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May 4th, 2009
ECM no hippy jam band

Electric Courage Machine.

By SARAH STEVENS
Scene Reporter

Electric Courage Machine, though only playing together as such for a few months, is a band whose strange name is sure to be heard more often around the local scene. The band’s unique brand of edgy indie rock and distinctive lyrics set it apart from hippy jam-band counterparts.

Brothers Vincent and John David Flores cover the drum, guitar, keyboard, and lead vocal work, while local Joe Stewart plies his trade on the bass and backup vocals.

“We’ve been playing together for about seven years in different bands,” said Vincent Flores. “Electric Courage Machine has only been around about a year and half, and only a few months as a three piece.”

Said Stewart, “I met Vincent when we were about 16 and started playing together. Vincent had a band and they needed a bass player to play a walk-in for New Year’s, Common Dirt. That band fell apart, but Vincent and I had always played together. From there, we actually picked up John David, his little brother that started playing drums with us at the age of 13. We went through a series of bands to what you know as Electric Courage Machine today as a three-piece. Seven years me and these guys have been together. We’re kind of in love.”

Listening to their music, it is immediately apparent that these guys are comfortable playing together. Their music has a certain polished edge that comes with a group of musicians who have been practicing with each other for years. Their influences, like most artists, aren’t always evident in their music.

“I started out on pop music, I think,” Flores said. “The first band that I remember really liking was MXPX. These days I listen to the Stooges a lot. My inspiration for writing comes from what goes on around us. We just describe and embellish on the world, I guess.”

Said Stewart, “Vincent writes all the lyrics and the starts of the music. He gets the general layout of a song and we kind of go from there and change areas.”

Like most bands, Electric Courage Machine changes up its set a bit with each show.

“My favorite song to play is probably ‘Thin Sound Thick Memory.'” Flores said. “Out of all the venues, I would say the Parlor is my favorite place to play right now. It’s a small venue, more of a pizza place. I like that everyone can go because they don’t have to pay to get in.”

Said Stewart, “The best song out of our current set is definitely ‘The King of Slime.’ I think it showcases what we’re trying to approach musically. There are a lot of different parts to it, there’s lots of diversity throughout that song. Plus it’s really nasty in certain parts.”

As band names go, Electric Courage Machine is pretty creative name, though none of the individual band members takes credit for creating it.

“I think that we wrote a bunch of band names down one night while we were drunk, and that one looked cool the next day,” said Flores.

Said Stewart, “We were calling ourselves something like control room or control something for a couple months, and then I found that list in my sock drawer and that was one of the things on it. None of us could ever really remember who said that one. We’ve been through a couple of other bandmates, but it’s always been the three of us. We had one band member quit for religious reasons. We’re not a Christian band by any means. We’re a bit debaucherous. Basically, if you like Dave Matthews, you won’t like our music.”

When not working toward its ultimate goal of touring more, the band stays active in their local show schedule, playing in Austin, San Antonio, and here in San Marcos.

“We’re in the middle of starting a recording project,” said Stewart. “We want to get a demo. We’ve got two albums out right now and we’re trying to work on another one but we are finding places to record.”

Said Flores, “We always want to be an active recording band. We’re planning on releasing a demo early next month that is just one or two songs that we really like.”

Any curious locals going to check out Electric Courage Machine should watch out for a little risque behavior on the part of one particular band member. As Stewart said, “I feel we should say something about the drummer getting naked.”

Said Vincent, “That has been known to happen. Only when it is absolutely necessary though, like if stuff is looking bad, or the people aren’t cool enough to get it, he just gets naked that usually shuts people up.”

Electric Courage Machine has a few songs on its Myspace page at www.myspace.com/electriccouragemachine. As a colorful addition to the San Marcos scene, the shows are not to be missed.

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