Interview: synth-pop trio Machines in Heaven on collaborations, Pixies and hymn-writing

Interview: synth-pop trio Machines in Heaven on collaborations, Pixies and hymn-writing

Photo: Vito Andreoni

Machines in Heaven are a synth-pop quartet that aim to simultaneously rapture and befuddle listeners with their multi-layered, beat-driven instrumentals. The brainchild of performance poet Graham Crossan, MIH came together over a five-year gestation period, as Crossan slowly gathered collaborators. With only a year of live performances under their belts, MIH are gathering fans amongst Scottish bloggers, DJs and musicians with their epic shows and EP, ‘The Glasgow Jihad’. We caught up with them to talk technology and religion…

It all started with Graham – how did MIH become a foursome?
Graham: ’I approached Greg’s [Hurst: synth player] manager and we ended up working together’.
Greg: ’We found Davey [Gwynne: synth, guitar, vocals] and Connor Reid [guitar] online through their Soundcloud tunes’.

Were you looking for a collaboration?
Graham: ‘Yeah. The one rule is only work with geniuses.’

One blogger commented that your music goes off on tangents, then wraps up before anyone gets totally lost. Is that your intention?
‘I got that from the Pixies. Nobody has ever spotted it! The Pixies are a gigantic influence on the way MIH songs are arranged. Because they would do that; they’d go off, and you're like “where’s this going?”, then, boom it all kicks back in, and you’re like “aaah, right”’.
Davey: ‘Live it doesn't necessarily wrap itself up. It goes off on a tangent then goes somewhere else entirely. The "wrapping up" will be the next song starting. It doesn't just feel like music to dance to, it feels like music to dance to and be confused by; so people can feel euphoric but also confused…’

Also confusing is the thought of machines going to Heaven. Please explain.
‘I like things that mix the mundane and profane. I do think of our music as hymns in a way. There's a lot of church organ and haunted Gaelic singing in there. I think machines are a human thing, an extension of us. I think machines are our friends... but the Terminator is excluded.’

MiH play as part of the next ListLive gig, Stereo, Glasgow, on Thu 21 Nov with Miaoux Miaoux and Turtle. Ticket includes a complimentary Hornsby's Cider (over 18s only).


Bust out your best moves guys, cos The List is taking over the country with our tiptop monthly nights. ListLive showcases some of the very best up-and-coming and established musical talent from the city and beyond. Prepare yourself for a regular injection of multi-genred artists with a different theme each time.