Live For Live Music caught up with Strange Machines vocalist/guitarist Mike MacDonald this week to discuss the band’s upcoming spring tour, which includes a massive three-night run in Colorado and a mini-tour with lespecial that is sure to get rowdy. Furthermore, MacDonald talked about Strange Machines’ official music video for one of their newest singles, “Birdseye”, which Live For Live Music is thrilled to premiere today.

2019 was a frenzied year for Strange Machines. The Massachusetts-based quartet went through many alterations during a necessary period of evolution for the band, replete with lineup changes and new professional partnerships. Fresh paths forged in 2019 have set up a year full of potential in which the band has already begun to realize.

When L4LM last spoke with MacDonald he was gearing up for a performance at Jewel in Manchester, NH, on November 27th, 2019. While it was a cold and rainy fall night, recent developments in the band’s management structure offered a ray of sunshine and optimism for the future. Less than two months before that show, Strange Machines signed with Jamflow Management and Madison House, unlocking a range of new possibilities. In an interview with him earlier this week, he expounded on the promising partnerships.

Kevin Rondeau is an awesome dude, and I’m really happy to be working with him,” MacDonald said of the band’s new manager. “Madison House has been great as well. They’re awesome to work with, and we’re really lucky… We’re just starting to see the results of that partnership… the winter tour that we just did, and the spring tour coming up are the first shows that they booked for us,” he continued with excitement.

Those partnerships weren’t the only changes the band saw throughout their year of transformation. 2019 saw half the band turnover, as keyboardist Christian Perron and drummer Isaac Civitello left, forcing a several-month break from the road while MacDonald and bassist Craig Holland worked on revamping the lineup. Between the spring and fall, Strange Machines would welcome Josh Dobbs on keys and Ryan “Claw” Clausen on drums. In the interview with L4LM, MacDonald delved into the band’s overhauled lineup, and of course, how the new lineup additions have impacted the music. “I couldn’t be happier with Dobbs and Claw,” MacDonald said. “They’re such an amazing fit, and I’m having so much fun playing music with them.”

The lineup additions marked a pivotal turning point for the band. Reflecting on the limbo period they faced last year, MacDonald remarked, “2019 was a little rocky for us, and we weren’t sure we were going to keep the thing going necessarily.” Now, things are better than ever. He and Dobbs have developed a close working relationship that has elevated the band to new heights.

“Me and him really feed off each other, and we’re really quick to pick up on what the other person’s doing, which is really fun when you’re in the middle of a jam, and you can play something, and somebody else can catch it so quickly, and vice versa.” MacDonald still handles the songwriting duties; however, Clausen and Dobbs’ impact is noticeable. The band stays true to its roots, but perhaps has gotten a “little funkier” and may “go some different places” than before. “Since the new lineup has come about, the writing has just taken off,” he exclaimed. “Pretty much every time we get together we’re pumping out a new song.”

Earlier this year, Strange Machines released “Birdseye”, a single recorded live at Revelry Studios in Manchester, NH. Today, Live For Live Music is excited to premiere the official “Birdseye” music video, filmed on location during the band’s recording session.

The single highlights Strange Machines’ songwriting ability and genre-blending techniques. Elements of rock, funk, reggae, and livetronica shine through this sub-four-minute explosion of energy. “This is the first song we wrote together as the new lineup, and it’s exciting that we got it on record so soon after it’s incarnation,” said MacDonald. “Really love it’s light-hearted, upbeat nature; it’s another great example of the band’s evolving sound. I had a lot of fun using fictional characters to tell the story of real people in my life, and it’s a killer jam vehicle in a live setting.”

A sprawling guitar riff sits atop a layer of keys and thumping rhythm section to open the track before MacDonald begins the first verse. His vocals are powerful and complimented well by Dobbs’ keys. The chorus sees MacDonald injecting blazing phrases on his PRS Hollowbody II between vocal lines, and after the last chorus, a build-up leads to a floaty, reggae-inspired final section, eloquently capping the first song with the band’s new lineup.

Watch the official “Birdseye” music video below:

Strange Machines – “Birdseye” (Official Music Video)

[Video: Strange Machines]

Strange Machines’ 2020 is just getting started as MacDonald confirmed a new album is coming this year. “We’re planning on going into the studio, I believe, in June when we get back from the spring tour,” he said. “We’re planning on putting out a new, six or seven-song EP by the end of the summer.”

That spring tour he mentioned kicks off later this month at The Acoustic in Bridgeport, CT (3/27). After a run through the Northeast, including shows in Worcester, MA (3/28); Canton, NY (4/2); Rochester, NY (4/3); and Erie, PA (4/4); Strange Machines will head to Colorado for three nights. First, they’ll hit Denver’s Your Mom’s House (4/9) before shows at Steamboat Springs’ Old Town Pub (4/10) and Grand Junction’s Mesa Theater (4/11). Though the New England native has a deeply rooted love for the bustling music scene in the Northeast, MacDonald made sure to praise Colorado’s love for live music. “I love it out there. Our first show out there was a [Pigeons Playing Ping Pong] after-party in Boulder, and we got to play for 500 people. The whole vibe out there, in general, is just great. We’re looking forward to getting back there.”

The mini-tour of Colorado will lead to a string of shows with fellow New Englanders, lespecial, dubbed Lestrange Macheens. When asked about what fans can expect during these shows, Macdonald didn’t hold back: “We’ve been friends with them forever and I’m glad [the tour] finally came to fruition because of all the bands in the jam scene, we both tend to get a little heavy. We have some stuff in the works and we’re planning on doing some collabs on all of those shows.”

That tour will include shows at Portland House of Music and Events in Portland, ME (4/29); Jewel in Manchester, NH (4/30); Mercury Lounge in New York, NY (5/1); and Putnam Place in Saratoga Springs, NY (5/2). Scroll down for a complete list of tour dates and head to the band’s website for tickets and more tour information.

Strange Machines 2020 Tour Dates

3/27 – Bridgeport, CT – The Acoustic
3/28 – Worcester, MA – Electric Haze
4/2 – Canton NY, The – Java Barn
4/3 – Rochester, NY – Flour City Station +
4/4 – Erie, PA – Kings Rook Club
4/9 – Denver, CO – Your Mom’s House
4/10 – Steamboat Springs, CO – Old Town Pub
4/11 – Grand Junction, CO – Mesa Theater
4/15 – Columbus, OH – Woodlands Tavern
4/29 – Portland, ME – Portland House of Music and Events ^
4/30 – Manchester, NH – Jewel Music Venue Manchester NH ^
5/1 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge ^
5/2 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Putnam Place ^
5/15 – Boston MA – Paradise Rock Club *
5/16 – Brooklyn, NY – Fiveboro Craft Beer Fest
5/28 – Roanoke, VA – 5 Points Music Sanctuary *
5/30 – Williamsburg, VA – Precarious Beer Hall

^ w/ lespecial, * w/ Pink Talking Fish, + w/ RCA

View Tour Dates