We chat to SA’s Next Big Thing, Man As Machine – the band currently attracting some attention from rock fans with their current single We Are The Dreamers. They’ve just recently released their debut album and scored a sponsorship with Monster Energy SA. Suffice as to say, the guys that like to play some cool tunes, get crazy (and occasionally naked) are going places.
Rob Visser: Vocals
Norden Hartman: Guitar
Xavier Knox: Bass Guitar
KJ Forde: Drums
Label: Debut Music Entertainment
Years performing: 4
Sounds Like: Sound Garden / Audioslave / Wolfmother / Alterbridge
How did Man as Machine come to be?
Three of MaM’s members were the winners of a band-based competition back in ’08. We cut ties with the association, but the band carried on. KJ joined our line-up midway through ’09 and that’s how it’s been since.
What has been the band’s biggest achievement to date?
Launching our debut album was a big deal for us. Not only because we did it independently, but also because it turned into a huge party, being one of the biggest shows we’ve played to date.
What do you hope the band’s biggest achievement to be?
I think we’d all be happy if we were on a constant tour rotation, internationally and, of course, locally. We have our eyes on a few festivals and bands which we’d love to play and tour with. Australia, the States, Japan, the Moon, you name it…
What do you have to have as a band to make it locally?
(We don’t know yet… but if we have to guess) Having a strong live show with great songs is a must. We’ve come to realise that, locally, a band in our genre can’t rely on radio play to generate our fan base. As a band, you have to create a relationship or connection with the fans. (That’s all we’ve got…)
Work hard, play harder. True or false?
That would be false… but we do it anyway.
6. How do you think people who have heard you perform live would describe you to people who haven’t yet heard of you?
After spending several minutes trying to put ourselves into their shoes, we decided it would be easier to just ask.
“Kick-ass rock band.” – Rob’s Mom
“Hmmm… An outright amazing assault on all senses, creating a wall of sound and generating more energy than the sun… ‘’eargasms’’ are imminent.” – Scott Carroll
“Man As Machine delivers the kind of power one might expect the sun to give off. In fact, it is a commonly known fact that those who stand right [in]front at gigs need factor 1000 sunscreen just to survive. Yet unlike the sun, they are really entertaining to look at. But like the sun, my life would be dark and meaningless without them.” – Jason Lume
If you had to choose only one song which represented you to the world, which would it be on your album?
What makes a sundog take a ride, blow its cover, burnout, and look in a mirror yelling “stop, drop & roll” to the skies while closing in on 42 damned dreamers. I think its track # …”all of them”.
For us, it’s too tough to decide on any one track. Each song has a life and vibe of its own. Obviously, we’ll be releasing some as singles. So, you could see those as our expectations of worldly opinion.
What’s the band’s most rock ‘n roll feature?
Norden’s hair! Some say he is related to the biblical Samson, others say,”Simba!”
Honestly though, we like to entertain. Our live show is a place and time where we can let loose. We like to get crazy, occasionally naked.
Your best and worst tour memories thus far?
Best: Well, the Wimpy in Harrismith is a stock-standard tradition… But, having all the kitchen staff in Stellenbosch’s Aandklas screaming for an encore louder than anyone else was fantastically entertaining.
Worst: Having to play a show after getting sunstroke during the day. One of the most painful experiences. Sunburn and guitar straps don’t mix.
The band member most likely to go home with a lady (or two) after a gig?
The answer to that question is Xavier. He seems to have the necessary skills.
Man As Machine’s debut album Nothing But A Thing is available at Look ‘n Listen, Kalahari, Super CD, Top CD, Music Moods.
You can listen to their current single We Are The Dreamers here.
Catch Man as Machine live on the 28th of April at The Bohemian in JHB and on the 12th of May at Arcade Empire in PTA.