There are some bands that we feel like we grow with over the years, that continue to evolve and impress us in new ways, always keeping that same fresh glimmer in our hearts as the first time we heard them. ELM, short for Electric Love Machine, is one of those bands that we’ve watched continue to hone their craft and gain more following. It’s a funny coincidence that we interviewed some of the band members back when ELM was called Segway, exactly 3 years ago in June 2013. We were excited to catch up with one of the founding members and a friend of ours, Jon Brady.
It’s been a while since we last talked to you guys, when we featured you in Appalachian Jamwich years ago you were still going by the name Segway, why did you change the name and how did you come about the name “ELM”?
Yeah it has been awhile! Very excited to get a new batch of questions in and sort of let people know what’s been up in the ELM camp. Without getting into too much detail, there was some lineup changes that were being made and myself and the rest of the band at the time didn’t feel that the name Segway and the association with the band fit the sound and vision that we were going for anymore so we really made it a top priority at that point to rebrand. We basically had a list of about five names that we were deciding between and kind of had a polling system between about 30 of our friends to see who dug which name the most. I think some of the names were like: HVRBRD, Squirrel Cage (honestly those are the only two I can remember/ I wish I could find that list), and obviously ELM. The idea behind ELM though was to have a different acronym for every show so nobody really knew what it stood for/ some people would be like, “Oh yeah, it stands for Elvis’s Lost Mojo” and then other people would be like, “But I heard it stood for Every Lady Masturbates”. I think we kind of stuck with it for a few shows before I was like, “Wait a minute this is a terrible idea and nobody will ever know who we are”. Electric Love Machine was always the front runner and “unofficial” name though and we eventually just went with it officially.
Who makes up your current band member lineup and how did you arrive at this current arrangement?
As of right now (lololol) the line up currently consists of myself on the piano and whiny vocals, Jon Wood on the guitar and lead vocals, Alex Lang on the bass, and Evan Lintz on the drums and lintzstagram. It’s no surprise to anybody that has been following us that we’ve been through a ton of line up changes but I really feel it’s important for everybody to be on the same page for things to work out and progress in a positive direction. Jon Wood and I met at an open mic at the Rec Room in Towson that he was running and at the time he needed somebody to fill in on keys for the Psycho Killers. I’ve been playing with them for about four years now I think. Alex Lang and I have been friends for awhile through mutual friends and had an old project called Time Warden and the Soul Police with a few other buddies about four or five years ago for about 3 months where we did a mix of originals and covers (Beastly by Vulfpeck, Booth Love by Umphrey’s, etc.). We found Evan under a bridge. Just kidding. Evan has been filling in for us after Steve left. Steve was a major part of the band for the entirety of it’s career and really helped shape the foundation. Evan has played in a number of bands throughout the region; Deltanine, Fletcher’s Grove, and Moogatu to name a few. He really has some awesome chops and I think we’re all really excited to see what he brings to the table in the next segment of this band.
A lot of people would consider you a “Baltimore” band and you certainly have a great following in that city. How do you feel about being a “Baltimore” band, how do you embrace this hometown popularity? What are some downfalls of being identified by a city, what are some perks?
I don’t think we have any issue being identified as a Baltimore band. Baltimore is home and Baltimore has so many amazing artists, musicians, and people. Probably more so than any city in my opinion. Everybody is so extremely dedicated here and it’s really very inspiring. We do have an awesome group of people here that come out to our shows consistently and it’s really an amazing thing to see and be a part of. There aren’t really any downfalls that I’ve noticed first handedly I don’t think. Everybody definitely I’m pretty sure, at least in the music and art industry, is aware that Baltimore is a tough city the succeed in but if you do well enough I think it’s probably a little easier to stick out over somewhere that is so musically oversaturated.
The jamtronica genre is my favorite genre of music, and one certainly rising in popularity. Would you consider yourself a jamtronica band, why or why not? What are you trying to do differently to set yourself from other bands in the genre?
