Cinemechanica is a progressive post-hardcore band out of Athens, Gerogia. With a recently added second drummer, they throw down like not many other bands of their caliber. No, seriously. Their live shows are incredible. And you can even learn to play the drums with this man. They also have an alter-ego that's gotten mention in Nintendo Power magazine. First it was called Contraband, now Megaband, and they play the soundtrack to the respective video game while a wizard (no not that one) beats it in half an hour. With no breaks, it's pretty grueling on the musicians, but definitely worth it for the audience.
We recently got a chance to sit down with Cinemechanica drummer Mike Albanese when he was recording the new Building the State album at Andy Baker's studio in Athens. Many thanks to Regina Quattrocki for transcribing the interview. Here's what Mike had to say:
What are some of the most life-changing shows that you've seen?
That's actually a really good question. Number one is Hum. "Stars" was their big hit, but that was their only big hit. They were totally the first band that I'd seen that was pretty underground. They got on 120 Minutes. We found out about them way back when I was like 15 or 16. We got our friends to drive us to New York, and I saw them at Irving Plaza. It was so loud and so space-rock. I'd never really heard a band that was profoundly distorted and really delayed. It seemed like every single person there knew. There were about 800 people there maybe. Of all of New York, 800 people knew Hum. Because anybody who knew Hum and was in New York definitely was at that show because it was like a cult. It was like 800 people who worshipped this band. That was definitely when I decided to play music for life.
Hot Snakes. I don't know if you know that one, but Hot Snakes, that's a recent one. But I was like, "Oh my god! You could be 40 and just bulldoze the entire audience, completely steamroll them." Those dudes, you know Drive Like Jehu, that's one of my favorite bands ever. So seeing Hot Snakes and having it be one of my favorite shows of all time and having it be so well mixed and so professional and yet so rock and roll. I just like shows that give you insight into how other people do it when they're doing it well. When they have their shit together 10 times more than you do - I love that now. I'm just like, thank God that there are bands that have their shit together at that level for that long. Those dudes have been doing bands and touring aggressively and playing amazing shows for almost 20 years now.
Are there any fun tour stories you'd like to share?
We play a good amount of shows. We'll play in Boston and do really well. We'll play in D.C. and do pretty well, but sometimes the most exciting shows on tour are like Sanford, North Carolina. Where there's a pocket of kids who are probably still in high school, or some of them have graduated that are just sticking around. And they got about three or four bands that are in their scene, but it's Sanford, North Carolina. There's no venue or infrastructure. They create everything, you know what I mean. Those are the most out-of-the-blue shows. Basically this student MySpace stuff. Actually one guy runs all the shows there. He was driving like two hours to come see us. He told us that we have to come to Sanford. We said it's a done deal. If there are people there that want to see us, then we'll definitely go. We expected only 20 to 30 people, but dude, there were about 150 kids who love crazy rock music. They know all these underground bands because for whatever reason, in their town that's what those kids do. They get into big underground music early. You know how some towns have a really thick skate culture; some towns have a hip-hop culture. Well Sanford, North Carolina, has this ridiculous underground, crazy music thing. So all these bands go through there now. We recommend that all these bands go through there because these kids are really starved for bands to come through because no bands go through there.
The drummer of Polvo, one of my all-time favorite bands, he just moved there. One of our friends, who we've known forever, he was like, "Hey, that dude from Polvo moved down the street from me." Then he met him and he said that the guy is totally really cool, not like ex-rock-star totally cool but, I'm-a-dad-and-I-develop-software totally cool. So we would be playing these shows in North Carolina and seeing this dude and every six months we would see him. First he said the guy from Polvo moved down the street. Then again, this is Stanford and there are only like four bands, so you can imagine where this is going. Six months later, he's like, "Dude, we started a cover band. We went over there and played a couple songs with him." Then six months later he's like, Dude, we wrote an original." Then six months later he's like, "Dude, we're playing a show with you guys." Then next thing we know, we're playing with the drummer of Polvo's new band, which sounds kind of like Hot Snakes and is amazing. The dude is getting off the plane coming from some big business meeting and then driving to some high school rec room where we played the show. He's was like rocking out in a collared polo shirt. It was so hot. Endless hotness in Sanford, North Carolina.
So let's see, I'm going with Hum and Hot Snakes as my favorite shows, which in my opinion is cool. I'm going with Sanford, North Carolina as arbitrary tour story. There's so much arbitrary tour-ness. We played in one town where it was a similar thing, a little more collegiate, and all the kids there were really stoked on wine for after the shows. So they would drink all these 40s and then wash the bottles out and fill them with 4 to 3 ratio concentrated grape juice and then they'd pour yeast in it and then cap it for two weeks. It was vile but so hilarious. They had so much of it. They were like, "This one is from five weeks ago, and this one is from seven weeks ago, and this one has fine wine in it." They were like, "Dude, we'll sponsor you." That was in Grove City, Pennsylvania.
What inspires you?
People who are more passionate about what they do than I am. I feel like I've reduced my life to so few things that I really, really care about. I put so much time into each one of those that when I meet people and they are more focused than me and they're more dedicated - that just makes me want to elevate myself. It's just nice to see examples of people who really, really give a shit. It's pretty simple, but that's what gets me going.
The Fest V Performance:
Oct. 28, 10:50 @ Bar One w/ Fin Fang Foom, Building the State
Nov 2, 9:30 @ The Tank w/We Versus The Shark, Megaband, Tiger Bear Wolf
Nov 3, TBA