The Flux Machine / by E

Photo by Kevin Whittaker

Photo by Kevin Whittaker

Catch up with The Flux Machine's Luis Accorsi and see what the band has in store for fans with their forthcoming album Louder!, set to be released February 26.

How did you and Raphael meet?

Luis Accorsi: I have a recording studio and, before this band, I had a - this sounds nuts - a psychedelic Latin band. So, I had this band and we played all over the place and that was not taking traction the way I wanted it to and my girlfriend back then, she goes, 'Luis, you just need to get somebody that you like to work with and that knows how to run vocals,' because I'm super creative and super all those things, but I don't even know how to press record [laughs]. So, we put an ad on Craigslist and various people answered and I interviewed them and in walks this kid with the funniest hair cut and the nicest disposition and just an overall ultra positive attitude and I said, 'I wanna work with him'. 

I have a younger brother who, unfortunately, passed away from ALS just last year and Raphael was the music director for the music that he did; he worked with Ricardo, my little brother. So, I loved him and then, after that nightmare was over, he just came over and I would play the songs for him, sitting on the couch, and I would be like, 'okay Raphy, what would you do with this?' and so I'd hand him the guitar and, within twenty minutes, he would have these structures made for them that were incredible and, from this idea, he'd turn it into a verse, a chorus, a bridge - all these things that me, growing up in Venezuela, I'd never thought of. He structured and brought things to perfect fruition. In one day we would write a progression and then the next day we would lay the voice down and he would fix all that up and, within three days, we'd have the song and, with the whole record, that's how it went. It was just magic.

He's like my younger brother or son or call him what you will and we've made a lifetime friendship. We just met, not like we were sitting in some nightclub, just plain old Craigslist; my ad was real rigorous though, the way it was written, so only the best applied, and he really is the best. I give him credit for the structure of the songs and the professionalism of them. I'm an inspired person who's had a very interesting life and he really knows how to capture all that and make it sound the way it's supposed to sound. Then, we had Taylor Larson master the work and that took it to another level and now we're going to get ready to release a vinyl February 26 at Arlene's Grocery. 

Where does your name, The Flux Machine, come from?

I can't remember exactly which song it was - I think it was one called "Louder" - but Raphy had this cap on that says 'loud' and we start the song in the morning and we're hitting it hard, then I go and I sit on my couch again and I hear him finishing it in the little studio that I have and - this is going to sound crazy and people laugh at me - and I felt an energy go through me. A flux is something that is in change, it's always changing, so I felt this change happen in me and I was like, 'holy cow, this stuff is completely moving to the very, very core of my existence'. I just felt this electrical energy go through me and there's that flux, that energy that is always changing; in our lives we're always evolving and always developing, even to the last day, and so that's what happened. I went up to him and I said, 'Raphy, the name is The Flux Machine,' and he goes, 'I love it'. It's not a modern, modern name, but this is a little bit retro. It's the positivity of electricity through our bodies that causes a change in our spiritual disposition to reality. 

All I can say is, in this tiny little existence that we have as human beings, I'm not doing it for myself, I just want people to like it and it really comes from the heart; so much of reality is farce and hype and belief perception, but this is the actual real deal, there's no fakeness about what we do.

How would you describe your sound?

There's a lot of things that have educated our body of work. The frustration of reality is very real to me, you're here, you're stuck in your body, you're trying to get out there, you're trying to express something, and since your language is music, you need to know the language; I know music language really damn well and Raphy knows it incredibly well. We take from everything. I would almost call it glam punk, but it's not really punk, and people have said that I'm a combination of Iggy Pop with Mick Jagger with T.Rex with New York Dolls, that kind of thing. Everybody else is just heavy hitting and I'm in the front, prancing around like a wacko [laughs]. I would say the portal for true legitimacy in an art form that is developed and already mature - like rock n' roll - is so small to fit through and be real and that it's really hard coming up with something brand new. So many bands take a formula and do incredible stuff with it, but it sounds exactly like something else, but then, once in a while, you get a band that does something really different that you can't put your finger on, and I think that's what we are - I know. Whether the world will know, I can't tell you [laughs]. 

