Matt McJunkins and Jeff Friedl are used to being in the background. Both musicians have appeared in plenty of bands you have heard and maybe have even seen live, such as A Perfect Circle, Ashes Divide, and Puscifer, but the time has come for them to break out on their own.
Enter The Beta Machine, a two-piece drum and guitar combo focused on blazing their own trail. This Friday is a bit of a coming out party, as the band has played the Viper Room before, but this time they have their newest single "Pictures" out and available to soak in before the show. The duo was gracious enough to answer a few questions in preparation for Friday's big gig.
There isn't a ton of information out there about you guys. Is that on purpose or are you waiting for the music to come out first before you reintroduce yourselves to the world?
At this point there’s actually a good deal of info on us. You just have to find it. But yeah we’re not giving away all the details. It’s an ongoing process that will grow and change as time goes on. We want to release our material and info when we feel like it makes sense.
"Pictures" is your debut track and is pretty killer. Also, pretty bold in this day and age to come out with a single over 5 minutes long. How representative of The Beta Machine's sound is that song?
Thank you! We picked this song because it was the first one that we wrote, and it’s special to us in that way. It’s also a deeply personal song lyrically and it just felt right somehow for it to be an introduction to the band. As for the length we never really discussed it. The songs are as long or short as they need to be.
You just finished wrapping the video as well. What was the concept behind it?
Yes! The video will be out soon! The idea was mostly to just capture the mood of the song. Not be too literal with anything or gimmicky but to find a way to translate the overall feeling of the song into a visual representation. We’re lucky to have found Stephen Steelman (Brigantine Films) to direct the video and help us conceive and put together something we’re really happy with. Very excited to put it out soon!
I'm assuming Claire Acey is the female vocalist on "Pictures." How much of the album will feature her and what's it like working with her again?
Yes it is! Claire was there pretty early on. We had performed with her as Carina Round’s backing band and always loved the sound of her voice. We were still writing the songs and tracking a bunch of ideas and had her come down and track one day and it just clicked. As far as what’s been recorded so far, she sings on the bulk of the material with Matt.
How does it feel going from being students, to session guys, to active members of a touring band, to starting your own thing? Did you expect this career path when you starting playing music?
It’s all been a gradual process. None of it was ever planned. Just knew that music was going to be a part of it somehow. Nothing else was ever an option it seemed. One thing’s led to the next. Starting The Beta Machine was no exception.
How were those Cinquanta shows at the Greek with Puscifer?
Very special nights. Still hearing people talk about them and posting photos everywhere. Such a unique experience playing with so many friends and talented people on the stage at once. Was a couple of nights that won’t soon be forgotten!
Is the Viper Room show on Friday sort of a single-release party? How much of the upcoming album will you be playing?
We thought about doing that, and I suppose it sort of is by default, but we aren’t calling it that. It will be a party regardless of what we want to call it. Lots of friends will be there in attendance and performing as well. Dekades and UpdownUp will be playing and Shaun Lopez from Crosses will be spinning in the DJ booth all night. We’re going to play the set that makes sense to us for right now. Some of the songs you’ll hear we’ve been holding onto for a bit now and others are a little more recent.