Machines master show mechanics

The big beat rock trio, Secret Machines, delivered a monstrous show Friday night at Higher Ground. Punctuated by a stellar light show and a circular stage that placed the band among the audience, their sound was all encompassing–slamming their reverberations into the ears of the audience. Drummer Josh Garza spoke with The Cynic about the trio.VC: You guys are from Texas and moved to New York. Are you a Texan or a New Yorker?JG: That’s interesting. I was born in Texas. I’ve been living in New York for the last six years. If anything, my family is from Mexico. If anything I’d consider myself Mexican–blood is thicker than water.VC: But no need for labels–they tend to get people in trouble.JG: Seems like it.VC: Rolling Stone has called you “a blend of psychedelic Led Zeppelin and Who-inspired choruses. Is this something you guys agree with? JG: I think the truth of the matter is we are coming from that era of rock n’ roll where a good pop song didn’t necessarily have to be a weak song. Zeppelin had great songs and they were poppy and catchy, but they rocked. And you know, I think we’re trying to do that. It seems like nowadays it’s just so…it’s either f—ing death metal, heavy metal or just f—ing lame pop.VC: “Ten Silver Drops,” as a whole, seems more melancholy than the all out heavy rock of “Now Here is Nowhere.” Does it reflect your recording process at the time?JG: We did exactly what we set out to do which was push people to have an opinion about it. I mean, your f—ed if you do, f—ed if you don’t. We wanted to try something different–we were somewhere else in our live and the whole point of the record is to document where you’re at, at that particular moment. It’s gonna sound different, it’s gonna feel different. People are gonna have an opinion about it and it’s like, that’s the whole point. That’s what art is supposed to do.VC: Your covers of “Girl From the North Country” and “Money (That’s What I Want)” are intriguing. What were you guys trying to bring to these renditions? JG: The truth is, those songs are incredible songs. It’s twofold: Here’s a song that we really, really, really, really love by an artist we really care about…so we have to reinterpret it so that people who are familiar with the song and the artist can still get off on it… and can at least see it for something different. Because nothing’s worse than hearing a song and it’s like, ‘God, this sucks, who ruined this?’ We just don’t ever really want to do that.VC: Would you consider yourselves a live band or a studio band, if you had to pick one or the other for the rest of your career?JG: We like both. They’re two different things. It’s like photography: you have color and then you have black and white photography. They kind of feed the other. The live thing is a lot of fun and there’s a lot of energy and songs are reinterpreted…but there’s things you can’t do on stage that you can in the studio. In the studio there’s a level of experimenting with the song structure, the frequency, the method, the style that you want to record it in. We try to use the studio as another instrument.VC: What are you listening to right now that you’re really getting into?JG: Right now I like the new TV On The Radio. I think that’s good. I like The Futureheads’ record that came out this year. There’s this band from Japan called Boris. They have a great record. The Raconteurs. I kind of dig that record. I think I always got annoyed because I thought [Jack White] was kind of good and cool and wrote good songs but I always wished he had a good band.