INTERVIEW 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 life.

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 Hopscotch...

Brian: Called China Berg.

Steve: It's in theory right now. And I'm in another band called Transmission.

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 Trying.

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?