I think we all have always had a little difficulty identifying ourselves as “jamtronica” and that is probably more true than ever at this point. Maybe at one point at the beginning we were kind of leaning in that direction but I think we started feeling pretty limited in what we were able to do and didn’t want to be cornered into on genre specifically. So at a certain point we started doing bluegrass covers and even had a bluegrass/ metal song written. James Brown covers. Literally anything we could do to kind of show our versatility. Our song writing has evolved so much since our first album Xenofonex 3 years ago that we really can’t wait to get an album out this year because I think it will be something completely different than anybody is expecting, and even more so something that hasn’t really been done as much. We’ve been working on so much material that hasn’t been played at this point. I don’t really want to get into what the sound is like too much because I want it to be more of a culture shock when it finally emerges and for people to really be like “Oh wow, this is not what I was expecting”. In a good way. Or a bad way. Whatever. The key element is making music that we enjoy playing and writing and I think that’s what has been going on for the first time in a very long time with this band.
If someone were to ask you to play one ELM song that sums up your sound, what song would you play for them?
At this stage if someone were to ask I would probably choose between ‘Oceans’ or ‘Binary Soul’. Neither of those two songs have been recorded but will probably be some of the few 1.0? 2.0? songs to make it onto the new album.
What bands inspired you personally, and what bands inspire the band’s sound as a whole? What bands that you could consider your “peers” on the scene right now are you really digging?
I’ve always been inspired by a weird variety of music. Radiohead and Phish have been in my top for probably most of my life. I grew up pretty heavily on European death metal, Right now I’ve been crushing on Snarky Puppy super hard. The new Radiohead and Snarky Puppy are probably two of the most spectacular albums to come out in a very long time in my opinion. I also gravitate pretty regularly towards bands like Deafheaven and Animals as Leaders. I think all of those bands come out in the song writing in some form or another. I know Woody is very into Animal Collective, David Bowie, Prince, and obviously we are both super into the Talking Heads. Bands that we are really digging that we would
consider peers are probably lespecial, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Mister F, Deaf Scene. I think all of those guys are really putting themselves out there in one way or another and really trying to do something unique. Lespecial and Deaf Scene are probably two of my top favorite bands of all time actually.
Do you have any plans to record any time soon?
We do! We’re very excited about getting into the studio this summer because we don’t have a ton going on other than a few festivals. We’ll be putting out a full length album of mostly new unheard material and some old songs that we feel have made the cut to be a part of the album. Stay tuned for announcements about that!
What are some shows and festivals you will be playing this summer?
We really only have festivals this summer and it’s not that many; we will be at Domefest at the end of May, Disc Jam in NY (6/9), Mad Tea Party in WV (6/19), Papadosio at Rams Head in Baltimore (7/9), Merryland Festival at Merriweather (7/10), and Camp Barefoot in WV (8/18). It’ll probably be our most relaxed summer in awhile sans recording.
What’s your favorite road food?
I’m a huge snacker and love eating trail mix and seltzer water. The occasional weird flavored potato chips if we can find them. I think we all try not to eat too terribly because it’s already hard enough but sometimes you find that snack that is just screaming your name and then you immediately regret it.
What is a random funny story you have about being on the road or playing a show? I would say “favorite story” but sometimes it’s too hard to pick one as your favorite.
Driving with us is always an adventure and can either go horribly or just slightly less horribly. One time that sticks out for me as being hilarious is a time Alex, Myself, and Steve were all sleeping on the way to a show and one of the other members who won’t be named was driving and we were all abruptly awoken to the brakes being slammed on. I think our first reaction was to assume we were about to crash into the back of a car but upon further investigation realized that the closest car to us was stopped about 2-300 yards a head of us. We were all like WTF why did you slam on the breaks? We all had a chuckle. Drivers were switched. It’s really hard to pinpoint one specific story because we’re literally geeking out the entire time we’re ever going anywhere.
If you were on a stranded island with your band members, who would die first, who would survive longest, and what would you be doing most of the time?
If we were stranded on an island, I’m pretty sure Alex would die first. I don’t think he’d be able to cope with being stuck with the rest of us forever. He’s probably gonna have some response like, “Sick” after reading this because I totally haven’t consulted with anybody. Actually I’m pretty sure every single one of them are going to be like WTF. Woody would probably be next because at a certain point I’m gonna get pretty hungry. I’d probably leave Evan around for a bit just because dabs. But in a very short amount of time I’d be the only one left and I’d eventually transcend into some sort of black robed flying creature and escape the island just because the robe’s color will match my soul. In all actuality we’d probably all make it roughly 4 hours and would probably spend the entire time complaining and doing nothing productive.