California based Model M falls somewhere between industrial, metal, punk and electronica – incorporating stylistic influences from a wide spectrum of music and synthesizing all of them into something entirely original. Their latest video “Dead To Me” (released March 19th) is a continuation of the bands commitment to making each release an absolute spectacle both sonically and visually; the sweeping video was shot and produced by the veteran creative team at OJP Studios and shows a band that is clearly writing with the big screen in mind.
We sat down with Model M for an exclusive interview – check it out below the break!
We love the new video for “Dead To Me” – cinematic definitely sums it up! The music we’ve heard from you so far seems to really cater to being played during a scene in a movie (specifically, one where sh*t gets blown up) – do you write music with the visual component in mind, and if so, what are some of your biggest influences from the visual world as you’re writing?
I write music often to landscapes, in a cerebral world, with texture – kind of like a painter does on a canvas. I pretty much see the song and the vibe before I put pen to paper. I work on storylines in my head, juggling them around like cards. I learnt this method of working as a laborer on construction sites, doing menial jobs to break the monotony. Although the shuffling between stories can be quite difficult, it is possible.
When I’m writing I like to imagine that I’m in a different world – for example, what if I lived in the Star Wars universe or the Vampire Lestat’s estate? From there I’ll build up a narrative and the picture paints itself.
Industrial metal (and industrial tinged music in general) seems to be making a huge resurgence. You guys are obviously veterans of the scene – how did you end up playing this music, and what did you see as the long term musical vision for the group when you started?
I’ve always considered what I do to be in the “Electronica” realm, but on the heavier side – not necessarily industrial or metal, but a hybrid of those scenes with a splash of jungle. When I first got the idea of doing what has become Model M I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to mix this gothic sound and smash it together with heavy metal elements in a theatrical sense? Initially I tried rave-energy music mixed with metal – aggressive sounding lyrics and vocals, using machine-like imagery with danceable beats instead of the kick/snare which was current at the time.
Back in the 90s, people used to tell me that it was pointless to make computer music. Analogue was king. It always seemed like I was outnumbered when I was making sample-based music, no matter how sensibly I talked to them. When you could take a loop from a band, then stretch, modify, crush, grandularlize, and manipulate it in a million different ways that analogue could never do in a million years, then why wouldn’t analogue be a thing of the past? These days, everyone is making computer music – but back then I wasn’t thinking so far ahead in my own music, I just knew that this was the future and it inspired me.
Tell us one of your favorite tour or show stories. The more ridiculous the better!
Oh man, I have a few! It seems that every show comes with it’s own story! This one time, I was playing the Drake nightclub in Toronto, on Queen street – it’s a pretty hipster location (although I didn’t have a concept of what a hipster was back then), and this was the first time they had ever had an industrial band there. I got my stadium-sized fog machine refurbished especially for the show. I remember that the guy at Roscoes who was refurbishing it looked perplexed, saying it was a huge machine, and why would I need such a huge machine for a pretty small club, but I brushed it off, thinking it’d be cool. In any case, the crowd was a decent size for a wednesday night, and I turned on my gigantic fog machine. We played. About halfway through the set I could no longer see the crowd, but did I see a red light shining through the thick haze. Then a big, burly guy comes towards me, wearing a fireman suit, and says “you’ve got to shut that thing off – it’s filled the club and the hotel upstairs!” So, I singlehandedly smoked out the Drake Hotel in Toronto. Whoops.
What do you guys have coming up for the rest of the year? Will you be joining your peers in Fear Factory et al in releasing some new material for us kids?
We definitely have more material coming this year! I have an EP that is currently being mixed by the infamous David Gnozzi, called “Evil”. It’s a fairly intense release, which is very aggro and has a satanic theme to it. Recently I have been interested in the literature and teachings of Satanism and so was inspired to write something with that influence. After covid ends, which hopefully is quite soon in Los Angeles, we should be able to book some more shows around town – and possibly abroad, but it really depends on how all the vaccinations go.
Shoutout some of your favorite friends and up-and-comers!
Well let’s see… the Sex Pistols… just kidding! In all seriousness I’ve been obsessed with Skynd recently – I think they’re great artists and the music is unique. It’s also campy at the same time, which I try to be as well. Been listening to a lot of Roxy Music lately. I’m always on the lookout for new Witchouse, which is basically trap music with a scary vibe. I’m sure there’s some kid out there conjuring up the devil making some badass proper witchouse music-that doesn’t sound like hip hop-in his basement right now!
As far as friends go, my longtime friend and collaborator Eris Fellmeth not only just released a great metal EP but launched his music-focused podcast “Levels of Absurdity” which is worth checking out (and I’m not just saying that because I’ve been on it a few times). Our talented drummer (and best looking guy in the band), Kyle Abbott plays with a few great bands but I really dig Vigil of War. My bassist, Dustin also plays with Paria, which is a pretty intense hardcore metal sound – you should check them out if you have the spirit. And last but not least my wife DEROSNEC who has contributed to a few Model M songs but who is also responsible for all of our music video productions thus far and has a kick ass voice!