By Jacob Pumphrey.
We have introduced you to the brotherly noise factory that is Flying Machine before, but since then they have been busy and we figured it was about time for an update.
I first met the 2 of them (Gory and Christian Wright) about 4 years ago in their hometown, Byron Bay. 6 months later I found myself sharing a van with them for a 2 and a half month road trip across Europe. They were playing in a different band at the time but the seed for Flying Machine had been planted and I watched it grow like a Jack and the Beanstalk monster in the back of that van over the next few months.
The two of them picked up a strange little battery-powered amp and guitar combo from a music shop somewhere in Austria and then spent what felt like every god damn hour of the next few months writing endless riffs through it. Fast forward a few years, they’ve grown into a 3 piece, now supported by the heavy glass-rattling bass riffs of Benny Evans that has seen them play around the Australian east coast with the likes of The Chats, Pist Idiots, Miniskirt, The Delta Riggs, Crocodylus, The Ruminaters. After a money-saving stint in the Thrills warehouse, an abandoned uni degree and a couple of last-minute flights to the embassy the two of them (unfortunately Benny couldn’t join them) have managed to once again set themselves up living in a van, this time around in California with more than enough songs to blow a few Yankee minds.
After a few months of finding their feet, I eventually locked them down for a quick catch-up to find out if they had managed to sort out that whole American dream thing.
How are you fellas?
We’re good man, getting ready to play a show in Costa Mesa tonight so just hanging out.
You just dropped your debut album and we’re listening to it in the office right now. It’s a pretty epic array of songs… You guys have killed it. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Thanks, glad it’s getting some airplay in the office, always great tunes in there so hopefully no one notices it come on haha. Yeah, it is an array, we decided that for this album we’d rather be eclectic than limited so we let the diversity of our songs show.
How long have you been sitting on this?
We had to sell a bunch of gear to pay for it to get mastered and it just took a long time. Never again.
So you're in the states right now, where exactly are you?
We’re here in California. We’ve been hanging out and staying at this warehouse in Costa Mesa (Orange County).
We just surfed San Onofre all day, got some pizza and a beer then drove up the 5 and now we are just chillin.
Sounds like you're well into the swing of things then.
What’s the deal with San Onofre?
San Onofre is this beach in a state park just a little bit further south of where we’ve been staying, pretty much just surfing and carpark beers!! We got told to pack them away today, but it was sweet cause it was brekky time anyway. We had a bagel and coffee in hand, a bit too much going on really.
But (it’s) hands down one of the best beer-drinking spots getting around.
So you’ve been surfing a fair bit?
Yeah, we’ve been surfing every day apart from the weekends.
There have been a buncha' big nights in a row, that’s kind of responsible for weekend hiatus, Skegss shows the other month in LA and Santa Ana didn’t help the cause at all.
We’ve also been body surfing the shit out of the wedge (Newport wedge for those who don’t know)
Yes! Did you make it out of any?
You never truly make it. You might make the barrels but the shore gets you every time
Good summary ha,
So you guys said you’re at a warehouse at the moment, what’s up with that?
Ahh we are kinda living out the back in our van. It’s a watch and sunglasses company run out of Costa Mesa, bunch of cool guys, they’ve been kind enough to hang out with us and show us a good time, let us use the warehouse space to jam and skate the halfpipe, so all round it's about as dreamy as it gets.
Sounds like the ideal set-up, you've been skating a fair bit too?
Skating a shit tonne, as we’re talking Chris is trying to roll a furniture dolley up and down it, it’s not going too well haha.
And you're living in your van?
Yeah, we got a big white Ford Econoline, 6 cylinder, pretty mint condition, wood trim, a big Kiss sticker on the back. It cost us $2200 US, our dollar's so shit at the moment but it’s still a good deal.
We got our mate Tanner to put a bed in the back, so we stash our bags under that and put our surfboards on top - and by our surfboards, I mean Tanner's surfboards that we’ve stolen.
Oh, it’s also got an American flag that covers the whole inside of the roof... Pretty iconic.
You won’t be getting in any trouble at all with that flag on the roof - has sleeping in the back of the van been sketchy at all?
We’ve spent a couple of nights in some weird places, not entirely sketchy but it could get that way pretty quick. When we first got the van we hadn’t bought a mattress yet so spent a few nights on the metal floor
One night we were meant to buy a mattress in Pasadena but the girl fell thru, we found ourselves at Taco Bell at 11 o clock at night and there were crackies everywhere. We were parked right out the front using the wifi for about an hour and they called the cops on us! Said they thought we were smoking something in our car and the police sat us down on the curb and searched our car looking for meth or something.
