with Maximum Rock N Roll
MRR: Can you give me a brief history of This Machine Kills,
leading up to the release of the split 7" with Envy?
Brett: Well, it started in December of '98. Me and the original
drummer, Ryan, started practicing together. Steve joined to play bass
in January of '99. Originally, me and Steve sang almost equally.
Steve: Before I was singing, Casey from Yaphet Kotto was maybe
going to sing, but the distance was a problem.
Brett: SO we kept with that, toured with Kill Sadie for part
of their West Coast tour in August of /99, and after that, it was decided
we'd find another bass player, because Steve gets really into what he's
doing--we basically had a singer and no bass player.
Steve: And I was really bad, too.
Brett: When you actually were playing bass, you were good, but
the bass would end up on the floor or something. So Steve just started
singing and Brian joined on bass. Jeremy's other band Stratego was basically
wrapping up, so we started practicing with him, and we've been doing
it ever since.
MRR: Stratego named after that game of skill?
Jeremy: Yeah, which I coincidentally have never played in my
MRR: It's all about where you hide the flag. What about the
rest of you, as far as former projects?
Steve: I'm in Esperanza, and me and Brian have a band with Mikey
Brian: Called China Berg.
Steve: It's in theory right now. And I'm in another band called
Brett: I have no time to be in more than one band. But in the
past, well, in high school, I was in a band called Keebler Nation, which
no one should ever hear of again. Then I was in Not For The Lack of
MRR: How did this HG Fact release with Envy come out? Were you
friends with them?
Steve: Yeah, I went out there (Japan) in September of last year,
and I met Envy. I gave them a demo and they asked us to do the record.
I was talking with Tadashi from HG Fact already, so he was interested
in doing the record.
MRR: Was he already friends with Envy, or familiar with them?
Steve: Yeah, he released two of the LPs. We just went out there
to tour about a month ago, with Envy and some other bands.
MRR: This release obviously has a theme. Is that something that
you talked about with Envy? I can't read the lyrics to their song, but
I assume from their title, "A Red Wound Picture," that it
also has to do with the Amadou Diallo shooting in New York.
Steve: I'm almost positive it doesn't, because they never told
me it had any connection. We never talked about coordinating songs together.
Brett: Originally, we were supposed to have one more song on
there, but we mistimed things and it was to long.
MRR: Why did you select that one?
Brett: It was our favorite song, and it was timely. I wrote
it right after the court case with the police officers, but before the
verdict came in. We played it at a show at PCH the day after the verdict.
It was pretty crazy.
Steve: It was a really emotional show.
MRR: What do you think that event and the outcome of the trial
says about this country?