Up Down Go Machine is a four piece outfit hailing from Wales, via Lincolnshire and Kent.
The band weave delicate folk melodies around their stripped back, acoustic guitar led sound, which is bolstered by the telepathic harmonising of siblings Stephen and Ria Hallwood.
We caught up with them recently and had a sit down to chat about where their name came from, good advice involving bananas and which member of the band used to hurdle for Great Britain, read on to find out more....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence....
We are Up Down Go Machine and we are a 4 piece indie folk band hailing from Wales via Lincolnshire and Kent.
You’re called ‘Up Down Go Machine’ how did you come to settle on this name?
Stephen: I use to work with a guy when I first moved to London and he was aware that I was into music, playing guitar and singing, and he just turned to me one day and said “if I ever start a band, I’m going to call it “Up Down Go Machine” He told me it was the direct translation for lift, from Japanese to English, not sure if that’s true. But I was like, “that’s pretty cool, I’m having that”. Don’t worry, he never started a band, I’m not sure if he is that musical to be honest so I think we are safe to keep the name.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
Stephen: Always wear a condom! This good advice was provided by my mum.
Ria: Always be nice because Karma’s a bitch. Gran
Sam: Never make eye contact whilst eating a banana
Recently you supported Seattle legend Shawn Smith, how do you feel the gig went and what was Shawn like?
Stephen: The gig was great! and such a brilliant venue. It’s great when you do bigger gigs in the capital because you are safe in the knowledge that the sound on and off stage is going to be great! It just makes our job far easier and enjoyable. The crowd were really responsive, we sold out of merch and we generally had a great night.
Shawn is one chilled out dude and a true talent…
‘Time to Fly’ is a superb track, what is the story behind the song? What was the process of making this track work?
Stephen: This song is a fictional story about two people meeting each other for the first time, let’s say a first date, and the feelings, insecurities and thoughts surrounding that one event.
We work as a band on all of our songs, but initially I will come with a loose structure, melody and an idea, then we all add our own personality and thoughts to the mix. We will work on the keys part along with backing vocals (Ria) then add the drums (Sam) and bass (Steve) to establish the tempo and the true feel of the track. We then work and change things together until we are happy.
Give me three words that best describe you as a band?
Energetic, cheeky, passionate
Superman can deflect bullets with his chest, but when a gun is thrown at him, he has to duck....why?
His head is actually a Watermelon.
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released and why?
Stephen: Impossible to answer. But Billie Jean has to be up there for best record, surely. It’s that bass line and drum kit sound…gets you every time.
Ria: Too many to whittle down to one….but one of my faves has to be Queen Greatest Hits. Freddy Mercury really was an iconic musician.
Sam: Jeff Buckley, Grace album + Led Zeppelin Re-masters album.
Tell me a fascinating fact about you or one of your band members?
Ria: I used to hurdle for Great Britain
Sam: World record holder for dwarf hurling
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
Stephen: Sadly not! To be honest I’ve never seen a chicken cross the road, but if I ever do, I am positive I will ask the question…
Being an unsigned band how hard is it to get noticed and how has social media aided your music?
It is hard, but with access to so many different social media sites and music platforms it does make things a lot easier, and importantly really accessible to new listeners/followers. Whilst it’s great to have presence on FB, YouTube, Soundcloud, the key is to gig. We wouldn’t be doing this interview if it wasn’t for the amount of gigging we are doing and we would not have a bunch of new fans wanting to buy our EP. It’s really important to show people your live act, so people get a feel of who you are as a band.
Do you own a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
Stephen: I have the new U2 album on my iTunes. Whilst I had nothing to do with this purchase I’m still ashamed of my iPhone and myself for allowing this happen.
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Stephen: So many to choose from, Bitter Sweet Symphony (The Verve) bloody classic track.
Sam: Ni**as In Paris. BIG. Plus I could finally buy a Rolex
What was the first song you all made together?
As the band we are now, the first song we really worked on together was “Two Swords” But we are constantly re-working and changing things on all of the old and new tracks.
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
Ria: Rafiki Mufasa
What are your plans for the rest of 2015?
We are just going to keep doing what we are doing, we have been fortunate to land some nice gigs so far this year and the hard work is paying off. We have played the Isle of Wight Festival (Big Top Stage) so the main focus is to keep the momentum and make sure as many people hear our music as possible. It’s about getting that fan base and building a following and finally look into doing a UK and Ireland Tour Early next year....
I told the gaffer that Ria used to hurdle for Great Britain in hope that they didn't need to sit through the Spanish inquisition which is otherwise known as the Quickfire Question round, he mulled it over for a nanosecond and denied my request, we asked them to buckle up and prepare for blast off!
Coffee or Tea?
Coke or Pepsi?
Recording Studio or Live Show?
Drum machine or the real deal?
Mac or PC?
Beard or Clean shaven? (men…)
Fry up or Sunday roast?
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
Terry Pratchett or George R R Martin?
Twin Town or Trainspotting?
Car or Motorbike?
Messi or C Ronaldo?
Acoustic or electric?
Shower or Bath?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino?
Robert De Niro
God or Google?
God...God Made google right?
We'd like to thank the guys for taking the time to chat to us and we wish them every success in the future, if you can spare a few more minutes, please browse their social media channels, they're all listed below, just point and click and the internet machine will magically transport you there.....(like Mr Benn in the Fancy Dress shop)
Interview by Mark Wincott