They ended up being really nice and recommending a place to stay for the night but said that everyone out there is pretty on edge, I was like we are the most normal people here and get the cops called on us!!!
Aha holy shit! Apart from that how are you finding the states so far?
It’s great, man, but there are a few things that confuse me a little. There’s this really special feeling in the air, patriotism and unity but then there is also something really strange, it’s hard to put your finger on. But in short, people have been really kind to us and the crew playing in bands and surfing around Orange County are legends.
What're the 3 best things?
In N Out Burger
All the new mates we’ve made
And the 3 worst?
This guy named Rich at Blackies Pier.
Trying to order food and just making them really confused.
And one use plastics - They are fuckin horrible at one-use plastics
Woah, why are you hating on Rich so hard?
Umm, he’s a really intelligent guy who gives surf lessons, but he speaks to everyone in a deep booming voice and just heckles you heaps.
Fair call, How long have you guys been there?
It’s been 3 months today, I’ve (Gory) just completed a quick 3 week Mexico trip, Chris had to pull a somewhat emergency trip back home to get his eye seen t0 - crazily enough it was cheaper to send him home than go to a doctor here, and then we have another 2 1/2 months left.
We landed a 6 month B-2 visa so we could give it a proper go over here. Thinking of it now I can’t imagine having to get out of here in just one month, 90 days is nowhere near enough time to check out a place properly
Yeah, that good ol' American health care system will get you eventually;
I guess we should probably get back to the whole music thing.
Haha yeah I guess
Looks like you've been playing a lot?
Yeah, we’ve been playing heaps. I don’t know how many gigs but it’s been a few.
And it’s been going down really well, having people turn back up to shows and playing with heaps of cool bands, there’s a lot of sick bands over here.
You just played a show the other week with the Drunk Mums dudes on their first US tour how was that?
Fuck I had no idea it was their first US tour. It was classic, started off by showing them the place we’d organized for them to stay and ended up a few hours later all partying in the warehouse. Bunch of good boys, funny to meet them properly here but can’t wait to see them again in AUS one day. Oh, and they ripped it.
Anybody you’ve played with that we should be checking out?
Yeah we do have a few new favourites, Blivet are fuckin psycho, we all played together last Friday night in Garden Grove and they killed it, we bought a CD.
And then yours and our boys Spendtime Palace - They are amazing and I can’t believe they’re not big in Australia yet. They just do things properly, they take time working out really nice long chord progressions and great choruses, everything’s done well.
They are actually at a studio in Malibu at the moment working on 2 singles. We are heading up on Friday to hang out.
That reminds me actually, I saw that you poached Spendtime Palace's guitarist Eli as a fill-in bass player?
Haha yeah we have, we’d been hanging heaps and surfing every day and he just said he’d be down so we went for it. He learnt all the songs and harmonies in like 3 days and then had to play a show straight away.
We still miss Benny though - Going back to the 2 piece days was hard. We went from having almost 20 songs to having about 9 we could play max, it’s more demanding on stage also but I kind of just turned the reverb up and jump around heaps more.
We’ve also bought all new gear which fucks with you a bit but also can bring extra flair and creativity so it’s not always a bad thing.
Gears a lot cheaper in the states yeah?
Man all kinds of gear is cheaper here.
Care to elaborate?
Don’t know what you're talking about…
Aha ok, good boys.
What equipment did you buy?
I’ve gone out and bought one of my favourite guitars of all time and a new amp. I got it because it’s small enough to fit in the van but cranks!! Like is actually one of the loudest amps I’ve ever owned and it’s the size of a practice amp, it’s pretty cool.
You’ve always got to have an amp in the van!
Have you got any shows coming up? Plans to get out of California at all?
We just wrapped up the Drunk Mums show which was mental – A few of our mates said they were the best band they’ve ever see play the Wayfarer, which is the local Costa Mesa music bar - pretty huge call but could be true!
We should be hitting Oregon, Texas, Chicago and New York soon if all goes to plan.
Sounds like a dream road trip, have you got shows lined up for any of those spots?
Na, not yet. We are in contact with a couple of people just looking at dates and figuring out our movements. But the plan is to book 2-3 gigs at each place and then just go road-tripping and follow the gigs around.
Alright, I think we’re all pretty jealous right about now, good luck fellas see you soon.