Okay music and robot lovers, this is an updated re-release of the write up on BBB’s very first featured band, Mechanical People. They have a NEW ALBUM coming out February 14th, 2012 and upcoming shows in LA on February 8, 2012 at Molly Malone’s and February 16, 2012 at Good Hurt Nightclub. Ben Graupner was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions for BBB. Read on to find out what songs will be included on their new album ‘Faith in the Will’, if there will be an MP comic book released in the future and what 11 jobs Ben had in one year!
Updated Original Post Material–
After much deliberation the first featured band is Mechanical People. They are based out of NY/LA and composed of three members, Ben Graupner, Ben Johnson, and Jake Miller. These guys have an intense sound and insane talent. I would call their music bluesey soul rock n roll. Their debut EP ‘The Dark Dark’ was released on May 12, 2011 and features eight songs: Sick and Wired, Secrets, Magnolia, Skyscraper, Sinners Dream, Dinosaur, Monster, and Alleycats. The song subjects range from love, to sinning, to ballads about the way we live life in general. Their tunes are moody, fun, dark and light, and really just a little bit of everything. Their hooks are catchy, as are the rhythms and guitar that accompany them. Some songs keep things lighthearted with lyrics like, “You can run/ Oh you can run/ Oh you can run/ but you can’t hide from me and my tyrannosaurus eyes/You got away/ You got away/ from my little arms/ You got away/ You got away/ You got away from my dinosaur arms/ I’m gonna get you that’s for sure/ I’m a motherfucking giant T-Rex dinosaur” and others take on more serious tones, with lyrics like “Preacher, Preacher/Can’t you wave and make me clean/And he said I’m sorry son/that’s just a sinners dream.” or “Fake/Like American Cheese/Livin’ your life in a clear plastic sheath”. The obscure metaphors and poetic language that make up all of the tunes, make it apparent that these guys are true lyricists and storytellers. Each song paints a distinct picture to go along with its distinct sound. This album has the ability of reaching into the depths of your soul, and taking you on quite a musical journey.
Watching these guys live is a whole different experience. The raw talent of these three will amaze you. They are energetic, interact well with the crowd, and you can honestly tell how much they truly love playing their music. Jake Miller wails away on guitar, sometimes convulsing ecstatically or laying down on the stage while playing. Watching this guy on guitar is entrancing. Ben Johnson bangs away at the drums in perfect feverish rhythm with a look of concentration, yet pure contentment on his face. Ben Graupner roars into the mic with his uniquely rough, yet buttery sounding voice while plugging away on bass. Their energy and love for their music spreads into the crowd and makes their live show addicting. The experience and music engulfs your soul and once it’s over you feel like you have truly gotten to experience something special.
Currently they are playing sporadic shows around the LA area, and in May will be playing in Madison, WI for the next Spencer Bell Legacy Show. Other than that, watch their social media outlets to see when they are playing near you!
All three of you guys are involved in multiple bands, why did you decide to form Mechanical People?
We formed Mechanical People last February in Baton Rouge while the three of us were between projects with our other bands, it’s been almost a year now. We’re really excited to announce the release of our new EP “Faith in the Will” on February 14th.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? How does that differ from what you listen to now?
I think I was listening to a wider variety of music as a child than I am as a so called adult. You got your parents favorite radio stations, songs at church, school, play rehearsals. Now I get to pick most of the time so I listen to the wired stuff on college radio.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Daniel Johnston never ceases to amaze me. I’m particularly interested in him because his music is so unpolished, I think that puts an emphasis on the soul of the music.
Any rituals/traditions before a show?
We usually have a toast.
Describe what it’s like to perform for a crowd.
It’s fantastic. Recording and writing is a wonderful part of the process but it all comes together at the live show.
How does your creative process typically work? What kinds of things inspire you? (Also, when you come up with a song, how do you determine which band it ‘belongs’ to?)
We tend to shack up and make a bunch of songs. When we recorded “The Dark Dark” we travelled out into the middle of the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico with a rig and just held up till it was done. We had a similar process making “Faith in the Will” but we were in Los Angeles.
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
We’ve had a great first year. We’ve turned out an album, two EP’s, and gone on two tours. I guess the challenge now is to keep our pace up.
Can you give us any details on the new album?
It’s a four song EP titled “Faith in the Will”. It’s comes out on February 14th. Tracks included are:
1. Faith in the Will
3. Green Paper Dollar
4. Straight Edge Express
Will there be more comics distributed with the new album? Or even a comic book? Those seemed to be a big hit last time.
Yes and yes eventually. My desk is covered in prospective cartoons at the moment.
Will there be a MP tour anytime soon? If so, where are you guys looking to head?
We’re looking forward to a high paced year. We’re going to start out with “Faith in the Will” and see what goes from there.
Why should people listen to your band? What makes you unique? If your band had a slogan, what would it be?
It’s interesting inspiring new music, a brand new band with brand new thoughts. It might just be your sort of thing. If we had a slogan I guess it would be “Be Good.”
How do you define “success” for your band?
I really couldn’t tell you, but I’m excited about where things are heading.
If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
It already is changing. With the internet and the popularity of new recording technology the playing field has really been leveled. I think it’s fantastic that anyone with a song in their head can record it and publish it for the world to see.
One song you never get tired of.
99 bottles of beer on the wall.
What is the best live show you have ever gone to?
The Artie Vegas review.
Favorite things to do NOT musically related.
Make cartoons or wrestle with the/a dog.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
Rip Van Winkle
Have you ever been star struck?
Not yet, but I don’t get out much.
Best prank you have ever pulled or had pulled on you?
I’ll have to tell another time.
I have a feeling answering that could work against my favor.
Describe your band mates in 3 words each:
Man T-Shirt Hair
Guy Tall Face
What kind of jobs did you have before you were in the music industry?
One year I had eleven different jobs. I sold mops, advertising, pizza. I worked in call centers, street teams, on movie sets and bars. I even applied to be a phone sex operator but they said no.
Find MP Here: