So we played live at The Dark Room on Saturday night, upstairs at The Giffard Arms (following a rockin' set by Dru-Amelia) and had an absolutely brilliant time.
It's been a very long time since I've felt so confident and been so sarcastic on stage. I got the impression that we were playing to people that either loved what we were doing, or just didn't understand what we were doing at all. It was brilliant.Very friendly crowd, but obviously a few people that had never heard anything like us before.
We played a 45 minute set, including two songs that are really close to my heart: Fires Made Safe and Heatwave.
Ade (Mutate / Stray Dog City) recorded the gig so we might put out a song or two providing we didn't overload the recording (there was a serious amount of bass pumping out of those speakers).
Chucky Tsch (Crashback) played bass for half the set and did an amazing job considering she'd never touched a bass until a couple of weeks ago. No pressure, it's just that the bass is the lead instrument. No pressure at all.
This meant I could give a lot more energy and attention to the vocals which is always nice.
Ade provided his trademark shards of atomic guitar / sounds:
And then we did some booty-shaking to a few groovy songs and headed on home.
Not bad at all.
What next? Well, we have a plan to something a little different. We'd like to concentrate on our newest project entitled Crashback, a spin-off of the Mekanical Settings, which is intended to focus more on the soft, floaty, electrical, but also somewhat grimy and silly side of home-made noises. Less pounding, more seductive, if you will.
And now a word from Crashback (Sticky Stevens [also known as Milk Milk McKenzie and wanted in several counties for lewdness and smuggery] & The Chucktopus [also known as Manic Chucky Tsch], both pictured below) themselves:
"There are already two songs you can listen to online: The Crashback Song (alternative title: Keepin' it BN2 [or any other postcode that may seem appropriate]) and the Theme for Mr. Stew, an homage to our great hero, comedian (and man) Stewart Lee. We have had ideas for videos for both of these tunes, we just need to pause from eating popcorn for long enough to get them produced. As a teaser, our newest half-finished idea of a song has the working title 'Human Sandwiches'.
Watch this space for the upcoming Crashback manifesto, album, cookery book, car stickers, golf umbrellas, drinking game, cocktail, contraceptive device, etc. etc."
Thanks to Ade Mutate, Ted Wildbillbuttock, DJ Cruel Britannia, Gilbert Lee, Sin, Helen and The Crashback Massive.
The Mekano Set
Black Aspirin is our new noise. It's the result of channeling a whole lot of negative / nervous / anxious energy. Listeners have already begun to get excited about the combination of melody, sleaze and bad attitude...
"Whizzy hollow future vibe loved up punk puke robot siren."
"I love it so much I'm going to put it on my headphones and gaffa tape a cellophane bag over my head and listen to it for the last 13 seconds of joyous existence."
"With a spitting steel feathers humour, The Meks demonstrate just how easy it is to replicate the classic Pop Punk Goth Rock swagger, whilst adding a spark of originality into the mix by scuppering the mood with synth solos, tubular bell chimes and lyrical content clearly aimed at the kind of trendy wankers currently lapping this kind of thing up."
It's on bandcamp and you can download it via viinyl.com if you give us a plug on your tweet or facebrick page. It comes in two parts and has some ace tunes and fresh mixes. It was essentially written as a piss-take of the current crop of hipster bands slapping themselves on the back for blatantly ripping off the likes of Banshees, Joy Division and The Sisters of Mercy (long after they were interesting). You can also download a 22 page Black Aspirin Manifesto if you want more info and pics.
Our rampant imaginations are filtered / throttled through the narrow snare of the now.
Black Aspirin is about the way that bands get away with failing to move things forward and receive praise for blatant imitation of their heroes.
What really gets to me is that the people that should be calling out bands for this kind of approach are instead applauding them; the same people that attack the likes of us for daring to simply embrace more than one style of music.
The fact is there ARE bands out there (Little Death Machine, Blindness, Dru Amelia, Introverts) with a punk sensibility, a Post-Punk sound palette, a spark of originality and their hearts in the right places; bands unafraid to fuck with conventions whilst still embracing a decent tune, a decent bass riff. I just know there's a tonne of people out there doing it this way, but there so hard to find because the people that should be shouting them out busy sucking up to the safe bets.
It occurs to me that I always avoid the obvious (genres, structures, themes, styles) because they've all either been exploited to death, or they're just pigeon holes built by people motivated by money, not music. These things are just not interesting. There is nothing rebellious, innovative or challenging about conforming to uniforms, arrangements, song structures and attitudes that have been around for 50 years or more.
There is a big difference between wearing your influences on your sleeve and ripping off a band's beat, wardrobe, poses, lyrics, riffs...
I freely admit that my attitude about all this isn't cool. Making music for me isn't just something to tell people about at parties, it's my obsession. I work really damned hard at it. It's not easy. And I make things harder for myself by refusing to schmooze. I've never had any time for the bullshit of the trendy clubs full of spoiled posers talking my ear off about what they are going to do. What they are never going to do.
But when I respect someone and their work I think it's fair to say I champion and plug them with a passion. I respect honesty and determination, I have no respect for bandwagoning affluent hipster assholes robbing my culture just like they rob every other culture.
It is also a response to people who don't seem to be able to make a small leap to where acts like us are at. Taking our reluctance to conform to conventions as laziness, we've tried to show just how easy it is to do an old fashioned conventional song.
“I’m not asking for originality. I’m just asking for more. I want to hear one influence that isn’t already pre-approved by a bunch of old white dudes.” 1
In part, the writing and recording of Black Aspirin was fueled by a recent bit of online hassle from someone I've treated with nothing but care and respect, long after our mutual friends and peers gave up on them as a time-waster and a flake.
This person has spent the last few years on permanent vacation. During the brief periods when they are not on holiday, I get an occasional request to plug their contribution more / demands to remove all traces of their contribution. This time they reached a new low, amongst other things highlighting their own sexism (I was told to "man up" - which to anyone who knows me personally is almost amusing in itself).
“Not the shock of the new so much as the comfort of the old. The “I like stuff that sounds like the stuff I already like” branch of the rock’n’roll fanclub meets here. This is the part where those people reflexively shout “ THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS ORIGINALITY!” Of course, when confronted with an artist who does thing differently, these same people mock them. They can’t play their instruments! They don’t know what they’re doing! This is terrible! Is this some kind of joke?" 2
We know what we are doing, and this is some kind of joke.
Quotes 1 + 2: Scott Creney http://www.collapseboard.com/reviews/albums-reviews/savages-silence-yourself-pop-noirematador/
Thanks to Ade B (Mutate), Justine, Lee, Alan Neilson, MM Lyle + DJ Wildbillbuttock + DJ Cruel Britannia + DJ Martin OldGoth
Soundsphere currently has an exclusive stream of our new EP http://www.soundspheremag.com/spherecast/exclusive-stream-the-mekano-set-the-three-thieves/
"It’s vast, dark and incredibly catchy throughout. We’ve got so much time for this band."
Thanks to everyone who ordered a copy or downloaded. Life in Liverpool is pretty good. Been here for 3 months now. Should probably get out a bit more. We
were going to have a bit of a break and do some exploring but were galvanized into action
following an unexpectedly funny bit of confusion over at our Facebook Group.
It seems like Post-Punk and Shoegaze sounds have inevitably become 'in' with the tedious hipster / trustafarian crowd. Bandwagoning hipsters are winning praise for shamelessy ripping off the sounds, themes and lyrics of Joy Division, Siouxsie and The Banshees and The Sisters of Mercy. Song titles ripped from the lyrics of the songs they're ripping off. Poses, shoes and production values pilfered.
It's fine - vital even - to represent your influences, but when you only have the one, the least you can do is move it forward rather than simply replicating it. Otherwise you're just a tribute act. You'll probably earn more adoration and money as a result.
We've been fairly criticized in the past for being too eclectic in our influences. But we're just too restless and frankly too fucking creative to be that narrow minded.
Bit of a web-adventure promo for the new EP: http://www.mekanoset.net/threethieves/index.html
So what started out as a bad joke has turned into Black Aspirin: a shamelessly catchy tongue in cheek anti-hipster anthem. And it's possibly going to be a single... You can hear a mix of Black Aspirin via DJ Cruel Brit's blog: http://www.mixcloud.com/CruelBritannia/cruel-britannias-haunted-wardrobe-october-2013/
We also have enough outside / inside mixes (something that we've really started to enjoy working on recently) to do something with. We want to try and recreate one or two of them live: the big reverbs, the minimalism.
And now, on a more positive note, a date for your diary: Saturday 16th November we play The Giffard Arms in Wolverhampton. The place is a bit of a legend: a real Rock and Roll establishment and home to the West Mid's finest Alternative / Post-Punk / Goth / Shoegaze music night. Expect everything from The Soft Moon to Curve:
Black Aspirin Image by BeatnickSoup.
"People under seventy and over seven are very unreliable if they are not cats. You can't be too careful. Besides, think of the exhilarating power of listening to others talk when they think you cannot hear." Leonora Carrington.
After months of solid graft, soul searching, moving, moving, moving and self-doubt we have a new EP. http://themekanoset.bandcamp.com/album/the-three-thieves-ep
It hasn't been easy but it's been worth it. It feels like we've been under the hood of this thing, covered in grease, digging deeper and deeper into the depths of the mechanics, so deep that we don't emerge for days, and it's like we'll never emerge. Written, arranged, recorded, mixed and mastered by us. Total D.I.Y. and when you listen to the songs we think you'll hear that it's all for the better.
The songs are up on bandcamp right now, available as hi-fi downloads and CD. They aren't available anywhere else at the moment. All proceeds will go towards the assemblage and processing of our first properly pressed and packaged full length album CD. As I've said in an earlier blog, until now we've always tried to avoid going down the conventional routes but it's simply the most effective way to get stuff out and about now.
|Meks + Mutate @ Dark Waters Festival|
As a result of putting this EP together we've made what feels like a huge leap in getting to grips with making the sounds we want: bass that sounds like it's been dug up from the back garden, guitars taped off some deep-space radio transmissions, beats like massive JCBs coming over the horizon to dig you out of your troubles - but not wreck your speakers in the excavation process.
I guess you can hear us growing up in everything we've put out. From the gritty transistor amp sizzle and pounding boot-in-the-teeth beats of our early demos to the quirky D.I.Y. exotica of And Now (which was put out unmastered, but with a sweet sense of urgency, largely due to bribery and the desire to finally get something out to the world). The recent gritty EP's slowly getting it together.
Those of you who visit our bandcamp page regularly will have noticed we have updated an early mix or two. But I think it's fair to say that some of those rough and ready mixes still stand up for themselves.
I have to say a big big thank you to Chucky Tsch and Ade Mutate for all their help over the last six months. There's no way I would have carried on with it without their ears (to listen at me whinging mostly).
All along, the support of our friends and listeners has fueled our determination. Many times we gave up, packed up the gear and said our goodbyes, only to find ourselves sitting on the steps of some sleazy club days later, or booting up hard drives in the middle of the night searching for files, admitting to ourselves that we just can't stop.
We've always worked really hard with all of the CDs we've done in the past to do something original, not just the standard jewel-case affair. We've released things on CDs in fully illustrated books, random USB sticks, white labels, single-copy cassettes encased in wide-format detourned architectural manuals, delivered sets of unreleased material through megaphones and ghetto blasters on the the beach at 1 am. But realistically, it's become too time-consuming and expensive to do it this way and not keep people waiting.
We don't want to compete. We don't want to compromise. But we still want to deliver a sound that is not shoddy, wilfully lo-fi, and stands up to the quality of our less independent peers. This next release sounds like a progression - at least to our endlessly self depreciating ears. So it feels right.
Milk + The Meks