We're a complete amalgamation of punk - it was taboo to have a lead in punk but we do and, meanwhile it's still going 140 bpm and there's tempo changes, which is taboo for punk, yet it still is heavy, some of it almost goes into metal and then some of it just goes into truly romantic, heartfelt, melodic punk. All of it is referential because I think it was Plato that said 'nothing comes from nothing' so you can't totally invent it and you have to have a reference. I love Leon Russell, you throw on an early Leon Russell record and it's really punky, fast, with this crazy piano and this guy yelling over it; there's a guy that is important to me. I even like guys like Joe Cocker, that guy can really push it out. Of course, there are the newer bands, but we call it glam punk. We're an attitude making, hard-hitting, romantic rock band - something like that [laughs].

What was the inspiration behind this last single, "Love and Affection"?

In essence, many times you will have a person that really loves you and really cares for you - for me, it's gone both ways, me loving and somebody loving me - and you just fail to recognize how valuable that is and if you don't appreciate things, it truly is like a plant, it will wither and die if you don't nourish it. The failure to nourish the receiving of love and affection from somebody or you giving love and affection and it being scorned or not properly appreciated is the idea of the song. The first part is 'I must have been dreaming when you came to me and told me that you loved me, you took me for granted' and the second is 'you should've just told me you were hurt inside, I could've done so much better, but you didn't'. Even though it's gone, there's a powerful cleansing energy to receiving and giving undistilled, pure love and affection and recognizing when it comes to you.

It's not something goofy, love and affection is very real, we need this. Our lives would wither without it and people search for it and some of it is organic and biological, but the other part is intellectual and I think the right statement is, don't waste your love on somebody who won't pay attention to it. People hurt each other all the time and we shouldn't do it. Self respect means respecting other people, if you're going to be with somebody, you must truly love them and if you receive affection from somebody, don't take it for granted because you'll hurt yourself and you'll hurt the other person.

Could you tell us more about your forthcoming album, Louder!?

The album goes almost from A to Z of rock 'n' roll styles, which is confounding to some people, but in the tradition of a vinyl album, it was never just one song. Yes, you wanted to have a single hit, but in the history of vinyl, you'd get the record, you'd roll up a big fat doobie, you'd look at the trees, and play it. Then, you'd stare at the cover while you felt totally alienated and you'd be like, 'what are these guys trying to tell me?' and every single time you'd find something else in there. An album, to me, is like a book: different chapters all have to create an emotion in you, they do not all have to be the same emotion and they shouldn't be the same emotion. It goes from ultra, ultra heavy duty, like the song "Mess You Up" - it's thrash heavy, almost metal - to just straightforward, scrappy Stooges-sounding rock and roll to ultra sophisticated.

I'm pretty much a barker; I can sing a melody, but I wouldn't want you to hear it, but I can definitely deliver emotion and Raphy has this angel voice; he can do three part harmonies and, all of a sudden, I hear him in context with me and I get goosebumps.

So, to synthesize, The Flux Machine's Louder! is like a book: it has chapters, each song is a chapter, and each one is designed to evoke a slightly different emotion than the last one, which confounds the listener, but if you have the patience, this album will do a lot for you. It has its beginning, then you're really pissed off when you're listening to "Mess You Up", and then you finally realize that you're going to forgive and you go into "Believe", and the conclusion is "Jack, Jim & Johnny" which is about, everybody wants to travel, but you don't have to travel that far, all you have to do is get drunk, have a fantasy, send your head to the cosmos, and you're back where you were sitting. When you're done with this record, you need to have felt a gamut of emotions from really angry and frustrated to really faithful and loving, we have everything in there.

What do you want listeners to be able to take from this album?

I want them to feel the inspiration of living and really appreciate that. When somebody spends three and a half minutes of their life listening to a song, I don't want them to think that they've wasted three and a half minutes of their life, because it's not wasted. It's an edifying record. This record is designed to fortify you, it's a powerful record. You'll want to say, 'damn, that's really real, I stand behind this'. That's what I want them to take away, that they have not wasted their time on it, they're going to get something from it.

Besides the album, we do this insane live show jam-packed with energy and people are like, 'oh my gosh, how do you do that for an hour?' because I hop around a lot and it's a little loosey-goosey but tight at the same time; Raphy's head looks like it's going to fall off with his hair and then the second guitar player, Asher, is just a total wacko and really damn good and the bass player, Leo, is a tremendous player and the drummer, Jeremiah, is just a monster.

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