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Interview: SYS MACHINE - Graceful Isolation

Take a minute to reflect on the latest release from SYS MACHINE and an in depth interview into the music.


Graceful Isolation features 6 original tracks, 3 of which feature vocals from Kimberly of BOW EVER DOWN with remixes from ASSEMBLAGE 23, THE JOY THIEVES, SPANKTHENUN, BLUE EYED CHRIST, MISSSUICIDE, MICROWAVED, Steven Olaf, and AUDIO BUDDHA. Artwork is by Greg Rolfes of Eleven12 Design which will be unveiled soon. 



Q. For those unfamiliar, how would you describe your music, and where does your inspiration come from?

Sys Machine is chill minimal electronic rock. It's almost the polar opposite of my other project Derision Cult which is guitar heavy industrial metal. If you're looking for something chill at the end of the night- we're at your service!

My inspiration came from a bunch of places. Sys Machine really started life as more instrumental soundscapes and Graceful Isolation was the first real album with collaborators and stuff. What inspired me to begin with was a lot of the instrumental projects that I saw happening in the early 2000's from decidedly industrial artists. Things like Micronaut (Sister Machine Gun), Eco-Hed (Die Warzau), Amish Rake Fight (Machines of Loving Grace) really got me into the idea of putting guitars down. I get inspired by new pieces of gear or programming methods and those eventually become songs.

Q. Tell us about your history. Where did it all start, and what inspired you all to start making music?

I grew up in Iowa (I live in the Chicago area now). I was a metal head growing up. Early on I was inspired by things like Metallica and thrash from the 80's. When I lived there, I played in mostly metal bands, but in addition to metal, I had a love of David Bowie and always wore things like Tin Machine on my sleeve so bands I was in were a little off-kilter to what was going on in Iowa metal at the time. I grew up in the same scene Slipknot came out of and so there was a lot of sort of, proto-nu-metal happening which wasn't my bag at all.

I moved to Chicago in the early 2000's and took a break for a long time from music. I focused pretty heavily on a career in the ad industry and outside of that, got into triathlon/marathons and was fairly competitive and Triathlon and cycling for awhile. I missed music and really, I got inspired by what the industrial scene in Chicago was like. I'm a huge fan of Wax Trax and bands like Die Warzau. When I came to Chicago I ended up meeting a lot of those people and I found out a lot of the most brilliant musicians were also teachers, or accountants, or professionally creative outside of music. Guys like Jim Marcus from Die Warzau/Go Fight and Chris Randall from Sister Machine Gun really inspired me to stop thinking about music in terms of "making it" or all the silly things you wrap your head around when you're starting out and appreciate the value of making something that contributes to the zeitgeist of your time on the planet. That really lit a fire in me to think of art as a reward in and of itsel