet very melodic, especially in terms of the vocals. If you have heard their earlier music, the new songs have a very different approach and sound, as Mark expresses during the interview.
What brought Denial Machine together as a band?
I started writing back in September of 2007 for a new project. I didn’t know who was going to be in it or what it would be called. I would write and record to my 8-track recorder with a drum machine. The majority of our first album and EP were written this way. After going through some growing pains line up wise, the initial line up for Denial Machine was solidified and officially began in February of 2009.
How prominent of a role do you believe your influences play in your music?
Not really sure. What inspires and influences me are often not what others say they hear in our music. With our brand new music we’ve taken a big leap of faith by trying something brand new and different from what anyone else is doing. I believe to make a true mark in music you have to stand out as something that is unique and something people can instantly identify as you!
What was the first concert you ever attended?
If I remember correctly it would have been Stryper, Loudness and TNT in Wisconsin in 1987 or 1988
Have you toured with any well-established acts? If so, whom?
We’ve done some one off shows with bands like Soil, Dirge Within, Otep and God Forbid. Tours are very expensive and being a band who does this on our own, at this point we are weekend warriors!
Who would be the ideal headliner for whom you could open?
Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden. Any band with a big crowd to attain the most exposure!
How would you classify your music in terms of genre as well as band comparisons?
I hear our band completely differently than others do. With our first 2 releases most would say we were the typical metalcore band. With our new direction we’ve tried to maintain the heaviness and technicality while incorporating actual singing! There are so many bands out there in that genre doing what we did before, and they do it great and probably better than we did. We just felt the need to break away and do something new.
What attracted you to heavy metal music? Did you instantly know you wanted to play it?
Seeing Judas Priest on MTV Live in Memphis in 1983. That forever set my musical landscape. Forever blessed or forever damned is a matter of perspective.
What does the songwriting process entail for Denial Machine?
A lot of it is still me demoing songs alone then bringing them to the guys. Mike our drummer who joined in late 2011 does all his own drum patterns. The previous drummer would basically play whatever I demoed on the drum machine. So that change has added a lot more creativity to our new music. The track “Devil In My Veins” was written in the jam room with the entire band which was completely different for us and something new.
What kind of lyrical themes interest and inspire you?
The new stuff is a split between me and vocalist Casey Mullen as far as lyrics go. Casey tends to write more about personal experience and my lyrics tend to take on a more epic and story-telling aspect. We both are intrigued by the concept of God himself along with biblical stories as those are featured prominently in our lyrics.
I understand your band has been together since 2009. How smoothly would you say the road to success in the music industry has gone so far?
The original line up fought hard for 2 years before kind of falling apart in early 2011. I’m more of a survivor and it is not in my nature to give up. I reformed the band in late 2011 with some awesome musicians, so that was a huge upgrade and there is no looking back at this point. Once a defeatist attitude creeps in and you look at music through jaded eyes it can get overly frustrating. You have to cut ties at that point and find new life. With others the pressure of being good at your job and having to actually do your job is too much. Some are happy jamming their favorite Godsmack, Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin songs at a local bar each weekend and God Bless ‘em. I wish I could find satisfaction in that and perhaps one day I will. Also the pressure of trying to get something you created out there for people to hear and actually getting people to listen can create tension, fights and disagreements.
Is there anything you would like to add?