“We feel that there is a huge void in guitar-driven rock music. Unfortunately, it seems that metal is the last frontier for instrumental musicianship,” says Christian Colabelli, guitarist with the eclectic, yet accessible rock band Boy Meets Machine. “It’s perfectly acceptable to show virtuosity within that genre. While we respect metal unconditionally and are influenced by a lot of metal bands, we’re trying to bridge the gap and deliver a sound that will raise eyebrows from musicians, and still be accessible to the everyday listener.”
According to their bio, Christian hooked up with bandmate Joel Monet via the internet after a stint on a cruise ship. Joel had been singing and playing bass in the first incarnation of the band, which was turning heads with its dynamic sound and garnering over 50,000 plays on Myspace, while drawing the attention of labels, producers and radio stations in his native Atlanta.
Deciding to base themselves in Christian’s home state of New Jersey, the group soon solidified the lineup by adding Brian Brundage on guitar and Joe Nivare on drums. The band released its first EP, In A World Of Wireworks, which soon was receiving airplay on 95.9 The Rat, and started building a fanbase through shows up and down the East Coast.
“It’s sort of progressive with mainstream tendencies,” relates Joel concerning their unique sound, which seems to capture a wide range of influences. “Obviously this is a daunting question since we genre jump to such a great extent. Even though we are a progressive band and draw from a wide range of musical styles, we always put strong emphasis on harmonic and rhythmic content, all while crafting what we hope is a memorable song with or without the frills. We’ve affectionately coined our brand of music ‘PROP’… progressive pop baby! We’ve been compared to a lot of different bands. It seems that everyone hears something different in our sound since it’s such a smattering of tastes.”
The melding of musical styles is actually a process that comes naturally to the band. “We take pride in having a very collaborative effort,” says Christian. “Sometimes we’ll jam out on an idea and take it a million different places. Other times, someone will have an entire song written and the rest of the band will add subtle nuances. We do all of our own production, which is a huge benefit because we can go down to the basement where we record and rehearse and easily lay down an idea. Joel is a genius when it comes to this. He’s got the recording process down to a science. Because of this accessibility, we never forget our ideas. We actually have around 30 unfinished songs just waiting to be tweaked. We’ve really nailed down efficiency when it comes to writing and recording.”
As far as individual influences, the band members joke that they come from every nook and cranny in the musical world. “Taylor Swift, Lex Steele, Nicki Minaj, John Coltrane,” laughs Joel. “We listen to literally everything and garner inspiration from a ton of genres. We listen to silly pop, extreme metal, songwriters, and a ton of fusion jazz. Having a diverse palette has really shaped our signature sound. We basically have musical ADD. That’s blatantly evident in our sound.”
Songs such as “Man Behind The Curtain” and “Chemical” encapsulate the wide palate the group brings to the forefront. It has brought comparisons to such varied artists as Circa Survive, Dream Theater, Portugal. The Man, Steely Dan, Rush, Muse, Envy On The Coast, and Taking Back Sunday.
Joel and Christian originally began recording music with each other remotely over the internet, referred to each other by a mutual friend who thought they would musically compatible. They wrote roughly 25 songs together, with ideas constantly bounced back and forth. Christian met Joe while playing a clinic at Aarius Studios in Sayerville, and they immediately hit it off. Joe soon auditioned and subsequently joined the band. Brian ended up answering an ad, and brought a welcome versatility, in that he is also a songwriter and keyboard player. In addition, he’s extremely focused and driven, bringing a fresh perspective to the band.
“Not everyone is a fan of metal, obviously,” observes Christian. “We want to create something that is completely unique and hasn’t been explored. We have a strong emphasis on soaring melodic vocals. We also employ a lot of jazz harmony, which is probably something that sets us apart from other bands. I guess we try to throw virtuosity, accessibility, and uniqueness in a blender. Sometimes we come out with a perfect shake and other times it’s too runny or too thick. It’s all really a learning process. I guess our ultimate goal is to write compelling music, which is a clichéd response in itself. However, we feel it’s important to bring substance back to the mainstream. If we can deliver substance in an accessible package, we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.”
You can get further information about Boy Meets Machine and listen to the music for free at boymeetsmachine.bandcamp.com.