Words by Hayley Simpson
I have a confession to make: this article may be quite subjective, because it turns out Machine Age and I barrack for the same NRL team (the North Queensland Cowboys, in case you were wondering). Nonetheless, there is more to Adrian Mauro, the one-man band that constitutes Machine Age, than impeccable taste in sporting teams.
Adrian’s singer-songwriter story began in quite an unconventional way. He began working in audio production straight out of school and shared a studio space with Shawn Cooke, who produced Big Scary’s first album. They worked on a few tracks together in-house and then Adrian started working alongside Banff’s management and is now one of his band members, playing guitar and keys. We agreed that the Brisbane music scene is like two, not six degrees of separation.
Adrian then found himself stuck at home for two weeks recovering from knee surgery. This is when he got his laptop and, with his dog Tux for company, began to experiment and rearrange his own demo recordings. And Machine Age was born.
Machine Age’s debut song, Chivalry has only been released a matter of weeks but it has already received positive reviews on Triple J Unearthed, including 5 out of 5 stars from the God of Triple J himself, Richard Kingsmill. “This has class written all over it” was Kingsmill’s take on the hit, and Adrian admitted that although he was trying to not get too excited over reviews, he acted like a teenager when he saw this one in particular. “I was pretty bloody excited.”
Chivalry is the song that asks listeners: “Does chivalry still exist in this age of stalk book and booty call dating apps?” The single includes an interesting and exciting mixture of different production elements. “Sonically it was a combination of all the things I liked.” Adrian’s influences include working with folk musician Banff, writing the songs on guitar and electronic production from the likes of Chris Clark and Aphex Twin.
Adrian works as a one-man band and was influenced by Flume in that respect, with his complex computer setup. “I play with a guitar, sampler and other gadgets.” He said it allows him to have more freedom as he knows it can be hard to organise a band, and thus expensive, from his experience playing with Banff. It also allows him to focus on the performance element. He did tinker previously with using a drummer, so fans will have to wait and see if he follows this path in his upcoming shows.
As I have flown the North Queensland coop and am now based in Melbourne, I had to ask Adrian if we would see him down south later in the year. He said he had visited Melbourne this year already, but there are a few dates in the works so hopefully southerners get the chance to experience the one-man band that is Machine Age before the year ends.
Adrian also said that he doesn’t know whether it will be EP or a record that he eventually releases. “I have a batch of songs put together at the moment and it was going to be an EP but I am still writing now.” Adrian thinks there is definitely a place for albums still, but for now may release another single and see how it is received, which might sway him towards the EP side. Nevertheless, expect more Machine Age.
To through Adrian a slight curveball on a Friday afternoon, I asked which three musicians – dead or alive – he would invite over for a dinner party. As eclectic as his debut single, Adrian would invite Bjork (“good value at the dinner table”), John Cage (“classical composer who did a lot for experimental music”) and Jimi Hendrix (“who wouldn’t want him there playing in the corner?”) After thoughtful consideration though, Adrian admitted that what would inevitably happen is Bjork would chew off Cage’s ear and he probably wouldn’t get a word in. To be a fly on the wall.
Keep an eye on Machine Age’s Soundcloud – hopefully we’ll be hearing more music soon.