Slow and steady has always been the way for Brisbane artist Adrian Mauro and his project Machine Age.
Even if you haven’t heard his name yet, there is a very good chance you’re familiar with his work. Before adopting his own musical moniker, Mauro started out working behind the scenes, in the studio, having a hand in records from artists including Big Scary and BANFF.
Soon though, Mauro’s love for weird, experimental, electronic music saw him step out of the studio and onto the stage and thus Machine Age was born. What followed was the release of his debut single ‘Chivalry’ back in 2015 – a blend of glitchy electronica and soaring folk that saw Machine Age catch the attention of music fans and industry alike. From there, he dove headfirst into a non-stop touring schedule as a solo artist – a one-man-band packed with guitar, samplers and loop pedals galore.
A slow drip of singles followed for the next few years, each time unveiling another side of the Machine Age sonic palette. Along the way, he teamed up with drummer Dylan Stewart and this one-man-band became a duo, touring alongside Australian heavyweights including The Jungle Giants, Holy Holy, #1 Dads, Ainslie Wills, and more.
Now we get to 2019, and Machine Age’s gorgeous debut album Point Of Departure. Across almost an hour, you’ll hear all the different sides of Machine Age – from that first glitchy-folk single to huge, arena-size industrial moments like ‘Dust’.
“Point Of Departure, in its simplest meaning, is the start of a discussion, it’s the first full project we’re putting into the world, but it’s got a deeper meaning for me. When I was 15, my older brother passed away and I found myself alone in our shared bedroom full of his instruments. I got hooked on music from there, playing his instruments.” frontman Adrian Mauro says.
We’ve picked it as our album of the week, so who better to hear from than Adrian Mauro himself.
From the beginning
Machine Age: “We always had music in our house, but I used to hide under my bed to avoid piano lessons as a kid because I was scared of riding my bike past the dogs down the street. In high school, I started playing the trumpet but it wasn’t until my older brother passed away when I was 15 that I found myself alone with all of his instruments and I truly found solace in music.”
Inside the creative process
MA: “Machine Age started as an outlet for recording, experimentation and it was meant to be a solo pursuit that wasn’t too serious. Fast forward four years and I couldn’t have made the record I have without opening myself up to collaborating with others.
“I can’t really pinpoint the first few moments of writing this album. I think like most debuts, in a way it’s taken a lifetime of listening, learning, and performing to make this record.”
What you’ll hear
MA: “The simplest answer is – if I’m making it, it’s the Machine Age sound. I’ve always been excited by innovative music makers. Therefore the only rule I adhere to when making my own music is that there are no rules. As long as I’m excited by what I’m doing, that’s all that matters. Whether it’s an acoustic song with a string quartet or an industrial song with crazy electronics.
“As for Point of Departure, it just feels like a fifty-minute song to me.”
Influences & inspiration
MA: “My influences are everything I’ve heard, seen, smelled, tasted, and felt since I was born until now. I feel most inspired when there’s a sense of possibility in the air. I guess the trick is capturing that feeling when I’m trying to create music, whether it’s the space, the temperature, the lighting, whatever.”
Down memory lane
MA: “There were quite a few false starts in the beginning. Initially, I wanted to put out an EP after the release of my single ‘Chivalry’, but I wasn’t prepared for the industry interest that song received. By the time I’d finished playing cat and mouse with labels and what not I had a lot of material to choose from and I wanted to show all the colours in my musical palette opposed to a select few.
“The genesis of a lot of the songs on the record comes from a very similar point in time. Even though it may have taken a few years to make them a sonic reality they all feel like they fit together for me.
“There are more than a few favourite memories from the creative process – tracking the string quartet in an old church in the middle of a Brisbane thunderstorm, recording and filming ‘Chivalry is Dead’ in a machinery warehouse, finishing the record in a beach shack on Tasmania’s East Coast.”
Overcoming struggle town
MA: “At the end of 2016, I felt like giving it all up. I’d just come off the back of a national tour with the Jungle Giants and I was getting sick of the “one-man-band” thing. But in 2017, after a chance jam session, I started playing with my drummer Dylan and he helped me get excited about performing and writing again. Later that year we toured the country with Holy Holy, locked in a manager and booking agent, and all of a sudden I wasn’t a “one-man-band” anymore.”
Tell us the story
MA: “My original working title for the record was ‘Solace in Solitude’. There’s really only been two times in my life where I’ve truly felt alone. After my brother passed away as a teenager, and more recently after the break up of a longterm relationship. But during both of these times I found solace in music, which brought a sense of stillness and clarity. The track ‘If Only’ feels like the song that brings these different feelings of solitude together for me.
For the love of music
MA: “What do I love most about making music? That feeling when you’ve conjured something from nothing, when you’ve left every bit of yourself onstage, the ability it gives you to travel through time.”
MA: “I’ve been lucky enough to tour the country a number of times and be nominated for a few awards, but simply finishing a record I’m proud of will do for now.”
MA: “In this world of singles and playlists I hope that the people that invest the time to dive deep are rewarded with an experience that gets better and more interesting with every listen.”
Machine Age – Flame or Flicker (Departure)
MA: “This song shows a softer side that people don’t always see in our live shows.”
Machine Age – Year Of The Monkey
MA: “This song is actually one of the oldest songs on the record but was one of the last to be recorded.”
Machine Age – Touched by Fire Kissed by Rain
MA: “It almost didn’t make the cut because I couldn’t get the mix and arrangement right.”
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Machine Age will take his debut album Point of Departure on the road this October, including a show at The Vanguard in Sydney on Friday 18 October. Tickets via our mates at Moshtix.