It’s a hot summers day in Adelaide as I make my way to Machete’s practice rooms to spend an afternoon with the guys. Behind a not so discreet porn store, in an old bank building, there’s four guys milling around, setting up drums and plugging in industrial fans. Well, three guys milling around.. Guitarist Adam Spellacy is checking out his reflection in the mirrored ceiling. Adjusting his cap and fixing his fringe, without breaking eye contact with himself, he talks to his brother, current drummer Bryan Spellacy who has taken to Adam’s broken guitar with an electric drill that was handy in the back of his carpenter’s van. “If you’d just spend the fucking money for a good one..” Vocalist Aeden Cooper chimes in and so continues on the typical banter between band mates, arguing about the sound of cymbals as Adam’s girlfriend sits on an amplifier in the corner, snapping pictures. Rhys Davies, the band’s bass player is avoiding the stuffy little room, wandering in and out of disused vaults down the hall. I tell him to stop looking so nervous and he replies with a nod. “Can you just make that my input? ‘Rhys nods’? That’s all I do for the entire interview.”
Out in the lobby, they’ve set up a small circle of chairs and they manage to drag themselves away from the instruments long enough to have a ridiculous conversation. The room is likened to a talk show and suddenly shirts are straightened and seats are filled though no one but Rhys seems formal enough to be wearing shoes.
Machete was started in early 2008 by Jamie Spellacy, Bryan’s twin brother who was the drummer at the time and Luke Bourne, another friend and former vocalist. Back then, the music was produced by the two of them messing around on a laptop, trying to create a sound like converge. “Computer thrash” Rhys gives it a genre, already breaking his self imposed vow of silence.
In March of that year, Bryan came home from where he’d been living and working in Canada, picked up his guitar and roped in another friend Simon to play bass. After just a few short practices, it wasn’t working out. “Simon.. was terrible. He was Struggling, so we got in Studly over there” Bryan grins, motioning to the generally quiet bass player who dismisses the new nickname with an unimpressed scoff.
About six months of jamming and five gigs later Adam; Jamie and Bryan’s older brother joined up with a second guitar to give the band a much fuller sound. Bryan explained “The Plague [Adam’s former band] was dead, so he payed his way in. he’s still paying us off actually” cut off quickly by Rhys. “The Plague was dead? The Plague was SHIT. And it was lucky for us.. Adam from Fivestar joined our band” after the room recovered from laughter about Adam’s shallow-buried pop-punk past, we got back into talk of Machete’s early days.
While the band was a five piece, they played shows wherever they could book them. Night clubs, tiny venues and football clubs, not unlike every other local band. The floor was always full of their friends, and neither the band, nor the people who came to see them took themselves too seriously. It was in summer that they recorded their demo ‘Tales Of a Silent City’ in the middle of a heatwave, during which Rhys may have lost his mind a little bit [the videos are yet to be made public]. For about two years it was smooth sailing until September 2010 when Luke, the driving force behind the majority of their success so far decided he wanted to follow a different sound and it almost seemed like the band might dissolve into nothing. While visiting his tattoo-artist girlfriend at work, Bryan mentioned their predicament and her co-worker Aeden had a solution. “You guys should sound like ‘This Is Hell’” The guitarist agreed. “Well, I should be your singer.. If Luke ever quits.” rejecting the situation as unlikely, Bryan told Aeden that if Luke left, they’d probably break up. Just two short days later the vocalist threw in the towel, and they had to make the decision sooner than they expected. With Aeden’s suggestion still in his mind, Bryan called the tattooist up to come to a practice and they all gelled instantly. Yet another hurdle came the band’s way when drummer Jamie left too. The circumstances of the twin’s departure are a little more dubious. “Jamie’s actually in that movie, where the bus can never slow down or it will blow up? I think it’s called ‘the bus that could never slow down’. Yeah. He’s on a bus right now. The bus can never stop. Or it will blow up. That’s why he quit the band.” Before they’d even told the rest of the guys about Jamie’s departure, Bryan had made the decision to hang up his guitar and trade his pic for drumsticks, leaving them the quintet they are today.
Mid way through Aeden rattling off dates of shows from his borderline rainman like memory, Rhys’ phone goes off and while we’re distracted, the conversation turns into a debate. “If an auto biography is written by one person, about them, what’s it called if a group of people write one about themselves?” Griography? Gangography? Aeden has the best suggestion, but it’s drowned out with more laughter. Finally, we manage to find ourselves back on track to discuss the band’s current going ons.
Post Jamie, Machete have knuckled down and written a bunch of songs. They’re hoping to whittle that list down to about seven for their first EP, to be recorded by Kyle Bloksgaard in March. When talk turns to the future, everyone has something to say, enthusiastic about their new material and a return back to the gig scene in April. There’s so much excitement in fact, that they’re all quick to point out; Adam has finally shaved his beard and Bryan has a hairstyle for the first time in his life. 2011 really is a year of new beginnings for the Machete.. Jamie might even finally get off that bus.
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